Wilkie goes undefeated to claim third stop on Action Pool Tour
Skip Maloney
Mar. 12, 2018
Scott Haas, Raymond Walters (TD) & Shaun Wilkie
Scott Haas, Raymond Walters (TD) & Shaun Wilkie
One of the more intriguing additions to the 2018 Action Pool Tour (APT) is its emphasis on an end-of-year, $10,000 prize fund event for the tour’s top 64 members in the points race. In previous years, the top players on the tour’s ranking list at the end of a given year would receive some combination of entry fees, flight and hotel accommodations to a major event in the following year. This had a way of discouraging members, who, by mid-season, found themselves so far removed from the tour’s top-ranked players, that there was virtually no incentive to compete for those top, prize-winning spots. The new feature, relevant to members only (one year membership), gives them an opportunity to participate in an end-of-year event even if, mid-season, they’re below the entry threshold in points for the “$10,000 Top 64 Invitational.” Successful outcomes in just a couple of the tour’s events (or multiple modest outcomes over more events) could elevate them to invitation status, and eligible for the guaranteed $500 payout for anyone finishing among the top 16 in the year-end event, and the top $2,500 prize for the event’s winner.
It’s early in the 2018 APT season, but Shaun Wilkie joined the ranks of the tour’s top contenders for position among the top 64 at the end of the year, with an undefeated run on the weekend of March 10-11. At a “Bar Box Bash,” 8-ball event, offering double points, and hosted by Peninsula Billiards in Newport News, VA, Wilkie, who was the tour’s 2017 champion, moved up to #6 in the tour rankings, behind Eric Moore, Kenny Miller, Reymart Lim, Steve Fleming and Jason Trigo. His run through the field of 44 was accomplished by allowing only one opponent to chalk up more than three racks against him in races to 6.
Following victories over Paul Swinson (3), Charles Rankin (2) and Kenny Daughtrey (1), Scott Roberts gave Wilkie a double-hill run for his money. Wilkie prevailed and moved into a winners’ side semifinal against Steve Fleming. James Blackburn, in the meantime, who’d started his campaign off with a 6-4 victory over rankings leader, Eric Moore, squared off against Scott Haas in the other one. Wilkie defeated Fleming 6-2, as Blackburn sent Haas (Wilkie’s eventual opponent in the finals) to the loss side 6-3. Wilkie downed Blackburn in the hot seat match, and waited on the return of Haas.
On the loss side, Fleming and Haas walked right into double hill challenges. Fleming drew Dave White, who, defeated in his opening round, double hill by Scott Haas, was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals (against Scott Haas, as it turned out). He’d most recently defeated Thomas Haas 5-3 and Jim Montgue 5-2 to reach Fleming. Scott Haas drew Rick Scarleto, who’d defeated Tim Collins 5-2 and Kenny Miller 5-1.
Scott Haas and White advanced to their rematch in the quarterfinals with their double hill wins over Scarleto and Fleming, respectively. Haas then downed White a second time, this time 5-3, and gave up only a single rack to Blackburn in the semifinals. Wilkie completed his undefeated run with an 8-4 victory over Haas in the finals and claimed his first 2018 APT title.
A Second Chance Tournament drew 11 entrants. Randy Davis chalked up double hill wins in the hot seat match and finals (over Lee O’Neal and Clint Clayton, respectively) to claim the Second Chance title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Peninsula Billiards, as well as sponsors Kamui, Diamond Billiard Products, Viking Cues, Predator Cues, Tiger Products, Ozone Billiards, Simonis, and George Hammerbacher Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for April 7-8, will be the Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament, hosted by First Break Café in Sterling, VA.