Edmonton hangs on to win first Alberta Cup trophy
Skip Maloney - AzB Staff
Jun. 29, 2017
Team Edmonton
Team Edmonton
Modeled after the Mosconi Cup ("with a twist," according to organizers), Cue Sports Live (CSL) held its first Alberta Cup, on the weekend of June 16-18. The 10-ball event pitted two of that Canadian province's cities against each other in teams of seven players each, drawn from six months of qualifiers. The cities of Edmonton and Calgary were represented by teams consisting of five men and two women, selected by slightly different processes. This 1st Annual Alberta Cup, was hosted by The Hidden Spot in Calgary, and saw the city of Edmonton claim the first title 15-13 over the city of Calgary.
 
Edmonton sported a team made up of seven players, which included their captain Garry Hauck. Eight qualifiers were held from which four males (Hauck, Rob Phillips, Carlos Barbosa, and Roger Colbert) and one female (Sandy Badger) were chosen. Hauck selected one more male (Brian Butler) and one more female (Cathy Metzinger). Calgary did things just a little differently, ending up with a team of seven players and a non-playing captain, Barry Hooey, who was chosen before the qualifying players had been identified. As with Edmonton, the qualifiers produced four males (Jason Onespot, Eric Vargas, Ben Francis, and Albert Augustin) and a female (Joanne Ashton), after which Hooey added one male (Joe Spence) and one female (Bev Ashton)
 
Edmonton got on the board first in Day One by winning the team match 8-1 (the only match that went to 8; all others were races to 5). Alternating between scotch doubles and singles, Edmonton took the next four, as well, and were up 5-0, having won 21 of the 32 games played. With one match to play on this opening day, a singles match, Calgary was, psychologically at least, in something of a must-win situation. Calgary's captain, Hauck, chose his personal pick for the team, Joe Spence, who stepped up to the challenge and downed Edmonton's Carlos Barbosa 5-1, which was also the score of the day's matches with Edmonton on top.
 
Calgary had some work to do on Day Two and they started off on the right foot, winning three straight double hill matches. Calgary's Joanne Ashton then downed Edmonton's Cathy Metzinger 5-2 to knot the teams at 5-5.
 
Edmonton wasted no time getting back into the swing of things, as Day Two progressed. Edmonton Captain Garry Hauck and his scotch doubles partner Rob Phillips defeated Calgary’s Ben Francis and Jason Onespot 5-2 to retake the team lead at 6-5. Edmonton went on to win five more, including a shutout by Edmonton’s scotch doubles team of Brian Butler and Sandy Badger over Calgary’s Erik Vargas and Joanne Ashton. Each team chalked up one more win to complete the Alberta Cup's second day, which ended with Edmonton up 12-6; three more matches away from victory.
 
  
As they'd done the day before, Calgary came to the tables on the final day (featuring all singles matches), looking to make up lost ground, and promptly chalked up four games to cut Edmonton's lead to 12-10. Calgary's Joanne Ashton, hoping to get her team within one, was on the hill in game #7 in this match (4-3) against Edmonton's Cathy Metzinger, when she (Ashton) scratched, shooting at the 9-ball. Metzinger closed out the game, putting the two of them at double hill (4-4).  Metzinger broke dry and with eight of the 10 balls in holes, Ashton found herself looking at an almost identical layout from the one she'd faced in the previous game.
 
"Well, this shot looks familiar," Ashton called out, as she took aim at the 9-ball. For the second game in a row, Ashton scratched shooting at the 9-ball, but this time, it cost her not only the game, but the match. It was Edmonton's first win of the final day and gave them the momentum shift they'd been looking for. 
 
Calgary chalked up match #24 to draw them back to within two at 13-11. Edmonton's Carlos Barbosa got to the hill first in game six (4-2) of match #25, but in game seven, missed a tough cut to give Calgary's Jason Onespot the break he needed to finish the rack and draw within one. Onespot broke and ran to force a deciding game. In that deciding game, Barbosa got to the 8-ball, looking at an easy layout on the 9-10, when he miscued and sunk the 8-ball in the wrong pocket. Onespot sunk the 9-ball, and left himself with perfect shape on the 10-ball. He sunk it to cheers from the Calgary fans in attendance, because the team was within one at 13-12.
 
At 3-3 in match #26, Edmonton's Rob Phillips, playing against Calgary's Erik Vargas, broke and ran to reach the hill first. In game #8, Phillips got as far as the 8-ball, poised to win the game, but scratched. Vargas finished the game, forcing a ninth and deciding game. Phillips promptly broke and ran to win the match, and put Edmonton on the hill at 14-12.
 
With the Alberta Cup on the line, Calgary's captain Brian Hooey put up the team's eventual MVP and his personal team pick, Joe Spence. Edmonton countered with Roger Colbert. Spence won 5-3, and, as the saying goes, the hometown and room Calgary crowd went wild, with their team now a single game away from double hill at 14-13.
 
Match #28 pitted Edmonton Captain Garry Hauck's pick, Brian Butler, against Calgary's Ben Francis. Butler took a quick 3-0 lead, but Francis came right back and chalked up two. Francis broke in game six and ran to the 8-ball, before rattling it in the hole, and allowing Butler to finish the game and reach the hill first at 4-2. Francis fought back in game seven to draw within one at 4-3.
 
Calgary's Francis broke rack #8, and though he sunk the 7-ball, he had no shot at the 1-ball. Francis opted to play safe, looking to take advantage of the three-foul rule to get on the hill with Butler. He reckoned, though, without Butler's experience with the game of snooker. Francis tried twice to put Butler in a foul situation, and not only did Butler foil both attempts, but in the second attempt, he left Francis tough, forcing him to foul. With ball in hand, Butler sunk the 1-ball, and the 2-ball, before lining up and making a 3-10 combination that gave him the match win and his team, the 1st Alberta Cup. The Edmonton team pocketed $4,000 and each team member will have his/her name inscribed on a trophy, which will be held in the winning city until further competition. MVP awards went to Edmonton's Cathy Metzinger, who won four of her five matches, and Brian Butler, who won five out of seven, including the championship match. Calgary's Joe Spence picked up an MVP award, as well, for his five out of seven victories. All three of the MVPs were captain picks for the teams.
Event director Valerie Franiel thanked the owner of the Hidden Spot, Joanne Ashton, for her hospitality during event qualifiers and the actual Albert Cup competition, along with sponsors  Cuejo Custom Cues (Darcy Musurichan), Fuss Cupcakes (Kostas Broumas), Recreation World (Jay MacDougall for the Olhausen balls), Elaine Hicks-Reaper from ReMax, Spruce Grove, Discount Custom Apparels (Tim/Ron), Barry Hooey, David Harding, AZ Billiards (Promotions), E&B Plumbing, ScoreSaloon (Jenny Lucas), Fuze Graphics (Curtis Lea), and Jerry W. Briesath.
The entire event was streamed live, courtesy of CueSportsLive, with commentary by Dave Harding, PJ Massicotte, Jim Wych, and a number of participating members from both teams.
 
According to Franiel, this 1st Annual Alberta Cup featured 213 games, and 33 hours of play, supported by (among other things) endless hours of work by volunteers. There will, she said, be more to come.