Winning in Viersen is a tough task. Just ask the hosts, Germany. Or the favorites: Belgium. Or last year’s surprise semifinalists Austria and Denmark. There is no way to get to the podium without beating several of the best players in the world. Even the title holders, South Korea, could not do it in 2019. It was Turkey that went all the way this year.
In the 2019 final, the Turks were much too strong for the Dutch: 40 – 22 in 17 innings. It was the fifth win for Turkey in this event, making them the second most successful country. With nine victories, Sweden is still the all-time leader.
On the closing Sunday, it was not so much the final that had the spectators on the edge of their seats: it was the two semifinals. The clash of the Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands) first looked like a one-sided affair, with the favorites Merckx and Caudron taking a commanding lead: 17-0. But Jaspers and Burgman mounted an impressive comeback and had the strongest nerves in the final innings: 40-37 in 26. Veteran Raimond Burgman excelled with several crucial points from tough positions, and some errors crept into the game of the Belgians who had won here four years in a row, between 2012 and 2015. World champion Dick Jaspers made the winning point.
The other semifinal, if possible, was even closer. All through the match, title holders Korea and challengers Turkey were competitive. The match progressed to – believe it or not – 37-37 and 39-39. Lütfi Cenet made the final point for Turkey, and Jae Ho Cho failed to equalize from the spots. It has to be said: a shootout would also have been a fair conclusion to this thriller of a match.
Cenet and Coklu got off to a much better start in the final than Jaspers and Burgman. The Dutch had to come from far behind for a third time, and this time they could not do it. The Turks played with confidence, made very few mistakes and protected their lead well. Coklu won his second Viersen gold, and so did Cenet.
Starting next year, the Scotch Double will no longer be used all through the tournament; it will only serve as a decider. The general impression is, that most fans and players will applaud that decision by the UMB.
Final ranking in Viersen 2019:
- Turkey 1,803
- Netherlands 1,564
- Belgium 1,713
- S. Korea 1,431