Otters ‘Rockets’ retain snooker crown of Otters Club BSAM Mumbai Z3-Snooker League 2018

Mumbai : Defending champions Otters ‘Rockets’ for the second successive year claimed the top honours in the Otters Club BSAM Mumbai Z3-Snooker League 2018, at Otters Club Billiards Room.

  In the grand finale, the Otters Club team ‘Rockets’ did not have it easy and went through plenty of anxious moments.

  Dame fortune also smiled on them and they managed to hold off a spirited challenge from Radio Club team Radio ‘Tigers’ and snatch a tense 3-1 victory.

Otters ‘Rockets’, who had defeated ECC ‘Elfies Hornets’ in last year’s final, received the handsome ‘Champions Trophy’ and a cheque of Rs 75,000 from Vikram Rao, President, Otters Club.

Radio ‘Tigers’ were presented with the runners-up trophy and a cash award of Rs 45,000.

The losing semi-finalists, KG ‘C’ and ARC ‘Cheetahs’ pocketed a cash prize of Rs 20,000 each and the four teams which lost in the quarter-finals got Rs 10,000 each.

Playing on their home tables, the Otters Club players enjoyed a favourable roll of the balls and they made it count by closely winning three of the four frames. In the 15-red singles first frame, Abhimanyu Gandhi (+10 handicap) put up a solid performance and  after a couple of small efforts managed to roll in a break of 28 to take the lead before going on to pocket all the six colours to win the frame and put his team in the lead.

Later, Otters Club skipper Zenul Arsiwala, who has had an outstanding tournament having not lost a singles frame, having won all the eight doubles matches (3 frames in the league phase and all 5 in the knockout phase from the round of 32 to the final) carried on with the good work. He and Nabil Lakdawala (+21) played patiently to score a tight win against Merzi Screwvala and Badri Karimi (+26) 80-52 scoreline in the 9-red doubles, second frame and put Otters 2-0 ahead.

But, Radio Club’s most exciting player Vimal Mariwala who plays with a care-free attitude arrested Otters Club’s charge to a quick finish when he beat Rishabh Thakkar (+20).

Mariwala (35), like the smiling assassin, pounced on an opening and quickly rattled in a 38 points and progressed to a 89-30 win in the 15-red singles third frame to cut Otters Club lead to 2-1.

The fourth frame was a very tense affair as both Gandhi (+10) and Screwvala (+30) waged a grim battle and the frame went to the wire.

Screwvala, the steadier of the two enjoyed a 20 points handicap and with small efforts did well to stretch his lead to 80-46 at the halfway stage.

But, Gandhi put up a great fight and rolled in a 25 break to close the gap to 61-80.

Then with a bit of safety he managed to further reduce the deficit and after potting the blue and pink he looked set to take the frame, but missed a difficult last black.

Screwvala looked set to win the frame and force the decider, but he struck the cue ball a bit too hard as he pocketed the black. But to his and the team’s dismay the cue ball rebounded off the side cushion and went into the centre pocket.

Results (finals): Otters ‘Rockets’ beat Radio ‘Tigers’ 3-1 (Abhimanyu Gandhi (+10) beat Saurabh Mehrotra (+45) 97-79, Zenul Arsiwala/Nabil Lakdawala (+21) beat Merzi Screwvala/Badar Karimi (+26) 80-52, Rishabh Thakkar (+20) lost Vimal Mariwala (+35) 30-89, Abhimanyu Gandhi (+10) beat Merzi Screwvala (+30) 86-80).

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