New Zealand crowned 2019 VNEA Pool Teams World Cup Champions
New Zealand has won the Teams World Cup at the 2019 VNEA World Pool Championships, beating their opponents Germany at the competition held in Las Vegas.
Having lost to Germany in the final three years ago, New Zealand fought their way to set-up a re-match, this time coming out on top.
The team, made up of Jimmy Henry, Chris Bowman, Manfield Kwong, John Harrison and Roldan Largo, all hail from Auckland and play at the same Massé club together. “We play all the time, know each other’s game well and have each other’s backs,” says team member Jimmy Henry.
With the competition being a straight knock-out, the team faced tough opposition in the opening game against the United States. Getting down to the last black ball, the New Zealand team triumphed, going on to win comfortably against a strong, experienced team from Spain.
Moving on to conquer previous World Champions Portugal 109-65 with three frames to spare in the semi-final, they set up a replay of the 2016 final against Germany, this time being crowned the victors.
“The first time [in 2016] they beat us quite easily but this time was a different story. We all played quite well, keeping it consistent and we just seemed to gel on the day,” says Mr. Henry.
It’s a significant achievement for the New Zealand team, who are relatively inexperienced compared to the other international teams, where many of the players are professional. “It’s only my second year at the competition, and for Roldan Largo it was his first visit to the Championships,” says Mr. Henry.
Massé general manager Bernie Endres, who managed the team, says “it’s great for the team to win this title against some world-class players, a first for New Zealand after coming close a few years ago.”
Another winner from the World Pool Championships is Denise Wilkinson from Hamilton, who took out the 2019 VNEA Masters Women’s World 8 Ball title.
After making it through the first day of competition undefeated, Denise qualified for the finals bracket putting her in the top 8. Winning this section 6-3, she advanced to the final where she was awarded the title, after a close game score of 6-4.
Massé sends around 30 senior and junior players each year to the VNEAs, a competition that brings together more than 4000 players from around the globe to compete. In the past five years Massé players have brought home 16 world titles and achieved several placings.