Is it time to rescucitate the Belgian Open?

The 2021 EBSA Championships, played in Portugal, concluded yesterday.

I’m Belgian, as most of you already know, and as such I followed the fate of my fellow citizens in those competitions. It ain’t too bad …

The under-18 championship had an all Begian final, with Ben Mertens (16) beating Julien Leclercq (18) in the final.

EBSA U-18 2021 - Finalist Ben Mertens and Julien Leclercq

Both lads played in the World qualifiers before and both did beat their professional opponent in the first round. Ben became, and remains, the youngest player to win a match in that competition.

Julien Leclercq

 

Julien Leclercq managed to reach the final of the under-21 competition as well. He lost to the more experienced Dylan Emery, narrowly missing out on a tour card.

 

Wendy Jans won the women competition. She beat Jamie Hunter by 4-1 in the final to win the European Women’s Snooker Championship for a record 13th time!

Dean Young, Wendy Jans, Challenge Tour at the Max Belgium

Wendy presenting Dean Young with the trophy after he won a challenge tour event at her club

And finally … Julien got his hands on a trophy when, with his partner Kevin Hanssens, he won the Men’s Team event. They beat the experienced Wales 1 team – Darren Morgan and Elfed Evans – by 5-2 in the final.

Yes, there is good snooker played outside the UK, even in tiny Belgium. Looking at the results above, maybe now is the time to rescucitate the Belgian Open? I think there is a case for it. And not in the form of an event where local wildcards / invited players need to go to the UK to win two qualifying matches in an uninspiring venue for a chance to play in front of their home fans. NO! Such event should be played from round 1, at the final venue, as the Home Nations used to be, and should “return” to be. 

 

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