Andrew Pagett cues it like a king for Gujarat

Gujarat Kings beats Delhi Dons 3-0 in title match to become first Cue Slam champion at the Rajpath Club in Ahmedabad on Friday.

The Kings team comprised Andrew Pagett, Daria Sirotina, Alik Kumar, Sourav Kothari, Brijesh Damani with Ashok Shandilya as coach.

Gujarat Kings became the first Cue Slam champion at the Rajpath Club on Friday. Virtual no hopers, losing three ties in the five-team round robin league, the Kings, owned by Padmnabh Industries, sneaked into the business end of the Indian Cue Masters league at the expense of Hyderabad Hustlers, but produced spectacular results in the semi-finals, beating Chennai Strikers 3-0 on Thursday and then disposed off Delhi Dons 3-0 in the title match on the last day of the competition, demonstrating great finesse.

The Kings received a prize money of Rs. 20 lakh. The Kings team comprised Andrew Pagett, Daria Sirotina, Alik Kumar, Sourav Kothari, Brijesh Damani with Ashok Shandilya as coach.

The Kings’ choice of Andrew Pagett, known as ‘The Welsh Wizard’, as its marquee player turned out to be a big decision, with the 35-year-old, slenderly-built, rising to the occasion in the semifinals against Pankaj Advani and crucially against the Dons’ marquee player and now the snooker-turned-9-ball specialist, Kelly Fisher. Pagett’s ability to spot the red, pot it, make capital of the black and his overall class was written all over in the two games he played.

First, Pagett teamed up well with Russia’s Daria to give a 1-0 start scoring over Kelly and Malkeet Singh in the 6 Red Snooker mixed doubles. The Kings may have been trifle lucky to take the first frame at 16-13, owing to the misfortune of Malkeet scratching (potting) the cue ball; leading 13-12 though, he actually had the option of playing a safety shot with only a few seconds of play left for the buzzer to go off at the ten minute-cap time. Malkeet potted the last red, but shell-shocked, he saw the cue ball roll a long way and sink into the corner (yellow) pocket. In the second frame, the Kings pair demolished the Dons’ 50-0, with four and half minutes remaining.

The crowd was on its feet and when Alok Kumar ran up a 3-0 lead in the Race to 4 match on the 9 ball table (as against a race to 2 format till the semi-final), but Manan Chandra pulled back three, taking the sixth in a break-to-finish pattern. It was Kumar’s turn to clinch the seventh rack and the match with a break-to-finish effort. The thumb rule in 9-ball is, break well and take the rack, potting the balls in the sequence of lowest numbered ball

With a 2-0 lead, Pagett strutted around the green baize like a champion in the 6 Reds set to three frames. He played plenty of safety shots in the first frame that he won 24-11, but he crushed Kelly in the second, taking a facile 35-1 lead. At this point, Kelly needed the colours and ‘two snookers’ to level scores, but Pagett, got another chance and he made the outcome of the match and final absolutely certain; in the Kings’ favour.

Result: Gujarat Kings beat Delhi Dons: 6 Red Snooker mixed doubles; Andrew Pagett and Daria Sirotina beat Malkeet Singh and Kelly Fisher 2-0 (16-13, 50-0), Pagett bt Kelly 2-0 (24-11, 44-1); 9 ball; Alok Kumar beat Manan Chandra 4-3