Woodward Wins Derby 9-Ball and Master of the Table Titles
David Thomson - Medium Pool
Feb. 3, 2019
Skyler Woodward (Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson - Mediumpool.com)
Skyler Woodward (Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson - Mediumpool.com)
 
Derby City Classic XXI, January 25 - February 2nd, 2019
 
LIVE from the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino, Elizabeth IN.
 
DIAMOND DCC 9-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP 
  
407 entrants; Another attendance record broken!
 
Race to 9. Winner Breaks. 3 balls, minus those pocketed, must make the kitchen on the break.
 
The Outsville Accu-Rack is in use. 9-ball on the spot.
 
1st. $16,000, 2nd. $8,000, 3rd, $6,000, 4th/5th, $3950.
 
DCC All Around Champion: $20,000!
 
At 3:30 in the morning, Skyler Woodward, surrounded by friends, fans, and family, sank the case 9 and was declared the Diamond DCC XXI All-Around Champion.
 
On top of the $16,000 for winning in the 9-Ball division, the Master of the Table title, or AAC as it’s also called, pocketed him an additional $20,000. 
 
The 120 MoT points created a decisive lead over Bustamante, his nearest contender, who was honored with $3,000 for second. Orcollo picked up $2,000 for third.
 
Woodward had just survived back-to-back-to-back bouts with Orcollo, Biado, and Vann Corteza–three of the toughest, ball pounding Filipinos on the planet.
 
He had one more, lesser known (until now) omnipotent  Filipino in front of him, the 26-year-old fearless, emotionless, automaton, James Aranas.
 
James has been living in West Virginia in a house of pool repute. His host always invited any visiting cue-carrying Pinoys to his home away from home. Currently Aranas was, in practice, being schooled by Orcollo, Pagulayan and the like.
 
When away from the table, James is a very friendly, responsive guy. His sincerity and love for the game are more than apparent.
 
On the table, he’s a demon.
 
He, like Woodward, was undefeated before succumbing to Orcollo, one of his hero’s.
 
James had just neutralized South Dakotan Danny Olsen, Nederlander Neils Feijen, and Fedor Gorst.
 
Fedor only 18, not 19, as was erroneously reported yesterday, finished third.
 
He’d had a fantastic day. First he'd removed Pinegar, Van Boening and then Shaw..9-2!
 
Jayson enjoined respectfully,  "He shot incredible. A couple of scratches and he totally  controlled the set. All I could do was watch."
 
Aranus began the first set of the finals with an Accu-Stats’ TPA near .950 which, incidentally, was what Sky had just laid on Orcollo to eliminate him from the tournament.
 
Sky couldn’t catch a roll. As Grady Mathews used to say, the balls always know who’s winning. Today, the rolls were favoring Aranas.
 
For example, at around 6-6 in their race to 9, Woodward broke to have his cue ball careen towards the side pocket. The crowd sighed in relief, as it seemingly escaped as it rolled around the rim to perk up on the edge…until the 3-ball kicked it into the pocket.
 
That mishap changed the set. Sky scurried to the buyback booth.
 
At 2 am, the crowd was ready for the do-or-die second set.
 
Between racks, Sky, like James, was struggling to keep his eyes focused. Exhaustion affects 20 somethings, too.
 
Both competitors had been in competitive mode for a solid 16 hours. Add that statistic to the torture of 9 days of Derby and it will take its toll, even on the balls. 
 
They refused to cooperate. No matter how hard they were smacked, Skyler couldn’t get an opening shot. His frustration fed into the audience that had deemed their Kentucky kid from Paducah might be doomed.
 
The energy in the Accu-Stats TV Arena had never been at such a low. It was like a funeral. You could, literally, hear a pin drop. The tournament desk land-line rang in the distance. Riiiiiing, riiiiiing, riiiiiing. It was incessant. 
 
In the decider, Skyler, still scrambling, had maintained a one game lead with Aranas always playing catch-up.
 
“If I could get a shot on the break, I could fly,” muttered Sky as he approached the headstring.
 
The balls blasted apart. He was left straight in on the 2. He raised his arms to the heavens. It was a miracle. The audience responded with roars of encouragement.
 
He ran to the 9 and, with whitey arriving a little bit funny, he missed it! 
 
The 9 slowly rolled near the corner pocket. Aranas slid into the lead.
 
And scratched on the break!
 
Was Woodward spent? Could the Mosconi Cup escapologist recover? Could he muster the inspiration when he needed it? What would his MC coach Johan Ruijsink say?
 
Channeling all, with ball in hand he, masterfully, ran the rack. 
 
He needed one more. The first and the last racks are always the testers. The key shot was a tricky three-railer for position from the 5 to the 6. Then he was surely out.
 
Aranas sat patiently in his seat.
 
There was distance between the cue-ball and the 5. Normally, it would be inside his comfort zone but, this ball was worth thirty-six thousand dollars.
 
He fired the 5 into the pocket. He was perfect on the 6.
 
Easing in the 8, he was straight-in on the crowning 9. 
 
The arena was in turmoil. Sky screamed with relief. Never a doubt!
 
There was only one question remaining, From where is that inner strength summoned?
 
Only champions know.
 
See ya next year.
 
Our thanks to all who contributed theses daily reports. You know who you are: Bret, Bill, and Bonnie. Oh, you too, Ric and, of course, Diamond Paul!
 
 
THE DIAMOND STRAIGHT POOL CHALLENGE
 
Shane ran 124 and out on Melling before conflicts in the One-Pocket and 9-Ball schedule determined the tournament couldn’t be completed.
 
Mika had finished farther than his fellow competitors and was unofficially declared the winner.
 
As the top 14.1 players were all finished big in the other events, the moral of the story is, play Straight Pool!
 
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.