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Billiards: Kothari wins silver in World Matchplay; Sitwala bags bronze in Irish Open

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Carlow (Ireland), April 9 (IANS) India’s Sourav Kothari lost 8-3 to World No 1 David Causier in the final of the World Billiards League (WBL) World Matchplay Championships 2022 here.

The championship is the sport’s premier short-format competition and was returning to the circuit for the first time since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last held in Leeds, the latest edition was hosted by the Snooker and Billiards Ireland Academy in Carlow, Republic of Ireland.

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Compatriot Dhruv Sitwala also earned a bronze medal at the Irish Open Billiards Championship, which was held before the start of this event at the same venue.

For Sitwala, this was his third international medal within a month. He had won silver at Asian Billiards around 20 days ago and now bagged two bronze medals here.

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In the World Matchplay Championships, India’s 2018 World Champion Kothari, who was enjoying his return to the global scene for the first time since the start of the pandemic, came up short against Causier.

The Kolkata cueist also advanced from Group A, with his only defeat to Causier, 4-1. During the single-elimination phase, he ousted Peter Sheehan (England) 5-4 in the last 16 and Martin Goodwill (England) 6-1 in the last eight.

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In the final four, Kothari ended Robert Hall’s hopes of a unique double in Carlow, defeating him by 7 frames to 3. Hall had won the Irish Open earlier.

The climax was a clash between two world champions – Kothari had memorably came back to deny Causier in an epic semifinal on his way to the world title three-and-a-half years ago.

The final got off to a dramatic start as Kothari missed a cannon to claim the opening frame which was eventually taken by Causier 100 to 98. However, in bizarre circumstances, Causier failed to negotiate an in-off when one scoring shot away from doubling his lead in frame two, according to a report on the official website of WBPSA, the governing body for the sport.

A relieved Kothari – who had been ahead and was agonisingly close to winning that frame too — had a simple pot cueball to open his account by the same scoreline as the first.

The action began to settle down after this nervy opening exchange as Causier won the third frame with a one-visit break of 100 without reply. He then banked frame four with a counter-attacking 101 and the fifth with the aid of a 72. Kothari responded well, though; breaks of 77 and 67 helped him move to within one as they went to the mid-session interval.

However, on resumption, the pendulum swung again as Causier strung together four consecutive frames to retain the trophy.

–IANS

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