Hall wins second set of double elimination final to win Cuetec Banks at Omega Diamond Open

Brett Garson from Cuetec Cues, Justin Hall and Mike Hoang (Photo courtesy Mike Lear)

In 2012, Justin Hall, at the age of 25, downed Alex Pagulayan in the Banks division finals of the 1st Annual Southern Classic in Tunica, MS. He also won that event’s One Pocket division and went home with the event’s Master of the Table title. At the time, Russia’s Fedor Gorst, Hall’s opponent in the Cuetec Banks division finals of the 1st Annual Omega Diamond Open in Aiken, SC this past weekend (Sept. 29-30), was 12 years old.

Of the 41 entrants who competed and cashed in that first Southern Classic in Tunica, six of them, including Pagulayan, were in the house to compete in Aiken, SC; Warren Kiamco, Dennis Orcollo, Mike Delawder, and among the 15 competitors who finished in the tie for 27th place in Tunica, were Shane Van Boening and John Morra. Hall and Morra met up in the hot seat match this past weekend. The $3,000-added event, requiring players to call both the pocket and the number of rails to be employed in a table-race to five balls for a game win, drew 32 entrants to The Rack & Grill III in Aiken.

After an opening round shutout over Bader Alawahdi, Hall ran through a triple gauntlet of the sport’s top players. He survived a double hill match against Jayson Shaw and made short work of Billy Thorpe 4-1 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Sky Woodward. Morra, in the meantime, who had also opened with a shutout (vs. Josh Roberts), got by Billy Burke 4-2 and sent Van Boening to the loss side 4-1, arriving at his winners’ side semifinal versus against Gorst. 

Hall got into the hot seat match with a double hill win over Woodward and was joined by Morra, who’d sent Gorst to the loss side 4-2, for what would turn out to be an eventual rematch in the semifinals. Hall shut Morra out in the hot seat match.

On the loss side, Woodward ran into Jayson Shaw, intent on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Naoyuki Oi 4-2 and Van Boening 4-1. Gorst drew Mike Delawder (already doing better than he had in Tunica, 12 years ago), who’d lost his opening round match to Tony Chohan and was working on his own five-match, loss-side run that included the double hill elimination of Billy Thorpe and a 4-2 win over Louis Demarco.

Woodward stopped Shaw’s run and Gorst finished Delawder’s by the same 4-2 score. Gorst then defeated Woodward 4-1 in the quarterfinals. The second Tunica-competitor-versus-Gorst match, the semifinal rematch between Gorst and Morra, went double hill, before Gorst prevailed to face Hall in the finals. 

Gorst handed Hall his first loss of the event in the opening set of the true double elimination final, which went double hill before Gorst forced a second set. Hall won the second set 4-2 to claim the event title.