Thai Snooker 2012: Issara Triumphs

Issara Kachaiwong won his seventh Thailand ranking title as he lifted the Sangsom Songkhla Cup on Sunday after a 5-2 final victory over 19 year-old Noppol Saengkham.

The match was young Noppol’s first appearance at such an advanced stage of a Thai tournament, and might have signalled a changing of the guard as players such as himself and Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon come through the ranks to challenge the likes of Issara, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Supoj Saenla. However, Issara’s experience proved sufficient to hold off the advance of the younger generation for a little longer. Indeed Issara, at only 28 himself, may yet still harbour ambitions of returning to the main tour, and victories such as this one can only strengthen his claim for one of the Thai places available for the Asian or IBSF World championships.

For Noppol, the run to the final was an opportunity to showcase his scoring prowess, which he did admirably in his 4-1 quarter final win over Somchai Kaowsamran which included breaks of 48, 73 and 80, and in his semi final 4-2 victory against Nittiwat Kanchanasri when he compiled runs of 67 and 133. He shows all the signs of beginning to produce the very same kind of breakbuilding that propelled Thepchaiya Un-Nooh to the top of the Thai rankings, and although his game still has a few rough edges, he doesn’t require too many invitations to get amongst the balls and dominate.

Issara, for his part, has been very solid all week; to win 4-0 against Tai Pichit in the last eight, and to follow it with a 4-0 win over Atthasit Mahitti in the semis shows he is on top of his game at the moment. With a busy main tour schedule keeping other Thai players and potential wildcard entries otherwise occupied, Issara will be a strong favourite to add to his trophy haul in the coming months.

Zhang Anda ready for Suphanburi

The next tournament takes place in Suphanburi beginning on February 21st, where the wildcards will include China’s Zhang Anda. Issara will have to wait a little longer to make additions to his trophy cabinet however, having lost the final three frames of his qualifying match to slip up against Navin Hengsomboon. Noppol, too, will be absent, as he failed to overcome Thepchaiya in the last 32.