Saturday, 23 June, 2007

Wilbur dazzles at PGI tournament

Photo: Mukund Bhute

Sameer Sheikh pots one towards glory

B D Narayankar

PUNE: Shedding his familiar orthodox style, 18-year-old Wilbur Francis played some glorious snooker in the fifth Poona Goan Institute (PGI) Open Billiards Championship here on Friday.

Playing like a man possessed, Wilbur blew apart his rival Lester D’Souza 2-0, winning 47-7 and 52-35 in the best of three games on the fourth day of the tournament.

Displaying a tremendous game on Thursday, Wilbur continued his form, potting reds and colors impressively. Never before Wilbur must have gone through such excitement as he was playing a major tournament for the first time in his career so far. “I was satisfied with my performance and I went for unthinkable angles to pot the colors,” Wilbur told Maharashtra Herald after the match.

In the first frame, Wilbur capitalized after Lester broke the bunch to his advantage. Consequently, Wilbur made a break of 20 points and later played safe, not giving enough room for Lester to break huge points. “I won the first frame easily, thanks to some aggressive cuing of Lester,” Wilbur said.

Fortifying his position with solid breaks in the second frame, Wilbur not only outclassed Lester in tactics, but in potting. “I knew that the only way to beat was to go all out. He is a good potter and I had to outdo him in that department,'' said Wilbur.

Lester played too cautiously and gave hardly any openings to Wilbur. But whatever opportunities came his way he grabbed them and potted the colors.

In an interesting tussle, after Lester had got snooker to his opponent, Wilbur, in retaliation, got a counter snooker, which made things difficult for the former. “He potted yellow and green, I took brown, blue and a pink to win the frame and match,” an elated Wilbur said.

In yet another match, Sameer Sheikh played good snooker, beating Daniel Joseph 2-0, winning 57-38 and 56-47. Not known to be much innovative, Sheikh showed he could also play in a different league, the stuff that the good players are made of.

Sameer played an extraordinary game, at times potting colors at great risk and on other occasion playing a safe game, hardly giving any leverage for the opponent to pot. “I hardly missed any chance to score,” Sameer said adding: ``I was desperate to play well and win. I wanted to make my score 2-0.”

RESULTS: Snooker: League stages: Wilbur D’Silva bt Lester D’Silva 47-7, 52-35; Victor Fernandes bt Sudarshan Karad 56-38, 50-17; Sameer Sheikh bt Daniel Joseph 57-38, 56-47; Billiards: Victor Fernandes bt Leo Alphonso 101-43, 101-37

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