Gilchrist beats Kothari to clinch World Billiards title

A 354 - the highest of the tournament - flattened Kothari, and established a mighty 855-205 lead. The 48-year-old held a vice-like grip on the three balls at the top of the table, and picked up points at will.

Peter Gilchrist

Peter Gilchrist celebrates after capturing the IBSF World Billiards Championship in Bengaluru on Thursday.   -  K. Murali Kumar

During a lengthy, scrappy safety battle between Peter Gilchrist and Sourav Kothari in the initial stages of their IBSF World billiards championship final, Gilchrist turned to the crowd and quipped, "It is going to be a long night, isn’t it?’. The spectators chuckled nervously, and dug their heels in for a long-drawn, staid affair.

Much to the delight of everyone present at the KSBA hall, the summit clash turned out to be anything but dull. Gilchrist brought it to life, while Kothari’s dream of claiming his first world title hit a rude awakening. After getting the better of Kothari in the early safety exchanges, the England-born Singaporean kicked into gear with a 127-break.

Three half-centuries and one century followed, but the Piece de resistance was yet to arrive. Shortly before the interval, Gilchrist showed his class.

A 354 - the highest of the tournament - flattened Kothari, and established a mighty 855-205 lead. The 48-year-old held a vice-like grip on the three balls at the top of the table, and picked up points at will.

After the restart, Kothari’s woes continued. His rival embarked on another lengthy sojourn, this time making 207. The lead ballooned to 1148-295, and there was no stopping Gilchrist from here.

While the visitor left onlookers awestruck, the sight of a sombre Kothari - stuck in his chair for the most part - evoked sympathy.

To his credit, Kothari made a late 280, but the fate of the match was already sealed.

Gilchrist, who picked up his fifth world title and a cheque for USD 4,000, said, “I got a 100 break nearly every time I came to the table. The 354-break put some distance between me and him.”

Earlier, In the semifinals, Gilchrist defeated the dangerous Rupesh Shah 1251-958, while Kothari proved to be too good for the young Dhvaj Haria.

The results:

Final: Peter Gilchrist (Sing) bt Sourav Kothari (Ind) 1500-617.

Semifinals: Peter Gilchrist (Sing) bt Rupesh Shah (Ind) 1251-958; Sourav Kothari (Ind) bt Dhvaj Haria (Ind) 1250-816.