Hunt goes undefeated, downs Kirshnitz twice to claim NE 9-Ball Series title
Skip Maloney
Jun. 4, 2019
(l to r):George Palmer, Gabriel Kirshnitz & Gene Hunt.
(l to r):George Palmer, Gabriel Kirshnitz & Gene Hunt.
According to our records, while Gene Hunt has been competing at the tables for about a decade now, he hasn’t had a payout at a regional tournament since May of 2016, when he finished 9th at a stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour. Those same records now indicate that on Saturday, June 1, Hunt chalked up an undefeated win on the New England 9-Ball Series, downing Gabriel Kirshnitz twice to claim the event title. The event (stop #21) drew 56 entrants to Crow’s Nest Pub and Grill in Plaistow, NH.
 
On his way to his first meetup versus Kirshnitz in the hot seat match, Hunt, working in the event’s upper bracket, dispatched Phil Russo and Javier Fantauzzi to the loss side, before facing one of the event’s two highest Fargo-rated players, Kerry McAuliffe (648). The highest Fargo-rated player at this event was Ryan Cullen (673), who’d show up later on the loss side. Hunt (559) battled McAuliffe to double hill before sending him to the loss side 5-6. He then defeated Soel Quinones 6-2 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Steve Sutton.
 
Kirshnitz (488), in the meantime, working in the lower bracket got by Don Roy, Kim Orr, Mark Pulsifer and shut out Chris Richard to draw George Palmer in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Both of the winners’ side semifinals went double hill with Hunt, in a straight-up race to 6, downing Sutton and Kirshnitz, in a straight-up race to 5, sending Palmer to the loss side. The battle for the hot seat went double hill, as well. With Hunt racing to 6 and Kirshnitz to 5, Hunt claimed the hot seat 6-4.
 
On the loss side, it was Sutton who drew the event’s top Fargo-rated player, Cullen, who was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end. He’d recently shut out Quinones and picked up a forfeit win from Eric Lim. George Palmer drew Mark Small, who, like Cullen, was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end. He’d most recently defeated Chris Richards, double hill and shut out Catherine Ong. Small’s elimination of Ong and Cullen’s forfeit over Lim sent Ong and Lim, who are married, home at the same time, with the same $80 payout for the two-way tie for 7th place.
 
Sutton and Palmer got right back to work. Sutton downed Cullen 4-4 (Cullen racing to 6) and Palmer eliminated Small, double hill (4-3). With Sutton racing to 5, Palmer then defeated him 4-2 in the quarterfinals.
 
In a straight-up race to 4 in the semifinals, Kirshnitz earned himself a second shot at Hunt in the hot seat with a 4-1 victory over Palmer. In a repeat of their hot seat match, Hunt and Kirshnitz battled to double hill a second time, with the same result. Hunt claimed his first NE 9-Ball Series title.
 
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Crow’s Nest for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell with Lease Fundings, Master Billiards and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#22), scheduled for July 14, will find the tour back at Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.