MELK – When the championship was in the bag for Magali Declunder, the 54-year-old French player made one small misstep within sight of the finish line. With six victories and a superior average, she could already celebrate a new European title. The last match, against Belgian Karolien Matthys, was lost in one inning, 150-95, because the champion made a small mistake right on her way to 100 points.
Just one little misstep in the race to her 13th European title in free game, making her the best player in history in this discipline. The most experienced player in the final field of 8 players showed her supremacy from the start of the European Championship, which was played in Melk, Austria.
On the final day, Declunder first had to play the Dutch, triple European champion Monique van Exter. In that match, she started from the spots, seemed to build a flawless run, but lost the ideal position by a clumsy turn in one of the corners. Yet, Declunder kept on scoring and she finished at 150. The Dutch lady made only 5 points in the equalizer and from that moment on, Declunder already secured the championship.
Belgian Karolien Matthys could only come on the same match points by a victory on Declunder in the last match. That happened: Matthys made 150 points in one inning, Declunder stopped at 95. With that victory, Matthys finished equal in match points (12), but in average Declunder was the best by far: 76,53 against 17,88.
Susanne Stengel-Ponsing from Austria became third on the podium with 10 points and 15,77 and also a maximum run of 150. Christel Willemse was fourth with 8 points and 11,32 (run 81), Monique van Exter fifth with 6 points and 17,23.
Heike Hingerl came in sixth (6 points, 7,03-6) before her compatriots Silvia Simulak (2-2,45-12) and Petra Scholze (0-1,86-11).
On the European podium: Magali Declunder (m) with Karolien Matthys (r) and Susanne Stengel-Ponsing