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Stolka and Rademakers Rule the 10-Ball

Harald Stolka and Tamara Rademakers

Harald Stolka’s marvellous week continued in winning style as the 47-year-old German took 10-ball gold at the 2022 Dynamic Billard European Pool Championships Seniors to add to the straight pool title he claimed on Sunday. This time he defeated Jorge Tinoco (Portugal) by 7-4 to give him a 100% record at the annual gathering of Europe’s over-45 players.

Stolka travelled to Slovenia on his first ever visit to the European Seniors and it was likely beyond his widest dreams that he would win the opening two events. Today he was up against a player who collected two golds himself at this same event last year but the German’s determination and all-round play saw him through.

“I’m pretty happy today because this is my 20th match right now and I felt the pressure today. I didn’t play real free earlier but played good enough to give my opponents a strong fight and when I came to the semis I started to play well so that was great and thank you very much, billiard god!

Stolka won the lag to get the final underway but could not drop a ball off the break. Tinoco missed a difficult long 2-ball, leaving it on for Stolka, The German ran out of position going from 4 to 5 and missed the cut into the centre pocket. Tinoco stepped up to steal the rack for 1.0. Tinoco delivered another dry break and Stolka looked set for the run out but again missed a cut on the 8 ball into the centre pocket to gift the rack to Tinoco.

A superb snooker from Stolka saw a great escape attempt from Tinoco miss the 1 ball by a hair’s breadth to give ball-in-hand, from where Stolka made no mistakes to get onto the scoreboard. A missed 1 ball from Tinoco allowed his opponent to level things up at 2-2 and then Stolka ran out from the break to take the lead for the first time at 3-2.

A good safety in the next allowed Stolka to increase his lead to two-racks and the seventh game was the longest of the match as both players went back-and-forth on the 2-ball before Tinoco nailed it but with a 7/9 cluster down-table it was no formality. However, some excellent positional play enabled the Portuguese to run out for 4-3.

A failed kick on the 1-ball from Tinoco in the next gave ball-in-hand to Stolka but he missed a tough 2-ball. It was Tinoco’s turn to miss next, this time on the 4-ball and Stolka took his chances to restore his two-rack lead. Stolka came with some championship winning form in the next as he ran out from the break to put himself on the hill as he moved the score to 6-3.

Tinoco won the next as Stolka missed the 4-ball, trying to squeeze it past the 9. It was a lifeline for Tinoco who dished up to reduce the deficit. In what would be the final rack of the match, a safety from Stolka left the 1-ball on for Tinoco. With no room for error, Tinoco played safe on the 5-ball and it was a good effort. There were multiple visits and safeties but the Portuguese always had the advantage until a loose one allowed Stolka a good look at the 5. He made it and gained position on the 6-ball and from there, he ran out for the gold medal.

Stolka added, “I’m staying here for two more disciplines but I won’t feel the pressure as every discipline is a new tournament and there are so many strong players. I can’t believe that I’ve won twice right now but I won’t be giving up for the next ones.”

Bronze medals went to Markus Kamuf of Germany and Norway’s Jorgen Nilsen.

In the ladies’ 10-ball it was the Netherlands’ Melissa Rademakers who claimed her first ever European Championship gold medal as she defeated Tuuliina Paluna (Finland) by 5-2. It was a welcome change of fortunes for the Dutch girl as she had earlier been beaten by the same opponent in the Winners’ Qualification stage.

Rademakers had the ideal match, racing out of the traps for a 4-0 lead in the race-to-five final. Paluna pulled two back but a missed 10-ball from the Finn gave her opponent a long look at the championship ball and she firmly planted it in the corner pocket for the gold.

Commented Rademakers, “She came back at me but I didn’t do anything wrong at that point and I knew I was waiting for a chance and I got it! 8- ball is my game but it’s hard to say how that will go but 10-ball was not a priority but 8-ball, I love to play so I hope I can go far in that one.”

Rademakers also looked shaky in her semi-final match, trailing 3-0 to Karin Michl (Germany) but managed to turn it around.

“It was tough but I was playing well and trusted in that. The 3-0 was probably not the way the match went but I felt good and that I could come back at any time. It’s only a race to five and anything could happen. “

Bronze medals went to Alexandra Cunha (Great Britain) and Birgit Heidorn of Germany.

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’ 8-ball divisions.

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

Results, live scoring and draws are available at
www.epbf.com/tournaments/european-championships/

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EPBF European Championship – 9-Ball Golds For Tinoco And Cunha

Alexandra Cunha and Jorge Tinoco

In the final day’s play on the 2021 EPBF calendar, the destination of the 9-ball medals was decided at the EPBF / Dynamic Billiards European Seniors Championships, taking place at the BHR Treviso Hotel in Italy. In the men’s, it was Portugal’s Jorge Tinoco who won his third gold medal of the championships, while Alexandra Cunha (Great Britain) ruled the ladies division.

For Jorge Tinoco, 44, it was the culmination of a magnificent week in Treviso as he won the opening discipline, the straight pool, as well gaining gold as part of Portugal’s winning squad in the emotion-packed team event.

He said, “I’m feeling awesome and I don’t have words. I didn’t expect to win three medals and to win this one was special as I played against Paquito (Diaz-Pizarro) and he is an amazing player. I think I played very well in the semi-final and the final I enjoyed my game and took great joy playing pool so three gold medals are amazing for me.”

Facing off against Spain’s Francisco Diaz-Pizarro, the Portuguese won the lag, but a dry break immediately got the Spaniard to the table and wasting no time, he ran through the balls but leaving himself a slightly more difficult angle on the 9 ball than he would have liked, he missed it to hand the rack to Tinoco.

With four balls clustered around the 1 spot there were multiple visits as each player searched for an opening. Diaz manged to split them but the white unfortunately rolled into the centre pocket. With ball in hand and the table open, Tinoco cleared for a 2-0 lead.

A terrific bank shot from Diaz saw the 1 ball pocketed in the next and he was able to lay the cue ball behind a cluster leaving his opponent reaching for the jump stick. Tinoco scratched with his escape and from there Diaz ran out for his first rack of the match.

In the next, Diaz committed a shirt foul, whereby his garment rested on a ball whilst bridging, and Tinoco took full advantage to take a 3-1 lead. There was more jump stick action from Tinoco in the next and he got lucky leaving the 1 ball behind the 8. Diaz escaped but left the object ball on. Tinoco, who has been the star player of the championships, made no mistakes as he cleared up for 4-1.

An illegal break from Diaz piled on the misery for him and facing one or two problems in the layout, Tinoco played it perfectly for a 5-1 lead. An illegal break from Tinoco saw Diaz back at the table, facing no margin for error given his predicament, and he played the rack perfectly to keep his dreams alive.

A terrific jump shot under the pressure of the clock saw Tinoco pocket the 1 ball but with no available pocket for the 2 ball he played a safety. A difficult pot was missed by Diaz and that gave Tinoco all the space he needed to run out for a 6-2 lead.

Another illegal break from the Portuguese left a cut on the 2 ball on for Diaz but he over cut it. Tinoco uncharacteristically missed the 3 ball and Diaz won the rack with a 4/9 combination. A successful break from Diaz gave him a chance in the tenth game and he played his best rack of the match to get back to 6-4.

Tinoco, though, broke and ran the next to get himself to the hill at 7-4 and disastrously, Diaz scratched when breaking to save the match. With the balls out in the open, the gold medal was there for Tinoco’s taking and he executed the run out perfectly to cement his place as player of the tournament with an excellent 8-4 victory.

Tinoco added, “My head was very focused and I could control my emotions. In the semi-final, I was losing 4-1 but I still kept my composure and turned the game in my favour. In the final I just tried to play my best and I didn’t feel any pressure. I’m going to have a big celebration with friends and family when I get home.”

Medals – Men’s 9-Ball

Gold –          Jorge Tinoco (POR)
Silver –        Francisco Diaz-Pizarro (ESP)
Bronze –        Henrique Correia (POR)
Ronny Oldervik (NOR)

In the ladies’ final, both Karin Michl (Germany) and Britain’s Alexandra Cunha were looking to add gold to the bronze medals they won in the 8-ball and 10-ball divisions respectively. It was a cagey match with neither player asserting themselves with so much on the line.

Michl had gone into a 2-0 lead in the race-to-six match but Cunha fought back to level the match. They shared the next two to leave the title finely poised at 3-3. The German lady looked set for 4-3 with four balls left on the table but ran the cue ball into the black 8 to lose position.

She subsequently missed the 8 into the top left pocket. Cunha made it but left herself with a very tough 9 ball and to her credit, she potted it to lead 4-3 in the race to six. With two balls left on the table in the next, a long 7 ball failed to drop for Cunha, but Michl’s pot saw the cue ball cannon into the 9 to make the shot more difficult than she would have liked but with rest in hand, she rolled it in to level.

With two balls left on the table in the ninth game, Michl failed to pot the 8 ball and then scratched with ball-in-hand, and Cunha took them both to reach the hill at 5-4. The British representative saved her best till last as, under some pressure, she ran the remaining five balls on the table to record a 6-4 victory and with it her first ever European Championships gold medal.

Cunha was delighted with her win; “I’m really emotional as I can’t believe this just happened. I’m so pleased! I’ve been having some coaching and I’ve been trying to rely on the things I’ve been learning.

“I’ve tried to improve my game and keep my head away from the score. I was 5-1 down in the semi-final and got it back so I was really pleased with my focus given the circumstances I always want to learn more and improve more and try and be the best I can be,” she added.

Medals – Ladies 9-Ball

Gold –          Alexandra Cunha (POR)
Silver –        Karin Michl (GER)
Bronze –        Ina Helvik (NOR)
Susanne Wessel (GER)

Matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com

Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com

EPBF European Championship – 10 Ball Golds For Andersson And Specchia

Ulrike Andersson and Sascha Specchia

The 10 Ball Division concluded today at the EPBF / Dynamic Billiards European Seniors Championships in Treviso, Italy and there were gold medals for Ulrike Andersson of Sweden in the ladies’ division and Switzerland’s Sascha Specchia in the men’s’.

13 players contested the ladies’ tournament and it was Andersson who prevailed in the final, beating Germany’s Susanne Wessel 5-3 in an exciting encounter in which both players’ lack of success on the break shot added to the drama.

Earlier in the competition Andersson had been defeated 5-1 by Wessel at the winners’ qualification stage so her success in the final was all the sweeter. With the match finely poised at 3-3, Wessel frustratingly delivered her fourth dry break of the final and it was Andersson who got things rolling with a tremendous pot.

She made a poor positional shot though, making the orange 5 more difficult than it should have been and consequently missed it.  Wessel then took up the running but heartbreakingly scratched going from 7 to 8. With ball in hand, Andersson cleared to reach the hill with the break in her favour.

Another dry break though saw Wessel return to try and save the match. Working her way through the table, the German lady fell short on the 6 ball. The balls were there for the taking and Andersson composed herself to run through to the 10 ball before her opponent conceded it to hand her the title.

The win completed a career hat trick of senior European Championship titles for Andersson as she added to 8 ball and 9 ball titles won at previous European Championships.

“After losing to Susanna earlier, I improved through the day and played my best game of the tournament in the final and I’m really happy about that. I won my first European Championship title in the straight pool division in 1999!

“Of course, now I’m going to try for the 8 and 9 ball divisions. Try to love the game as much as I do and maybe you will in it,” She added.

In the men’s division it was Sascha Specchia who put in a dominating performance in the championship match to defeat compatriot Murat Ayas by 7-1. The 47 year-old from Lyss, Switzerland, moved effortlessly through the winner’s side of the 72-man field, winning seven matches in total on his way to the gold medal.

Wins against Gianluca Boni (7-0) and Zdenko Lisik (7-4) got the Swiss into the last 32 where he defeated Tuesday’s straight pool gold medallist Jorge Tinoco. A brace of Italian players – Riccardo Sini and once again, Boni, were his last 16 and quarter-final victims respectively.

A win over Sweden’s Morgan Norberg saw Specchia guarantee at least a silver medal. His opponent in the final, Murat Ayas, lost his opening game which always adds pressure, but he battled through to the semi-final where he defeated Reiner Wirsbitzki, to hand the German a bronze medal to add to the silver he had already won in the straight pool division.

The final itself didn’t really take off as Specchia ran away with it to earn the coveted gold medal.

Commented Specchia; “I don’t know what to say! I’ve won gold in the Junior’s, silver in the Men’s and silver in the Seniors and now gold so it’s been a beautiful day for me.

“It’s not really easy to play against a friend and team mate, but a final is a final and we play pool and pool is a single sport and we both wanted to win,” he added.

Medals – Men

Gold –          Sascha Specchia (SUI)
Silver –        Murat Ayas (SUI)
Bronze –        Morgan Norberg (SWE)
Reiner Wirsbitzki (GER)

Medals – Ladies

Gold –          Ulrike Andersson (SWE)
Silver –        Susanne Wessel (GER)
Bronze –        Alexandra Cunha (GBR)
Karin Michl (GER)

Play continues on Friday the men’s and ladies’ 8 ball divisions.

Matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com

Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com