BERLICUM - The youngest player of four finalists at the Jumbo Masters is the only one of these four finalists who has never won the Dutch championship. Barry van Beers turns 47 tomorrow, Sunday, on the final day at the Masters. The Brabant home player will face Dick Jaspers in the semifinals(12.30), the other match is between Raimond Burgman and the defending champion Jean Paul de Bruijn (10.00). Three of these four finalists, all three former winners, are of the same generation: Dick Jaspers is 57, Jean Paul de Bruijn is 57 and Raimond Burgman 58. That should open the way for Barry van Beers to break the hegemony of the trio. The hunt for the trophy comes to a climax at the Beneluxtheater in Berlicum where challengers such as Glenn Hofman, Jean van Erp, Jeffrey Jorissen and Dave Christiani are not competing for the podium spots. The most notable match on Saturday, in the quarter-finals, was won by Jean Paul de Bruijn in a wonderful battle with his buddy from the Korean PBA adventure: Glenn Hofman.
Jean Paul de Bruijn, the 4-2 winner, constantly emphasized in the Ziggo interview that Glenn Hofman has become a dear friend. That did not stop the Zeeland reigning champion from ruthlessly dealing with the Hague player in the closing stages of that match with captivating set scores. The first was 10-1 for Hofman, then twice 10-0 for De Bruijn and 10-2 for Hofman to equalize (2-2). The match could start again, went in one set, the fifth, to a favorable finish for De Bruijn (10-6), who then also won the last one 10-1 and advanced 4-2 to the final day. The averages: for De Bruijn 1,791, for Hofman 1,173.
The other three winners had a kind of walk-over: Raimond Burgman was trounced only one set by Frans van Schaik all the way. The Amsterdam native then ran into Burgman's sword and couldn't make a decent run anymore. ''It was awful, I have no excuse'', sighed the former conqueror of Jaspers in these Masters after the match in which he could barely score 0.700. Burgman won, decisively, but without really shining. ,,It has to be a little better if I really want to compete for the title.'' The scoring: Van Schaik Burgman 10-8 in 10, 1-10 in 4, 3-10 in 7, 6-10 in 10 and 1-10 in 2 (series 6 and 4). The averages: 1,500/0,677, best runs 8 and 4.
Dick Jaspers already had quite a warm-up for the final stage at the Masters. His match opposite Jack Wijnen, who calls himself a glorified cafe billiard player, but could still shine with the best eight in the Netherlands. For the oldest player in these Masters (Wijnen is 60), with his extremely strange forehand (his thumb upside of the shaft), the highlight of his career came to an end against Jaspers with a 4-0 score: 10-2 in 3, 10-9 in 7, 10-1 in 4, 10-6 in 5.
And then Barry van Beers closed out the evening of the quarterfinals in a match against Dave Christiani that many were looking forward to. The Brabant star himself had played a flashy match on Friday night against Jean van Erp with a 3-0 victory (3.333 average) in barely half an hour. Limburg player Christiani had shone on the opening day with a strong win over Jean Paul de Bruijn.
The pair were bombed as favorites for the podium, but Dave Christiani could not fulfill that promise. Barry van Beers was the better player in the clash, winning the first two sets 10-2 and 10-7, forfeiting the third with four misses at 8-8, allowing Christiani to still rebound 10-8. In the last two sets Christiani was just about worn out and Van Beers grabbed the win: 4-1, 1.655 average against Christiani 1.037.
Barry van Beers, who is about to chase his dreams again, feels that his form and confidence are good enough for a serious title fight. ''I don't feel without a chance against Dick Jaspers though. And after all, last year I only lost 4-3,'' said the 2020 finalist, who with his 18 Masters participations is also counted among the routined players.
Barry van Beers in the final part of his match with Dave Christiani
Jean Paul de Bruijn beat his Korea-mate Glenn Hofman and moves up to the semi finals against Burgman
Glenn Hofman, a wonderful come-back comes to an end against Jean Paul de Bruijn
Dick Jaspers makes it to the best four in a 4-0 match with Jack Wijnen
Raimond Burgman is de tegenstander van Jean Paul de Bruijn in de halve finale