Friend comes back from semifinals to down Shea and win Stop #6 on JPNEWT

Nicole King, Lai Li, Kathy Friend and Linda Haywood Shea

This does take a little getting used to. The J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour leapfrogged over three of its scheduled 2020 stops and returned to action on the weekend of July 25-26. Rather than re-number the tour stops throughout the rest of the season, they opted to keep the original numbers. Thus, the actual third stop on the 2020 tour, held this past weekend (August 15-16), is still considered for documentation intents and purposes as Stop #6.

Though Tour Director Linda Haywood Shea would make it to the hot seat in her quest for a second straight event title since the tour returned to action, Kathy Friend, making her first appearance on the 2020 tour, thwarted that effort in the finals, downing Shea to claim her first 2020 title. Participation doubled for this event over the numbers realized in the tour’s first stop back last month (9). The $500-added (by Coins of the Realm) event, hosted by Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD, drew 19 entrants.

It was an extraordinarily competitive weekend for the JPNEWT ladies. They played a total of 36 matches; 19 on the winners’ side (including the final) and 17 on the losers’ side. Of those 36, 15 of them were either double hill or 7-5 contests. Five of the eight matches played in the second round on the winners’ side went double hill or 7-5. The hot seat match and semifinal went double hill, as well.

Shea’s path to the hot seat went through Eugenia Gyftopoulos and Kia Burwell, both 7-5, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Char Dzambo. Kathy Friend opened her campaign up with a double hill win over Kelly Daniel and then sent Nicole King to the loss side 7-5 to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal match against Melissa Jenkins.

Shea got into the hot seat match on the heels of a shutout over Dzambo. Friend joined her after sending Jenkins west 7-3. Shea claimed the hot seat, double hill, and waited on Friend’s return.

On the loss side, Dzambo picked up Nicole King, who, after being defeated by Friend on the winners’ side, had eliminated April Hatcher 7-4 and Sharon O’Hanlon 7-2. Jenkins drew Lai Li, who’d won a double hill match versus Sharon O’Hanlon on the winners’ side and then lost one to Dzambo, before showing up on the loss side to down Lynn Richard 7-3 and then, survive a third double hill fight against Kia Burwell.

Li downed Jenkins 7-3, as King was eliminating Dzambo 7-4. Li took the subsequent quarterfinal match 7-3 over King, but in her fourth double hill fight, Li was defeated by the apparently determined Kathy Friend in the semifinals.

Friend passed on closing out the JPNEWT’s 6th stop with a double hill final. In the single race to 9, she defeated Shea 9-5 to claim the event title and rocket her way to third on the tour’s standings, behind Shea and Burwell and tied with Shanna Lewis, who won the season opener back in March.

Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, angle aim Art (Britanya E. Rapp) and Turtle Rack. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for Sept. 19-20, will be hosted by First Break Bar & Grill in Sterling, VA.