Burwell downs Shea in JPNEWT season finale at Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD

Kia Burwell and Linda Haywood Shea

We noted last month that you couldn’t ask much more of a regional tour than to have the top two players in the tour standings meeting up in the finals of an event, as Linda Shea and Kia Burwell did in Front Royal, VA on the weekend of Nov. 6-7. Shea and Burwell did it five times on the 2021 tour, including the season finale this past weekend (Dec. 4-5), and though Burwell ended the 2021 season having won four of those ‘final’ encounters, it was Shea who ended the season at the top of the tour standings. Shea stayed atop the tour standings because in one event that she won, Burwell finished fourth and in the events that neither of them won, Shea finished ahead of Burwell. Each had competed in all 10 of the tour’s 10 stops in 2021. The tour finale this past weekend drew 15 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.

They met first in the second round of this one, which meant that one of them was going to compete in two more matches than the other. Shea had shut out Cecilia Strain in the opening round, as Burwell was busy sending Kelly Daniel to the loss side 7-3. To no one’s surprise the second-round match between them went double hill before it was decided. Burwell prevailed and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Mary Watkins. Judie Wilson, in the meantime, who entered the event in 5th place in the tour standings and would finish in 3rd, got by Teri Thomas 7-4, and Shelah Joner 7-3 to draw Ada Lio in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Burwell and Wilson advanced to the hot seat match with identical 7-5 wins over Watkins and Lio, respectively. Burwell claimed the hot seat with a 7-2 win over Wilson and waited for Shea to complete her loss-side run.

On the loss side, it was Lio who picked up Shea, who’d followed her defeat at the hands of Burwell with wins over April Hatcher 7-4 and a shutout over Teri Thomas. Watkins drew Carol V. Clark, who came in at #7 in the standings and would finish at #5. Clark had been shut out by Lio in a winners’ side quarterfinal and had survived a double hill battle against Kelly Daniel and eliminated Jane Im 7-3.

Clark advanced to the quarterfinals 7-4 over Watkins. Shea, in the meantime, spoiled a potential Clark/Lio rematch by outlasting Lio in a double hill fight that advanced her to meet Clark in the quarterfinals.

Shea defeated Clark 7-2 and then, by the same score, Wilson in the semifinals. Shea advanced to a season-ending, second shot at Burwell, waiting for her in the hot seat. Burwell finished the 2021 JPNEWT season with her fourth tour victory in her last six attempts, downing Shea 7-4 to claim the event title.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality and ongoing support for the tour. She also thanked title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Bitzel and Associates PTPA Physical Therapy, George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor, Baltimore) and angle aim Art (Britanya E Rapp) for the live stream.