Shaw goes undefeated to win 5th Annual Steinway Classic
Skip Maloney - AzB Staff
Oct. 27, 2016
Oct. 27, 2016
Shane Van Boening, Jayson Shaw and Carlo Biado
It was just the sort of final match that pretty much anyone could have hoped for. The 5th Annual Steinway Classic, held from October 24-26 at Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY came down to two of the best in the business, Shane Van Boening and Jayson Shaw, who, a week earlier had finished 1st and 3rd, respectively, at the 41st Annual US Open 9-Ball Championships. They finished 1st and 2nd in this one, with Shaw coming back from an early deficit in the finals to win it in the end. The $7,000-added event drew 79 entrants to Steinway Billiards.
As had happened at the 4th Annual Steinway Classic, the 2016 Classic benefited from its temporal proximity to the US Open. Held one week later, the Steinway Classic, for the second year in a row, drew an international field of competitors. By the time it had worked its way down to its final 12 players, only one American, Shane Van Boening, was left.
Though Shaw and Van Boening were among the winners' side final eight, they never did meet up until the finals. Van Boening, looking real good, shut Dennis Orcollo out to move into a winners' side semifinal against Carlo Biado. To this point, through four opponents, including Dennis Orcollo and Darren Appleton, Van Boening was running at a 73% winning percentage (36-13). Shaw, in the meantime, in his winners' side quarterfinal, sent Kai Lun Hsu to the loss side 9-5 to meet Chun Po King in the other winners' side semifinal. Biado moved into the hot seat on the heels of a 9-5 victory over Van Boening. Shaw joined him with a 9-3 win over King. Shaw claimed the hot seat 9-7 over Biado, completing a six-match run (opening round bye) with just shy of a 63% winning percentage, allowing his opponents between five and six racks per game in the races to nine.
Over on the loss side, both Appleton and Earl Strickland (along with Nick Milaj and Alex Kazakis) failed to make it among the final 12. Mika Immonen did and defeated Orcollo in a double hill fight and Ruslan Chinakhov 9-6 to pick up Chung Po King. Van Boening drew Vilmos Foldes, who'd eliminated Yi Ko Pin 9-5 and Lee Van Corteza 9-7.
Van Boening and The Iceman advanced to the quarterfinals with identical 9-4 victories over Foldes and King. Van Boening got out to a comfortable lead on Immonen in those quarterfinals, but the Iceman kept chipping away, until he'd tied things up and eventually forced a deciding 17th game. Van Boening was in his chair as Immonen took aim at the last 10-ball. Normally, he might have jumped up and congratulated Immonen right then and there, but he sat still and watched as Immonen missed an easy, straight-in shot. Immonen literally fell over onto his back with the shock of that miss, and it seemed as though Van Boening never quite recovered from having resigned himself to losing that quarterfinal match.
On to his re-match against Biado in the semifinals. Again, Van Boening took a strong lead (7-0), but watched as Biado, like Immonen before him, chipped away at it. Van Boening stopped the bleeding at 9-5 to earn his shot at Shaw in the finals.
For the third straight time, Van Boening opened a match with a good lead; this time 4-0 before Shaw chalked one up. Shaw won two, in fact, before Van Boening responded with another. Shaw came right back and dropped a six-pack on the Dakota Kid, which included a thoroughly disheartening win that knotted things at 5-5. Van Boening missed an easy shot at the 10-ball, and Shaw came back to hit a full-table-length bank shot to put it in. Shaw went on to win three more and take a lead that he'd never give up.
At 8-5, Van Boening won his first game since he'd led at 5-2, but Shaw came right back and added three more. Game mode shifted to more safety play at this point. Van Boening chalked up two and pulled within three at 11-8, as the AZBTv commentators began contemplation and hopes for an eventual double hill, final game.
Shaw won game #20, but broke dry in game #21. He eventually missed a shot at the 8-ball, and frustrated, swept the table with his stick to end it. Van Boening won the next game, as well, narrowing Shaw's lead down to two, at 12-10. Shaw widened the gap to four, with two in a row, reaching the hill at 14-10. Van Boening came back to win one more, but Shaw closed it out to claim the event title. The live stream, which had worked flawlessly all evening long, inexplicably cut out as Shaw was shooting at the 6-ball in that final rack and didn't come back up until Tony Robles was at the microphone for the trophy presentation.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards' staff for their hospitality and continuing support, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Molinari by Predator, NAPL, Ozone Billiards, PoolOnTheNet.com, Billiards Press (Phil Cappelle), and The DeVito Team.