THE TWO TEAM gold medals were determined on Friday evening at the Dynamic Billard European Seniors Championships and it was Portugal who took the glory in the men’s division and the German ladies who triumphed. It was a late finish as the women’s final went to a deciding play-off but there was plenty of the drama that the team events always bring.
The men’s final saw Germany face off against Portugal, with two wins from the three matches securing the gold medal. Markus Kamuf was up against Manuel Pereira in the 8-ball, Harald Stolka faced Jorge Tinoco at 9-ball while Meric Reshat v Henrique Correia was the 10-ball game.
The overall match was well poised as Tinoco led Stolka 4-0 in the 9-ball, while Reshat was three to the good over Henrique Correia. That put additional weight on the 8-ball match which was looking like the decider barring comebacks in either of the other two.
Markus Kamuf had the early lead before Pereira made it 2-2 as Kamuf’s jump onto the 9 failed to go down. In the other two matches, Tinoco increased his lead to 5-0 while Reshat had moved the score onto 5-1. After trailing in the early stages, Pereira was in the ascendancy as he took the next and the lead for the first time at 3-2 as both the other matches looked to be heading toward one-sided wins.
That soon became 4-2 for Pereira while in the other two, Tinoco was 5-1 ahead, while Correia was eating into Reshat’s lead as he clawed another couple back to get to within two racks at 5-3. In the 8-ball, the Portuguese took the next and with Tinoco in such a commanding lead over Harald Stolka, gold for Portugal was looking like the favourite outcome.
Pereira took the next with a bank on the 8-ball to put himself on the hill with a four-rack lead. With Tinoco 6-1 ahead in his race-to-eight 9-ball match, something dramatic was required to deny Portugal their gold medals.
The first point went to Manuel Pereira who played extremely well for his 7-2 victory, but meanwhile on Table 3, Stolka was not quite done as he took two racks to trail 6-3. In the 10-ball, Meric Reshat was hanging on as his big lead started to evaporate as he went from 5-1 to 6-5. In the end, Reshat fell over the line, 7-6, leaving the title in the hands of Stolka and Tinoco.
Tinoco derailed his opponent’s revival to reach the hill after they both had visits with the 8 and 9-balls remaining and then the wily Jorge delivered the winning blow as he ran out the next rack for an 8-4 victory and team gold for Portugal.
Medals – Men
Gold: Portugal (Manuel Pereira, Jorge Tinoco, Henrique Correia)
Silver: Germany (Reiner Wirsbitzki, Harald Stolka, Markus Kamuf, Meric Reshat)
Bronze: Italy (Michele Monaco, Vittorio De Falco, Livio Antonazzo, Riccardo Taddei) & Poland (Roman Wasilewski, Tomasz Bak, Dominik Zajac, Dawid Jedrzejczak)
The ladies format differed from the men’s in the respect that there were just two matches – Birgit Heidorn v Stella Julien at 8-ball and Susanne Wessel against Karine Bendavid at 9-ball. After a combined five racks, the shoot-out was looking favourite as Julien led Heidorn 2-0, while Wessel was 3-0 up on Bendavid.
Julien added another to her tally, making it 3-0, while in the 9-ball game it was 4-1 to Wessel, further increasing the chance of a deciding shoot-out. However, Heidorn slowly clawed her way back into the game as she levelled it up at 3-3, while on the other table, Bendavid was making a match of it, trailing 4-2. The balance of probability looked in Germany’s favour but there was still plenty of pool to be played.
Wessel got on the hill though, and then Heidorn took the lead for the first time to leave things looking very shaky for the French. In the end Heidorn pulled off a tremendous 5-3 win after trailing 3-0, leaving it in the hands of her team mate Wessel. Unfortunately, the Germans were thwarted by the resilience of Karine Bendavid who really dug in to secure a play-off for France with a hard fought 6-5 win.
Unfortunately, it was not to be as the German duo took the two deciding 10-ball racks to secure the gold medals.
Medals – Ladies
Gold: Germany (Birgit Heidorn, Christine Steinlage, Susanne Wessel)
Silver: France (Stella Julien, Karine Bendavid)
Bronze: Finland (Tuuliina Panula, Tiina Nakari) & Sweden (Annika Nilsson, Ulrika Andersson, Louise Furberg)
Play continues to tomorrow (Saturday 20th) with the conclusion of the 8-ball division.
All the matches can be viewed live by visiting www.epbf.com/tournaments/european-championships/ and clicking on the ‘LIVE’ button. This will take you through to viewing options. In addition, selected matches will be streamed on Facebook Live on the EPBF page.
Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com