Stolka Takes Opening Seniors Gold

Harald Stolka

Germany’s Harald Stolka won the first gold medal of the 2022 Dynamic Billard European Pool Championships Seniors as he defeated countryman Reiner Wirsbitzki 75-52 in an entertaining final to claim victory in the men’s Straight Pool division. Both players had plenty of visits but it was Stolka’s more dominant scoring that saw him through.

For Stolka, it was a wonderful moment, given that this was his first  event at his first ever European Seniors, “That’s incredible. I’m really proud to beat my friend Reiner as I have a lot of respect for him because of his victories in the past. I’m really proud of what I’ve done and this is great!

“Last year I played the German Championships and lost to Reiner twice and I couldn’t win any title and that’s why I was mentally prepared for a tough tournament right here. Right now, I’m real happy. I will be trying now to play to win a medal in each division but if I travelled home right now that’s OK!” he added.

Stolka got proceedings underway in the race to 75 match but scratched on his second shot of the run. Wisbitzki could only add one point and Stolka returned to the table with an opportunity. The German veteran cleared the table, leaving the green 14 as his break ball for the next rack, leading 12-1.

He cleared the next rack to increase his lead to 26-1, leaving the 1-ball available as his break ball. With the 1-ball so close to the pack, the split wasn’t great but Stolka  worked away trying to get some movement on the pack and picked any off  the loose balls.

Stolka completed the rack with a handy 40-1 lead but his break ball in the next looked too straight to gain much impact on the rack. He did well to nudge a ball or two out to keep it going but he missed the 10-ball and allowed Wisbitzki back in, trailing 42-1.

Wirsbitzki needed a significant visit and he cleared to the table to reduce the deficit to 42-13, leaving the brown 7 out with a great angle to move the rack. He managed to split the pack, pocketing two balls in the process and negotiated his way around the table to complete it and move the score to 42-27.

Wirsbitzki though, missed his break ball, a relatively easy 9-ball to the corner pocket, and Stolka was back in. Stolka set about his task but with three balls left he missed a straight 8-ball leading 54-27. Wirsbitzki, completed the rack and left a straightish looking 2-ball, situated just outside of the rack.

Wirsbitzki got bogged down in the next, chasing position, but good work allowed him to mop up the table to get within 11 points of Stolka, trailing 54-43, and leaving the red 2-ball out at a nice angle. The break didn’t quite work out for Wisbitzki as the cue ball landed stuck on the bottom rail. A table length attempt on the 1-ball missed and Stolka returned to the table needing 21 points for victory.

There was still a bit of congestion as Stolka worked his way around the balls and he managed to loosen them up sufficiently to complete the rack and leave himself within 8 points of victory. With the cueball finishing within the confines of the triangle, Stolka started the rack from behind the headstring and did a terrific job in loosening the balls required for victory.

He was derailed by a bad scratch as the moving white just clipped the 5-ball, detouring it into the centre pocket. With the position of the balls, safety was the only option for both players as they looked for an opening. A great angled long pot on the pink 4, gave Wirsbitzki a chance to develop the table. However, with three balls left, he missed a bank on the 14-ball, giving Stolka the chance to close the match out.

He left He left the 14-ball on the rail with a good enough angle to release sufficient balls from the rack and he played it perfectly and downed the final two balls for victory.

Wirsbitzki said, “Firstly, I’m very happy about the silver medal. I didn’t start so well in the tournament and from match to match I played a little bit better. Harald played better across the tournament, better than me, and the best player of this tournament is the European Champion so congratulations to him.”

Bronze medals went to Dominik Zajac of Poland and Switzerland’s Sascha Specchia.

The 2022 Dynamic Billards European Championship Seniors and Ladies comprises nine separate events across four disciplines – 8, 9 and 10 ball as well as straight pool for men and teams.

Play continues later today with action in both the mens’ and ladies’ 10-ball divisions.

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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