ENGLAND experienced contrasting fortunes in the World Cup of Pool at the Mountbatten Centre last night.
The home nation had two teams in second-round action but while England A made light work of Greece in a 7-1 win to progress to a quarter-final clash with fierce rivals USA this afternoon (1pm), England B faced the ignominy of a 7-0 whitewash at the hands of China.
Triumphant A-team partnership Darren Appleton and Karl Boyes are now preparing for the self-professed ‘tie of the tournament’ against American duo Shane Van Boening and Earl Strickland.
And it is clear there is no love lost between the two sides who share a mutual ‘hatred’ for one another that goes beyond the blue cloth.
Appleton said: ‘We’re pretty happy with the way we played against Greece.
‘The table’s tough – it’s quick and slippery but we controlled the cue ball pretty well for the most part of the match.
‘This win gives us momentum for a match we are looking forward to against the USA.
‘There is a lot of rivalry and needle there, and I think it will be the tie of the tournament.’
Boyes elaborated: ‘There is a massive rivalry.
‘Darren doesn’t really get on with Shane that well and I don’t speak to Earl, I won’t even look at him – he is the same with me.
‘It’s proper hatred.’
Rivalries aside, England A are confident they can overcome their old adversaries and book a place in tomorrow’s semi-finals.
Boyes said: ‘We have a good record against them – we’ve played them in singles and Mosconi Cup (the pool equivalent of golf’s Ryder Cup, where Europe battle USA) and I think they will be more worried about us.’
Appleton added: ‘It’s a race to nine format now so that takes a bit of pressure off us.
‘But we just have to play the way that we can and we will have a good chance.’
England B partnership Daryl Peach and Chris Melling were left scratching their heads, though, as they exited the tournament without potting a ball in their resounding defeat to China.
Peach said: ‘We’re a bit shocked really.
‘We were sat there in the chair thinking: “We’re 5-0 down and we hadn’t even had a clear shot at a ball.”
‘Every time we came to the table we were right behind something or something was in the way,
‘We are bamboozled.’
A philosophical Melling added: ‘That’s the cruelty of the game.
‘You’ve just got to take your hat off to them (China) and hold your hands up and accept it’s been one of those days.’
Earlier yesterday afternoon, Finland made history by becoming the first team to record successive tournament whitewashes, following up their 7-0 first-round triumph against Korea with another flawless victory over Poland.
That emphatic win threw up an enthralling quarter-final match with holders Phillippines this afternoon (1pm).
Austria are also through to the last eight after edging a close tie 7-5 against Qatar, and will face England B’s conquerors China in the evening session (7.30pm).
And completing the draw, 2013 runners-up Holland overcame Switzerland 7-4 to meet Germany (also 7.30pm), who survived a big scare to battle back from 6-5 down and record a 7-6 success over Canada last night.