Longoni 9-Ball League – Poland Take Inaugural Title

Wiktor Zielinski and Wojciech Szewczyk

POLAND, COMPRISED OF Wiktor Zielinski and Wojciech Szewczyk, has won the first-ever Longoni 9-Ball League following an 11-5 victory over Spain in the final which took place at the BHR Best Western Hotel in Treviso, Italy. From an initial entry of 12 national teams based on Euro Tour rankings, the Polish duo, who were ever-present throughout the competition, had too much for their Spanish rivals, opening up a 7-1 lead, which despite a mini-comeback, proved too much for their opponents.

With current EuroTour rankings determining the selection of teams playing at any time during the course of the event, the regular Spanish duo of Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz and David Alcaide were forced to miss the final, as both are representing Europe in the Mosconi Cup. That allowed Jose Alberto Delgado and Jonas Souto to take the main stage in the final. However, despite trying to turn the match around at the mid-point, they didn’t have enough in the tank to upset the Poles.

Having arrived back from the World 8-Ball in the Caribbean on Wednesday, there was a possibility that tiredness could have played a part in the proceedings.

Commented Szewczyk, “We were aware that fatigue can be a factor here but both me and Wiktor are quite experienced. We know what to expect from our bodies and our mental game and we were as ready as possible for the final.

“You never consider it closed until it’s over but a 7-1 lead we were very happy about. We also saw a difference in the break which always gives you extra confidence so even if they steal a couple of racks, if you have that break advantage you know it will be harder for them to streak racks.”

The match itself was all Poland. With their break working for them while the Spaniards floundered, they lead 5-0 then 7-1 which seemed insurmountable for Delgado and Souto. However, they dug in and clawed their way back to 7-5 to give themselves a glimmer of hope.

That was to be their last contribution as the Polish duo came on strong down the stretch as the closed it out with an 11-5 victory.

For Zielinski, it was one in the win column after a heart-break loss in the World 8-Ball final earlier this week, “I just wanted to finally get a first place and after we took a big lead in the game, I was feeling quite confident that we could make it so I’m just happy that me and Wojciech managed to win.

“It will be tough to make the team next year as I will be defending two first places in a row and then a third place so it’s not going to be easy and I’m sure other Polish players will do well. We have a lotof great players so I was lucky that I could play with Wojciech all the way through,” he added,

Pierluigi Longoni of Longoni Cues was on hand to present the trophy to the winners and confirmed that the Longoni 9-Ball League would be back next year, starting at the opening Euro Tour event in Tallinn, Estonia in February.

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