Champion fights back in finals to double dip Mashburn on GSBT


After a trip through the winners' side of almost any tournament, a shutout in the battle for the hot seat has got to sting, especially in an amateur event, when your opponent is ranked lower than you are. Ask Sidney Champion, who suffered this fate at the most recent March 16-17 stop on the Great Southern Billiard Tour. He returned with a vengeance to knock Barry Mashburn out of the hot seat, winning two to claim the top prize. The $1,000-added amateur event drew 55 entrants to Speak Eazy Billiards in Sanford, NC.

They got into the shutout match once Champion (A) had sent Vernon Rogers (B) over, and Mashburn (B) had sent Jared McGee (A) west 7-6. Mashburn denied Champion so much as a glimpse at the hot seat, downing him in the shutout and waited in the hot seat, with a strong sense of confidence about the final match ahead of him.

Rogers moved to the loss side and picked up Ron Canterberry, who'd defeated Younger Chapman, double hill, and Steve Jenkins 7-3. McGee drew Asia Cycak (C), who'd gotten by Travis Geurra 6-4 and Scott Lewis (A) 6-3.  Cycak eliminated his second straight A player, McGee, 6-4, as Canterberry was busy ending Rogers' day 7-4.

With two victories over A players behind him, Cycak fell to a B, Canterberry, in the quarterfinals 7-3. With the sting of the hot seat shutout as incentive, Champion dropped Canterberry 9-5 in the semifinals. Mashburn put up a bit of fight in the opening set of the finals, but Champion won it 9-5 to force a second set, in which he gave up only two racks to snatch the event victory away from Mashburn. 

Tour directors Shannon and Marge Daulton thanked Speak Eazy's owners, Jimmie and Jenny Bullis "for being spectacular hosts and supporting the tour." The next stop on the GSBT, scheduled for March 23-24, will be a $1,000-added amateur event, to be played out on 9' Diamond tables at Mickey Milligan's Sports Bar in New Bern, NC.