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Poland return to defend crown

THE LONGONI 9 BALL LEAGUE is back for a second season as the EPBF 2023 calendar gets underway 

in Tallinn, Estonia. 2022 champions Poland will be back to defend their title in the scotch-doubles formatted pairs tournament. 

The first-round action gets underway on Friday evening 17th February as four race-to-seven matches take place at the Kalev Sports Hall. There are 12 nations competing and the top two highest ranked players on the Euro Tour rankings at the time of each round of matches will be representing their country. 

Last year it was the Polish pairing of Wiktor Zielinski and Wojciech Szewczyk who carried off the trophy. Maintaining a high ranking throughout the season allowed the duo compete in every stage of the tournament. However, a late season surge from Miesko Fortunski has seen him become the second highest ranked Pole but with Zielinski absent this time, Szewczyk gets the nod. 

The popular Pole commented, “I'm very glad that the Longoni 9 Ball League has come back this year and last year it turned out to be a great experience in many ways. It's perfect practice that puts you in the tournament mode right before the ET. 

“Scotch doubles format is quite motivating as you don't want to let down your partner by any means and it is also enjoyable when you share the table with your good friend as one team. Pool is very individual so it's refreshing to be able to share that emotion and have a laugh when things are going your way. 

“I was lucky to play all the matches last year and all of them together with Wiktor. I have a complete trust in his game and tremendous break that saved us a couple times but the probable situation of changing your partner along the way is a factor you have to take into account. 

“I think if you are winning it's more of an obstacle as you don't want to change something that seems to work. And specifically in the Polish team the top two can change from tournament to tournament. I am lucky to represent Poland for the opening match again as Mieszko took over from me in the rankings. Still, I have played with Mieszko many times, even twice representing Poland in WCoP so I am not worried at all about our chemistry.“ 

As per the format of the Longoni 9 Ball League, the bottom placed teams in the four groups from last year are replaced in 2023. That means that Albania, Greece, Serbia & Italy have stood down to be replaced with Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkish North Cyprus and Switzerland. 

The opening matches and groups are contained within the attached graphics and all matches can be viewed at https://www.reelive.de/stream-preview/streams 

Live scoring can be found at www.epbf.com

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