Once again, billiards, snooker, darts and bowling are allowed in the café. At least, if it’s for points or for training, but not for fun. Recreationally throwing darts or making carom is still not allowed. “I think that’s a shame,” replied Luke Sebregets of billiard café De Ploeg from Halle. “As if all vacationers are troublemakers, when this is usually about pensioners.”
Biljartcafé De Ploeg in Halle-Zoersel was one of the cases to criticize the ban, which has been in effect since December 26 with a window protest. Because if six people are sitting at a table and twenty people are allowed to exercise, why not safely tap a ball on a green leaf while you are masked? Luc Sebregues (70), along with seven-time Belgian champion and former European vice-champion De Ploeg’s Daniel Le Bruyne (62), changed his text behind the window on Friday with the message “Closed because it must” After some cutting and pasting “Open because it is allowed”“.
Now Locke replies, “But I hit carom too early.” “The ruling by the State Council on Friday is more complex than I thought. Training and competitions are allowed again, but fun pool is not yet available. Why? Because presumably vacationers are more inclined to chat with each other and walk back and forth between tables. 50% Of our clients they play recreationally. These are mostly retired ones. I don’t understand why they are taken for troublemakers. Billiards is not a contact sport. All these people have their own hints. They are such habitual creatures that they usually play the same billiards.”
Luc is pleased that the contest will start again starting Monday. “The phone is red hot and the pool players are asking when the game will start. We will make up for all the postponed matches.”
De Ploeg has many teams, including some with mischievous names like De Vrolijke Stoters. The names of the darts teams at the Eetcafé New Arena in Deurne are funny, too. Pat Lathors (59) plays darts at The Mighties on Friday and The Underdogs on Saturday. Tony Muller (52) and Kimi Blumen (44) opened the Eetcafé New Arena in June last year in the building that used to be nine-time world billiards champion Ludo Dielis. Meanwhile, the New Arena already has five pool clubs, three more on the way, and four darts clubs. A catering company with several competitor players, including Ronnie Hubrechts, brother of professional darts player Kim Heubrechts. “But also fortunately with so many diners in the afternoon, which means we haven’t had to close our doors in the last two weeks,” says Tony.
It was really busy at the New Arena on Saturday, especially at the pool table and pool table. He was a bit quieter when shooting darts. “This is due to the resumption of the pool competition on Monday, but the darts competition is still suspended due to the closing date,” explains Tony. Darts teams have more players than pool teams.
Even without the competitions, Pat is relieved that he can return to the café with his arrows. “Cafe training is more fun than training a dog at home.” For the past two weeks, Pat has been forced to follow every game of the World Darts Championship on TV. “Four in the afternoon and four in the evening. Finally I got tired of seeing him.”
Martin Berinks, 21, has only been playing darts for a month as his girlfriend Stevie lit him up at De Nachtuilen in the New Arena. “In the cafe I learn a lot from the attitude of others. At home, you are just standing there alone,” he says eagerly. Little did I know that pecking birds was so hard. “That’s because of that mouth mask. Vogelpik is something completely different than darts, by the way,” Tony corrects us, “and it’s played on a smaller board.”
At Café De Vogelzang in Pulderbos, I am happy to hear the beats of the familiar balls again. With six competing teams and three tables, there’s plenty to do here again. “Although not everyone realizes it yet,” thinks pastor Eddie Polancé. Guido Bellens (69) of pool team Garage Van Doninck is no longer hoping to be able to train in January. “I am very happy,” he says. “At home I don’t have space to put a pool table. Besides pool I have a bit of entertainment. In the past few weeks I’ve come for a drink with the regular guys in the pub. But then you still itch when you see those tables.”
On Monday, Gedo plays his first match in Berchem. His coaching partner today is Bèreke Mens (66), who is also a member of the Garage Van Doninck team. He read on Facebook that coffee training is allowed again.
“Totally relax after those holidays,” Jo Van Stein, 56, described feeling like he could bring his chalk back. He plays a game against Peter Bervoetz (54), who is hoping to pick up some great points again tonight.