Dutch League Final

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OLIVER Dutch Play Off 2004 (31 may 2004)

Stephen Cooke lst Lucas Buit  15/5, 15/11, 15/8
Ong Beng Hee bt Joe Kneipp  15/13, 15/13, 15/8
Thierry Lincou lst David Palmer  5/15, 11/15, 8/15
Azlan Iskandar bt Borja Golan  15/11, 8/14, 15/10, 15/6

Zwolle win fourth
title in five years
Jacques van Leeuwen reports from Rotterdam

The climax of the Dutch team championship was a close encounter between two teams that did not want to bow for each other. Of course there must be a winner in the end, but also the runner up Victoria Rotterdam, deserved more. It was the second time in a row that the formation from Rotterdam lost the final. Last year in Amsterdam versus HSRC from The Hague and now in front of their home crowd against Zwolle.

According team manager Thony Schwab from Zwolle the title was expected, but not in the way it went. Nine times former Dutch champion, Lucas Buit, beat the teaching pro of Victoria, Stephen Cooke, in straight games.

In the second match things went wrong regarding the game plan of Zwolle. The best league player of the last five years, Joe Kneipp, lost to the surprise of Zwolle against Ong Beng Hee. Kneipp has a record of 60 wins against only 5 losses. Kneipp showed recently his good shape in the Super Series final. Maybe his short “working” holiday in Dubai destroyed his good shape. Kneipp was not fit enough but Ong Beng Hee on the contrary certainly was.

Ong who played his best squash for Victoria this season, over classed his opponent by accurate and fast squash. Kneipp had to work very hard in the first and second game to stay in the match, but collapsed in the third. Ong outplayed Kneipp and won in straight games as well.

The score was equal now and the team manager from Victoria Jacques van Leeuwen, saw the chances of his team had increased enormously. Especially with Thierry Lincou in perfect shape and playing for his home crowd. However things went differently again.

Thierry played beneath his level, –“Ce n’était pas mon jour” he explained after the match- and had no chance against Palmer. Palmer played very consistent, hardly making any mistakes and worked Lincou around the court. Lincou couldn't find his rhythm and concentration and made too many unforced errors. But he also was up against a very strong David Palmer. Palmer explained that he is back on track again. He is fit and injury free. Palmer was eager to play, because he had missed too many tournaments this season. Palmer beat Lincou with 3-0 and also added 21 points to the positive game score of Zwolle.

In the deciding match between Azlan Iskandar and Borja Golan, Zwolle needed 16 point or a game. Iskandar started furious but Golan kept his head cool and hanged in the game. Iskandar won the first game with 15-11, but his mission seemed impossible. In the second game Borja Golan won the necessary points and even the game.

The fourth title for Zwolle was a fact. For the record, Iskandar won the match with 3-1 but that was just a formality.

      PLAY OFF FINAL 2004  





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