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Carl's billiard arena has got off to a bizarre start

Posted by on August 26, 2021

Carl's billiard arena has got off to a bizarre start

© SIS center
The SIS arena where many teams in competition have found there way

UDEN - The open house of Netherlands newest and most modern billiard centre has set a new trend in Dutch billiards. The SIS Billiards Experience Center of Carl Verhoeven in the centre of Uden in Brabant is a model for new billiards, which in the years to come will increasingly replace the billiards culture in the otherwise wonderful and convivial billiard cafes. The spectacular start of the SIS arena was bizarre, because after the opening on 24 September, the centre had to close its doors again a few weeks later due to Corona on 8 October. We are now just over one year on: and despite all the misery of the crisis, the SIS centre has experienced enormous growth.

The premier league team with Dick Jaspers, Eddy Merckx, Jean van Erp, Raimond Burgman, Raymund Swertz and Martien van der Spoel is of course the showpiece. The SIS centre, in addition, arena already offers space for a total of 16 teams in that short year: one premier league, one first division, one second division, 2 third divisions, 6 fourth divisions, 5 teams at small billiards and one in a so-called wild league. The SIS arena, with two match tables, is actually too small already. Carl Verhoeven: ''We are waiting for permission to expand, then we can at least grow to two match tables. I estimate that we already have a hundred billiard players and more a week. That's why we need more space, more ambiance and facilities for all those teams and players.''

Carl Verhoeven was very happy of course with the new COVID measures and the announced start of the competitions. The strongest team in the premier league will start in a home match. ''At full strength, because we from the start want to show our ambitions'', Carl announces. So with Dick Jaspers, Eddy Merckx, Raimond Burgman and Jean van Erp for the opening matches.

The first, whimsical year of the SIS center has already exceeded all expectations. Carl Verhoeven: ''In the neighbourhood, billiard cafes stopped operating and billiard players had to look for another location. Many of them came to us, so that we now have teams in all divisions. I expect that this development continues. You already can see it with bigger billiard centres as De Distel, Cues en Darts, Capelle and De Hazelaar. How unfortunate, but the billiard tables more often disappear from the cafes.''

Carl Verhoeven, with his loyal assistants Jan van de Vorle (team leader) and Gerard ten Lohuis (technique), have set up a creation for the new model in which most teams are accommodated. ''Actually, we started with nothing, we had no history, so we could not look back how it had been. The BV Uden came to us with 50 members. Many billiard players from around then came here to practice and later asked me if they could come here with their teams. So it has grown in a very short time.''

The nice thing about the modern billiard arena, where among others a club called Germenzeel came, when two billiards in the sports hall disappeared, is that older people began to feel at home here. Carl: ''In the beginning, the older billiard players were a bit apprehensive, with all that new equipment, computers and buttons and lights everywhere. But they soon got used to it. The child emerges again in the elderly, now they feel great with the computers and they can look back at the games.''

The new clothing line for the teams is in the making, the expansion of the arena is hopefully not so far away, the competitions beckon: SIS Billiards Center is preparing for the real start after last year's failure. ''As announced earlier, we will soon see when we can play the second 3CC Survival. I will talk to the federation about it. Tomorrow, Saturday, we have talent training here again, I hope that the KNBB people are there to discuss further.''

And of course, it is looking forward to the sporting successes. ''I have gone through the schedule of the premier league with my players. Dick Jaspers will certainly play more matches, I expect eight or ten. Eddy Merckx will play everything as far as possible, for the rest we rotate and everything is aimed to become champion. We certainly want to finish first in the regular league, because if Dick doesn't play half of the games, he can't compete in the play-offs.''

The competition, as Carl Verhoeven estimates, comes mainly from the Brabant teams of Zundert and Eekhoorn, Sluiskil, Den Haag and Bousema. ''Most of those teams strengthen themselves with foreign players when it is gonna be really important. That makes the competition more attractive, but on the other hand it's always a question how strong an opponent will be. Anyway, we will do everything to finally win a title in our billiard centre.''

The new SIS team with Dick Jaspers, Raymund Swertz, Martien van der Spoel, Jean van Erp, Raimond Burgman and Eddy Merckx

The SIS frontrunners Eddy Merckx and Dick Jaspers




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