Minoprio plans to spoil Gilmour's finals party

Battling strong winds and brilliant competition the top four match racing teams met this morning to complete the final races of the Monsoon Cup semi finals.

The result - Adam Minoprio (ETNZ/Black Match Racing) and Peter Gilmour (Yanmar Racing) are through to the final.

Minoprio fought current World Match Racing Champion, Ian Williams (Bahrain Team Pindar), through five incredibly hard matches winning three matches to two.

The day started with Williams two up on Minoprio. The third race of their battle proved Minoprio was not daunted by the skill of his opponent. Two unforced errors by Williams and he had effectively given the race away. Minoprio still kept digging away at his advantage to take the race by four boat lengths. Minoprio then went on to take out the fourth match and even the score. By this stage Williams must have been wondering what was happening with his campaign as he mulled over the errors and incorrect top mark rounding of this flight.

The final and fifth match was one heck of a fight between two great teams. Luffing duels, tack for tack windward works and close challenges right on the bottom mark; this was world class match racing. Minoprio, despite his young age, dominated throughout the match to deliver a stunning win for the New Zealand team and a berth in the finals.

Minoprio's semi final has also delivered his team a much sought-after invitation to compete in the 2009 World Match Racing Tour

'We came here knowing we had to beat Torvar Mirsky. We were equal on points before we got here. He had the choice. He could have picked us for the semi finals and tried to win the tour card there, but he thought he would make it hard for us and make us race the world champion, Ian Williams. And he raced Gilmour. It could have gone either way. If he had beaten Gilmour and we had lost to Ian, he would have had it. I think that was his plan. It would have been mine. It back fired on him (Mirsky). We are stoked.'

Minoprio now needs to refocus himself and his crew for the all important finals matches. 'It is pretty simple for us. Gilmour picked us last year when he won the round robin and we came second. So it is going to be a bit of a revenge and a rematch. We would love to spoil Gilmour's party here.'

Torvar Mirksy (Mirsky Racing Team) planned to 'take Gilmour down' in the second day of their semi final racing. Mirsky had already one loss to carry so dominance in race two was vital to the psychology of his team. Gilmour, even with a red flag penalty, was on top of Mirsky the whole race. Mirsky looked like winning the match until Gilmour pounced in the last 20 seconds forcing an incredible battle of wits and pushing his bow through to take the match.

It was then a heart-breaking finish to Mirsky's semi finals battle when, while dominating Gilmour in the pre-start of the third match, he collected the start boat anchor line and gave the race away to Gilmour. Mirsky's team freed their boat and kept racing to finish the semi finals with straight three losses to Gilmour.

Gilmour does not expect his tactics of the last race against Mirsky will be seen in the finals matches. 'They really did it themselves. They tried to shut us out, but once they got to this point our only hope was to keep on dragging them up towards the start boat. By the time they tried to turn away it was too late. It is not something that I expect to see happen in the future.'

Mirsky now goes into the Petite Final against Williams.

Fighting for fifth to eighth places in the 2008 Monsoon Cup are Paolo Cian, Magnus Holmberg, Mathieu Richard and Sebastian Col. Col has secured second place in the 2008 ISAF World Match Racing Champion. Richard is still in with a chance of taking out third place in the overall pointscore, if he can finish fifth overall.

Asia's ESPN Star Sport will telecast live from 2.30pm to 4.30pm (local time).

Watch the racing on the internet, http://www.sail.tv