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Carom Billiard - Carom - European Championship - Brandenburg (GER)

Brilliant final match in 47/2: Leppens beats Swertz

Posted by on May 3, 2017

Brilliant final match in 47/2: Leppens beats Swertz

© Ton Smilde/Kozoom
Eddy Leppens, the champion, and Raymund Swertz fall into each others arms after the final

BRANDENBURG - If you were in the audience at the European championship this late afternoon, you were given a rare chance to watch the perfect balkline. Eddy Leppens and Raymund Swertz demonstrated the fine art of maneuvering the balls around the balk lines on the match table. And not only did they show technique, feel and timing, they also produced one hell of a fight.

Eddy Leppens came out on top, after a shootout had been necessary. The regular match ended 250 - 250 in 1 inning.  For leppens, this was his first European title in his career. The 47-year old Belgian had to cross the gates of hell to get his victory. ,,I felt like a European champion, the first half hour I was in the chair. Then I wasn't, and in the end I am, anyway. It was a happy ending", said an emotional Leppens.

His roller-coaster feelings had everything to do with the way the final unfolded.. Eddy Leppens majestically  made the required 250 points in the first inning.  ,,I was not often in positional trouble, which says a lot for me, in this discipline I hardly ever practice.'' Raymund Swertz took a few minutes before he started his equalizing inning, quickly had the balls gathered and started scoring in his trademark tempo. The difference in playing speed was seen on the scoreboard: Leppens at 261 points/hour,  Swertz always well over 400. The tension did not seem to affect him, he was brilliant even when every mistake would be fatal. He rarely lost close control of the balls, and every gather had inch-perfect speed. His run of 250 brought both players to the shootout.

And though scoring had seemed so easy in the match itself, the extension proved to be hard. The break Leppens played looked okay, but after his second point, there was a tough shot on the table. ,,I knew it was risky to play this gather.'' He got kissed out, and only scored 2 points.. Leppens: ,,I had to walk to the chair, feeling I had lost the title.'' Moments later, his disappointment changed into joy. Raymund Swertz played the break too thin, missed and lost the match. Raymund Swertz: ,,It is a pity that I did not win the final, but I can be proud of the way I played. I showed that I can do well under pressure. Both against Grétillat in the semi, and against Leppens in the final have I playe my best balkline. I have to be happy about that.''

Eddy Leppens: ,,The way Raymund plays balkline, that is as good as it gets. His feel, his timing, his control, it is almost perfect. You can see that he puts in the hours. I admire his play, and his ease. My balkline is a little more open, because I have lost some of the touch and finesse. Watching him work the line almost makes me ashamed. But hey, I did win the title, didn't I? I am very happy with it, especially since it's my first title in many years. I have also missed many opportunities to compete internationally, because  Frédéric Caudron is in a class of his own, in Belgium. He is usually the best in all the disciplines, we'll just have to learn to live with that.'

Semifinals: Raymund Swertz-Xavier Grétillat 250-238 in 3 innings.

It was a miracle escape that took Raymund Swertz into the final. The Dutchman went through the eye of the needle against Xavier Grétillat, the title holder from Switzerland. Swertz was given un unexpected second chance, after he had missed the break and the Swiss player looked to be headed for the finish line in the 1st inning. But twelve points from the finish, Grétillat made an inexplicable error. The balls were touching, and he tried a short rail-first.  ,,I should have walked to the other end of the table, to get a perspective'', he said later with a sad face. Was it fatigue, loss of concentration? Grétillat missed his rail-first, and later commented: ,,That was stupid.'' Swertz took the lifeline, made 250 from his ideal starting position, and left Grétillat with the break and twelve points to go. He missed again, playing his break way too soft.

Eddy Leppens-Raul Cuenca 250-166 in 3 innings.

Raul Cuenca looked to be in the same situation as Xavier Grétillat. The Spaniard was behind 89-1 after two innings, but then he got control of the balls and made 165 points. He too missed unexpectedly, and from 166-89, Leppens grabbed his chance. He ran 161 to finish, and it gave him a place in the final.

Quarterfinals: Patrick Niessen found a determined Xavier Grétillat on his way. The Belgian opened with 47, but the Swiss never missed on his way to the 250.  Raymund Swertz and Michel van Silfhout played a Dutch derby, with both players starting slow. Swertz was the first to find rhythm, and went from 25 to 250 with a run of 225. Van Silfhout had it all to do. His run in the equalizer was not enough to threaten Swertz: 250-177 in 3. Raul Cuenca played Austrian Gerold Cerovsek and ran a closing 149 in the second inning. Cerovsek, a relatively new face in balkline, had opened with a nice 127. Cuenca won it: 250-158 in 2. Eddy Leppens and Willy Gérimont battled it out to the end. Leppens was the coolest one, he ran 141 to win: 141: 250-222 in 2 innings.



Eddy Leppens raises his cue after his win in the final and his first European title

The stage of balk-line 47/2 with Eddy Leppens, Raymund Swertz (l), Xavier Grétillat and Raul Cuenca

The champion and his girlfriend Andrea after victory

Raymund Swertz, happy with his level of playing and his silver medal

Xavier Grétillat lost his title in the semi-final against Swertz

Raul Cuenca took his second bronze medal after one cushion

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