Denise pots third place

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE -

It was a clas­sic story of an un­der­dog who soared to the top when Toko­roa’s Denise Wilkin­son pock­eted a third equal plac­ing in the Women’s 10 ball in­ter­na­tional cham­pi­onships.

As the first New Zealand rep­re­sen­ta­tive, the 25-year old was up against 63 of the world’s best women play­ers at the invitation-only event.

The late en­trant was se­lected a mere six days be­fore she had to board the plane for the six-day com­pe­ti­tion in New York.

Wilkin­son was a ‘‘to­tal un­der­dog and ring-in’’, ac­cord­ing to coach Wendy Cook.

De­spite a shaky start she man­aged to cling onto a chance of vic­tory with a third plac­ing in her sec­tion.

Thank­fully when it re­ally mat­tered, she came out on top.

The next games saw her beat for­mer world cham­pi­ons Naomi Wil­liams and ‘‘China Doll’’.

Cook said she was down to China Doll by 8-3 and a loss would have stunted her chance at a win. ‘‘The balls she pot­ted were high pres­sure shots.’’ Wilkin­son went on to play cur­rent world num­ber two in her fi­nal game, South Korean player Ga Young Kim but lost to place third equal.

The plac­ing was her best re­sult in eight years of com­pet­i­tive play, Cook said.

Cook has been by her side through­out most in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments and ex­pected she would play well.

‘‘I’ve been trav­el­ling with Denise for 10 years and I’ve known she’s al­ways had it in her.’’

The plac­ing has now put her in good stead for in­ter­na­tional star­dom, she said.

Wilkin­son has al­ready se­cured her spot for this year’s com­pe­ti­tion.

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