Thorpe Wins Derby Banks on Day Five
Dave Thomson (Mediumpool.com)
Jan. 30, 2019
Omar Al Shaheen: Under the radar no more! (Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson - Medium Pool)
Omar Al Shaheen: Under the radar no more! (Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson - Medium Pool)
Derby City Classic XXI, January 25 - February 2nd, 2019
 
LIVE from the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino, Elizabeth IN.
 
DIAMOND DCC BANK POOL CHAMPIONSHIP
 
Race to 3, 9-Ball–Short Rack, $10,000 first place prize: $4,000 for second, $2,200, 3rd/4th, etc.
 
From a record-setting 505 entrants, there is only one man left standing.
 
Billy Thorpe, undefeated in 14 arduous rounds, became the undisputed Diamond Derby City Classic Bank Champion by eliminating Kuwait’s Omar Al Shaheen, 3-2.
 
En route to the Accu-Stats TV table, Billy had won games without his opponent being allowed to approach the table. In round 13, he had given Skyler Woodward, a DCC Banks Ring Game winner, his first loss at 3-0. The demolition included two games with 5 balls-and-out.
 
Today, they met again. The punishment was repeated: 3-0.
 
Al Shaheen had earned his berth by terminating the talented Josh Roberts 3-0 earlier in the day. In passing, he had also beaten back-to-back BIG Foot 10-Ball titlist Jayson Shaw and 3-time DCC Banks Champ John Brumback, just to name a few who are still in shock.
 
Previously, Omar had competed in DCC’s 9-Ball and Banks events but, had slipped under the slate as he had never gotten past the last 16.
 
Thorpe, throttle wide open, had been walloping the balls. There is no baby in Billy. He’s a pounder. He also had home field advantage having experienced the “heat” of the Accu-Stats’ lights.
 
Omar, on the other hand, had been conditioned in the expanse of the main arena where the playing field is a much more anonymous. Now, thanks to the Accu-Stats’ stream, he was under the lens for all the world to glare. 
 
Billy knew that feeling. Two years ago when, as an underdog, Thorpe pounced on Alex Pagulayan and stole the DCC One Pocket title. 
 
After the trouncing, respected Accu-Stats’ commentator Bill Incardona declared Billy the best banker in the world. Today, Thorpe had the opportunity to ratify that statement.
 
That title also contributed to Thorpe’s thrust into the limelight which led to being invited to compete with Team USA in the Mosconi Cup. Having experienced that pressure only made one feel impregnable.
 
In the opening game, we were made aware of the aggressive (defense, what defense?) strategy that had gotten Omar to the finals. Firing at everything, and making a lot of them, maybe threatened Thorpe a little, especially, when Omar secured the first game.
 
“Guys who compete wide open are dangerous,” Billy later stated, “Especially, in a short-rack, race to 3.” 
 
It’s, also, always interesting playing an unknown entity. There’s usually less pressure when competing against a familiar opponent, even when they’re more formidable than the unknown one.
 
Game 2, it’s all Billy and nothing but net. 1-1
 
Game 3. Omar bangs in 4 while Billy has only 2, Wise defense came to his rescue and bingo, Billy stole it and, it’s 2-1.
 
Game 4. Thorpe opens with 3. Al Shaheen makes one and scratches on the second. Billy slams the respotted orb. He’s one ball from the title.
 
Omar responds with 3, then 1. It’s a hill-hill–again! Billy leaves him long from the rail. Omar nails it. The boisterous crowd is screaming their appreciation. Sure, they want their homeboy to win but, Omar’s a humble guy. They like him, too. And, of course, the drama, we all love the drama.
 
It’s 2-2…and Omar is at bat. He makes 2 on the break. Then, runs 3.
 
“Oh no,” Billy a little bit twitchy. “How did it come to this? I’m starving, I should have eaten.” the thoughts are racing through his mind. He doesn’t want to think about the buy-back booth. “It’s OK, I’m undefeated, he has to beat me twice. Forget that! I’m closing this out NOW!”
 
He’s driven. He’s desperate.
 
Omar’s shaky. He shares out loud with the standing room only crowd, “The stress, the stress.” Yet, inside, he knows he can win this. Look how far he’s gotten. Why stop now?
 
Each having chipped away at the rack, until, again, they’re tied at 4.
 
One ball and Billy has another DCC championship belt. One more for Omar and he’ll secure a second set.
 
Defensive now, Omar leaves Billy long, very long. His dark eyes focused intently on the contact point, he pulls back his cue and, mustering all his power, he pummels the object ball…CRACK! The Cyclop almost busted the back of the pocket.
 
You can still hear his rebel yell ringing around the arena.
 
Omar is grateful, sure, a little bit deflated, but yet elated to have gotten so far. “What’s better than this in the sport we all love so much?” And, let’s not forget, he’ll go home a hero.
 
Billy has added another Diamond event to his resume. Plus, that’s 120 points towards the Master of the Table title. He’s still unbeaten in One-Pocket, plus, with the 9-Ball experience he gained as a winning Mosconi Cup team member two months ago, who knows what the future holds for the rising pool star.
 
DIAMOND DCC ONE POCKET CHAMPIONSHIP
 
410 entrants are now reduced to 116
 
Scott Frost handily defeated Dennis Orcollo 3-1 on the Accu-Stats TV table. Off to a blazing start the Freezer dismantled Robocop’s defenses. 
 
The closing rack offered endgame strategy. With Scott needing one, it was a lesson in moving both the cue and object ball into positions impossible. Scott came with 3 railer that no one expected, especially Dennis.
 
Niels Feijen ran into an upset with an unknown invader. John Brumback was bounced by Ruslan Chinakhov who was then handed a loss by Roberto Gomez.
 
One Pocket matches will air on accu-stats.com at NOON. EDT.
  
THE DIAMOND STRAIGHT POOL CHALLENGE is streaming at billiardnet.tv!
 
The high-run contest is manned by 14.1 aficionados Dennis Walsh and Bill Maropulis. Bob Jewett, the event creator, has generously supplied healthy refreshments. Pool players sometimes forget to eat.
 
The 8 highest runs will compete in a single elimination play-off to determine the champion.
 
Here are the high-runs, so far:
 
Dennis Orcollo, 190 
Niels Feijen, 179
Jayson Shaw, 168
 
ONE POCKET HALL OF FAME DINNER
 
Wednesday, 30th, Jan. 6 pm.
 
Smoke and Rye Bar and Restaurant, near the main lobby by the Derby City Classic pool tournament arena.
 
Onepocket.org, under the auspices of Steve Booth, will induct Scott Frost and James Walden.
 
A hearty congratulations to Scott Frost who will go into the One Pocket Hall of Fame!
 
In addition, James Walden will be honored for “Lifetime Pool in Action!”
 
One Pocket Hall of Famer Shannon Daulton, and friends, will entertain the one-hole fans with personal encounters with the honorees as he anchors the evening’s festivities.
 
The format is VIP dinner and drinks starting at 6 PM. Then about 7:15 PM the doors open for inexpensive appetizers and cash bar and the induction presentations.
 
You are invited to help us celebrate their achievements and to experience a piece of One-Pocket history.
 
Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cuetec Cues, Lucasi Custom, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, and Samsara Cues.