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

Our European days are numbered

Posted by on August 13, 2017

Our European days are numbered

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One of the mentally toughest 3-cushion players in the world is having a difficult day. The balls refuse to roll the way Eddy Merckx wants them to, and it shows in his body language. He tries very hard against Dong Koong Kang, but he finds the small gaps, gets kissed out, and sometimes misses on the "professional side". We've all done it: play a shot that every amateur will miss long, hit it aggressively and miss it short. 

Jung Han Heo has won a World Cup (Hurghada 2016), and is one of the best players in Seoul. He's playing Martin Horn, and the German is destroying him. From inning one, the Korean is in jail. He can't score, and only has positions that are tough to turn into defense. From 11-1 and 18-2 it gets as bad as 31-4. Horn uses a few too many innings to finish: he wins in 16 when it could have been a 12-inning match. Heo, who is world class, must feel totally frustrated.

Dick Jaspers and Torbjörn Blomdahl battle it out on table 8. How many World Cup finals have they played? They have well over 60 World Cup victories between them, and in the nineties, nobody could even get near these two. Today, they play a consolation match with nothing more than a little difference in prize money at stake.  The Dutchman wins it, and both players produce a little wry smile during the handshake.  

TB - DJ 2017

Fréderic Caudron has not put a foot wrong all week. He wins all his matches, averages 2.234 and looks on his way to the semifinals. Then he plays Jae Ho Cho on the TV-table, and the wheels come off. 25 in 22, a loss to the stylish Korean, and even Caudron is out of the race. 

Wan Young Choi did well to end 2nd in Group C, losing only to Caudron. Now he is up against Leppens, who was very strong in the group stage (2.211 and six wins). A splendid run of 11 gives Choi the lead, but Eddy answers with a four and a three. The match goes to 39-39, and both players produce a bad miss. Eddy controls his nerves, wins, and it's a just reward for his consistently good play. But the "other" Choi has made a name for himself in NY. 

Semih no longer needs to prove he is back. He took care of that with his semifinal place in Bordeaux, at the WC. But a closing run of six and a rare fistpump show what his win over Jaspers means to him. It was not a scoring contest, the match was quite tactical and defensive. For Semih to come out on top when it's more about the mind than about the cue, that's huge for him.  

The one player who seems to be above it all these days, is Dani. He's won everything in the past year: a World Cup, the World Games, the Super Cup, the World Championship and the nr. 1 position on the ranking. There are no two ways about it: Sánchez is the best player in the world. His record in NY so far? He's averaged 2.165 and played six, won six. That's pretty convincing.   

Do we see a changing of the guards? Are the Asian players taking control? 

Not yet. This tournament has Leppens, Sánchez and Sayginer in the last four, all Europeans. Jae Ho Cho is the only Asian. All the strong (or promising) Vietnamese players are out, and so are DKK, Haeng Jik, Sung Won Choi and Heo.  But look a little closer, and you'll see that the problem lies not in the European player's strength, but in their age.

There's nobody in Italy to replace Zanetti, no Swede to take over from Blomdahl, no Dutchman who could become the next Jaspers. Even mighty Belgium leans heavily on their current half-dozen of top players, and there is no youth. Korea and Vietnam appear to have an endless supply of talent, and Myung Woo Cho and Duc Anh Chien Nguyen are just two examples of players who have the future in their hands. Young Mr. Cho is not in this NY event, but I am sure he will show up in 2018 or 2019. Young Mr. Nguyen hardly has any international experience, and yet he averaged 1.591, beat Blomdahl, Sung Won Choi, Jung Han Heo and Sayginer. How is that for a debut?

European 3-cushion has about six or seven years left to sit on it's ass, enjoy FC's  and DS's brilliant play and do nothing about their youth. Then the European house of cards will come down, and the Asians will run us over like we are not even there. Three cushion is headed for a future full of Chois, Nguyens, Parks, Kims, Trans and Kangs. They are so good already, and they will only get better. 


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My Comments

dennis dieckman
dennis dieckman
Dieckman Sayzzzzzzz
Mea culpa Bert van Winkle.....what i have been saying for years......the barbarians are at the gates but the problem is we happen to like them and they will take the game to the next level. Billiards, "invented" in Europe as an "elitist' game, popularized in the Americas for the masses as one of their opiates, it has now spread, as Bert will tell you, all over the world. " THE NEXT GREAT PLAYER" might come from anyplace on the planet at any time and what if they have to be a transgender 13 year old that nobody can beat IN ANY OF THE GAMES??? MY BRAIN IS SCATTERING as Bob Jewett once told me it has a tendency to do.......cheerzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Message 1/1 - Publish at August 13, 2017 7:45 PM

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