Mark Gray wins Longoni Benelux Open

Mark Gray and Serge Das before the finals

After seven tough qualification rounds of 10ball, the best 28 players emerged from more than 170 participants. They joined the 2010 Longoni Benelux Open champion Serge Das (Belgium), the 2009 and 2010 Runner-up Niels 'The Terminator' Feijen (the Netherlands), the 2009 champion Andreas Roschkowsky (Germany) and, last but not least, the reigning World 10ball Champion Huidji See (the Netherlands). Together they formed the Final 32 players.

The main event was played in double knock out format until the quarter final. One of the favorites was Thomas Engert (Germany) who started off by handing out a 7-0 donut to Wim Scrayen (Belgium). However, he was promptly halted by a Belgian wall named Serge Das (2nd round) and Curd Persijn (Last 24), who both won with a 7-5 score.

Another favorite, the 2011 Euro Tour Austria Champion Richard Jones (UK), a.k.a. 'Ricardo Indyana Jones' was stopped by German whirlwind Marko Vogel (7-5) and sent to the one loss side. Jones stepped up his game, but was eventually stopped in the Last 16 round by the Belgian wall Curd Persijn.

Curd Persijn eventually reached a dead end when he faced fellow countryman Cliff Castelein who's emerging to be quite a dangerous player in the European scene and reached the further stages of the last Euro Tour.

In the quarter finals, the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg) was represented by five players: none other than Niels Feijen (NL), Huidji See (NL), Brian Beekers (NL), Cliff Castelein (B) and the Serge Das (B). From a total of eleven nations represented at the Longoni Benelux Open, also Germany, Switzerland and the UK joined the Final 8, respectively starring: Andreas Roschkowsky, Dimitri Jungo and Mark Gray.

Castelein faced fellow Longoni Cues player representative Niels 'The Terminator' Feijen. This proved to be a thriller as the Belgian talent shot his way to the hill first. However, the experience of the cool and collected Feijen won the match. 7-6 for The Terminator.

Serge Das was unable to defend the title against Dimitri Jungo, the eventual finalist. Andreas Roschkowsky, the champion of the inaugural edition of the Longoni Benelux Open, was stopped by the World 10ball Champion and 'Kung Fu Panda' Huidji See.

Eventually, true champions reached the Final 4. Feijen, however, was not able to step up his game in time and was bested by Mark Gray. Fellow Dutchman Huidji See seemed to be cruising towards another 10ball final by reaching the hill first, but Dimitri Jungo is one of the toughest cookies in the European pool scene. So, Jungo stepped up his game, minimized on errors and claimed victory with a 8-7 score.

In the final, it was the other way around, though. Jungo cruised towards the hill, whilst Gray was trailing. The score was an 7-3, an impressive lead, considering the alternate break format. Still, Gray was able to capitalize on every opportunity which eventually won him the coveted Longoni cup. Mark Gray: "I'm gonna be here, next year!". Of course, he'll be seeded first.

The event was a great succes with so many entries. The venue saw an enthusiastic crowd of poolfans during every session. Daswan Promotions would like to thank Longoni Cues, Clash X pooltables by Loontjens Biljarts, Serge Das Billiards, Iwan Simonis, Aramith, Kamui and De Loft (the venue) for making it all happen. After three editions, it's itching to organize the fourth: 2012 Longoni Benelux Open.

Tournament results:

First round:
Serge Das B 7-5 Kevin Lannoye B
Thomas Engert D 7-0 Wim Scrayen B
Martin Hielkema NL 6-7 Nicolas Kalb F
Mario Martokarijo NL 5-7 Sebastian Koch CH
Cliff Castelein B 7-2 Donny van Oosterhout
Javi Lopez ESP 7-3 Samuel Saïd Arji MAR
Brian Beekers NL 7-5 Christian Prager D
Rudy van der Veen NL 4-7 Andreas Roschkowsky D
Huidji See NL 7-6 Eddy Kverh B
Dave Verhoeve NL 3-7 Mark Gray UK
Ralf Mund D 5-7 Emmanuel Lemaire F
Timour Khodjaev RUS 1-7 Moritz Lauwerijns B
Roy Gerards NL 7-5 Fabien Gurder F
Richard Jones UK 5-7 Marko Vogel D
Dimitri Jungo CH 7-5 Curd Persijn B
Martin Steinlage D 4-7 Niels Feijen NL

2nd round
Serge Das B 7-5 Thomas Engert D
Nicolas Kalb F 6-7 Sebastian Koch CH
Cliff Castelein B 7-6 Javi Lopez ESP
Brian Beekers NL 5-7 Andreas Roschkowsky D
Huidji See NL 3-7 Mark Gray UK
Emmanuel Lemaire F 7-6 Moritz Lauwerijns B
Roy Gerards NL 7-3 Marko Vogel D
Dimitri Jungo CH 4-7 Niels Feijen NL

3rd round
Serge Das B 7-3 Sebastian Koch CH
Cliff Castelein B 5-7 Andreas Roschkowsky D
Mark Gray UK 7-2 Emmanuel Lemaire F
Roy Gerards NL 4-7 Niels Feijen NL

One-loss-side Last 32:
Kevin Lannoye B 7-2 Wim Scrayen B
Martin Hielkema NL 6-7 Mario Martokarijo NL
Donny van Oosterhout 7-5 Samuel Saïd Arji MAR
Christian Prager D 6-7 Rudy van der Veen NL
Eddy Kverh B 7-1 Dave Verhoeve NL
Ralf Mund D 7-1 Timour Khodjaev RUS
Fabien Gurder F 1-7 Richard Jones UK
Curd Persijn B 7-4 Martin Steinlage D

One-loss-side Last 24:
Kevin Lannoye B 3-7 Dimitri Jungo CH
Mario Martokarijo NL 4-7 Marko Vogel D
Donny van Oosterhout 7-6 Moritz Lauwerijns B
Rudy van der Veen NL 2-7 Huidji See NL
Eddy Kverh B 4-7 Brian Beekers NL
Ralf Mund D 5-7 Javi Lopez ESP
Richard Jones UK 7-3 Nicolas Kalb F
Curd Persijn B 7-5 Thomas Engert D

One-loss-side Last 16:
Dimitri Jungo CH 7-3 Marko Vogel D
Donny van Oosterhout NL 6-7 Huidji See NL
Brian Beekers NL 7-2 Javi Lopez ESP
Richard Jones UK 5-7 Curd Persijn B

One-loss-side Last 12:
Dimitri Jungo CH 7-0 Emmanuel Lemaire F
Huidji See NL - Roy Gerards NL (match IN PROGRESS)
Brian Beekers NL 7-3 Sebastian Koch CH
Curd Persijn B 2-7 Cliff Castelein

Quarter Finals
Serge Das B - Dimitri Jungo CH
Andreas Roschkowsky D - Huidji See NL
Mark Gray UK - Brian Beekers NL
Niels Feijen NL 8-7 Cliff Castelein B

Semi Finals
Dimitri Jungo (CH) 8-7 Huijdi See (NL)
Mark Gray (UK) 8-5 Niels Feijen (NL)

Dimitri Jungo (CH) 7-8 Mark Gray (UK)