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TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP OF UKRAINE 2015

The first month of spring was marked by a unique event in the history of Ukrainian billiards. For the first time a team championship of Ukraine has been initiated, having brought together a surprising 40 participants (from 7 different regions), which is quite a significant number for our country. An unusual format attracted all strongest cueists of Ukraine. In terms of game quality, all matches seemed to be electrified to an enormous level of competition. Fate of many matches had to be decided in deciding frames.
It is worth mentioning that very first rumours of the championship being held according to this format were eagerly approved by all players, who, for their part, immediately started examining all possibilities of playing in pairs, searching for partners and working together at the table. First frame is to be played by the first number of a pair, the second frame is to be played by the second number, the third frame is to be played by all four players, the fourth frame is to be played between the first number of one pair and the second number of the opposite one, the fifth frame is to be played vice versa, the sixth frame is to be played just like the third one, and the seventh frame (if the score is 3 frames each) is to be played by only one player of either pair (this player shall be decided upon by the pair itself). This is exactly the reason why the format has drawn so much attention. The difficulty lay in a player’s bearing responsibility not only for him- or herself but for the partner as well. Mutual understanding and coordinated actions were perfectly displayed in the third frame. Exactly for this frame the players had been training before the championship. Therefore, we had 20 teams, 17 of which comprised solely male players. Patsura-Vyshnevsky, Isayenko-Boyko, Petrash-Dobrovolsky and Myronyuk-Kasyanov seemed to be strong favourites. Female pairs of Syranchuk-Solomka made their company, along with leaders of Ukrainian pool Polovinchuk-Nagornaya, as well as a mixed pair of Maria Bucharskaya and Anton Babenko. First matches showed the level of tension for the rest of the tournament. In the first round, female pairs couldn’t find their own game, which was not the case afterwards. Some decent snooker was demonstrated by Nikiforov-Mitko, who consistently delivered breaks of 40 plus in the pair frames. Surprising but nevertheless confident was the win of Bucharskaya-Babenko, who defeated Isayenko-Boyko 4-1, having claimed 4 consecutive frames after the loss in the first one. A real battle happened in the match between Polovinchuk-Nagornaya and Semko-Delyatinsky. The score after 6 frames was as following: 27-76, 59-34, 27-71, 38-35, 61-47, 60-74. The last frame witnessed a break of 27 and some nice snookers lain by Polovinchuk, which was enough to beat Semko 60-29. It is worth mentioning that the pool players were playing a quite attacking snooker during the whole tournament, including long potting, splitting of the pack with occasional defensive play. A quite strenuous character of the matches should also be taken into consideration. While players had only 2 matches with comfortable intervals on the first day, their second day’ schedule included 3 matches without intervals, which means that players had to play 12 hours on the trot. No wonder they got pretty tired. A match between one female and one mixed pair turned out to be a quite dramatic one, even though it was being played at the end of the tournament day. The match was full of twists and turns. Bucharskaya got the fifth frame under her belt by potting a fantastic last long black, forcing the decider. One snooker, adroitly laid by Polovinchuk, enabled her to win the quarterfinal. This was quite a surprising outcome of the match and a great win for Nagornaya-Polovinchuk, who showed a very nice display of snooker to big surprise of their opponents and organizers of the tournament.
Petrash-Dobrovolsky slowly but surely managed to book places in the final, having previously beaten a female pair 4-1 with the all-four-player frame being fateful for the rest of the match.

At the same time, talented young players Patsura-Vyshnevsky were really set to win the tournament. Eventually, they made it to the final, having beaten their opponents 4-0, 4-0, 4-2. In the semi-final, they easily got the upper hand over representatives of Kharkiv Slobodyanyuk-Vovchenko (1-58, 13-59, 22-58, 22-50). It is worth mentioning that this pair from the former Ukrainian capital showed quite a solid display of snooker, having previously defeated Petrash-Dobrovolsky 4-3, whereupon we would like to congratulate them.
The final, though, deserves to be explained in full detail. It turned out to be a wonderful mixture of emotions and extreme pressure. 5 hours of some incredibly tiring and over 700 points acquired by each pair. Patsura won the first frame 65-36. Then something extraordinary happened in the second one. Leading by 60 points, Vyshnevsky somehow ended up losing the frame by 62-75, which seemed quite discouraging for the pair. Dobrovolsky and Petrash managed to make it 3-1, placing in doubt the cherished first place of the tournament favourites. It was then Patsura to take the match by the bridles.
Initially, Patsura mentioned that his pair is set to win “gold”, together with his partner being confident and willing to play as good as possible. The pair said they are quite used to fierce competition while playing at international tournaments and they had no intention to lose in their hometown. They kept their word. Wins against Dobrovolsky, in a pair match and against Petrash (21-72, 7-60, 55-80) brought for Patsura-Vyshnevsky the so long-awaited win. Despite their age, self-confidence and ambitions they showed their best skills, having proved billiard future of Ukraine. The silver medalists, for their part, demonstrated experience and regularity in their play. The bronze went for the pair that distinguished itself by its spectacular play-fashion and stubbornness.
The thing that lacked was a little number of spectators, for the game without them is not so exciting. There wasn’t good live-coverage of the tournament, either. One can easily notice that people are insufficiently informed about players and their level. Still there are many matches worth being showed live. In this case, it is more about advertisement and popularization. We hope that the game will soon attract people willing to witness professional battles at the table.
For such kind of tournaments is exactly what our cueists need to get a perfect motivation for producing the best snooker they are capable of. We would like to thank all the players for the 3 unforgettable days of real battle and commitment to the game!

Photo gallery
Video of team championship

It is worth mentioning that all national tournaments of Ukraine, starting with Ukraine’s Championship 20145, take place with financial support from public organization “CLB “Black Ball”. No hryvnia has been spent from the budget of FSBU so far. As of 2015, the state has refused to provide any financial assistance for the development of snooker in Ukraine. For this reason, true snooker fans have to cover the expenses for new tournaments to be held.

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