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Carom Billiard - Carom - Belgian Championship Multi - Blankenberge (BEL)

Wonderful billiards, horrible climax

Posted by on January 10, 2018

Wonderful billiards, horrible climax

© Dirk Acx
The day's best in three cushion, Eddy Merckx, ready for the final rounds

BLANKENBERGE - The contrast was rather strong, between the end of the evening and the rest of the day. A fascinating morning, afternoon and evening of billiards at the Belgian championships all disciplines, were followed in the late night session with a heartbreakingly ugly match for a few diehards in the stands. Eddy Merckx, Kenny Miatton and the specialists in the balk-line colored the day with brilliant play. Martin Spoormans and Francis Forton, in one cushion, topped it off with a boring marathon match in which they tried to make each other's lives miserable.

It took until well after midnight before Spoormans, praised in advance for his 50-year membership of the Belgian federation, finally found the last carom on the match table that looked as big as a football field. The balls flew everywhere, it was hard work with lots of impossible positions in a blood, sweat and guts fight that drove both players to despair. The match eventually yielded a winner: Spoormans defeated Forton 150-145 in 33 innings.

Frédéric Caudron, Eddy Leppens and Maarten Janssen, the other three players in this discipline, are facing the fight for the podium places later in the week. Wonderful billiards with an ugly climax. Thus the third day of the Multi's in Blankenberge can be summarized. With many prominent people in the stands, such as Raymond Ceulemans, the former football international Jef Jurion, the ex-federation president Reginald Depoorter and the French World Cup organizer Joël Switala.

Eddy Merckx won his group with six match points and 1.690 of average ahead of Frédéric Mottet with 4 match points and 1.656. Kenny Miatton was the winner in the other group with 6 match points and 1.165 followed by Kurt Ceulemans with four points and 1.135. Merckx and Mottet are provisionally, after four groups, the very best on average. Many players argue that the tables are fast, difficult and sometimes unpredictable and that the (new) polish for the balls is used too often or too intensively.

Kurt Ceulemans, for example, complained after his second match. ,,It was really impossible to play with these balls, I would like to ask the ball cleaner to never do this again.'' Eddy Merckx had less trouble in his matches. ,,I heard there is something new again. And on these new cloths it was not easy. But we have to adjust, we all know. I am not dissatisfied with my average, however it is not super. The other averages are more disappointing, indeed.''

The two-time World Cup winner of the past year has put his candidacy for a podium place. Merckx stays at the Multi's for whole week. ,,We have rented an apartment to enjoy a short holiday and billiards as well. Today, we're spectating for Frank de Groof, a good friend, but we will also go out for nice things.'' Eddy Merckx played his best match against Frédéric Mottet, which was important for the group win.

,,I made a run of 12 at a decisive moment and was able to hold onto the lead afterwards.'' Frédéric Mottet was a good runner-up in this group with victories over Luc Salvo (40-15 in 20) and Bart Leys (40 -19 in 26, with a run of 11). Kenny Miatton, in the other group, defeated Thomas Broux (40-35 in 41), Kurt Ceulemans (40-29 in 36) and Peter De Backer (40-32 in 26). De Backer could only shine with a run of 13 in that last game. Eddy Leppens and Patrick Niessen continued their mission in the balklines. Leppens won two matches, in the 47/1 and 71/2 against Peter Debaes and Maarten Janssen and played a draw with Maarten Janssen in the 47/2 with 300-300 in 7 innings. He thus remains in the race for a win in the three balk-line games. Patrick Niessen outplayed Debaes (71/2) and Deraes (free game, 400-0 in 1 inning), but lost to Maarten Janssen in the 47/1 with 200-111 in 14 innings.

The intermediate positions and the group ranking in three-cushion:Three cushion, group C:1 Kenny Miatton 6-1.165-6

2 Kurt Ceulemans 4-1.135-10

3 Peter De Backer 2-1.146-13

4 Thomas Broux 0-0.970-6

Group G:

1 Eddy Merckx 6-1.690-12
2 Frédéric Mottet 4-1.656-11
3 Luc Salvo 2-0.793-4
4 Bart Leys 0-0.873-8

Free game:

1 Patrick Niessen 4-80.00-400
2 Maarten Janssen 4-57.89-400
3 Andy de Bondt 0-3.00-4
4 Robby Sonck 0-2.75-10
5 Philippe Deraes 0-0-0

Balk-line 47/2:

1 Eddy Leppens 3 in 2 matches
2 Patrick Niessen 2 out of 1
3 Maarten Janssen 1 out of 2.

Balk-line 47/1:

1 Eddy Leppens 4-57.14-110
2 Maarten Janssen 2-14.28-78
3 Patrick Niessen 2-12.95-130

Balk-line 71/2:

1 Eddy Leppens 4-20.83-103
2 Patrick Niessen 4-20.00-63
3 Maarten Janssen 0-18.58-78.

Today, Wednesday, the three cushion groups with Eddy Leppens, Peter Ceulemans, Frank de Groof and Danny Wuyts and in Group H with Francis Forton, Wesley de Jaeger, Patrick Kesteloot and Martin Ravestyn come to the arena. Frédéric Caudron is playing one cushion for the first time against Maarten Janssen (14.00) and Martin Spoormans (18.30).

Raymond Ceulemans, the legend, waving to the billiard fans

Kenny Miatton, the other group winner

Martin Spoormans and Francis Forton played a marathon match around midnight

Frédéric Mottet, runner-up in the Merckx group

Kurt Ceulemans (r) to the knock-out, Peter De Backer is out


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