Fisher goes undefeated to capture her- and first-ever Ladies 14.1 Straight Pool Championship

Kelly Fisher

Playing against one of the two members of the Filler family (Pia Filler) who made it to the two finals of the 16th Annual 14.1 Straight Pool Championships, held at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA, soon-to-be BCA Hall of Famer Kelly Fisher finished an undefeated run through four matches in a Round Robin phase and three in a single elimination phase to capture the first-ever Ladies 14.1 Straight Pool Championships on Saturday, October 23. The extended race-to-100 drew a full room of spectators and viewers who watched on Facebook through the services of AZBTV, IStreamPool and the 14.1 Straight Pool Championships Facebook page.

Asked when she had last played in a straight pool tournament, Fisher responded with a single-word explanation.

“Never,” she said. 

She was not alone. Of the 15 women who competed in this first-ever 14.1 Ladies Straight Pool Championship, most of them indicated that it was a first-time experience for them, because, first of all, there aren’t that many. It was, however, an experience that they hope to have again. Tour founder, Peter Burrows spent a good deal of time thanking them all for coming and assuring them that next year’s Ladies event would be better, and hopefully, even more competitors.

“It’s a very interesting game,” said Fisher. “Quite up my street, actually. There’s a lot less luck involved and your opponent has to match your ball count. It’s not like in 9-ball when you pot seven balls and your opponent can get up, pot the last two and win.”

“And you have to call your shots,” she added. “I love that.”

There were a number of lessons learned for Fisher. Things that suggest that in any future straight pool ladies events, opponents will have cause for concern as they face the woman who played in her first and went undefeated to claim her first title.

“In 9-ball, there are a lot of stops and starts,” she said, “but this game requires focus for longer stretches of time and I learned that I need to improve on my concentration.”

“I learned that I need to improve a lot in areas that I didn’t know about in this game,” she added. “The safety game and the tactics side of it. In snooker, because I played it for so many years, I got to know how (balls) react when you break, and that’s another thing. I never broke a straight pool rack before I got here.”

“I’m not really good at it,” she said of straight pool, “but I’m keen to learn it.”

She recalled something that she’d learned years ago when she was playing snooker regularly. It was a lesson already-learned that she brought with her to Virginia and applied to her undefeated run at straight pool.

“Pot as many balls as you can,” she said.

She potted a total of 460 of them to claim the title; 200 in the Round Robin phase in five matches (50 in each), and 260 in the three events of the single elimination phase (80, 80 & 100). That was 264 more balls than all of her opponents combined.

Day Five, the final day of the 14.1 Straight Pool Chanmpionships began at noon today (Saturday), for both men and women, with four semifinal matches, two in the Men’s event and two in the Ladies event. In the men’s event semifinals, Joshua Filler faced Mieszko Fortunski, as defending champion Ruslan Chinahov squared off against countryman Fedor Gorst (more details on this will appear in a separate event report after the men’s final, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.) In the ladies event semifinals, Fisher faced April Larson, as Pia Filler took on Dawn Hopkins.

Fisher eliminated Larson 80-10, as Filler downed Hopkins 80-16. At 3 p.m., Fisher and Filler stepped up to the TV table and began their extended-to-100 race for the championship. Fisher got out to an early, although not extensive lead that throughout the match, Filler kept trying to whittle down to a manageable proportion. But the runs weren’t long enough to keep pace with Fisher, who kept expanding the gap. She finished it 100-46.

In a brief award ceremony, Fisher praised Pia Filler for her game play and thanked Barrows and the event sponsors for what she described as a “great . . . fantastic event” that she said “every year, (she and her competitors) had wanted to do.” She also accepted a request from Barrows to attend next year, noting that she was expressing the thoughts of all of the women in attendance, when she said “No doubt about it.”