Roberts gets back on track, goes undefeated to win 6th of 10 stops on the 2nd Annual Rack Race

Josh Roberts

It’s been 17 years since South Carolina’s Josh Roberts recorded his first (known) payout here on AZBilliards. The occasion was the January, 2007 Derby City Classic (9-Ball Division) and Roberts finished 63rd. At the tail end of that first year, in December, he recorded his first regional tour win, going undefeated to claim the Great Southern Billiards Tour’s Charleston Classic II title, ahead of Jared McGee and GSBT Tour Director, Shannon Daulton. Fifteen years later (2022), he would record his best earnings year, cashing in 22 events; winning one (River City Open, Banks Division), runner-up in three others, third in five more and assorted finishes in 13 more. Last year, in addition to winning stops on the Players Madness and Strokers Pool Tours, Roberts won six of the fifteen stops in the inaugural season of the SC/GA Rack Race.

After winning the first five events of the second Rack Race Season, Roberts stepped away for a while, returning to compete in a triple-discipline event at Stop #9. Though he failed to capture the main-event 9-Ball title, he did go undefeated in the concurrently-run “Banks” Mini division, defeating the winner of the main event, Francisco Diaz-Pizarro, in both the hot seat match and final. This past weekend (Sat., June 1), as the top Fargo-rated competitor at the $1,000-added Stop #10 on the 2024 Rack Race, Roberts went undefeated to claim his sixth 2024 Rack Race title. The $1,000-added event drew 39 entrants to Rack & Grill II in Augusta, GA.

Through his six matches, Roberts, with a 781 FargoRate, faced opponents whose average FargoRate was just shy of 600 (598.166667, with a high rate of 619 and a low of 549). It means that Roberts’ ‘average’ competitor during the event had a 1.9% chance of winning the races to 6 that they played. His ‘average’ opponent won 2.33 racks per match. Beginning with his first actual opponent, Derrick Bridges, who chalked up four against him. George Spires and Darrel Williams got three, and in a winners’ side semifinal that put Roberts in the hot seat match, Billy Holmes chalked up 2.

Roberts’ hot seat opponent, Todd Blackwell, had to work a little harder. Thad Conner chalked up four against him in the opening round, after which Blackwell survived three straight, double-hill challenges, from Jeff Blatell, Jacob Blake and in the other winners’ side semifinal, the eventual runner-up, David Crocker, who, with the event’s lowest FargoRate (549), would come back on the loss side to challenge Roberts in the final.

On the loss side, Crocker picked up Derrick Bridges, who’d followed his opening round loss to Roberts with six straight, which included two straight double-hill wins over Jimmy Lee and Mike Wise, before he downed Justin Clark 5-3 to draw Crocker. Holmes drew Ian Jones, who’d lost a third-round, winners’ side match to Darell Williams and won his first three, loss-side matches by an aggregate score of 15-1. He gave up none at all to Conlee Stone, the ‘1’ to George Spires, and another ‘none’ to Jacob Blake, before he survived a double-hill bout versus James Smith to face Holmes.

Holmes stopped Jones’ streak 5-3 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Crocker joined him after stopping Bridges’ streak 5-1. Crocker went on to defeat Holmes 5-2 in those quarterfinals and give up just a single rack to Blackwell in the semifinals.

Just when you think that it’s safe to ‘go back in the water,’ you run right into a ‘shark.’ In this case, Josh Roberts, the highest FargoRated competitor ‘in the water,’ closed out his undefeated run with a 6-1 victory over Crocker, the lowest FargoRated competitor in the event.

Tour director and Rack & Grill II owner, Michael Newsome thanked his staff for the invaluable contributions made to the smooth running of the event, along with sponsors Predator Cues, Simonis Cloth,, Pepsi, Newsome Distributing, JTs Automotive Group, CSRA Machine Fab, Salazar (Certified Public Accountant), Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions and National Billiard Academy. 

Stop #11 of the Rack Race, scheduled for Saturday, June 15, will be hosted by Rack & Grill III in Aiken, SC 

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