Champion goes undefeated on GSBT ‘Hurricane Amateur’ stop

Hurricane Irene paid a visit to Goldsboro, NC on Friday night, August 26, and hung around to wreak some minor havoc with the Great Southern Billiard Tour, which had stopped off at Fast Eddie's for the weekend. The storm's first tour victim was general attendance, as the $550-added event drew only 22 brave souls to Fast Eddie's. Its second victim was Saturday afternoon's starting time.

"As soon as we got ready to start, we had a three-hour power outage," said tour director Shannon Daulton, adding that an attempt to finish the event in a single day was hampered by a state-wide curfew, issued by North Carolina governor Bev Perdue,  that forced businesses, including Fast Eddie's, to close by 9 p.m. The local constabulary paid a visit to remind one and all.

"When an officer comes in and says, 'You're going to close,' well. . you close," said Daulton.

By the time the curfew went into effect, they'd eliminated only six of the 22 entrants. The remaining 16 returned on Sunday and completed what Daulton described, and will likely always remember, as The Hurricane Amateur. Sidney Champion went undefeated in the event, though challenged twice by Glenn Russell; once in the hot seat match and again, in the finals.

From among the winners' side final four, Champion had sent B.J. Ussery west 9-8, as Russell was busy sending Nick Buchanan over 9-3. Champion gained the hot seat with a 9-6 win over Russell in their first of two.

On the one-loss side, Ussery and Buchanan ran into two players who were in the midst of five-match, loss-side winning streaks that propelled them to the quarterfinals, and in one case, beyond to the semifinals. Ussery picked up Wendell Thompkins, who'd been sent west by Younger Chapman in the opening round of play. Buchanan ran into B.J. Hucks, who'd been defeated by Champion when they faced each other among the winners' side final eight.

Thompkins had gotten by Chris Turner 9-6 and Chris England 9-3 to pick up Ussery, while Hucks had downed Ron Park 9-6 and Mike Frowein 7-7 to face Buchanan. Thompkins and Hucks moved into the quarterfinals; Thompkins having defeated Ussery 9-2, while Hucks got by Buchanan 7-2. Hucks, the "B" player, took advantage of his two-game handicap in the quarterfinals, stopping Thompkins (an "A" player)  loss-side streak at five games with a 7-7 win.

Hucks' streak was stopped at five, as well, when he faced Russell in the semifinals. Russell won that match 9-3, to earn a second chance versus Champion. In their second meeting in the opening set of potentially two, they battled to double hill before Champion prevailed to win the Hurricane Amateur.

Tour Director Shannon Daulton offered heartfelt thanks to the owners and staff at Fast Eddie's for their perseverance in hosting the Hurricane Amateur, as well as sponsors Andy Gilbert Custom Cues, Nick Varner Cues and Cases, Mike Davis Exterminating, Tiger Products, and Delta-13 Racks.