Mumbai: SPG Punters escaped to a narrow 3- 2 win over Willingdon Wonders to enter the pre- quarter- finals, in the PJ Hindu Gymkhana Sir Wilson Jones BSAM Mumbai Snooker League.
Joining Punters in the last 16 were, JVPG Tigers, CCI – Men and Chembur Gymkhana Gladiators who registered fluent wins.
Shivaji Park Gymkhana Punters lived dangerously as Wonders threatened to change the script each time the former held the advantage.
Prashant Mhatre won the opening tie for Punters against Nadir Khan until Biren Vakil stepped in to make his presence felt for Wonders.
Vakil drew level with a narrow 99- 87 win over Punters captain Shekhar Surve in the second tie where both cueists enjoyed a handicap of + 45. But Derek Sippy and Sanket Bapat won the following doubles to give favourites Punters a 2- 1 advantage.
As Surve faced Vakil again in the crucial fourth tie, he made sure he was well ahead with a cautious approach.
Surve succeeded in keeping a firm grip on the tie until Vakil came up with impressive snookers that enhanced his hopes and put the former in a quandary on quite a few occasions.
Vakil cleverly used those occasions to get back into the match as a rattled Surve bungled sitters including an easy black and lost his way. As Surve crumbled under pressure, Vakil closed in at 98- 104 and 103- 121 before sinking the blue, pink and black in a stunning sequence to draw level at 121- all for an exciting black- ball tie.
But a determined Mhatre had the last laugh as he demolished Saumitra Patwardhan in the decider to set up Punters’ next clash with CCI Jaguars.
RESULTS: Pre- pre- quarter- finals: SPG Punters bt Willingdon Wonders 3- 2; JVPG Tigers bt Garware Mesmerisers 3- 1; CCI – Men bt MIG Feathers 3- 0; Chembur Gym Gladiators bt MHC Cue Ballers 3- 0.