Aguilar and Dunbar split top prizes in NE 9-Ball Series’ opener

(L to r): Matt Rezendes, Carlos Aguilar & Tyler Dunbar
Carlos Aguilar and Tyler Dunbar opted out of a final match at the end of the New England 9-Ball Series’ 2018-2019 opener, held on Sunday, September 23. As the undefeated competitor, Aguilar claimed the event title. To secure his runner-up position, Dunbar, who’d been defeated in the second round of play, won nine on the loss side to earn a spot in the finals that didn’t happen. The event drew 57 entrants to Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.
Tour director Marc Dionne announced at the start of this new season for the New England 9-Ball Series that the tour would no longer be using letter ratings (A, B, C, etc.) to determine handicaps and match races. They have switched to the FargoRate system for this purpose and with certain competitors and matches, we’ll be providing current FargoRates, in parentheses, as a reference.
The tour continues to separate the players into lower and upper (rank) brackets at the start of events, combining them towards the end. Playing in the lower bracket, Aguilar (503) chalked up victories over Peter Rizzo, Sr., Lida Mullendore and Tyler Boudreau, who’d just sent Dunbar (461) to the loss side.  Aguilar then defeated Dorie Oakes, advancing to an overall winners’ side semifinal against Josh Edmonds (479). From the upper bracket, Matt Rezendes (539) and Jose Concepcion (585) squared off in the other winners’ side semifinal.
In a straight-up race to 5, Aguilar and Edmonds battled to double hill before Aguilar prevailed, advancing to the hot seat match. He was joined by Rezendes, who’d sent Concepian to the loss side 5-2 (Concepcian racing to 6). With Rezendes racing to 6, Aguilar claimed the hot seat 5-2 in what proved to be his final match.
On the loss side, it was Edmonds who picked up Dunbar, seven matches into his loss-side winning streak that had included recent victories over Dorie Oakes and Ben Come, both 5-1. Concepcian drew Mike Gagne, who’d chalked up two straight double hill wins against Gabriel Kirshnitz and Ruben Soto to reach him.
In what was Gagne’s third straight, straight-up race to 5, Concepian allowed him only one rack and advanced to the quarterfinals. Dunbar joined him following a 4-1 victory over Edmonds.
Dunbar started the quarterfinal match with three on the wire in a race to 6, and though he and Concepcian chalked up three racks each, the handicap advantage gave Dunbar the win and advancement to his last match of the night.
Dunbar and Rezendes battled to double hill before Dunbar finished it to earn a shot at Aguilar in the hot seat. The two opted out of the final match and split the top two cash prizes.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Crow’s Nest, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, USAPL New England, FargoRate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-Ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Bourgeois Farms and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series, scheduled for October 6, will be the $500-added Dave Marcus Memorial Tournament, hosted by Buster’s Billiards in Somersworth, NH.