2016 Chinese 8 Ball World Championships
13th-20th March 2016 / Shangrao City, Yushan County, China
CHINESE CHAMPIONS CROWNED
The Chinese fans were left happy after home heroes Shi Hanqing and Chen Siming took the Men's and Women's titles respectively at the 2nd Chinese 8 Ball World Championships this past weekend.
Shi came out on the right side of a dramatic climax in his final clash with England's Mick Hill - the best of 41 contest going all the way to a deciding rack.
In a close opening session, reigning three time WEPF English 8 Ball champion Hill capitalised from a surprising miss by his opponent in rack 24 to take a 13-11 advantage going into the evening act. There was never more than a gap of two between them.
The multi-talented Hill managed to keep his profit until Shi squared it back up at 16 each.
Possibly due to the pressure of the winning line nearing ever closer, and a winners prize purse just shy of US$100,000, certain passages of play became slightly bogged down and scrappy; although the drama continued to heighten as single racks were traded all the way to 20-20. Hanqing, who dethroned 2015 victor Darren Appleton in the semis, even deliberately fouled his break off shot twice as a tactical move because of not making balls off his break.
Deservedly, the match did go the distance. Ironically, Hill agonisingly broke dry in the last, and Shi coolly stepped in to run out the rack for the 21-20 win.
The Women's final was another China v England fixture with the same resulting outcome, as Chen defeated Kelly Fisher 17-11.
Chen - like Fisher, usually accustomed to the 9 Ball scene, chalked up the opening trio of racks. Fisher responded, though, levelling it up instantly for 3-3.
The perhaps crucial section of the encounter was the last three frames of the first session. Chen led 8-7, but put daylight between the pair when extending the gap to 11-7.
It would be a lead she maintained, eventually winning fairly comfortably 17-11.
It is her first World Championship of any discipline, she also banks 400,000RMB (approx. £43,000).
Whilst Fisher might be disappointed not getting the top honours, she can look back with pride - especially after just returning to competitive action after a health lay off.
Many thanks to www.top147.com for permission to use the above photograph.
Written and published by Michael Day on the 22nd March 2016