The three top ranked nations at the 2011 Snooker World Cup got their campaigns successfully under way today.
Top seeded team Wales recorded the first whitewash of the event by overcoming Egypt 5-0 in Bangkok.
The Welsh pairing of world number one Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens did not actually perform all that well but sent out a clear message to the rest of the competitors with a dominating result that offers them a strong foothold in Group A.
England similarly launched their World Cup in comprehensive fashion with a 4-1 triumph over Brazil – it isn’t often that English fans can rejoice with a win over the South Americans at a World Cup in sport so the result will not be taken lightly.
Ali Carter and Mark Selby, who played each other in the final of the recent Wuxi Classic last Sunday, continued their early season form and appeared happy with their relationship together on the baize.
Some English fans may be disappointed that the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump are not representing their country in Thailand but Selby and Carter’s consistency will make them a very difficult unit to remove.
Scotland’s ‘Dream Team’ of John Higgins and Stephen Maguire made a surprisingly slow start to their World Cup despite still emerging victorious over fellow Europeans Poland in Group D 3-2.
Poland’s 15 year-old sensation Kacper Filipiak was the star of the encounter – the European Under-21 champion winning both of his singles matches against world champion Higgins and Maguire with breaks above 50.
Indeed, Filipiak and his countryman Krzysztof Wrobel dominated the doubles clash only for their more experience opponents to clinch an unlikely frame on the pink.
Still, the result leaves Poland temporarily top of Group D with 5 points from their opening two matches and in a good position to force their way into the quarter-finals later in the week.
Hong Kong’s Marco Fu and Fung Kwok Wai joined the Poles at the top of the table after a tight 3-2 win over Afghanistan.
Elsewhere, Belgian professionals Bjorn Haneveer and Luca Brecel suffered their second successive disappointing 3-2 defeat – this time at the hands of India – to all but rule out their chances of grabbing one of the top two spots with England and Northern Ireland still to play in Group C.
Host nation Thailand 1, though, put the cat amongst the pigeons in Group B as veteran James Wattana and Dechawat Poomjaeng put their 4-1 drubbing to Australia behind them with a same score victory over United Arab Emirates today.
Earlier, the Australians edged Malta 3-2 in a tight affair that ensures the ‘Group of Death’, which also includes 4th seeds China, remains wide open while Germany defeated Pakistan by a single frame in Group A.
Overall, the quality of play on the second day improve drastically as the majority of the players adapted to a format that not many of them would be familiar with.
Both the Republic of Ireland and the Northern Irish teams will return to action tomorrow against Egypt and Brazil respectively.