BERLICUM - The title recently slipped from his fingers twice, but after this Sunday, Dick Jaspers is Dutch best again in billiards. In the Beneluxtheater in Berlicum, the world number one won the final at the Jumbo Masters 5-2 against Jean Paul Paul de Bruijn. The two final players will represent their country at the World Championship for national teams in Viersen in three months.
Jaspers earns the 30 points for the world ranking with his title and ran slightly further ahead of Dani Sánchez and Marco Zanetti. For his 21st Masters title and 22nd Dutch title, Dick Jaspers (57) was not really threatened in his final matches. Jean Paul de Bruijn did start the final with a 10-0 set win, but Jaspers hit right back with 10-0, won the third, ran out to 4-2 and put the crown on top after 4-3. The champion briefly raised a triumphant little finger in the air, received congratulations from the outgoing champion and said in the Ziggo interview in the arena that he was happy with the title, glad that it was done because he's facing a long Korean marathon of matches and said that winning the title was more important than his still better position in the world rankings.
The Jumbo Masters had a bizarre start for the later winner, as Jaspers was defeated in his first game by Frans van Schaik, the showman and outsider at this championship. That was a bit of a shock for the world number one, who from then grew unapproachable in the Masters and emerged smoothly from the group phase. The knock-outs showed the very best Jaspers with wins over Jack Wijnen (4-0), Barry van Beers (4-0) and finally Jean Paul de Bruijn (5-2).
Dick Jaspers gave a speech afterwards in which he jokingly questioned the set system used to 10 points. ''I understand that the audience and TV viewers want excitement, but in such short matches we have to play grueling games.'' The new champion thanked the "fantastic organization," the hundreds of fans and kindly waved to the ol, former three cushion champions in the stands.
Also on the podium in the theater, apart from the two finalists, were Raimond Burgman, one of the routines and a contemporary of Jaspers and De Bruijn, and Barry van Beers, who turned 47 this Sunday and always hoping for his first Masters success. The tournament had started with sixteen, the quarter-finals were the end for Glenn Hofman, Dave Christiani, Jack Wijnen and Frans van Schaik and before in the preliminary Jean van Erp and Jeffrey Jorissen.
Harry Mathijssen, organizer with his foundation, and Paul Brekelmans, chairman of three-cushion, said in the closing speech that they were very happy with such a great audience, so much quality and sportsmanship. That the BEN organization wants to improve every year and for the players to increase the prize money of the Jumbo Masters.
Dick Jaspers, the Dutch champion again
The four players at the ceremony: Dick Jaspers, the winner, Jean Paul de Bruijn, Barry van Beers and Raimond Burgman
The overview of the semifinals:
Dick Jaspers-Barry van Beers 4-0
The signs were extremely favorable: the Brabant players Dick Jaspers and Barry van Beers were preparing for a nice battle with two players in rising form. Reality, however, overtook the predictions. Dick Jaspers was superior all the way in the match. He started the battle with a 10-8 set win, helped by a lucky shot for the last carom. The sequel was almost a high class demonstration from Jaspers. The score continued with 10-8 in 3, 10-3 in 3 and 10-4 in 6. And Jaspers qualified for a final against Jean Paul de Bruijn just like last year.
Dick Jaspers had a flawless feeling, he spoke later. ''I did very little wrong, just a few up-and-down balls that I didn't estimate correctly. But from the, I was in control of the game and so I was able to finish well four times. Too bad for Barry that it has to happen to him on his birthday.'' Barry van Beers, who turns 47 today and played the best match of the tournament against Jean van Erp in the preliminary round, mourned the missed chances. ''I got a few nice positions to come into the match, but I didn't take my chances. Unfortunately, I will have to wait another year for Masters success.''
The final ranking at the Jumbo Masters:
1 Dick Jaspers 1.889-9
2 Jean Paul de Bruijn 1.392-7
3 Barry van Beers 1.781-9
4 Raimond Burgman 1.264-8
5 Glenn Hofman 1.439-7
6 Dave Christiani 1.392-10
7 Jack Wijnen 1.035-7
8 Frans van Schaik 0.954-9
9 Jean van Erp 1.596-5
10 Raymund Swertz 1.024-6
11 Joey de Kok 0.975-9
12 Therese Klompenhouwer 0.905-6
13 Kay de Zwart 1.116-6
14 Jeffrey Jorissen 1.294-7
15 Adrie Demming 0.884-5
16 Jerry Hermans 0.893-6.
Dick Jaspers in the after-talk with Barry van Beers
Dick Jaspers after one of his rare misses
Barry van Beers, fighting to come back in the match
Jean Paul de Bruijn-Raimond Burgman 4-1
The match between the defending champion and the former winner, had an extra dimension, because the winner earns a ticket to participate at the European championship. De Bruijn actually could hope foe that place by CEB standards. Because of the ranking points earned at the Masters, the ticket is now also honored by the KNBB. The victory over Burgman was more than deserved, given De Bruijn's solid performance and his opponent's mediocre play in this match.
Jean Paul de Bruijn also had the best start with 10-5 in 8 and saw Burgman hit back only once, 10-4 in 4 for a 1-1 tie. That was Burgman's last attack, because after De Bruijn's 10-3 (5), things also went wrong in the crucial 5th set: Burgman missed an important bankshot and saw De Bruijn take advantage with a 10-8 set win. The fifth set underlined the mastery of de Zeeuw-player, who scored a flawless bankshot at 7-2 and edged out 10-2.
Jean Paul de Bruijn (right) and Raimond Burgman before they take off
Jean Paul de Bruijn, the title holder, is in the final again
Raimond Burgman, solid Masters, loss in the semi finals