Journeyman Belliveau wins last NE 9-Ball series stop before Tour Championship

Joe Callaluca, Daren Belliveau, and Mike Selig

Daren Belliveau is what is often referred to as a ‘journeyman.’ The word originated centuries ago, when a ‘journey’ was something you accomplished in a day. Craft guilds, growing in the development of independent cities, identified three classes in their rank and file; the apprentice (still learning a craft/skill), the journeyman (practicing the craft/skill) and the master (the head of a craft guild, with a number of apprentices and travelling journeymen under his wing). The assumption was that a journeyman would travel for a day, practice his craft (masonry, woodworking, blacksmith, etc.) and be gone the next day. On to a new village where he’d use those skills there as part of a select group, under the ‘banner’ of a Master.

The pool world is organized (loosely) in much the same way, with a vaguely-defined path for an apprentice to become a journeyman and only through many years of dedicated service to the craft (pool), a Master. In pool, you could think of the top-ranked professional players as the Masters, those playing in smaller regional tours as the apprentices, and players like Daren Belliveau as the journeymen, who, in old-school craft guild language, were fully-qualified, competent and authorized to work in the field.

Until this past weekend, at the 19th stop on the 2021 New England 9-Ball Series (Sat., Nov. 20), the only entries in Daren Belliveau’s AZBilliards’ profile page were from appearances, dating back to the turn of the century, on the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour. In his 13 cash finishes on that tour (that we know about), he finished outside of the top 10 only once. As a result of his undefeated run at this most recent NE 9-Ball series event, he now has a regional tour win on his journeyman resume. The $500-added NE 9-Ball Series event drew 20 entrants to Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.

As befitting his journeyman status, Belliveau emerged from the upper bracket of the tour stop’s separated (upper and lower) brackets at the start. He benefited from two straight forfeits at the start of his winning campaign and as a result, advanced without effort to a winners’ side semifinal against Roy Morgridge. Belliveau would eventually win the event, having played only three matches. Emerging from the lower bracket were Michael Selig and Joe Callaluca, who faced each other in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Belliveau downed Morgridge 5-2, as Selig was surviving a double hill battle against Callaluca. Selig began the hot seat match with three ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 6. He added only one more ‘bead,’ as Belliveau claimed the first of two against him 6-1 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Morgridge picked up Daren’s Belliveau’s father, Everett, who was working on the possibility of a father/son final. He’d recently defeated John Askew 4-1 and shut out Dan Simoneau in his ongoing attempt to make that happen. Joe Callaluca drew Rebecca Welch, who’d recently eliminated Jeffrey Sheehan and Michelle Haddock, both double hill, to reach him.

Between them, Morgridge and Callaluca gave up only a single rack to Belliveau (1) and Welch (0). Callaluca then gave up none at all against Morgridge in the quarterfinals.

Selig put a stop to Callaluca’s brief but dominating two-match, loss-side winning streak 4-2 in the semifinals for a second shot at Daren Belliveau, waiting for him in the hot seat. Belliveau downed Selig a second time in the finals, rounding out the event’s final six matches, in which the winners outscored their opponents by an aggregate score of 21-4. In the final, Belliveau duplicated his hot seat effort against Selig (6-1) to claim the NE 9-Ball Series’ last 2021 event title.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Crow’s Nest for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Outsville, Salotto and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories.

The New England 9-Ball Series will return to Crow’s Nest for its next event. Scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 15-16, the venue will host the Series’ $5,000-added Tour Championship.