North comes back for Patriot Cup win

Mika Immonen won the deciding game

In a come-back of epic proportions, the North team came back from nearly being out of contention to win the 2003 Patriot Cup.

The North Team was as close as they could be to elimination today, as they trailed by the score of 10-7 in matches and 51-44 in games with three matches to play. The closest they had been in the event, was a 3-3 tie on Saturday and down 8-7 early on Sunday.

The first must-win match for the North was the captains choice 9-ball which saw Mika Immonen for the North and Johnny Archer for the South. Archer had been struggling since accidentally breaking his shaft (video) during the straight pool match against Tony Robles. The small annoyance of playing with a new shaft may have made a difference as Archer lost 5-4 to Immonen bringing the North back to 10-8 and 55-49.

Immonen came back to the table to represent the North against Buddy Hall in a Bank Pool race to 3. If Hall could win 2 games, it assure the South of ending the event with more games won than the North. Immonen won the first two games, but lost the third to Hall before winning game four to bring the North back to 10-9 in matches and 56-52 in games.

The North still had the formidable task before them of having to sweep the South in 5-on-5 9-ball to tie the score and force a final match. Coincidentally, this was the same position that the North was in last year, before the South won the first game of the set to score their victory.

This year, would prove to be different however. Game one went the North's way when Archer missed a makeable 5-ball. Game two went to the North when Tommy Kennedy missed a 9-ball. Game three went to the North when Archer missed a 9-ball, and game four went to the North when Archer missed a combination on the 9.

With the score tied at 10-10 and 56-56, each team would send the player with the best record to the table for a race to 4 singles 10-ball match to determine the winner. This match would be a rematch of the earlier match between Immonen and Archer.

With newfound life, the North team watched as Immonen won the first three games to get to the hill first. Then it was the South's turn to cheer, as Archer won the next three racks to tie the score at 3-3. Immonen broke the final game and did not make a ball, but Archer had a tough table to get a run started. He made the one, and then a tough 2-ball but was forces to play safe on the 3-ball. That would prove to be Archer's final shot, as Immonen drained the 3-ball and proceeded to run the rack to give the North Team an 11-10 victory and the Patriot Cup. was at the event and they have all of the matches on video tape. Look for them to have videos of the event for sale on their site soon. We will have pictures from the event right here on AzBilliards later in the week.

Photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe