Eric Roberts goes undefeated to claim 4th Annual Brian James Memorial title in TN

Eric Roberts

When you consider the number of pool players who step out of amateur pool leagues and try their hand at regional pool tournaments that put money in their pocket instead of taking it out, advancing to be among the top 300 in our AZBilliards Money Leaderboard is an accomplishment, especially when you consider that the leaderboard is international in its scope. Since he first arrived on the scene in 2016, defined as showing up in our database as a player who earned money competing in a tournament, Crossville, TN’s Eric Roberts has climbed from position #1,985 to (in 2022) #277; his best earnings year, to date. The climb has been steady, marked by at least doubling the amount of his reported earnings every year, beginning with the $50 he picked up back in 2016 when he finished 5th at a stop on the PremierBillards’ Q City 9-Ball Tour at Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

This past weekend (May 20-21), Roberts book-ended that climb up the earnings ladder by going undefeated on the Q City 9-Ball Tour’s 4th Annual Brian James Memorial at the same location. This late-May addition to his financial accomplishments at the tables falls a little short of the amount he’d expect to have accumulated if he were looking to double last year’s earnings, but well within reach of at least matching it before the year is over; the climb up the ‘ladder’ getting trickier the closer one gets to the top. This event drew 43 entrants to Borderline Billiards and had a few notable ‘back stories’ to accompany Roberts’ victory.

The first is an increasingly familiar story about the increased participation of junior competitors on the regional tour scene. This stop on the Q City 9-Ball Tour hosted a total of seven of them; what TD Herman Parker described as a ‘ton of juniors.’ It hasn’t been that long since the 20-year-old Roberts was a junior competitor himself and he was challenged twice in this event – 3rd round and finals (both times, double hill) – by 15-year-old Jayce Little, who, following that third-round loss, battled through seven loss-side matches to earn a rematch in the finals. 

Among those that Little met and defeated on his way to the finals were fellow junior competitors Winston-Salem, NC’s Niko Konkel (16) and Greenville, SC’s Landon Hollingsworth, who, along with his brother, Cameron (competed but did not face Little) are about to ‘age’ out of their junior label. And then, there’s 13-year-old Jas Makhani, who’s made a name for himself on the Junior International Championships circuit and at this event, won a double-hill, opening-round match against a 661 Fargo-rated Darwin Bernadaz.

After sending Little to the loss side in the third round, Roberts advanced to eventually face Cory Williams in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Landon Hollingsworth faced Chris Withrow in the other one.

Roberts got into the hot seat match with a 9-4 win over Williams. Hollingsworth joined him with a 9-3 victory over Withrow. Roberts claimed the hot seat with a bit of an exclamation point, allowing Hollingsworth only a single rack.

It was Williams who drew Jayce Little, four matches into his loss-side streak, which had just eliminated Niko Konkel 5-4 (Konkel racing to 8) and Justin Lehere, double hill. Withrow picked up Darwin Bernadaz, who followed his Round One loss to Jas Makhani with an eight-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He’d recently ended Cameron Hollingsworth (9-5) and Junior Gabriel’s (double hill) day. 

Little got by Williams 5-1, as Bernadaz was knocking Withrow out of further contention 9-3. Having lost his first match to a junior competitor, Bernadaz, racing to 9, must have had a ‘did anybody get the number of that truck’ moment, when Little eliminated him 5-2 in the quarterfinals.

Little then defeated fellow-junior Landon Hollingsworth 5-7 in the semifinals (Hollingsworth racing to 9) to earn his rematch against Roberts in the finals. That rematch was a carbon copy of the original. They battled once again to double hill before Roberts closed it out to claim the 4th Annual Brian James Memorial title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiard staff for their hospitality, along with title sponsor,, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat,, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and TKO Custom Cues.

The next stop on the PremierBilliards’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, one of the tour’s ‘signature’ events, will be the 4th Annual Ron Parks Memorial, scheduled for this Memorial Day weekend (May 27-29) and hosted by West End Billiards in Gastonia, NC.

Go to discussion...


Leave a comment

Please log in to comment