Ahmed goes undefeated to capture first regional title on NE 9-Ball Series

(l to r): Phil Walton, Brian Tierney & Shiekh Ahmed
Three of the four matches that Shiekh Ahmed played to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal during the 4th stop on the New England 9-Ball Series on the weekend of October 19-20, went double hill. Working from the event’s lower (Fargo Rate) bracket, in straight-up races to 5, he gave up four racks to all but one opponent. He was sent to the loss side in the winners’ side semifinal match, won three on that side of the bracket and then, double-dipped hot seat occupant Brian Tierney to claim his first recorded event title. The $500-added event drew 42 entrants to Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT.
Looking for your first regional title, getting locked up in two straight double hill fights right out of the gate can’t be encouraging. Ahmed survived his opener against Mark Menillo and his second match against John Porto, before he caught a bit of break and was able to down Sarah Archer 5-2. He was right back in the soup for the winners’ side quarterfinal, where once again, he had to play a single, deciding game. He won that game versus Mike Zingarella and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Phil Walton.
Meanwhile, in the upper bracket neighborhood, Brian Tierney, following a bye, was working his way toward the hot seat with victories over Dennis Brewer 6-4, Ryan Cullen 4-4 (Cullen racing to 7) and Tom D’Alfonso 4-5 (D’Alfonso racing to 8) to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Brett Cavazos.
Tierney sent Cavazos to the loss side, double hill (6-5) and in the hot seat match faced Walton, who’d sent Ahmed over 4-3 (Ahmed racing to 5). Tierney claimed the hot seat 7-1 over Walton and waited on the return of Ahmed.
Ahmed moved over and picked up Kevin Brule, who was in the midst of a roller-coaster, five-match, loss-side winning streak, in which he’d shut out two opponents (Liana Pitre and Mike Zingarella), gave up a single rack to two more (Aundria Reynolds and Mark Menillo) and survived a double hill match against a fifth (Justin Bertrand). Brett Cavazos picked up Lukas Fracasso-Verner, who was working on a six-match, loss-side streak that had most recently eliminated Frank Porto 6-1 and shut out Tom D’Alfonso.
Ahmed advanced to the quarterfinals by recording his fourth double hill win, over Brule. He was joined by Fracasso-Verner, who won his seventh loss-side match 6-2 over Cavazos (racing to 4).
With Fracasso-Verner racing to 7, Ahmed advanced 4-7 to his semifinal rematch against Walton. With Walton racing to 4, Ahmed earned his shot at Tierney in the hot seat with a 5-2 semifinal victory.
With Tierney racing to 6 in the first set, Ahmed won it 5-4. The second set, technically a loss-side match, featured a different dynamic, as the two squared off in a straight-up race to 5. Ahmed took that match 5-2 to claim his first event title.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Yale Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell with Lease Fundings, Master Billiards and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#5), scheduled for Saturday, October 26, will be a $500-added event, hosted by Legends Billiards in Lewiston, ME.