Derby City Day One – Bigfoot and Banks

Mika Immonen (photo courtesy of Dave Thomson -
Derby City Classic XX, January 19-27, 2018
LIVE from the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino, Elizabeth, IN
Diamond BIG Foot Challenge
Format: Race to 11, single elimination, alternate break, all balls count.
With a 16 player field, and 30% Filipino, it was inevitable that there would be a few pitted against each other in the opening rounds. The draw dictated that young gun Roberto Gomez and veteran Ronnie Alcano stepped into the Accu-Stats Arena.
We hadn’t seen Ronnie on these shores since 2013 and he was happy to be back. Smiling, he stated confidently, “I’m playing as good as I ever have, why not? I guess he is. Why would he return if he didn’t have a game to bring with him, especially, to do battle on BIG Foot?
Roberto, always in stroke, was feeling comfortable out there. He enjoys the spotlight, no matter what the conditions. “We both played well. It was touch and go until 8-6 then, we were tied at 8.” From there, both holding their own, it was back and forth until the hill with Ronnie breaking. Gomez, with a certain sense of relief, stated, “He scratched and I ran out!” 
Then we had best of pals, at least on Europe’s Mosconi Cup team, Joshua Filler and Jayson Shaw. Today hadn’t quite the same fraternal feel to it. As last year’s BIG Foot champion, Jayson, has enforced his reputation of being the best rotation player out there. The fearless Filler is as cocky as they come and comes to the table with a confidence that he can beat anyone…anywhere. Today was no exception. Having administered a searing 11-7 drubbing, it seamed that Shaw’s game hadn’t shown up. His always supportive wife, Ara, was the first to admit, ”He didn’t play well at all, today.”
Mika is back! Immonen vs. Orcollo, bring it on! Respected as one of the games’ greatest shotmakers, Mika surely proved it today. Determined and focused, he fired balls in the length of BIG Foot no matter what the angle. He had the eye of a Cyclop.
Dennis Orcollo, the 2107 All-Around Champion, admittedly jet lagged, hadn’t quite found his form. Mika led most of the way until, looking to close it out, unexpectedly, missed a 6. As it dangled in the pocket, Dennis summoned the belief that, for a moment, he still had a chance. He slid another bead to his side of the string.
Immonen was soon back in command. Being annoyed by his miss gave him all the incentive he needed to dig for his iceman, killer instinct. He soon secured his berth in Sunday’s second round.
More Mosconi Cup teammate rivalry as Van Boening watched Hatch, quickly, garner a 6-3 lead. There Dennis got stuck. Before he knew it, Shane, determined as always, found enough fire power to stride into the lead at 8-6.
Dennis, never intimidated, moved to within a game to 8-9. From there, the day’s only tactical battle ensued. Snookers, kicks, skillful caroms, slowed the pace down a bit until, in endgame, Shane rattled an 8. Not again. Visibly, he sighed as he slumped in his seat. That miss surely reminded him of his shot that shocked the world as he tried to close out Shaw in the recent Mosconi Cup. They were on the hill.
Fortune favors the brave, Van Boening, without a clear shot on the one to a distant corner pocket, fired it off the rail to carom into the hole. Onward to the second round.
Saturday’s matches
1pm: Roberto Gomez vs. Ronnie Alcano 11-10
3:30: Joshua Filler vs. Jayson Shaw  11-7 
7pm: Mika Immonen vs. Dennis Orcollo 11-7
Play continues today at the same times. View on 
1pm: Konrad Juszcyszyn vs. Jeffrey De Luna
9:30: Ruslan Chinahov vs. Corey Deuel.
We mentioned in yesterday’s “Brief History…” article that more than double the original 200 1999 Bank Pool maestros were expected. How about 471!  Watch them vie for $10,000.
Without seeding, how cruel the draw can be. The only upset of note was when All-Around Champions Dee Adkins and Shannon Daulton were sent into the pit. Daulton prevailed. Adkins was last seen at the buy-back booth.
The George Fels Memorial Straight Pool Challenge begins Sunday as the 8 with the highest runs face off in single elimination. If scheduling permits, Accu-Stats will stream, at least, the finals.
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Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, and Samsara Cues.