Snooker Stars survive fighting Tigers charge 13-Jul-2019
Akshat Kejriwal Akshat Kejriwal

Mumbai: Malabar Hill Club’s Akshat Kejriwal escaped by the skin of his teeth and went on to win a match-deciding fifth frame against Radio Club’s seasoned cueist Cherag Ramakrishnan to ensure Radio ‘Snooker Stars’ sneaked past Radio ‘Tigers’ by a tight 3-2 margin in a closely fought best-of-five frame quarter-final contest of the Billiards & Snooker Association of Maharashtra organized Otters-BSAM Mumbai Snooker League 2019 and played at the Otters Club billiards hall.
With the match scores locked at 2-all, Kejriwal (+45) faced off against Ramakrishnan (+20) in a crucial, 15-red singles, fifth frame. The decider was a nerve-wracking affair as both Kejriwal and Ramakrishnan seemed tense and they both missed a couple of regulation pots. The experienced Ramakrishnan with some smart calculated play managed to cut down Kejriwal’s 25 points advantage and with only the colours remaining narrowed the deficit to just three points as he trailed 74-77.
But, a bold and gutsy Kejriwal cashed in on a foul by his opponent and potted up to the brown to collect 13 more points to extend the lead to 90-74. He could have closed out the contest, but fluffed on a blue pot in the centre pocket. The Radio Club cueist Ramakrishnan, who required to pocket the last three balls grabbed the opportunity and confidently sunk the blue and the pink, but let Kejriwal off the hook as he surprisingly missed the black, and left it hanging on the jaw of the centre pocket. Kejriwal heaved a sigh of relief and took a deep breath as he got down and safely tapped the black in and earned Malabar Hill Club a satisfying victory and a passage to the penultimate round.
Earlier, Radio Club’s Merzi Screwvala (+30) won the first singles frame defeating Manan Shah (+40) 93-54 and after Malabar Hill Club won the next two frames to take a 2-1 lead, he returned to overcome Manav Panchal (+20) 85-76 in winning the fourth singles frame to level the contest at 2-all.
In between those two frames, Malabar Hill Club had won the 9-red doubles, second frame when Panchal and Rohan Mehta (+24) rolled past the Radio Cub Pair of Ramakrishnan and Tekhum Alim (+21) by a comfortable 70-48 points difference. Later, Akshat with some steady play and with a bit of luck managed to quell the challenge from Vimal Mariwala (+35) recording a 104-71 win in the singles, third frame.
In the semi-finals, Snooker Stars will challenge home favourites and defending champions Otters ‘Rockets’ for a place in final.
Rockets fully exploited the home conditions and playing on their home tables as they recorded a stunning 3-0 victory against Khar Gymkhana outfit KG ‘Legends’, who seemed to erred in the team selection and choice of players.
Rishabh Thakkkar and Abhimanyu Gandhi (+9) combined effectively to get the better of Legends duo of Ishpreet Singh Chadha and Deepak Khubchandani (+9) by a 51-37 margin in the 9-red doubles, first frame. Later, Otters Club youngster Yash Babni (+55) played confidently against the experienced Faisal Khan (SCR) and raced to a 90-50 win in the 15-red singles second frame and increase Rockets lead to 2-0.
Later, Nabil Lakdawala (+25) produced a classy performance to outshine Khar Gymkhana’s Nikhil Saigal (+25) in the singles, third frame. Saigal started with a flourish and made a couple of steady pots to stay in front. But, Lakdawala hit a purple patch and with perfect selection of shots he neatly constructed a break of 54 take control. With the last red left, Lakdawala once again got going and cleared till the pink for a run of 24 to knock to complete Otters quick victory.
Results – quarter-finals: MHCL ‘Snooker Stars’ beat Radio ;Tigers’ 3-2 (Manan Shah (+40) lost Merzi Screwvala (+30) 54-93; Manav Panchal/ Rohan Mehta (+24) beat Cherag Ramakrishnan/ Tekhum Alim (+21) 70-48; Akshat Kejriwal (+45) beat Vimal Mariwala (+35) 104-71; Manav Panchal (+20) lost Merzi Screwvala (+30) 76-85; Akshat Kejriwal (+45) beat Cherag Ramakrishnan (+20) 97-85);
Otters ‘Rockets’ beat KG ‘Legends’ 3-0 ((Rishabh Thakkkar/ Abhimanyu Gandhi (+9) beat Ishpreet Singh Chadha/ Deepak Khubchandani (+9) 51-37; Yash Babni (+55) beat Faisal Khan (SCR) 90-50; Nabil Lakdawala (+25) beat Nikhil Saigal (+25) 108(54)-45).