The Republic of Ireland team endured a difficult start as the 2015 World Cup got under way on Monday in China.
The experienced Irish pair of Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien had been among the favourites to emerge from Group D but suffered a 4-1 loss to the China B outfit under unusual circumstances.
Both of the Dubliners’ cues failed to arrive in Wuxi in time for their first bout, resulting in the duo having to borrow two cues in order to even compete, while 1997 world champion Doherty had to make do with somebody else’s waistcoat as well.
The gaff clearly effected their performance with Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao, combining for an incredible age of just 32, capitalising for an unexpected victory.
With each successful frame equating to a point in the league standings, the defeat already puts the Irish on the back foot.
In a similar position in Group D is England, the favourites also being downed by a 4-1 scoreline by Thailand.
The English team boasts the current and last world champions Stuart Bingham and Mark Selby, who are also the no.2 and no.1 respectively in the world rankings.
But Dechawat Poomjaeng and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh represent a solid duo who could be a dark horse as the tournament develops.
In the same group, Germany beat UAE 3-2.
Meanwhile, the bigger nations in Group A, B and C didn’t have as many problems – especially in the latter’s case.
Wales, comprising Mark Williams and Michael White, and Northern Ireland’s Gerard Greene and Joe Swail both enjoyed 5-0 victories over Pakistan and Poland respectively.
Australia also got off to a winning start with a narrow single frame win over Qatar.
In Group B, John Higgins and Stephen Maguire combined well for Scotland to inflict a 4-1 loss on Iran, while Belgium and Hong Kong got off to winning starts as well against Brazil and Malaysia.
Finally, Group A saw Maltese veterans Tony Drago and Alex Borg whitewash Austria to take an early lead of proceedings there.
Defending champions China A, with returning member Ding Junhui and new teammate Xiao Guodong, survived a scare as they came from 2-0 down to pip India 3-2.
Norway’s husband and wife duo Kurt and Anita Maflin also earned a 3-2 victory over Singapore.
The World Cup format sees four groups of six teams each, with 23 nations in total taking part.
Each team plays the other in the same group once over five frames, which consists of singles frames and doubles of alternating turns.
The top two from each group go through to the quarter-finals, where a straight knockout comes into effect.
The round-robin runs until Friday, with the business end of the championship being decided at the weekend.
Categories: Snooker News