Winning start by Advani helps ONGC score a double

Pankaj Advani beat former national junior champion Laxman Rawat.

(From left) Saurav Kothari Pankaj Advani and Alok Kumar of ONGC Team.

Pankaj Advani led ONGC to a facile team snooker title win at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana on Thursday. The champion cueist just about played his part scoring the essential points in the team billiards final of the 14 BPCL 14 PSPB Billiards and Snooker tournament.

But in the final of the 22-coloured ball game, he gave a firm and successful start as ONGC pushed for a team double. He was the first choice player against Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), as against being the third in billiards, and he showed his class getting the better of a persevering former national junior champion Laxman Rawat.

Once ONGC took a 2-0 lead, it needed two more frames in the final set to seven frames and clinch the title whereas IOC faced an uphill task of winning four. Sourav Kothari put IOC 3-0 up winning the first game against the CCI Open winner Brijesh Damani, but the latter pulled back a frame to make it 3-1. Players extract heavy penalty when their opponents miss opportunities, more so in snooker; and that’s what happened with Damani snatching a frame to keep his team in the contest.

The third match pitted ONGC’s Alok Kumar against IOC’s Aditya Mehta. India’s only professional in World Snooker has had a rough time  taking a break from ruthless world of professional snooker in order to take part in the PSPB competition. He reduced the margin by one taking the first frame by 10 points, but Alok Kumar once again showed why he is always a tough customer to deal with. He won the second frame to bring an end to the all pervading suspense and IOC’s hopes of taking the tie to the decider.  

The host BPCL won the third place defeating GAIL 4-2, with young S. Shrikrishna winning his match 2-0 against Ashok Kumar.

Former World Billiards Champion and coach of the ONGC team Manoj Kothari was thrilled to see the confident shot making abilities of Shrikrishna in the open billiards quarter-final match against Sourav Kothari. "What a fine and fluent shot player he is,’’ said Manoj.

Results:

(Team Snooker–final, set to seven frames) ONGC bt Indian Oil 4-2 (Pankaj Advani vs Laxman Rawat 2-0 (59-7, 55-43); Sourav Kothari vs Brijesh Damani 1-1(89(69)-10, 11-58); Alok Kumar vs Aditya Mehta 1-1(62-72, 49-38)

3rd and 4th place: BPCL bt GAIL 4-2 (Ishpreet Chadda vs Manan Chandra 1-1(13-93, 63-39); Asutosh Padhy vs Shahbaz Khan 1-1(64-37, 39-65); S. Shrikrishna vs Ashok Kumar 2-0(80-4, 66-2)