Fisher downs the Black Widow in winners’ side quarterfinal at Omega Billiards Diamond Open

Jeanette Lee and Allison Fisher

As it turned out, if you didn’t know, you likely didn’t learn it or even suspect it, as the match progressed. In her third match of the $5,000-added, Hanshew’s Ladies 9-Ball at The Rack & Grill III in Aiken, SC, Jeanette Lee, returning to the tables seven months after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, ran into long-time rival Allison Fisher in a winners’ side quarterfinal, which played out live on Omega Billiards’ Facebook page.

Aside from a frailty of movement, an indication of some struggles with pain, Lee competed with all the verve and skills that have been a part of her game for as long as she’s been carrying the moniker of the deadly Black Widow. In fact, the match played out, virtually without any unforced errors; Lee scratched twice, in the second and third rack of the 9-game contest, but she did so shooting at a difficult shot from a position in which Allison had placed her. Fisher rattled a couple of balls in their intended pockets, but they were tricky shots to begin with.

As they bent to lag, Lee put on a mock-serious, ‘I’m gonna get you’ face and shook her fist at Fisher, which set the tone for the entire match. From beginning to end, as they spoke to each other during the match, it was the clearest indication that the match and the people playing it were completely separate aspects of the single experience.

Fisher dropped three balls on her opening break and ran the rack from there to take the lead that she’d never relinquish. Jeanette’s break left her with a long, short-rail to short-rail shot at the 1-ball, off of which she scratched. Fisher dropped the 1-ball, before rattling the 2-ball in a corner pocket, allowing Lee to run to the 7-ball. She couldn’t ‘see’ the 8-ball, but while she successfully touched it, she left Fisher the opening to make it 2-0.

Lee’s scratch in the third rack allowed Fisher to make it 3-0. Lee’s subsequent break forced her to ‘push,’ out of which Fisher made a commanding, forceful shot at the 2-ball and then, ran the table from there to make it 4-0. Another break and run for Allison pushed it to 5-0 quickly.

Nothing, at this point, about Lee’s posture, movement or execution of the basics gave any clue to the pain that was dogging her from the opening; good decisions, clean stroke, and most importantly, maintenance of a sense of humor, which flashed briefly in the 6th rack.

Lee dropped three balls on her break and then promptly rattled the 2-ball in a pocket. Fisher returned the favor moments later, rattling the 4-ball in a pocket. Jeanette missed the chance she was given but nestled the cue ball right up against the 9-ball, forcing Fisher to make a strong shot just to hit it, but ultimately, giving Lee the chance she needed. She finished the rack, to general applause from the gathered crowd, raised her arms in the air as she stepped away from the table and said “Yay!!”

“Here I come!!” she added, to a burst of laughter from the crowd, as she moved to sit in her chair.

In the seventh rack, Fisher dropped a ball, but couldn’t see the 1-ball well enough to risk taking a shot at it, and she pushed. Looking at the 1-ball, tucked behind the 7-ball at the opposite end of the table, Jeanette gave the table back to Fisher, and as Fisher paused to consider her options, Lee spoke up to clarify her decision.

“I’d shoot it,” she told Fisher, “but I don’t want to show off.”

Fisher laughed along with everybody else on the perimeter of the TV table, smiled a ‘thank you’ at Lee for ‘not wanting to show off.’

“I’ll show off for you,” she told her, Lee laughing with the rest of the crowd.

And she almost did. She bounced the 1-ball off the far short rail and it traveled to the other end of the table, looking for all the world like it had a notion to drop into the corner pocket, but it didn’t. They battled back and forth over issues related to the 7-ball, until Fisher had the chance to run them, and she did, to reach the hill first. Jeanette followed up with her first and only break and run to chalk up her second rack.

Fisher followed Lee’s first break and run with her first dry break, out of which Lee chose against taking a poke at a fairly hidden 1-ball. Allison gave the table back to her. After some initial struggles, Fisher broke the ‘logjam’ and finished the rack to win it.

They hugged generously at the end, long enough to give Jeanette the post-hug opportunity to put the match in perspective. 

“I want you to know,” she told the crowd, “I still hate her,” thus, exiting the arena in the way she’d entered it at the beginning, giving those who’d gathered to watch, something to laugh about.