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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - Bert's column (NED)

Could Holland take on Belgium?

Posted by on January 27, 2017

Could Holland take on Belgium?

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The new Dutch Masters champion Dick Jaspers made an interesting comment this weekend, when asked about his opponent in the final, Glenn Hofman. "I like the fact that he will be playing World Cups again. And so will Barry van Beers, by the way. And Dave Christiani. They are quality players. With our ten best, we would not be an underdog against Belgium's ten best, possibly even a favorite."

That's not just any billiards supporter who says that. It's Jaspers, and I have a habit of taking what he says very seriously. So I couldn't resist, and looked into that hypothetical a bit deeper. Who would win the battle of the Low Countries?  

Should I look at player strength using World Cup averages? No, wouldn't be fair. Some play World Cups, others haven't for years. So comparisons will have to come from league averages, and those are more honest anyway. There is plenty of data. All I had to do was gather and sort it.

If you make lists of the ten best Belgians and the ten best Dutch players, you'll find that nine of the Belgians also play in the Dutch league, and eight of the Dutch also play in the Belgian league. For Jaspers and de Kleine (do not play in Belgium) and Philipoom (no team in Holland), I've added their matches in the German Bundesliga, since an average over 800 points will always be more reliable than one over 400 pts.   

Let's kick off with the match between the nrs. 10 on the lists. It's Jef Philipoom (1.248) against Barry van Beers (1.295). Not the best season for either player, both are very capable of 1.3 or 1.4. Barry has the 0.047 advantage, but Jef has the experience and the better personal best (50 in 10). I'll score this one "too close to call": 0,5 - 0,5.  

In ninth place, Francis Forton (1.275) would take on Anno de Kleine (1.302). Two seasoned guys, but I think the Dutchman is a notch tougher. They both did remarkable things: Forton once equalized with a run of 13, de Kleine has a personal best of 50 in 9! I'll go with the averages here: Belgium 0,5 - Holland 1,5.  

The eighth players are Kurt Ceulemans (1.302) and Gerwin Valentijn (1.315). Both forceful personalities around the table, with a distinctive style. I think Kurt's average is pretty accurate, and Gerwin can do better than 1.315, he's had several 1.4 seasons in recent years. So the Dutch have a good lead: 0,5 - 2,5.  

Seventh place, where Peter de Backer (1.340) meets Raimond Burgman (1.397). An interesting match between two of the cleverest, most ruthless defenders in modern 3-cushion. Again, the advantage goes to the Netherlands. De Backer can easily play 1.8 matches on his good days, but he lacks consistency. Burgman wins GP after GP, he has the edge over PdB and lifts the score to 0,5 - 3,5. 

Next up are the sixth-best guys: Martin Spoormans (1.378) and Jean van Erp (1.465). Martin is the senior of these twenty men, but he can still beat anybody. Jean is what you could call "the most professional amateur" in the world. He will normally outscore the Belgian, and make it 0,5 - 4,5.  


Peter Ceulemans is on 1.515 for the Dutch/Belgian season

In fifth place, Peter Ceulemans (1.515) takes on Frans van Kuyk (1.508). The Dutchman had a few 1.6+ seasons in the past, RC's grandson is still on the way up. But they've both made over a thousand points this year, and they are not even two innings apart! I'll have to call this undecided: it's 1 - 5 to the Netherlands.

Big guns coming up: fourth players are Roland Forthomme (1.564) and Dave Christiani (1.514). Teammates in Belgium, they know each other well. Christiani has played over 3.000 average five times, Forthomme did it 23 times. Christiani's high run is 21, Roland has a share of the world record with 28. I must give it to the more experienced Belgian: it's 2-5.  

Third place, and Eddy Leppens (1.650) meets Glenn Hofman (1.525). I am (of course) a Glenn supporter, but I think he is outgunned here. Leppens was recently about 2 mm away from a place in the final of the world championship, he just has a few too many horse powers under the bonnet for the young guy from The Hague: it's 3-5.

Two to go, and the mighty Eddy Merckx (1.777) is up against Jean Paul de Bruijn (1.700). And what a fantastic season it is for JP, he's never been anywhere near that general average. I saw his 40 in 12 from up close recently, and technically, he's about as good as it gets. Sadly, it will not be enough against the force of nature that is EM. Eddy has produced half a dozen seasons over 1.8, he holds that impossible world record of 50 in 6, he beats JP to make it 4-5.

All we have left are the two best players in the world. Frédéric Caudron (2.302) plays Dick Jaspers (1.887). Matches over 3.000? They have almost 300 of those between them. Dick has a poor-ish season in Holland so far (1.635), but he has played phenomenal 3C in Germany: 2.4 general ave. Caudron has been outstanding everywhere. A 2.3 league average, if he holds on to it, would be record breaking. Not even for Jaspers can you ignore the difference between 2.302 and 1.887: Caudron ties the score at Belgium 5, Netherlands 5. 

Am I aware of the fact that Forton could beat de Kleine, that Jaspers has beaten Caudron on many occasions, that it's anybody's guess who wins if Kurt plays Gerwin? Of course I know that. I was just trying to have some fun with our best neighbor, rival and friend. Don't take any of it too seriously, just read it with the same smile I wrote it with.  


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My Comments

Bert's Column
Mr. Bert, please post more often your analysis and research on the game of 3-cushions. I have read all your postings and I find myself it more addictive and intriguing then watching live games at time. I ALWAYS look forward to new "Bert's Column" post everyday and very interesting....keep up the good work...

Message 1/3 - Publish at January 27, 2017 9:58 PM

Bert van Manen
Bert van Manen
Thank you
Thank you, Zelle, for that friendly comment. I try to find something of interest every two weeks, and it's good to know that there are people who enjoy my "homework".

Message 2/3 - Publish at January 28, 2017 1:21 AM

Me too
Dear Mr Van Manen,

I am the next, who is always curiously waiting for your doubleweek column!

Let me also take the chance to thank you for your fenomenal work of " going into deep " , and studying aspects of our game that (almost) nobody think of.

Thank you

Fabio Gaiotti

PS what about a season statistic of the top twelve?

Message 3/3 - Publish at January 28, 2017 1:58 PM

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