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Sensational scenario: final Forthomme-Leppens

Posted by on January 12, 2013

Sensational scenario: final Forthomme-Leppens

© Dirk Acx
Eddy Leppens, one of the two players in the starring roles.

BLANKENBERGE – How strong must you be as a Belgian billiard player, to even reach the final of a national championship in 3-cushion? The answer is simple, the task is almost impossible: you have to beat Eddy Merckx and Frédéric Caudron, the world champion and the world nr. 1.

This was the script of the semifinals in the afternoon, where a capacity crowd filled all the Seats in the Blankenberge casino and rows of additional spectators were on their feet to watch two matches on a truly world class level.

The starring roles: Roland Forthomme and Eddy Leppens. The supporting actors: Fréderéric Caudron and Eddy Merckx.

Roland Forthomme trailed 13-1 after 5 innings, but produced runs of seven, five, nine, and a closing run of 10 to record a convincing 40–23 win in 19 innings.

It means, that Forthomme produced 39 points – from the 13–1 – and Merckx no more than 10.

On the Leppens – Caudron table, the match turned into a true thriller, in spite of Leppens initial lead. He ran a 12 in the fourth inning, a 6 in the sixth, a 4 in the seventh, and a 5 in the eighth to score 28 points in 5 innings.

When he was 30-14 behind and nobody thought he had the chance of a snowflake in hell, Caudron showed his world class. He is truly never defeated until the last point has been made.

Eddy Leppens, still overcome by emotions half an hour after the match, said: ,,I knew he was going to come back. I sat on my chair, just hoping he would miss. The closer we came to the end, the better he started to play.''

In the closing moments, when Caudron was leading 39 – 38, he missed the final point due to a kiss. Under tremendous pressure, Leppens made the two points that enabled him to pump his fist and celebrate victory: 40-39 in 18.

Sunday afternoon at 16.00 the final will be played between leppens and Forthomme. Caudron and Merckx will decide who wins the bronze.

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