Parker and Miller split top prizes on J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour

Top row: Briana Miller, Joann Mason Parker, Ada Lio, Shuang Gao,
bottom row: Rachel Lang, Stacie Bourbeau

New York’s Joann Mason Parker has ‘retired’ from pool on a number of occasions, the latest being a 10-year hiatus from 2011 to 2021; all based on earnings recorded, which in those 10 years amounted to ‘none.’ She did it the first time in 1993 to raise a family. Most of her major titles were earned before AZBilliards went on-line in 1998 and there were a bunch of them: 1988’s McDermott Masters, 1990’s US Open 9-Ball Championships (at which she got by both Ewa Mataya Laurence and Loree Jon Jones). She was 1991’s Runner-up at WPA World 9-Ball Championships and 1992’s Runner-up in the International Open 9-Ball Championships. Before all of that, she was the New York State Champion from 1987-1992, the Big Apple 9-Ball Champion from 1988-1991 and the New England 9-Ball Champion from 1990-1992.

There are more, but she’s been back at the tables now, fairly steadily, since 2021, when she showed up to win a stop on the Garden State Pool Tour, finish in third place on the Predator Tri-State Tour and then, at the Triple Crown Women’s Invitational at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach (November) finished as runner-up to Monica Webb in 14:1 Straight Pool, third to Liz Taylor and Kaylee McIntosh in 10-Ball, and fourth, behind Monica Webb, Julie Cone, and Janet Atwell in One Pocket. It was a multi-disciplined return to the tables and her best recorded earnings year since 1999, at least as far back as we’ve been able to track those earnings. 

This past weekend (May 18-19), in search of her first recorded win of 2023, Parker ran into the juggernaut of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour’s director and top competitor, Briana Miller, who was looking for her 18th win on the tour over the past three years. They met once, in the hot seat match and early on Sunday morning, opted out of a final. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time, Parker was the official winner, while Miller had to settle for the split, something that has only happened twice over her three-year, sustained reign as the tour’s top competitor. The $1,000-added event drew 24 entrants to Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT.

Parker opened up with a shutout over Carol Clark, downed Ashley Benoit 7-3 and gave up just a single rack to Erica Testa, all of which put her in a winners’ side semifinal against Rachel Lang. Miller, in the meantime, opened with a shutout, as well, over Jacqueline Loving. She then sent Angie Simpson (3) and Dawn Luz (4) to the loss side and drew Ada Lio in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Miller shut Lio out to earn her spot in the hot seat match. Lang, coming off her best recorded earnings year (’23), was looking for her first win of 2024 and put up a fight against Parker, chalking up five against her before Parker edged out in front to win 7-5. As might have been expected the battle for the hot seat did go double hill and Parker claimed it. 

Lang came over to the loss side and picked up Shuang Gao, who’d lost her opening match to Dawn Luz before embarking on a four-match, winning streak that had recently eliminated Lara Won 7-5 and Ashley Benoit, double hill. Stacie Bourbeau, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Lang, survived a double-hill match against Carol Clark, and defeated Erica Testa 7-3 to pick up Lio.

Lang defeated Gao 7-4, Bourbeau eliminated Lio 7-5 and the quarterfinal Lang/Bourbeau rematch was on. Lang had given up 4 to Bourbeau in the winners’ side match. She reduced that number to one in the quarterfinals and advanced to face Miller in the semifinals.

Miller and Lang had faced each other twice in the tour’s season opener back in March. Miller had won them both; hot seat and finals. In that same opener, Lang had defeated Parker twice, once in a double-hill, winners’ side quarterfinal and again, 7-3, in the semifinals. So, while Lang was in the position she was in as a result of a loss to Parker in a winners’ side semifinal, her prospects, though not guaranteed, looked pretty good if she could just put Miller to rest for a shot at Parker in the finals.  

Didn’t happen. Miller gave up just two racks to Lang, just before opening negotiations for a split of the top two prizes with Parker. Because both Miller and Parker have already qualified for upcoming WPBA events, Rachel Lang became the recipient of this event’s qualifying slot for a future WPBA event. 

With her ‘tour director’ cap on, Miller thanked the ownership and staff at Yale Billiards for their hospitality, along with title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, In the Box Sportswear, PA Pro-Am Pool, Mezz Cues and George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor). The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of June 8-9 and hosted by Capital City Billiards in Concord, NH, will be a $1,000-added, 8-ball event. It will serve as a qualifying event for the WPBA’s Capital City Billiards Invitational in November.

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