Om Agrawal Billiards Tournament
Geet Sethi prepared for the defence of his World Championship by
winning the billiards section of the Om Agrawal billiards and
snooker tournament at the Garware Club, Bombay, which ran from
1st-10th July 1999. Sixteen invited players competed in the event, with
the only English representative being Peter Gilchrist, who was seeded
No.2. Four groups played games of 2 hours duration in a league format,
with the top two players progressing to the knock-out stages.
In Group B, Peter Gilchrist started well, producing the competition’s
highest break of 301 in his second match, defeating former World
Amateur Champion Michael Ferreira. Geet Sethi also produced some
good performances to finish at the head of his group. First he cracked
in four century breaks (129, 126, 115, 196) in his opening match against
Antim Singhi, and then destroyed Manoj Kothari 1,034-523 with breaks
of 101 and 204. No.8 seed Subhash Agrawal was one of only two
seeds to be eliminated at the group stage, finishing behind Devendra
Joshi and Varun Taneja in Group D
In Group C, Arun Agrawal made amends for his elder brother’s
elimination by securing a place in the quarter-finals at the expense of
Alok Kumar. Seeded No.3, Kumar’s failure to reach the later stages
was the biggest surprise of the qualifying groups. Arun and Subhash
are both brothers of the late Om Agrawal, India’s World amateur snooker
champion who died of cancer six years ago, and in whose memory the
tournament has been instituted. Praprut Chaithanasakun was one of
the three overseas players to take part in the event, and although seeded
only seventh, he finished top of Group C by winning all his games.
Praprut, highly regarded as a snooker player, is the current Thailand
National billiards champion. His opening Group C match against Arun
Agrawal could not have been much closer. Praprut had established a
healthy lead with two century breaks (101, 120), but a late run of 143
by Agrawal threatened to snatch the win. However, Praprut held on in
an exciting finish to win by 547-533.
Patel, Antim Singhi, Manoj Kothari.
Shandilya, Michael Ferreira, Shyam Jagtiani.
Agrawal, Alok Kumar, Chandresh Shah.
Taneja, Subhash Agrawal, Mohammed Asim.
Peter Gilchrist, while playing below his best,
still managed to produced three centuries to beat the unseeded Arun
Agrawal 1,130-679, bringing the local man’s splendid run in the
tournament to an end. Varun Taneja had not been expected to reach
this stage of the competition and his involvement was now ended by
Geet Sethi who produced a 1,007-874 victory. Patel, seeded fifth, beat
No.4 seed and close rival Devendra Joshi 1,214-670 with a cool display
of efficient billiards. Patel had regular breaks of 50+ and was at no
stage challenged by his opponent. Shandilya edged to a narrow 53
point victory over Praprut who he had previously beaten in the Asian
Games semi-final in Bangkok.
Taneja (159) 874; Peter Gilchrist (102, 125, 176) 1130, Arun Agrawal 697;
Nalin Patel (129, 189) 1214, Devendra Joshi (119) 670; Ashok Shandilya
(154, 118) 821, C. Praprut 768.
Peter Gilchrist gave an accomplished performance
to defeat Ashok Shandilya by a huge 988 point margin. Producing a
series sizeable breaks, he consigned the No.6 seed to the role of spectator
for most of the match. With 40 minutes to go, and already in a virtually
impregnable position, Gilchrist produced a carefully crafted a 289 which
included a spectacular three-cushion cannon to cross the baulk-line.
Geet Sethi was equally dominant in his semi-final against Nalin Patel,
stretching a lead of close to 200 points after an hour to almost 700 in
the second hour of their three-hour match. Sethi produced two century
and a double century break. The latter, a break of 203, came at his 25th
visit to the table and left Patel with no hope at all, having established
a lead of 650 points with little over an hour to go. Patel´s best effort
was a solitary and unthreatening 81.
117) 1483, Ashok Shandilya 495; Geet Sethi (106, 203, 129) 1466, Nalin
Sethi is not usually regarded as the best of starters, but
came out for the final looking purposeful and cueing sharply. Within
forty-five minutes, he had made six visits to the table and had put in
three century breaks (108, 197, 128) to take a 467-42 advantage.
Gilchrist’s first contribution of note came with a steady break of 172.
The game at this stage was a display of attractive and attacking billiards
from two fluent cueists who were not wasting any time at the table. A
double-quick 71 break brought Gilchrist to within 229 points of Sethi,
but ended when he missed a simple in-off to the top-right pocket.
Several more opportunities for Gilchrist ended unexpectedly before
Sethi used up 14 minutes to compile a break of 203 towards the end of
first session, stretching his lead to 853-373. Gilchrist then regained
his composure and enjoyed his best period of the final on both sides of
the interval, putting in a 230 break. Sethi responded with 145, which
set his opponent as far back as he had been before. Leading 1,040-
799, Sethi then settled the match with his best break in the tournament
274which he completed in just 19 minutes. Sethi, who has won this
event in the four previous years of its existence, added his fifth win by
a margin of 421 points, an collected a cheque for Rs. 45,000.
102, 116) 1133.