Ahmad Taufiq Murni (R) receives the gold medal from BCSA vice-president Serabah Hj Abas. Picture: BT/Yee Chun Leong
AHMAD Taufiq Murni was crowned champion of the BCSA (Brunei Cue Sports Association) National 9-ball Singles Championship after edging Md Khalid Hj Abu Baker 9-7 in the final yesterday.
The sultanate’s top cueist defeated Lim Wei Kok 9-4 in the quarter-finals before overcoming Ak Saiful Azri Pg Roslee 9-7 to move into the title decider at the Billiards and Snooker Hall of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas. On the other hand, Khalid beat Md Hazwan Hasnan 9-6 in the last-eight before dispatching Hj Md Khairuddin Hj Hasnan by the same scoreline to setup the encounter.
It was a closely contested affair right from the start before Khalid won two straight racks to open up a 5-3 lead. Taufiq replied with four consecutive racks to go back in front 7-5 before Khalid took a timeout to regroup. It worked out for Khalid as Taufiq produced a dry break upon returning allowing the former to cut the deficit to one. Despite all the hard work in the 14th rack, Taufiq missed on the nine-ball but Khalid couldn’t level the match after watching his shot rattle out.
Taufiq was given a let off after he sunk the nine-ball on a long range effort to climb to the top of the hill. He was made to wait a little longer on winning the title after scratching the cue ball on potting the eight-ball in the 15th frame giving Khalid a lifeline.
The latter missed pot on the two-ball in the next rack and that was the last action he saw in the encounter as Taufiq returned to clear the table. Taufiq was relieved that he managed to capture the title despite his mistakes late in the game. “I felt a bit of pressure because my safety shots were not working,” said Taufiq after the triumph.
“My stroke was a little inconsistent for the match and I eventually missed the nine-ball (in the 14th rack). “I overcooked the shot (in the 15th rack) because the previous three balls I had to hit a bit hard. I was nervous as the game was close,” he added. “Overall I didn't play the knockout stages as well as I did in the preliminary rounds.
“Took me a while to adjust midway through games but I'm looking to carry the momentum forward from this win into the Golden Break (9-Ball Championship in Kuala Lumpur next month),” continued the 27-year-old. Khalid was made to rue the missed chances but felt that the shot in the 14th rack wasn't as easy as it looked.
“The shot looked simple but it wasn't. It was a difficult shot as it was at the rail,” said Khalid. “I played well in the quarters and semis and I tried my best in the final. But I know that I could have done better,” he added. “I’m not too disappointed because at least this time I made it a close fight (after losing 9-1 to Taufiq in the preliminary round),” concluded the 23-year-old.
Present to give out the prizes to the winners was Serabah Hj Abas, the BCSA vice-president. Winners of the BCSA National 6 Reds Snooker Championship also received their prizes yesterday with Hj Kamarulzaman Hj Pungut finishing at the top of the podium.
Teo Chee Soon claimed the runner-spot while the duo of Lim Young Wee and Mohd Amran Shah Mohd Isa shared bronze.