SIBU (June 27): Former champion Ricardo Sim orchestrated a remarkable comeback to overcome Danny Leong 4-3 (39-87, 18-54, 54-31, 36-63, 52-12, 59-39, 61-19) to claim last Sunday’s Sarawak Closed Snooker Championship title in Bintulu.
Defending champion Edmund Bong from Kuching and Sarikei’s Elvis Wong finished joint third. The losing quarter-finalists were Jet Lee, Tan Chin Yong, James Giam and Alan Goh, all from Kuching.
Prize money of RM5,000, RM2,500 and RM1,050 were pocketed by the champion, runner-up and losing semi-finalists.
“It was a hard fought battle and an energy sapping match … (but) the victory was worth it,” Sim said when contacted.
It was also the first time that the two finalists clashed. Sim, who also won the title in 2014, started off the game in his characteristic cautious style. Known for playing safe shots, he rarely took a gamble, even when the chances of potting was good, preferring his opponents to do the shooting.
“I admit and over the years, my accuracy is no longer that sharp and I will only go for the pocket when there was a clear chance,” he said.
In contrast, Leong went on the offensive and a potting spree to easily nail the first two frames. After taking the 4th frame for a 3-1 lead, Leong paid a price for his eagerness to finish off Sim in the 5th frame.
He missed some scoring opportunities as Sim capitalised on the situation to take the 5th frame, hence catching up to 2-3.
The eventual champion then pounced in the 6th frame when Leong appeared to lose his way and falter due to possible fatigue.
Sim surged to an early lead in the final frame, leading 10-4, 15-5, 20-7 and widening the gap to 30-10, giving Leong little chance of any late fight back.
En route to the final Sim had beaten evergreen James Giam 3-1 in the last eight and Elvis Wong 4-1 (43-29, 61-32, 30-70, 59-40, 51-17) in the semis.
Meanwhile, Elvis, who is also the tournament director, highlighted that the tournament attracted its biggest ever number of participants at 93 from throughout the state.
“Lots of young players also took part in the competition and this augur well for the development of the sport,” he remarked.
The annual state championship, which was held at the Champion Snooker Club, served as a platform for the Sarawak Billiards Snooker and Sports Federation (SBSSF) to select four players to represent Sarawak in the 32nd National Close Snooker Championships to be held in Kuala Lumpur.