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Dutch super team SIS is the best again: 4th title


Published by frits bakker

The SIS team after winning the title: left to right Eddy Merckx, Jean van Erp, Carl Verhoeven, Raimond Burgman, Martien van der Spoel, Raymund Swertz and Jan van de Vorle

UDEN/OOSTERHOUT – The long marathon ended with an intensely wonderful feeling. The Dutch premier league welcomed its hard-earned champion this Sunday evening after a long competition and grueling play-offs: SIS Schoonmaak, the very best three-cushion team in the Netherlands for about five years, was able to extend the title after the champions defeated the last opponent in their own crowdy billiards center in Uden. They had defeated Team Eekhoorn in what ultimately became a jump-off over three almost unpredictable encounters. The score was 4-4 in the first match in Oosterhout, then SIS Schoonmaak won 8-0 in the second match in Uden, but because the final had not yet been decided on match points, it was followed by a third meeting. Due to the 8-0 victory in the final count, SIS Schoonmaak only had to draw one match of four, but even that simple task was a complicated story.

Team Eekhoorn won the first two matches in the first session of that third match with Peter Ceulemans and Jerry Hermans, meaning that the challenger still had a chance in the match. What was already was counted at that moment, however, were the caroms for and against. The favorable score of SIS Schoonmaak gave a lead of 37 caroms: so even if SIS lost that third match 8-0, 37 caroms for Eddy Merckx and Raimond Burgman together could suffice for the championship.

That scenario ultimately played the decisive role. Because in the crucial phase of the games between Eddy Merckx and Nikos Polychronopoulos and between Raimond Burgman and Frans van Kuyk, indeed it came down to those caroms made. When Eddy Merckx led against Nikos Polychronopoulos 23-13, Raimond Burgman was behind 25-13 against Frans van Kuyk. That means: SIS had made 36 caroms at that time. Raimond Burgman's number 14 was therefore number 37 for SIS Schoonmaak.

Without playing any further, Jan van de Vorle, the team leader, announced that the championship had been won. He fell into the arms of Carl Verhoeven, the team boss and sponsor, and barely avoided a polonaise of cheering fans on their way to the winning team.

This weekend's championship team consisted of Eddy Merckx, Jean van Erp, Raimond Burgman, Raymund Swertz and Martien van der Spoel, the five players who earned the majority of the success in the regular competition. SIS Schoonmaak and Team Eekhoorn have been in positions 1 and 2 for the entire competition. Team Eekhoorn reached the final at the expense of Cues&Darts and Zundert, who were defeated in the play-offs.

The final clash, with the title at stake, became a grueling battle, which remained in balance on Saturday at Camping De Eekhoorn with victories by Eddy Merckx and Raymund Swertz for SIS Schoonmaak and Frans van Kuyk and Peter Ceulemans for Team Eekhoorn. The first match of the return was a display of power from SIS, which won 8-0, but the team was not yet certain of the championship after that monster score.

That only happened after Peter Ceulemans and Jerry Hermans had created tension with a win against Jean van Erp (40-27 in 24) and Raymund Swertz (40-36 in 47). But the home team had to wait for the final victory: that was only the fact after Eddy Merckx and Raimond Burgman had shown the last tricks in their matches against Nikos Polychronopoulos and Frans van Kuyk to certainly retain the championship in the arena of SIS Schoonmaak.

How wonderful it must be for the team and for Carl Verhoeven, who after four championships with his team has announced that he will take a small step back with sponsorship, but will continue to direct the top team. The reward of his players could bring the SIS boss to emotions as if it were his first title.

The multiple champion and cup holder remains a formidable rival for the top teams in the Premier League. However, Dick Jaspers, who rarely played this year, has announced his departure and Eddy Merckx is also leaving. That loss will certainly make SIS Schoonmaak weaker.

There was also a lot of appreciation for Team Eekhoorn, which played such a great competition and has always competed for the top positions. That team will remain the same with Nikos Polychronopoulos, Peter Ceulemans, Frans van Kuyk, Kurt Ceulemans and Jerry Hermans, as it stood at the tables this weekend in the final of the play-offs.

The excellent runner-up team: Eekhoorn