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Dreamteam SIS takes title and cup in Netherlands

Posted by on June 21, 2022

Dreamteam SIS takes title and cup in Netherlands

© Jan Rosmulder
The champion team SIS Schoonmaak after the return in the SIS arena

UDEN - After winning the cup, the best billiard team in the Netherlands also won the championship in the team league in their own billiard arena this Monday evening. The dream team triumphed over two finals of the play-offs against Bousema Lochem: in the first match the two teams played 4-4, in the return, SIS Schoonmaak won 6-2 this Monday and afterwards received in a full arena the colossal cup with the big ears from the hands of Paulus Brekelmans, the president of the KNBB Section three cushion. Carl Verhoeven, the team captain, was overjoyed with the title. ''We have been the best for a whole year, we had to wait three years, but with this fantastic team we are finally the champions in the Netherlands. I can't believe my luck.''

SIS Schoonmaak led the league from start to finish, gathered 41 points and with Eddy Merckx, Dick Jaspers, Jean van Erp, Raimond Burgman, Raymund Swertz and Martien van der Spoel was the sovereign champion. Jean van Erp, who took an important win against Johan Loncelle on Monday night and was named 'man of the match' later on, breathed a sigh of relief. ''I have been so nervous - and actually we all were - that it could still go wrong. These play-offs could have cost us the title. I think it's very unfair that such an extension is being made, because imagine if by far the best team in the Netherlands had finished second. Then we would have been the laughing stock of Dutch billiards.''

The supremacy of the team, that also will go to the European Cup for teams in Porto, was not as big as expected, because Bousema Lochem had a wonderful finish in the competition and could actually force SIS, playing without Dick Jaspers because of too few matches, to the limit. Martin Horn and Johan Loncelle did that in the first match in Lochem against Eddy Merckx and Jean van Erp. And in the return match, Frans van Schaik won before the break against Raymund Swertz, but Jean van Erp (against Loncelle), Eddy Merckx (against Horn) and Raimond Burgman (against Stefan Galla) fought their way to wonderful victories, which they dedicated one by one to the team boss Carl Verhoeven, his wife Astrid and his family.

The championship (and a fortnight ago the cup) are the result of the project that Carl Verhoeven started in 2020 and, despite Corona, expanded on afterwards. ''We have pretty soon been proclaimed a top sports location in our centre with six billiards where everything is arranged for the live images and broadcasts. Here, together with the KNBB, the federation, we want to give a new impulse to Dutch billiards in all its facets, with youth training, tournaments and all things about top billiards.''

For next season, he has already attracted the new European champion Dani Sánchez, but he would like Dick Jaspers to remain playing for SIS Schoonmaak. ''I know Dick will focus all on the big tournaments, but I told him that as the world champion and the best player in the world, he is the ambassador for our country. He has a moral obligation to the people to keep playing here and not only in foreign events.''

SIS Schoonmaak will not only enter the competition next season with the current team, supplemented with Dani Sánchez, but also with a second team in the first division, which is led by the Dutch junior champion Joris van 't Zelfden and German Tom Löwe.

The champion match was still tied in terms of points after two games out of four in the return. Jean van Erp won in the first part in the SIS billiard centre against Johan Loncelle 50-25 in 15 innings. Frans van Schaik, in a nerve-racking match, levelled the score for Bousema by beating Raymund Swertz 40-39 in 37.

It did not look very rosy for SIS Schoonmaak at the start of the two matches, in front of a packed centre. Jean van Erp started 14-0 in 2 innings against Loncelle, but the Belgian was back at 23-20 after ten innings. When things got tense, Van Erp showed his mental strength and went out with runs of 4 and 8 to 40-25. SIS Schoonmaak, that had a 1-carom lead at 4-4 in the first match, ran out to a 15 points advantage, but it was all about the second match between Raymund Swertz and Frans van Schaik.

The Amsterdam player had a flashy start, made all positions he received at the table and after the break he took a 29-15 lead, a difference of 14 caroms. The end, however, came with an inimitable collapse of Van Schaik, who could not hit a ball anymore and started to shoot harder every inning. ''I just couldn't take it anymore'', he was shaking later on. ''Look at my hands, they are still shaking, five minutes after the match. But fortunately, my opponent was just as nervous in the last few innings.''

The finish came in sight for Van Schaik, in a late attack, when he picked up two caroms with a little luck, that were allowed him to go for the match ball in the 37th inning. The shot for the last ball was a good hit, after which he walked away from the table in joy, talking Bousema Lochem in the race to 6-6, with 15 caroms ahead for SIS Schoonmaak.

But then the two last and decisive matches still had to come for the Dutch title.

The results of the second final match in the play-offs:
SIS Schoonmaak-Bousema Lochem 6-2
Jean van Erp-Johan Loncelle 40-25 in 15
Raymund Swertz-Frans van Schaik 39-40 in 37
Eddy Merckx-Martin Horn 40-35 (26)
Raimond Burgman-Stefan Galla 40-33 in 28.

The party can start in the SIS centre with Carl Verhoeven, Jean van Erp, Raimond Burgman, Raimund Swertz, Martien van der Spoel and Dick Jaspers

The Bousema team, a great runner-up in the league




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