North Successfully Defends Patriot Cup Title

On the Connelly Patriot Cup trophy, every year the winning team is inscribed on a new plate. The first year, the South team was inscribed as the champions with all the names including Nick Varner as the Captain and MVP Mika Immonen and the next plate has the North Team for year 2 with Allen Hopkins name along with the other names of the team. This year, a new set of names along with some old will be on the Patriot Cup trophy.

The day started off with singles matches race to 3. The line ups were made and the Image Que South needed a spark to light the fire and that was to be Rodney "Rocket Morris. But "Love Sponge" Shawn Putnam went double hill with the Rocket, before a foul giving Rodney ball in hand with an open table. Unfortunately, Rodney got out of line and left hmself a jacked up slow roll shot on the 6 ball with the remaining balls hanging in the pockets. Morris missed the shot and allowed Putnam to clear the table to further extend the North's lead.

Then it was the Thorsten "Hitman" Hohmann against Iceman Mika Immonen. Mika hadn't beaten Hohmann in a 9-Ball match in 2 years, and this day would be no different as Hohmann hit Mika with a 3-1 reminder.

"Mr.400" Schmidt came out next and kept the momentum going with a 3-2 thriller over Basavich after "Delicious" had ball in hand with 5 balls remaining and failed to run out. "The Rock" Tiffany Nelson was pitted against Archer and the South was counting on the Scorpion to put them within one match of tying. What people might of thought would be an easy match for USA's #1 player, turned out to be a nail biter as Tiffany started with the 9 Ball on the break. Johnny came back with a break and run, but Tiffany put together her own break and run next. Archer won a safety exchnage the next rack, and in the final rack Tiffany found herself in a jam and after a long while Robles called time out and Basavich and Robles came out and advised how to shoot the shot. Nelson made it, got position, and faced a near unmissable 5 - 9 ball combo for the win. She slammed into the 9 ball too hard though and the 9 ball hung in the hole giving Archer the victory and the South 3 matches in a row. The North now led 7 matches to 6 matches.

Williams could tie the match score if he could beat Davis. The first game Davis missed the one ball and left Williams tough on the end rail with cue ball in the pocket and Williams came with a great shot but missed position on the 2 ball. He kicked safe, but Davis came back with a kick shot of his own to make the 2 ball and run out. Williams broke and ran the next rack to tie. Davis made the 9 ball on the break to regain the lead but in the next game Williams locked Davis up for ball in hand and ran out. 2-2 and Williams made a tough cut shot to start a run for the match win. A position error on the 8 ball left Williams tough. He studied a tight 8 ball in the side pocket and over cut it, to leave Davis an easy 8 ball and 9 ball for the win.

Miyuki Sakai was sent out against Robles, but she couldn't shake her nerves yet at her first Patriot Cup and was again shut out 3-0 leaving herself with no match or game wins thus far.

The Viking North now lead the Image Que South 9 matches to 6 and way ahead in games.

Now it was the North's turn to put up their woman's player Nelson and Captain Archer decided he would play her today, though he didn't know he would have also played her earlier in the day when the line ups were turned in. Fate has a sense of humor. Could Nelson repeat her earlier performance and give Archer a run for his money again? Odds on paper would say no, but "The Rock" played fierce with shot making and bank shots and great breaks to find herself again hill-hill 2-2 with Archer. To her credit, she played near flawless and it wouldn't have mattered who she played. In the final rack she cut in a tough 7 ball, banked the 8 ball long rail with a bridge, and then cut in a tricky 9 ball off the rail for the win. "This was probably the most crucial win of the event for us because they were counting on this for a win (the south) and now they have to win all the remaining matches to have a chance to tie us" said Immonen.

Next came the Bank Pool match and Morris would have to do something no one has done before, put pressure on Immonen in the banks. Immonen had tortured Buddy Hall in 2 previous Patriot Cups, and Morris is not known for his banking. But today, Rodney showed what Honolulu Banking is all about and he shot Mika down the first game. The next game Rodney had Mika on the ropes needing only 1 ball to Mika's 3, but Mika was too good and too cool and tied it 1-1. Again, Mika ran over Rodney the next game and it looked like it was over. But to the delight and cheers of the South and the fans, Rocket came with tough bank after bank and beat Mika to take it to hill-hill. A highly entertaining match, at one point Rocket fired in a bank long rail and before it hit the rail, Rocket knew he made it and turned away from the table and looked right at Mika and winked at him to the laughter of the audience and then applause when it fell in. The final game, Mika calmly banked his way to a 4-2 lead, needing only 1 ball, but Rodney banked his butt off to tie it 4 balls apiece and played safety to leave Mika a jacked up off the rail length of the table spot shot bank. Mika fired the bank in at perfect speed into the heart of the pocket securing the win for the North and the Cup for the 2nd year in a row. "Rodney played his heart out there to take Mika to the final ball, but that Mika banks like a little alien!" Said Schmidt who was surprised at the banking arsenal Mika possessed.

Now it was just for pride, and the 6 on 6 was next, and this time the South came out ahead and played smoothly as a team to win 3-1 in the alternate shot 6 man format.

The big event many fans waited for, was the showdown between Robles and Hohmann in straight pool. It was a great match with Hohmann coming with two 50 ball runs, and Robles coming with a 70 ball run and then a 50 ball run. But the nerves showed at the end as Robles needed 4 balls and missed the break shot. Hohmann needed 16 balls with an open table, but failed to run the rack out and gave Tony his first Patriot Cup Stright Pool victory after 3 attempts to defeat perhaps the most talented Straight pool player in the world. Final score, Robles 150 to Hohmann 146.

After the scores were tallied, each team would have a new MVP. For the North, Robles had the best record with most wins and least amount of losses and for the South it was rookie John Schmidt. They would face off in the MVP match playing 10 ball to see who would be the MVP of the event. Schmidt played confidently and didn't give Robles much opportunity to win 3-1 and now Schmidt would take Immonen's place as the reigning Patriot Cup MVP and his name would now rest on the plaque of the Patriot Trophy.

New names succeed, old names fallen and risen, a young woman plays David against Goliath, a new captain leads the victory, but a fallen team finds a new MVP hero. Another one in the books at the 3rd Annual Connelly Patriot Cup!