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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - Buffalo League Play Offs - Oosterhout, Haarlo (NED)

Brabant party with only winners in play-offs

Posted by on May 15, 2018

Brabant party with only winners in play-offs

© Kozoom
Dick Jaspers and Eddy Leppens to level the match in the second part

OOSTERHOUT - Two billiard tables in the spotlights, a full house with more than one hundred supporters, music sounds out of the boxes and highlights in the arena. The first encounter for the Dutch play-offs was a Brabant party with only winners. Team Eekhoorn, the home team, shone in the opening part with a 4-0 lead at the break. HCR Prinsen came back with his top guns in the second part and brought the camp to a well deserved draw 4-4. The return is in Haarlo on Tuesday, June 19. The final winner faces SIS Schoonmaak on June 23 and 24 in Doetinchem for the Dutch team championship.

As in The Hague at Jorissen's cafe and at the Masters in Berlicum, the heat is on in De Eekhoorn in Oosterhout. Jerry Hermans, the camping boss and player, knows how to fill the room in home matches and to create a real Brabant ambiance. He has formed a line-up for at least six years, the team spirit is amazing and the explanation for success. For its own audience, with fans all around, Frans van Kuyk, Kurt Ceulemans, Kenny Miatton and Jerry Hermans can grow above themselves. ,,The great thing about our fans is that they also cheer when the opponent makes a nice shot'', said Jerry Hermans, the first winner this evening, after his team had lost the leading position after the break.

Dinand Prinsen, team leader of Haarlose foursome, agreed: ,,Yes, the atmosphere is unique here, it isn't easy for my players to adjust, but if you are a top player, you should be able to. Eddy Leppens and Dick Jaspers showed it perfectly after the break.'' And Jerry Hermans: ,,We have followed a strategy with our team that I am quite proud of. You can buy success in billiards..., if you pay, you can make a champion team with Caudron and Jaspers. We have opted for the longer term: to contract four guys for six years, to create a great atmosphere and to reach the top with less quality. That we have achieved the play-offs is fantastic for the players and the fans.''

The crowning of a beautiful year is still in sight, although, after the 4-4 and a 27 points margin in favour of the Haarlo team, the final job will be tough. The euphoria before the stop in De Eekhoorn (4-0 by Jerry Hermans and Kenny Miatton) was tempered by the two Prinsen leaders after the break. Eddy Leppens played a great match against Kurt Ceulemans and Dick Jaspers forced the draw by beating Frans van Kuyk.

With the come-back after the break and the generous margin in caroms, HCR Prinsen is the moral winner of the evening. On the same stage where Frans van Kuyk scored a brilliant 25 to the finish this year and Kurt Ceulemans, on one of his best days ever, outclassed Dick Jaspers, now the opponent took the spotlights. Eddy Leppens, for months in a great form, excelled against Ceulemans: after 12-0 in 3 innings, 23-6 in 9, the Belgian already was close to the finish in the 9th with a 13 run (36-8). Leppens needed six innings for his last four, but surely played the best match of the evening: 40-16 in 15.

Dick Jaspers doesn't not have that top form for the moment. ,,I feel that I have to fight harder to win'', said the 'Brabander;, who has achieved many successes in this arena. Frans van Kuyk never could threaten the Dutch best billiard player and at 29-22 in 16, Jaspers finished the match with a short sprint: 40-27 in 21.

The change after the break was a logical reflection of the encounter. The two Prinsen leaders have the high-class, the international experience and are cool-blooded enough not to be influenced by the Brabant fan club.

Before the break, Jerry Hermans was celebrated for his victory over Jelle Pijl. After a strong start of his opponent (20-13 at the break), the camping boss returned into the game, levelled the match at 28-27 in the 18th and then made the deciding gap to 40-36 in 27. Kenny Miatton and Anno de Kleine had a poor start (14-14 in 22), the young Belgian was the first to attack in sight of the finish with some small runs: 40-34 in 33 innings.

The expectations for the return?

Dinand Prinsen (HCR Prinsen): ,,We have a promising score now thanks to Jaspers and Leppens and want to finish it off now. I want to win the Dutch title with this team, but then we have to be sharp until the end.''

Erik van Woerkom (De Eekhoorn): ,,I know that we are the underdog, despite that great start. We have put up a great fight and I'm proud of my team. The match in Haarlo will be a tough mission, but we will try to be on our best.''

The return is in Hotel-Café-Restaurant Prinsen in Haarlo on the 19th of June and will be broadcast live by Kozoom.

Eddy Leppens, great match against Kurt Ceulemans



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