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Nikos wants to give it all to win the title with Eekhoorn


Published by frits bakker

© Ton Smilde
Nikos Polychronopoulos in a hard fight with Eddy Merckx for the team title this weekend

OOSTERHOUT – The days coming up will be two of the most important days of the year for the Greek Nikos Polychronopoulos, his two Dutch and two Belgian teammates in the Dutch premier league. This Saturday and Sunday, SIS Schoonmaak, the title holder, and Team Eekhoorn, the challenger, will meet in a double encounter for the title in the Kozoom league for teams. The first showdown is in De Eekhoorn in Oosterhout tomorrow, Saturday June 8, from 1 p.m., the return is Sunday June 9 from 12 p.m. in the SIS Schoonmaak billiard arena in Uden.

On the eve before we look ahead on behalf of Kozoom with Nikos Polychronopoulos, the Greek number 16 in the world rankings and successful leader in Team Eekhoorn. He arrived in the afternoon on Friday, took a short rest in his hotel and then left for De Eekhoorn for a few hours of training.

Nikos is facing a very busy period of traveling up and down and playing a lot of matches. The World Cups in Bogota, Ho Chi Minh and Ankara follow each other in high speed, and the Greek also plays competitions in the Netherlands and France. "With my wife Vaso (having 13-year-old daughter Maria-Anna) and three others we run a billiards center in busy Athens. I calculated that I flew to and from competitions about 60 to 80 times last year. A total of about 120 days away to play billiards."

Nikos makes sure it's 'part of the job', because complaining is not in his nature. The Greek whirlwind has had a very good year, including the European team title with Greece, victory in a Survival tournament and a highlight in the World Cup in Veghel with a run of 25. "We have to constantly compete on a very high level'', Nikos realizes. "My ranking has improved greatly, I am very close to the top 14, but with so many top players it’s hard to achieve that ranking."

Nikos will complete the competition in the Dutch Premier League this weekend in the play-offs. With 1.803 on average over 15 games, he was one of the absolute stars in the league with its many national and international stars. Nikos enjoys playing in the Netherlands, he assures.

"I have no problems traveling a lot and being away from home a lot, as long as it is an environment in which I feel well. De Eekhoorn is a wonderful club. I was asked by Jerry (Hermans) to come and play and with Frans van Kuyk, Peter and Kurt Ceulemans it immediately felt good. We have become a team of friends. That’s why I would love to win the Dutch title with Team Eekhoorn, which has never been the best in the Premier League."

He estimates the chances are fifty-fifty. "It is already very nice that we are in the final, but now we want to win against a very strong opponent. I play against Eddy Merckx my self, we know each other very well from all international tournaments. I will give it all to win in the double that we play with each other. It will be a great fight, hopefully in front of a big audience."

The good thing about the climax is that the two teams, SIS Schoonmaak and Team Eekhoorn, have been number one and two in the rankings for the entire competition.

The matches on Saturday in De Eekhoorn are:

13.00: Kurt Ceulemans, Raymund Swertz and Frans van Kuyk-Raimond Burgman

3 p.m.: Nikos Polychronopoulos-Eddy Merckx and Peter Ceulemans-Jean van Erp.

Sunday in SIS center:

12.00: Martien van der Spoel-Jerry Hermans and Jean van Erp-Peter Ceulemans

2 p.m.: Eddy Merckx-Nikos Polychronopoulos and Raimond Burgman-Frans van Kuyk.

 The decision will only be made if one of the two teams reaches four match points over the four matches. If there is a tie in one of the two meetings, there will certainly be a third match until a team reaches four match points.

 The possible third match will start around 6 p.m. on Sunday in Uden.

 All matches can be seen live on Kozoom.