England duo keep calm to secure last 16 berth

Chris Melling in action against India. Picture: JP Parmentier/Matchroom Sport
Chris Melling in action against India. Picture: JP Parmentier/Matchroom Sport
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Chris Melling believes the thrilling 7-6 victory over India shows how cruel pool can be.

England B pair Melling and Daryl Peach were the final team to book their place in the last 16 of the World Cup of Pool at the Mountbatten Centre last night.

In what was arguably the match of the tournament so far, the momentum swung from one side to another and went all the way to 6-6 before Peach sunk the final ball to secure victory.

Melling said: ‘The race to seven is a bit of a lottery, especially when you get two great teams playing.

‘We went 2-0 up and they didn’t have a shot. The next time we came to the table, we were 5-2 down.

‘I personally think it’s the cruellest game in the world.

‘It can give you everything from a massive high to a depressing low.

‘There didn’t deserve to be a loser.’

Peach and Melling came from 5-2 down to take a 6-5 lead but the Indian pairing were hot on their heels and managed to pull it back to 6-6.

However, the pressure finally told, as India failed to pot three balls or get three balls past the headstring on the break, resulting in a foul shot.

The English pair then seized on their chance to see out the win.

Peach said: ‘The overriding emotion is relief, especially after the tension had been building up.’

‘When you play, you want to grip the cue loose.

‘But you start gripping it a little bit tighter and pushing the cue through a bit too fast and over-hitting positional shots. It’s easy to do but we managed to keep our composure.’

England B join their England A team-mates in the second round, where they face China this evening.

Darren Appleton and Karl Boyes are in action in the same session against Greece.

Melling said: ‘It’s great both England teams are through. We’re all really good friends and we’ve been on the circuit a long time.

‘We’re all born in Yorkshire within 15 or 20 miles of each other, so it’s a bit weird for all of us to be making up the England team.

‘Last year the A team won 7-0 and so did we and this time we’ve both won 7-6 and we both came from behind.’

Peach added: ‘Both England teams are playing tonight, so it should be a good night.

‘Hopefully we can keep the form going and get another result.’

Also booking their places in the second round were Germany, Canada and Switzerland.

Germany cruised past Malaysia 7-1 and it was the same scoreline between Canada and Malta – the last-minute replacements for Vietnam, who had problems travelling to Portsmouth.

Canada now face Germany in the last eight and will feature this evening alongside the two England teams.

Switzerland completed a trio of one-sided wins as they overcame Belgium 7-3.

Elsewhere, defending champions Philippines were below-par in their encounter with France but managed to come through 7-5.

Lee Van Corteza produced arguably the shot of the tournament to date to win it for Phillipines.

Corteza cut the four and got a kick on the nine to find the centre pocket.

In the final match of the day, USA edged out Russia 7-5 to book a place in the quarter-finals.