NSCI snooker: Confident Sourav Kothari clinches crown

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, July 04, 2022, 03:49 PM IST
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Sourav Kothari of PSPB (R) |

Mumbai: Brimming with confidence Sourav Kothari of PSPB was clinical and precise with his potting and breezed past Laxman Rawat also of PSPB, racing to a 7-2 victory in the best-of-13-frame finals of the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) organised Rs 6.4 lakh-NSCI All India Snooker Open ‘Baulkline’ 2022 and played at the NSCI billiards hall on Saturday.

Sourav, who had recently won both the snooker and billiards titles in the Pacific International Championship in Melbourne, was rock solid and charged to a comfortable 95-17, 37-75, 64-05, 70-77, 116-01, 124-05, 70-23, 91-50, and 71-39 victory. The 37-year-old Sourav from Kolkata compiled break of 65 (1st frame), 58 (4th), 83 (5th) and a century effort of 107 in the sixth, while Laxman managed a solitary break of 63 in winning the fourth on the respotted black.

The Kolkata cueist, in the process avenged his quarter-final defeat to Laxman in the Khar Gymkhana tournament early last month.

Sourav showed great touch as he struck the balls perfectly and his shot selection was of top order. He carefully studied all the options before attempting his pots and his safety approach was also excellent, which put his rival under pressure and enabled him to hold the upper hand throughout.

In contrast, Indian number eight Laxman, seemed a bit jaded and drained out after his 6-4 semi-final win against National champion Ishpreet Singh Chadha in the semi-final. Laxman had his chances but struggled and was not able to capitalise on the chances that came his way.

The match started on an even keel as Sourav and Laxman shared the opening four frames to finish the first session at 2-all. Sourav compiled a 65 point break in winning the first frame, but then lost the second. He once again came good to pocket the third and grab a 2-1 lead. The fourth turned out to be a close affair as Laxman constructed a neat 63 break, but Sourav stayed calm and made a strong reply with a 58 run to narrow the lead. Thereafter, both players were a bit cautious and a safe approach came into play. Sourav with clever tactics managed to marginally nudge ahead to lead 64-63 and required to pot the last two balls on the table to win the frame. He managed to sink the pink, but missed the black and Laxman did well to take the black and force a black-ball decider and then went on to pocket the respotted black to win the frame.

However, after resumption, Sourav won the next four frames to enjoy a 6-2 lead at the end of second session. He then returned after the break and completed the formalities winning a scrappy ninth frame to secure his triumph.

Earlier, Rawat produced a late charge to send National champion Ishpreet Singh Chadha of Maharashtra crashing out by clinching a come from behind 6-4 win in the second semi-final which finished late Friday evening. India number Ishpreet started with a break of 75 to win the opening frame before Laxman produced a half century effort to win the second and level scores. The Mumbai-based Ishpreet with small useful efforts went on to take the next two to lead 3-1. India number seven Laxman came roaring back and rolled in a neat 71 in the fifth and followed it with runs of 46 and 64 to win the sixth and draw level at 3-all. Ishpreet kept his cool and with steady play won the seventh to regain the lead. Not prepared to give up, Laxman dished out a superb controlled performance to win the next three frames in succession and close out the match in his favour.

Results - Final: Sourav Kothari (PSPB) beat Laxman Rawat (PSPB) 7-2 (95(65)-17, 37-75, 64-05, 70(58)-77(63), 116(83)-01, 124(107)-05, 70-23, 91-50, 71-39).

Semi-final: Laxman Rawat (PSPB) beat Ishpreet Singh Chadha (MAH) 6-4 (08-83(75), 78(50)-40, 12-78, 49-76, 114(71)-11, 119(46,64)-1, 33-73, 62-0, 77-9, 74-30).

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