Charlie Williams & Rita Thakur Win Billiards Battles Lung Cancer Tournaments

Newport News, Virginia-  Newport News, Virginia native Charlie "Dragon" Williams went through a field of 48 players undefeated to win the Billiards Battles Lung Cancer Tournament. Washington DC area up and coming women's player Rita Thakur went undefeated to win the ladies division. The Dragon Promotions production was created to fund raise for lung cancer stricken Allen Cox, owner of the host location Pockets where Williams grew up playing. 
The pool community of players and sponsors were tremendous. The main sponsor Parrish Amusements made a generous donation as did Andy Cloth which provided brand new cloth for all the tables. Top billiard industry sponsors OB Cues, Scorpion Cues, Pure X Cues, Aramith, Master Chalk, and Pool & Billiard Magazine have all lent their support. Community sponsors in the Hampton Roads area include East Coast Landscaping, Old Bay Seafood Suffolk, Tillage Automotive, Sabins Recoding Services, Pet World, The Sunglass Guy, Qmasters Billiards, Amazing Entertainment, Newport News Amusements, Long's Billiards, the APA Peninsula, and the Action Pool Tour.
All total, Dragon Promotions raised nearly $7000 cash and raised $7000 in donated products. By far this was the biggest event Pockets has ever hosted.
Dragon Promotions went completely non-profit on the event which included a donation of over 100 hours of service time to organize and produce the events. Its founder Charlie Williams grew up in the local mom and pop poolroom and personally went to produce the event. World 14.1 Champion John Schmidt came with him to help the event.
The main event drew players from all around the state and the event was full at 48 well before the event start date. Top regional players attended such as Danny Mastermaker, Eric Moore, Bill Duggan, 2x BEF USA Junior National Champion Zack Hampton, Italian pro Max Corso, and Filipino players RJ Carmona and Raymart Lim, and of course world ranked pros Charlie Williams and John Schmidt. Williams defeated Corso in his first match 6-2 and went on undefeated to the finals including a 6-2 win over Mastermaker. In fact all 6 of his wins were by 6-2 & 6-0 victories. Schmidt had two close scares as he edged out local semi-pro Kenny Miller 6-5 and also 6-5 against Paul Oh of Annandale, VA. Schmidt was in the quarterfinals but had to withdraw from the tournament from an injury to his foot that progressively got worse. Schmidt went to the doctor and is now fine to defend his title at the World Tournament of 14.1 in New York City next week.  This gave Carmona an easy bye to the semi-finals where he easily dispatched top regional player Duggan. In the finals, the Korean Dragon was on fire and ran over the young Filipino again by his fifth 6-2 victory. 

"I haven't played this good in 9-Ball, or this much, in a very long time. I thought it would be me and John in the finals, but he came and asked me if he could withdraw, though he said he would finish it out if I really needed him,too. He was in alot of pain even the day before so it was good that he stopped according to the doctor. On the other hand, it feels really great to play so well in front of my hometown fans and friends in the poolroom I learned how to play in", said Williams. The Dragon dropped a total of only 10 games throughout the tournament with 42 game wins.
"It was amazing to see so many old friends and faces I haven't seen in years. And all for a great cause and to help Allen."
The ladies division drew 14 players, just two shy from being full. DC area Rita Thakur took down all the ladies in her first regional 9-Ball tournament win.
"I bought a souvenir from Pockets so that I will always remember this win!" said an elated Thakur.
In the Doubles Division which started at midnight, it was Richmond's Danny Mastermaker and Chris Bruner that went undefeated to win over Roanoke's teenage team of Zack Hampton and Trey Frank.


Allen Cox has been a pool lover for most of his life. He started playing pool when he was 12. Started cleaning a poolhall called Twines in Suffolk Va when he was 16.  He worked in the shipyard for 13 years and was ready to get out of it when the idea of a poolroom entered his mind. He had a group of players that would play in his basement daily, and he already knew a lot about pool so he opened Pockets in 1989.

Pockets Billiards recently switched voluntarily to becoming a Non-Smoking poolroom after 2 decades.