After a long week of qualification matches and final group matches, the last day of the European Team Championship had the four strongest foursomes in the semifinals. Hosts FC Porto, with Jaspers, Sánchez, Rui Costa and Ferreira were in with a chance, as were title defenders FBN Tekstil from Turkey (Tasdemir, Coklu, Capak and Salman). The two dangerous outsiders were BK Gröndal from Sweden (Nelin, Knudsen, Haack-Sörensen and Lohse), and of course BC Baulois from France, with Caudron, Bury, de Bruijn and de Vogelaere.
Morangis (Merckx, Uymaz, Roux, Reverchon), SIS Schoonmaak (Hofman, van Erp, Burgman, Jorissen) and SC de Portugal (Forthomme, van Kuyk, Theriaga, Franco) were among the stronger teams that were eliminated.
In the first semifinal, Porto’s two world stars did most of the heavy lifting. Jaspers controlled Nelin well (40-30 in 20) and Sánchez was too strong for Knudsen (40-16 in 21). The two matches on board three and four were terminated because the Danes could no longer win.
In the other semifinal, Murat Naci Coklu made things interesting with a win over Jeremy Bury (40-27 in 24) but de Bruijn neutralized that with a 40-32 in 27 victory over Can Capak. De Vogelaere and Salman were at 33-33, but Caudron took matters in his own hands. With a formidable run of 25 he ended his match against Tayfun Tasdemir (40-16 in 8), not only recording the best match of the week but also securing La Baule’s place in the final.
The Sunday afternoon now had another Porto – La Baule confrontation to look forward to, which would decide about the European Team title for 2019. At the halfway point, three of the four matches were in balance. Only Jaspers had built up a considerable lead over Caudron. Then the tide turned, and the Belgian mounted a spectacular comeback. With consecutive runs of 11, 13 and 6 he grabbed a second win over the reigning world champion: 40-34 in 13. Only moments later, Jean Paul de Bruijn added a second win for La Baule: 40-34 in 27 over Rui Costa. It meant the other two matches no longer mattered: Porto couldn’t win on points and La Baule took the coveted title.
1 BC Baulois
2 FC Porto
3 FBN Tekstil
4 BK Gröndal
The second-best match of the week deserves an honorable mention: Dion Nelin made a 40 in 9. The best match of the event and the high run were both made by Frédéric Caudron: 40 in 8 and a run of 25.