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Peach Squeaks by Bustamante after Controversial Foul Call, Crowd Hostility
Nov 10, 2007, 4:11 AM

Francisco Bustamante
MANILA, Philippines – A controversial foul call that rankled the Filipino crowd and stopped the match for at least 15 minutes allowed Daryl Peach to defeat favorite son Francisco Bustamante, 11-10, in the quarterfinals of the World Pool Championship on Saturday afternoon.

Having come back from a 9-4 deficit to lead 10-9, Bustamante sank the 2 ball but accidentally nudged the 9 ball next to the 3 ball, blocking direct access for the next shot. After some brow-knitting, Bustamante attempted a kick on the 3. The shot appeared to hit the 3 and 9 simultaneously, sending the 9 downtable and into the corner pocket – seemingly for the match win.

Bustamante pumped his fist and the crowd roared, but referee Nigel Rees made no call on the play and told Bustmante that he would have to review it. Because they were playing on the main TV table, Rees had the advantage of instant replay on several high-definition screens in the TV arena.

It appeared to Peach during the actual shot that Bustamante had hit the 9 ball first, and that the shot was a foul. “I stood up straight away,” he said.

As Rees reviewed the call dozens of times from several different angles, the overwhelmingly Filipino crowd shouted their own opinions – mostly in Bustamante’s favor. When Rees called it a foul, they began booing.

“You can see from the way the 9 ball took off at such a speed, and how the 3 ball didn’t take off so fast, and the way the [cue ball] came away from the 9 as well – the angle it came from – all pointed toward a foul,” Rees said afterwards. “And looking from the overhead camera, it was a foul.”

Bustamante joined the fray, questioning whether the cue ball hit the 9 first. He eventually asked that tournament officials weigh in. Head referee Michaela Tabb and Thomas Overbeck, vice president of the World Pool-Billiard Association, also reviewed the tape for several minutes and concurred with Rees’ ruling.

The crowd reacted with some hostility and several isolated shouts. Peach was rattled and asked for a time out, which only calmed him a bit.

“The very first shot with ball in hand, I almost messed it up,” he said.

Peach rolled long on his position for the 7 ball, but managed to collect himself and spear the shot. He held up his hand to his ear in a how-you-like-me-now pose.

“That is where I lost my emotions a bit,” Peach said. “The adrenaline was pumping so much. It was awesome really.”

With single-minded poise, he broke and ran out the final rack for the victory, drawing scattered applause from the crowd. Bustamante picked up his cue case and made a beeline for the exits.

Peach, 35, was a bit dazed after the match. “Nobody can be prepared for that,” he said. “It’s like TV program. You can’t write it.”

With his win, Peach, from the town of Blackpool, England, becomes the first Brit in history to make the semifinals of the World Pool Championship. He will play Hungary’s Vilmos Foldes in the semifinal Saturday evening. Foldes defeated Finland’s Mika Immonen, 11-7, to advance.