Denise pots third place
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.