SPORT

Damani outplays Kothari

Sweet success:Brijesh Damani made short work of his sparring partner Sourav Kothari in the final.Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury  

Sparring partners for over a decade at Kolkata’s YMCA, Brijesh Damani and Sourav Kothari, had raised hopes of an exhilarating climax in the title match of the Cricket Club of India all-India open snooker tournament here on Sunday.

But the final set to 13 frames turned into a lacklustre event with snooker specialist Damani outplaying Kothari 7-1 in a little over four hours.

“We have grown up together and practised for six or seven hours a day in the first ten years at the YMCA. I am happy I am winning the big finals. This is my first tournament at the CCI and I am happy I won it. The day I entered the billiards room here for the first time, I was inspired by the tributes paid to the legends of Indian cue sport,” said Damani, who, along with Kothari, will feature in the PSPB team championship and open events in Pune from Tuesday.

Taking control

Damani took control of the final straight away taking the first two frames in under three-quarters of an hour. He potted the last red and cleared the table to win the first frame with a nine point difference and ran up the only half-century break of the final to take the second.

There was plenty of safety tactics in the third, but Damani won it. He claimed the fourth with a black-ball finish.

Kothari staged a recovery to make the fifth game score 54-all when he miscued the blue and Kothari quickly completed the frame to take a 5-0 lead.

The players took a half-hour break after which Kothari compiled a neat break of 43 to take the sixth frame, but Damani, whose potting consistency improved in every frame, could not be stopped in the seventh and eighth frames to pocket the title and the cash prize Rs. 2 lakh.

“I was 0-2 against Kamal Chawla yesterday and during the small break, Sonic Multani gave me a pep talk for thirty seconds and that inspired me. He told me not to concentrate too hard, play freely and treat the match like a practice,” said Damani.

The runner-up Kothari, who received Rs. 1.3 lakh, said, “I have been coming here for seven years. The tables were fantastic and I hope the club organises more tournaments like this.”

The result:

Final: Brijesh Damani bt Sourav Kothari 7-1 [57 (35)-48, 86 (53)-6, 57-8, 55-51, 65-54, 5-79(43), 75-20, 72-2].