Fresh tal­ent right on cue

Post - - Sport - SPORT REPORTER

THE drive to grow cue sports across KwaZu­luNatal has peaked with fresh tal­ent emerg­ing dur­ing the re­cent black­ball pool provin­cial cham­pi­onships.

Sev­eral KZN squads have been fi­nalised for the Na­tional Black­ball Cham­pi­onships in Car­ni­val City, Gaut­eng, in Jan­uary. The provin­cial com­pe­ti­tion will cli­max with the host­ing of the Men’s Black­ball Cham­pi­onships at the Hot­shots Pool Academy in oThon­gathi over the next two week­ends.

While new­com­ers are queu­ing for hon­ours, some of the jour­ney­men cam­paign­ers con­tinue to shoot their way to the top, with Proteas Sagie Jico Naidoo and Ap­sra Pan­choo prom­i­nent over the week­end.

An un­de­feated run through the round robin stage of the KZN Mas­ters com­pe­ti­tion at Le­gends Pool Hall in Richards Bay saw Naidoo clinch the num­ber one po­si­tion.

He was fol­lowed by his Aces team­mates Vin­nie Ma­hadeo, Roy Govender and Richard Pillay, and Graeme Lazarus of Chiltern to make up the KZN Mas­ters first team.

Zain Khan (Aces), Pravesh Naipaal ( Le­gends), Er­rol Pur­son (Aces), Leslee Govin­dasamy (Hot­shots) and Ian Lazarus (Chiltern) make up the sec­ond Mas­ters Team that will com­pete at the Na­tional Cham­pi­onships next year.

The ladies’ top po­si­tion was again snapped up by KwaZulu-Natal’s and South Africa’s only for­mer Women’s World Sin­gles Cham­pion and cur­rent three-times Women’s World Team Cham­pion, Pan­choo.

“It was a tough year since KZN has at­tracted a lot of new blood into the sport through de­vel­op­ment and trans­for­ma­tion,” said Pan­choo.

“The most im­por­tant as­pect about such growth is that the sport is now re­ceiv­ing the lime­light it fi­nally de­serves, with spon­sors com­ing on board to ex­ploit the great ac­co­lades th­ese ath­letes are at­tain­ing at all lev­els.”

The Crazy8 tour­na­ment venue own­ers, Der­san, Keri and Aru Pillay, pre­sented ham­pers to the prov­ince’s top five seeds and to the tour­na­ment co­or­di­na­tor, Laura-Anne Gar­rett, the chair­wom­anof KZN Black­ball Fed­er­a­tion.

Pan­choo was fol­lowed by Joy Soupen ( Crazy8), Sel­isha Mood­ley (Aces), Lezanne Oosthuizen ( Le­gends) and new­comer Joelle Ar­chary (Aces). Nalini Ram­lall (Aces) and Pan­choo reached the sin­gles knock-out stages to qual­ify for the fi­nals of the provin­cial ti­tle which will be held in Fe­bru­ary. Semi-fi­nal­ists Rudelle Pillay (Crazy8) and Kesh­nee Govin­dasamy (Hot­shots) will play-off for the KZN Ladies Sin­gles Cham­pion bronze medal in Feb 2018.

The Ladies’ sec­ond team that will travel to the na­tion­als is made up of Govin­dasamy, Ram­lall, Lena Botha (Le­gends), Ur­isha Jug­narain (Aces) and Pillay.

Be­sides the reg­u­lar league play­ers, the top five play­ers from spe­cial groups such as the SAPS, SANDF and uni­ver­si­ties are also catered for in the SA Na­tional Black­ball Pool Cham­pi­onships. From that cat­e­gory Pri­nessa Odayan (NBA) clinched fourth spot in the SAPS Na­tional Cham­pi­onship rank­ings at the Hot­shots Academy in oThon­gathi last week­end. KZN’s Ku­maren “Calvin” Patchai won sil­ver in the SAPS Men’s Sin­gles Cham­pi­onship.

From the Over-40 cat­e­gory 15 play­ers made it through to rep­re­sent KZN at the na­tion­als. Chris Pillay (Mid­lands), the cur­rent Over-40 World Bronze Medal­ist, sus­tained his win­ning spree by be­ing ranked first. He was fol­lowed by De­si­gan Chetty ( Aces), Mervin Don­nelly (Chiltern), Yadesh Ma­haraj (Aces) and Cliffy “Doc” Madu­rai (Hot­shots).

Sa­gren Pillay (Aces), Mervin Akaloo (Crazy8), Low­ell Singh (Chiltern), Raja Naidoo (Crazy8) and Steven Naidu (Aces) made the sec­ond team, while Deno Sook­greep (Mid­lands), Moses Davids (Mid­lands), Ka­malsen Naidoo ( Aces), Vi­nay Singh ( Hot­shots) and Lo­ganathan Mood­ley (Crazy8) make up the third team in this cat­e­gory.

The Over- 40 semi- fi­nals pit­ted Daya Mood­ley against Don­nelly and Madu­rai against Raja Naidoo. Don­nelly and Naidoo se­cured the fi­nals spots for the main event in Fe­bru­ary.

En­try to the Men’s Black­ball Cham­pi­onships over the next two week­ends is free. Po­ten­tial spon­sors who would like to have their logo on the KZN squad kits at the na­tion­als can con­tact Pan­choo at ap­sra­pan­choo@gmail.com.

The KwaZulu-Natal ladies’ black­ball pool team was fi­nalised at the week­end. The squad that will go to the na­tional cham­pi­onships in Gaut­eng in Jan­uary are, from left, stand­ing: Kesh­nee Govin­dasamy (6th), Nalini Ram­lall (7th), Lena Botha (8th), Ur­isha Jug­narain (9th) and Rudelle Pillay (10th), and seated: Ap­sra Pan­choo (1st), Joy Soupen (2nd), Sel­isha Mood­ley (3rd), Lezanne Oosthuizen (4th) and Joelle Ar­chary (5th).

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