(Karlovy Vary) Which great club has not experienced the same like Liapor Karlovy Vary? Futnet event perfectly prepared, favoring standing (minimum in public meaning), almost all the tournament growing in presumption … Simply expected success! However the futnet ball is round and do not sell crop before harvest. So the Club World Cup did not stay home in Carlsbad but it was grabbed by Romanian raiders. And to be honest – truly!
Liapor Karlovy Vary was the very first club which initiated foundation of the international competition of club champions in 1995. First time the cup was held in Harrachov (Czechia) one year later and Czech champion did not get the title in spite of its best player formation. At that time the cup belonged to the main rival DPMK Kosice. In following years the World Cup was held and was not held, Czechs sometimes won this valuable trophy and in 2002 inBrasov (Romania) the winner was Liapor Karlovy Vary for the first time. Even national teams played such tournaments and Czechs fought in finals against Slovaks until one year … It was in 2012 and Nymburk (Czechia) welcome President’s Cup. Czechs (third in standings) and Slovaks (second) did not nominate the best players and surprisingly Romanians celebrated victory under leadership of universal soldier Purice. Let’s jump in time five years and Romanian players, again formed round their ambidextrous leader Bobis, shocked on the Czech courts once more.
UNIF Club World Cup 2017 got a very solid experienced organizer and the new sport hall of ball games offered a convenient background. Smaller disappointment was spectators – thanks to extraleague interruption the international cup was expected to be visited by more than two hundred spectators. Also programme prolonged to late evening hours was not positive.
First part of the event offered matches in two basic groups with four teams. Playing system was unusual, decisive criterion was not number of winning disciplines but winning sets. In group A the winner was sovereign home team which won all three matches without loss of any set! Advance to semifinal pleased French team Tennis–Ballon Olonnais which won two victories and one loss (sets 12:10). The 3rd was Hungarian team Százhalombatta (sets 9:13) and the last place belonged to Polish KS Blokers Lodz (2:18). Curiosity – all six matches finished with score 3:0. Group B appeared to be more equal. First place was seized by Romanians of Tengo Salonta after three victories 3:0 (sets 18:2), second place was for Slovak champion NO KAC Kosice (11:8), third for FT GUS from Switzerland (9:11) and the last place for Ukrainian Healthgroup Kyiv (1:18). In this group spectators watched interesting match for the first place where Romanian champion beat its Slovak rival. Though the match was not exciting because more points were rival’s faults than winning balls. Five or six failed points in one set do not lead to victory even in lower-level competitions. You could see many players had no much experience with one-bounce play.
The same could be seen in Romanian-French semifinal – it was like a cat and a mouse game. Frenchs played equably only one set in doubles, obtained double canary and went to take a shower (no 3rd place match was held). On the contrary play on the other court was dramatic. Home team started to win in single where Hron beat I. Hulin in the 3rd set. But Kosice did not resign and thanks to Belko and M. Hulin beat Vanke and Bibr in the long 3rd set. Triple was expected to be home gain and J.Medek, M.Medek, Kokstein and later Vanke won in two sets against Belko, I. Hulin a Siladi. Everything was clear in the second double where J.Medek and Kokstein prohibited no difficulties and quite obviously beat Frolov, Siladi and substitute Prachar.
Long day declined and final battle between home team and Romanian Salonta was open by single players. Hron made hard but Bobis already revealed who was the boss. His self-confidence was proved for example by volley impact to Hron’s service and winning kick in score 14:13 in the 1st set. And Romanians were also successful in doubles where Vanke, Bibr and substitute Kokstein failed again – against theoretically weaker double A.Sorean and Nagy. It was the crucial point of latter winner. home team was down and Vanke, Hron, M.Medek and substitute J.Medek had to do their best to win the 1st set. The 2nd set was clear for Liapor but J.Medek suffered muscle injury and quit play which complicated situation for the second home double. So 48‑year-old veteran Blaha had to support Hron and despite M.Medek’s substitution it was evident that only some miracle would salve them. No miracle came even when home double succeeded to surprise Bobis and L.Sorean (substitute Acs) in the 1st set. Though Romanians improved their play and another two sets led under their scenario to final victory.
“Already semifinal with Kosice was hard, young Slovak players did not play badly at all. Final match did not start good but the Hron’s defeat could be expected. We counted on victory of our first double against their weaker which did not happen. That match was decided by excellent Romanian field play and attack preparation. In addition, they made only minimum mistakes in attacking – we were jerkier. In triple we were favorite and our rival worried us only in the 1st set, the 2nd set was clearly ours thanks to Honza Vanke’s performance. Unfortunately we lost Kuba Medek and I had to play in the second double. The beginning was good, I succeeded with several blocks. However we started badly in the 2nd and 3rd set, were behind and could not play our style. In the end of the tournament it was quite exhausting. Romanians know one-bounce play better, for us the futnet double is much different discipline. And a question is the result of the second single if we won. Certainly we are disappointed of the defeat. Who would not be if the favorite lose home final. However were we really favorite? For example Slovak coach Bertko told me before the tournament that for him just Rumanians are favorite. Personally I am disappointed of Hungarians, they did not fight. And I expected more from French players. I also regret that there were not many spectators coming, but today a few sport events took place. One way or another it was for us good experience to play under international rules again”, said Karel Blaha, the most experienced Carlsbad player.
So Romanians after years managed to surprise Czech organizers again. In spite of smaller figures their players have best quality in individual player’s activities except for fierce triple smashes and blocks. Here they miss some tall forcible player such as Carlsbad’s Vanke or J.Medek or Kosice’s Belko. Though they show high quality play in combinations during attack preparation. Generally there was evident difference to be seen between quality of players who play one-bounce futnet and two-bounce nohejbal.
1.Tengo Salonta (Romania)
2. SK Liapor Witte Karlovy Vary (Czechia)
3. NO KAC Kosice (Slovakia)
4. Tennis–Ballon Olonnais (France)
5. FT GUS (Switzerland)
6. Szazhalombatta (Hungary)
7. KS Blokers Łodz (Poland)
8. Healthgroup Kyiv (Ukraine)
Translation: Vlastimil Stehlík