From the publishers of THE HINDU

VOL.32 :: NO.50 :: Dec. 12, 2009

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SNOOKER

Darren Morgan: Solid as ever

In the Masters category of the World Snooker Championship the focus was on three big names — Darren Morgan of Wales, Dene O’Kane of New Zealand and Geet Sethi of India. And it was Morgan who won the crown with a fantastic victory over Dene O’Kane in the final.

Sethi did show glimpses of his class when he scripted a great escape in the pre-quarterfinals against Thailand’s Chuchart Trairattanapradit to sew up a fantastic 49-63, 81-19, 55-67, 1-64, 67-60, 105-36, 69-4 win. But the Indian lost in the next round to Costas Konnaris of Cyprus 44-24, 76-43, 70-71, 54-15, 47-88, 48-63, 32-62.

That this defeat came after the sensational turn-around against Trairattanapradit when Sethi won from a seemingly lost position with a vintage stroke — he fluked a black from a difficult angle — was all the more disappointing for the host. In a way, the early exit of Sethi took the sheen off the competition.

Morgan and Dene O’Kane meant business right through the tournament. Though Dene O’Kane, the defending champion, was the favourite, it was the tenacity of Morgan that saw him through to a 77-38, 65-53, 83-36, 68-57, 66-30, 58-14 victory.

Morgan, 43, later admitted that he was not at his best in the final and struggled right through. “But I am glad that I am the world champion again for the simple reason that I made the right clearances and potted some very good balls,” said the Welshman with a big smile.

Interestingly Morgan, whose email ID is named after the ‘red triangle’ on the snooker table, revealed that he did not really enjoy the World snooker title he had won in 1987 in India as that was his first trip abroad and he did not really know anything big outside his country. “Now I am enjoying every bit of my success. No doubt, the 6-0 frame score in the final was a bit flattering. Not even in the wildest dreams did I look at such a possibility,” he said.

Morgan’s solid game — with emphasis on safety play and impeccable potting that enabled him to score the big points — made a big difference in the final. That he won the title without any big breaks was also proof of the methodical manner in which he went about his task against a classy opponent. An emotional Morgan dedicated his victory to his wife Tracy and daughters, Paige, Ellie-mai and Holly.

The results — Masters final: Darren Morgan (Wales) beat Dene O’Kane (NZ) 73-38, 72-53, 78-36, 68-57, 66-30, 58-14. Semifinals: Dene O’Kane beat Costas Konnaris (Cyprus) 59-70, 44-32, 131-14, 73-12, 69-9, 68-19; Darren Morgan bt Simon Zammit (Malaysia) 68-13, 80-9, 59-33, 49-26, 102-5.

V. V. Subrahmanyam



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