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Three M's and Mr. Rolandinho in final with four

Posted by on November 11, 2020

Three M's and Mr. Rolandinho in final with four

© Emel Kokcelik Coklu
Murat Naci Coklu in his billiard centre at home where he made a brilliant come-back

The M for Merckx, the M for Murat and the M for Montes are in the finals of the Challenge against the Belgian whom we may call Mr. Rolandinho Forthomme for this opportunity. Three days of preliminary rounds with eight players showed a superior Eddy Merckx, who led the rankings in his group for three days. Murat Naci Coklu climbed from last to first position on the decisive day in his group Antonio Montes passed Martin Horn in the ultimate part. Roland Forthomme was the runner in the group of death with four 90-pointers following Coklu and just before Kim and Tasdemir. These are the four finalists: Merckx, Coklu, Forthomme and Montes, tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, both times at 14.00 o'clock.

Murat Naci Coklu's come-back was the most spectacular this day. In his own billiard room, with a wall of trophies as décor, just with Emel, his wife, as a loyal fan, the amiable Turk crowned his catch-up race with the top position. He did it in a group in which four players stormed to a close finish on the third day. They were so close, in fact, that the correction from 3 to 4 points in the seventh inning, whispered by Emel, counting the scores, could have been decisive for the group win.

Forthomme started with 67 points on the last day, followed by Kim with 66, Tasemir with 65 and Coklu with 60 points. Ready for a wonderful climax, in which Kim led half the way with 81, ahead of Coklu with 80, Forthomme with 76 and Tasdemir with 74 points. With his second run of 9 this day, Coklu stormed to the lead for the first time right after the break. Roland Forthomme, looking angry after the start with 0, 1, 1 and 1, had his traditional rebound with 18 points in four innings shortly after the break. It turned out to be good for the number two position, as Kim only scored 12 more points after the break and Tasdemir had a remarkably poor last day.

The other foursome had a sovereign frontrunner with Eddy Merckx as of the first day, who with 34 points, followed by 40 on the second day could afford a 25 on the final day for a total 99 sore. ,, It was a good day to have a bad day'', Merckx reacted cryptically, noting that he kept a 25-point lead over the number two, Antonio Montes.

That fight for the runner-up position was thrilling until the last innings. Martin Horn looked back at a bizarre scoreboard afterwards: start with 7, 0, 0, 0, 1 and for the second half 7, 1, 1, 1, 1. Antonio Montes, who only made 13 points on the first day in 10 innings, got his chance to sneak back to the top and passed the German in the second last inning. Martin Horn, as always a gentleman loser, waved farewell to his opponents with a promising: ''See you back in the World Cups next year.''

The final rounds, on Thursday 12 and Friday 13 November at 2 p.m. Western European time, with four finalists:

The final rankings in the preliminary rounds:

Group A:
1 Eddy Merckx 99 (3,300 average)
2 Antonio Montes 74 (2,466)
3 Martin Horn 73 (2,433)
4 Jung-Han Heo 62 (2,066)

Group B:
1 Murat Naci Coklu 97 (3,233)
2 Roland Forthomme 95 (3,166)
3 Jun Tae Kim 93 (3,100)
4 Tayfun Tasdemir 91 (3,033).



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