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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - Christmas Tournament - Zundert (NED)

Jaspers has best final sprint against Merckx: 6-5

Posted by on December 31, 2019

Jaspers has best final sprint against Merckx: 6-5

© Ton Smilde
Dick Jaspers, winner in Zundert for the second time in a row, beating Eddy Merckx 6-5 in final match

ZUNDERT - The defending champion in the Christmas tournament in Zundert has extended his title. Dick Jaspers won the final match on the last day of the well-attended tournament against Eddy Merckx, the other world top player in the field of eight: 6-5 in sets. The match went up and down from the start, with the Dutch player constantly in the lead, but Merckx was a feared pursuer. Jaspers seemed to start the decisive attack on an intermediate 3-3 score in the second break. And leading 5-3, he seemed on his way to the match win when he was 5-0 up in the next set, but Merckx came back again with a maximum 9-run and then took the next set for 5-5. The final rush was for Jaspers again. He dominated the set and won 9-0.

It felt like a victory for his own fans for Dick Jaspers, who lives only 11 kilometres from Zundert and started his career in Louis Havermans' billiard center. "I could even come her on a bike'', he said just before leaving home, where he will be celebrating New Year with his girlfriend. ''It's good to be back and I like this system with short sets, a lot of excitement for the audience and many moments in the tournaments in which it can go both ways. The player who wins a match to six sets has earned it. For sure when you face Eddy Merckx, who is a feared winner.''

Jaspers commented on the final match: ,,We both were not that good in the first sets, but from 3-3 we improved our game. To be honest, I enjoy that, surely in an invitation tournament like here where it's important to entertain the crowd. That is in contrast of course with the World Cups and the international tournaments, which go up from 40 to 50 caroms from 2020. I'm very curious how we can live up with that.''

''If I'm worried about the new rules? Not that, but it will affect averages, I think. When you have very difficult positions, you are forced by the clock. Here in this Christmas event, no super averages were seen. That surely has to do with that. On the other hand, this is the same for your opponent. And in the World Cups to 50 caroms, you have a little more time to counter after a super start of your opponent. We can expect a fascinating year, especially when ranking points are at stake, the tension will rise.''

Dick Jaspers looked back into the history of this Christmas tournament. ''I participated from 1985 up to 2001, so sixteen times in a row. I met Raymond Ceulemans and Ludo Dielis for the first time, the third time, when I won, it was still in more disciplines. And I won against Eddy Merckx in the final in 1996. Including last year and this year, I won here four times. I took a long stop, because in those years, I went for our winter holidays with my family and later, I missed it because I played a demo tournament in Dirk Snip's organization. But I am really happy to be back.''

Eddy Merckx once again showed his fighting spirit character and his world class quality. The Belgian rarely loses final matchess and was again close to bringing home the main prize. He bumped into a devastating Jaspers, who also did that against Antonio Montes in the last qualifying round where he played three sets of 9 in a row in one inning.

Antonio Montes happily walked around for three days in the tournament that he followed on Kozoom for many years. ''I was overjoyed with the invitation.'' The Spaniard started with two wins, then ran into a brilliant Jaspers.

The two home players, Barry van Beers and Roland Forthomme, were very strong all the way. Roland Forthomme had the same match points as Eddy Merckx and Barry van Beers in the preliminaries, recorded almost the same average as the two leading players, but was eliminated on set balance. Barry van Beers offered a fierce opposition to Jaspers in the semi-final and only lost control in the final sets. Peter Ceulemans, who was 'at home' in D'n Hoek for many years, was not at his best in his first matches, but outplayed Jeffrey Jorissen for the semi-finals. With 1,432 on average, he was better at number three than Montes with 1,226 and Jorissen with 1,400. ''Fortunately, I was able to show my quality in my last game," Ceulemans concluded.

Jeffrey Jorissen played his 'second Zundert' and started spectacularly with a win against Jaspers. He then lost his next two matches. Gerwin Valentijn, in the other group, didn't find his best form and could not win a match, making him fourth in the group with three four-match-points players.



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My Comments

Keith Montague
The best way to get over a Christmas slumber was to watch this from the Republic of Ireland. Best 2 players in Dick and Eddy made it to the Final as their standard was amazing. Barry and Antonio surprised me as I thought Jeffery Jorissen and Roland Forthomme would have been the other Semi-Finalists.

Loved the setting at the club in Zundert and all should be proud of their staging of a wonderful event and to all in Kozoom should be thanked for a multi camera set up by showing both ends of the table and a far distant camera shot to see all the spectators at the event

Message 1/1 - Publish at January 3, 2020 6:52 PM

Wonderful Coverage
Exactly. It was wonderful post-Christmas and NY viewing from my corner of northern England. In fact I've pretty much stopped watching snooker and instead love to watch 3C and the baulkline games. It's also helped me to improve my English billiards game (for me the finest cue sport of all). In fact, unless Ronnie or someone exciting is playing, I think 3C is a far more interesting game to watch than snooker.

The coverage was excellent, and the Jaspers/Merckx game was fantastic to watch. Such skill!

Publish at January 4, 2020 12:40 AM

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