Double Dutch Gold For Schuurman & Van Berkel

Jolien Schuurman

The Netherlands completed a clean sweep of the 8 ball gold medals as Jolien Schuurman and Mika Van Berkel topped the competition in the Girls and U17 divisions respectively at the Dynamic Billard European Pool Championships for Youth in Petrich, Bulgaria. Schuurman overcame 10 ball gold medallist Dominika Pawelczyk of Poland by 5-1, while Van Berkel needed plenty of courage to get over the line in a nerve-jangling hill-hill final against Finland’s Jori Narvola.

In the girl’s final, it was Pawelczyk who took the first rack before Schuurman levelled it in a rack where both players missed opportunities. The Dutch girl, though, accelerated through the next two racks to open up an ominous 3-1 lead, two short of victory.

With all her solids pocketed, Pawelczyk couldn’t close the rack out and instead it was Schuurman who came from behind to steal it and put herself on the hill at 4-1. Pawelczyk had no more chances as the match entered the sixth game, and she got back to the table when Schuurman inexplicably missed the object ball attempting a fine cut.

Her solids were nicely laid out but she missed her final ball trying to force position for the black. With four stripes left, Schuurman, composed herself, took her time and cleared the table for the gold medal.

A delighted Schuurman said, “It feels amazing, it’s wonderful. She hit the break and run in the first rack but after that I played pretty good and I’m satisfied. I tried not to think about it too much during the match and didn’t really feel any pressure. It was surreal at the end; you have to process it as there were so many emotions.”

Bronze medals went to Alara Ghaffari (TNC), her second medal of the championships and Linnea Hjalmarstrom (SWE).

Mika Van Berkel

In the U17 tournament, Mika Van Berkel took the third Dutch gold medal as he held off Jori Narvola’s comeback to squeeze through in the deciding game. It had looked a different story for the Dutch boy in the early stages as he opened up a 2-0 lead.

Looking good to increase his lead in the third game, Van Berkel hooked himself with just two of his balls left. That left a full table for Narvola and he played it very well to get on the scoreboard at 2-1. Both players had visits in the next but it was Van Berkel who held himself together to take the rack and a 3-1 lead.

Narvola got to within one of his opponent, taking the next but the Dutch boy reasserted his two-rack lead as he won the sixth game. Van Berkel took the next and was at the table with the chance to seal the gold medal but a slow roll, potting the orange solid, saw the cue ball fall into the middle pocket in its final turn.

With ball-in-hand and six balls left, Narvola had to take the rack to stay in business. Under pressure he performed admirably to move it to 5-3 and keep his hopes alive. That became 5-4 for the Finn as he went through the table without any wobbles.

With his opponent creeping up on him Van Berkel needed a fruitful break but nothing dropped and Narvola, taking the solids, rode his luck to complete another terrific run out and take the title match into a decider. The Finn had a chance but his final ball was just too much as he failed in a table length cut off the rail.

It was now Van Berkel’s chance to sink or swim with six solids left on the table. Feeling the pressure, Van Berkel did magnificently to clear the table and win gold.

For Van Berkel it was a real test of every aspect of his game, “It feels great; I worked so hard for this and really did my best through the tournament and I’m so happy. It was a bit scary as I was 5-2 up, and I made a mistake and he played good and at 5-5 I just hoped I’d get a chance.

“And I did, and I made it. I was nervous at the end but I was telling myself, ‘just make the ball, just make the ball’ because that’s the most important thing.”

Bronze medals went to Mykola Moroz (UKR) and Adam Swadzba (POL).

Play continues on Tuesday 2nd August with the 9 ball events.

All matches can be viewed live at as well as selected
matches on the EPBF’s Facebook page.

Results, live scoring and draws are available at

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