Hooker hangs on to win New England 9-Ball Series Winter Classic at Snookers in RI
Skip Maloney
Jan. 30, 2018
Dennis Levesque, Bobby Hooker & Joey Dupuis
Dennis Levesque, Bobby Hooker & Joey Dupuis
By the time that the field of 126 entrants competing for the New England 9-Ball Series’ Winter Classic had whittled down to its final 12, there was only one “Open” player left – Joey Dupuis. In one of the vagaries of a double bracket format (upper and lower brackets employed for higher and lower handicapped players), Dupuis had been sent to the loss side by Dennis Levesque in an upper bracket winners’ side semifinal, which is a winners’ side quarterfinal in the overall event. Bobby Hooker, in the meantime, a C+ player, advanced through the lower bracket and eventually claimed the overall event hot seat; last player without a loss, still standing. Though Dupuis would navigate his way through five loss-side matches and win the opening set of a true double elimination final versus Hooker, Hooker fought back in the second set, and won it to claim the event title. Held on the weekend of January 27-28, the $5,000-added Winter Classic was hosted by Snookers in Providence, RI.
 
Levesque’s 6-5 victory over Dupuis (Dupuis racing to 9) put Levesque in an overall winners’ side semifinal (two from the upper bracket) against Mike Pettit. From the lower bracket, Hooker and Adam Blair met in the other winners’ side semifinal. Levesque and Pettit (both A players), in a straight-up race to 7, went to double hill before Levesque won it to advance to the hot seat match. Hooker and Blair (both C+ players), in a straight-up race to 5, went double hill, as well, with Hooker advancing to the hot seat match. With Levesque racing to 8, and Hooker to 5, Hooker claimed the hot seat 5-6 and waited for Dupuis to complete his loss-side run.
 
Pettit’s first match on the loss side was against Dupuis, who, following his defeat at the hands of Levesque, had eliminated Rich Minichello, double hill (7-5), and Francisco Cabral 9-3. Blair drew Rob Diehl, who’d defeated Josh Ceasar, double hill, and Justin Grant 5-1.
 
Dupuis gave up only one rack to Pettit in advancing to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Blair, who’d survived a straight-up race to 5, double hill, over Diehl. The subsequent battle between the Open player (Dupuis) and the C+ player (Blair) was a 10-4 race, won by Dupuis 10-2.
 
The semifinal rematch between Dupuis and Levesque was a 9-6 race, won by Dupuis 9-3. Dupuis took the opening set of the true double elimination final 10-2 over Hooker (Hooker racing to 4). In the second set, Dupuis got halfway to his 10-rack goal, but Hooker made it to his 4 first to win the second set and claim the event title.
 
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff for their hospitality during the Winter Classic, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. Next week’s scheduled event at Workmen’s Hall in Norwood, MA has been cancelled. The next stop (#15) on the New England 9-Ball Series, scheduled for Saturday, February 17, will be a $500-added event, hosted by Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT.
 
The New England 9-Ball Series has announced that it is currently taking entries for the Tour Championship, scheduled for September 8-9 at Bo’s Billiards in Warwick, RI. The field will be limited to 128 players, all of whom must have played in at least four events to be eligible.