Finals

Chinese Teenagers Win World Cup

China B has sensationally won the 2015 World Cup on home soil after overcoming Scotland 4-1 in the final in Wuxi.

Yan Bingtao and Zhou Yuelong are just 15 and 17 years-old.

Yan Bingtao and Zhou Yuelong are just 15 and 17 years-old.

The team, comprising teenagers Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao, also saw off Welshmen Mark Williams and Michael White in the last four.

Combining for a remarkable age of just 32, Zhou and Yan remained composed throughout as they emulated heroes Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo, who emerged victorious from the last World Cup in 2011.

In the final they were considered second favourites, as they had been for the majority of the tournament, but nerves never seemed to overwhelm their young shoulders.

China B topped arguably the toughest group in the round-robin stage, heading Thailand and denying traditional snooker powerhouses England and Ireland passages into the quarter-finals.

And they duly knocked out the other two giants of the sport to complete a famous triumph that earns them £65,000 each, along with invitations into the lucrative Champion of Champions tournament later in the year.

Both China and Scotland had edged dramatic semi-final clashes – the latter after a pulsating decider against India ended on the final pink.

Scotland, represented by John Higgins and Stephen Maguire, weren’t only the favourites because of their wealth of experience, but also because their opponents had only half an hour to recover from their tough penultimate round.

However, the Chinese outfit began the final with a century and were in control of the contest thereafter.

In the end, Zhou cleared the table to the delight of the sizable home crowd, subsequently clinging onto Higgins, one of the all-time legends of the sport, in almost disbelief as to what he and his partner had achieved.

The World Cup has come and gone largely unnoticed it has to be said.

It is played at a time of the year and a juncture of the season that doesn’t really attract a lot of fans, while the format and location of the competition, with time difference playing a key factor to those in Ireland and the UK, don’t appease that either.

However, in terms of the overall pledge of spreading the game globally the event must go down as a success, especially given the shape of the eventual winners.

Zhou and Yan clearly have a bright future ahead of them, one that could help keep the boom in China going, while the success of India, Belgium, Thailand and, to a lesser extent, Brazil and Pakistan, will go down well also.

It’s hard to know how many of these kinds of events there should be on the calendar, but it certainly does offer unheralded competitors from various countries an opportunity to compete at the highest level.

For now, though, congratulations and plaudits are reserved for the sensational Chinese teens.

It will surely be interesting to see how they fare in the more regular singles format in Coventry against the best of the world next November.

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