Lahiri finishes in third place

Varsha Sanjeev rode her luck to claim her third title of the Hash10-Nationals, defeating Keerath Bhandal 127-97 in the one-hour time format final of the junior girls' billiards championship, here on Friday.

It was a repeat of the sub-junior billiards final, with Varsha and Keerath progressing through a weakened draw to make it to the summit clash. Of the eight players who had registered in the girls' junior category (as opposed to 37 who had enrolled for the qualifiers of the boys' junior billiards event), three had pulled out and the quarterfinals stage saw just one match being played.

Keerath came into the final with a fluent 115-65 win over Arya Pimpale, while Varsha got the better of Lahiri 110-92 in the other semifinal.

Tight affair

The final, as on the previous occasion that the two met, was a tight affair. Varsha took the early lead, going 31-5 up in quick time, but seemed to run into a roadblock from there on. She miscued on several occasions, when a canon or a hazard wasn't too difficult to find, and Keerath soon gained the upper hand, assuming the lead for the first time at 49-43.

Keerath maintained her lead as the match went past the 40-minute mark with the scores on 84-68.

Varsha finally seemed to break out of her poor spell and hit back with a break of 14 to assume the lead once again at 92-91. With the match entering its final stages, there was very little between the cueists and it was a stroke of luck that finally settled the contest.

Varsha's miscue, not for the first time in the evening, resulted not only in an inadvertent hazard, but also opened up the position to her advantage. The 14-year old from Karnataka did not complain though as she made the most of the spot of fortune to close out the contest with fortuitous breaks of 12 and 15.

The match for the third-fourth places between Lahiri and Arya went neck and neck for a while before the former ran away with the contest in the second half to win 122-86.

The results (junior girls, billiards):

The final (one-hour time format): Varsha Sanjeev (Kar) bt Keerath Bhandal (Del) 127-97.

Third-fourth place playoff: I. Lahiri (AP) bt Arya Pimpale (Mah) 122-86.

Semifinals: Varsha bt Lahiri 110-92; Keerath bt Arya 115-65.

Quarterfinals: Keerath w/o P.S. Angel (AP); Lahiri bt Saniya Arif (Chn) 70-66; Varsha Sanjeev w/o O. Shan Shah (Mah); Arya Pimpale (bye).

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