Fresh talent right on cue
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 email@example.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).