By the time the fifth stop on the New England 9-Ball Series was down to its final 12 players, Josh Rupard was one of only two A+ players left. Both he and Kerry McAuliffe were battling in the loss-side’s first money round at the time, though not against each other. Rupard advanced through five loss-side matches to meet and defeat Eli Davenport (C+) twice in a true double elimination final. The $500-added event – The Don Clemons Memorial – drew 48 entrants to Buster’s Billiards in Sommersworth, NH on Saturday, November 4.
Rupard chalked up three victories on the winners’ side of the event’s top bracket, until he ran into Sammy Khiev, a B player. With Rupard racing to 8, and Khiev to 5, Khiev advanced 5-4 to the event’s overall winners’ side semifinal against Paul Laverdiere (B). Coming from the event’s lower bracket, C+ Eli Davenport squared off against D+ Peter Rizzo, Sr. in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Khiev and Laverdiere locked up in a straight-up race to 7, that went double hill before Khiev finished it to advance to the hot seat match. He was joined by Davenport, who’d shut Rizzo out.
Davenport claimed the hot seat over Khiev 5-3, in what would prove to be Khiev’s final match.
On the loss side, it was Laverdiere who picked up Rupard, who’d opened his loss-side work with an 8-2 win over Geoff James, and an 8-1 win over Matt Gagne. Rizzo drew Kassie Lam, who’d eliminated George Morgan 6-1 and Martin Flagg 5-2. Rupard and Lam advanced to the quarterfinals; Rupard, 8-2 over Laverdiere and Lam, 5-2 over Rizzo.
Rupard and Lam fought to double hill in those quarterfinals, but Rupard had the last word and advanced to a semifinal re-match against Khiev. Rupard leapfrogged over that semifinal match, when Khiev forfeited.
Rupard and Davenport played 20 games in the true double elimination final. Rupard won 18 of them. He gave up only two in the opening set, and none at all in the second set to claim the event title.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Buster’s Billiards, as well as all of the players who came out to support this memorial event. In honor of Don Clemons, the tournament raised $340 for the American Cancer Society; $240 from tournament entries, and $100 from challenge matches played against Mike Dechaine. Dionne also thanked sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-Ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America.
The next stop - #6 - on the New England 9-Ball Series, scheduled for Saturday, November 18, will be a $500-added event, hosted by Straight Shooters in Fall River, MA.
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