Rowe goes undefeated to take down clear ‘favorite’ on New England 9-Ball Series

Stephen Rowe, Lukas Fracasso-Verner and Ryan Cullen

If it had been a horse race, Stephen Rowe would have been a ‘dark horse’ longshot. Fargo Rate calculations gave him only a 15.9% chance of defeating Lukas Fracasso-Verner in either of their two matches at this past weekend’s (Sat., Oct. 9) Stop #17 on the New England 9-Ball Series. With an ‘established’ rating of 467, and what they awkwardly refer to as ‘robustness’ of 438 (meaning that his performance has been tracked in the course of 438 games), Rowe didn’t just walk in off the street, so to speak, any more than an individual horse in a stakes race would come out onto a track having never seen one before. It would have been a good bet, though. Rowe went undefeated through a field 40 at the $500-added event, hosted by US 1 Billiards & Bar (owned by Jayson Shaw) in West Haven, CT.

Working from the lower bracket, Rowe got underway with victories over Stacey Bowser 5-3, Stacy Hamel 5-3 and Robert Lucas 5-2 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Thomas Dale, Jr. In the upper bracket, Fracasso-Verner was awarded an opening round bye and then had to contend with a double hill battle vs. Andy Down. Fracasso-Verner advanced to shut out John Vitale and defeat Jim Gravel 8-2 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against Ryan Cullen.

Rowe got into the hot seat match with a 5-2 win over Dale, Jr. and was joined by Fracasso-Verner, who’d sent Cullen to the loss side 6-4. If the odds of Rowe winning two matches against Fracasso-Verner were high, they’d have been astronomical if you bet on a shutout, but that’s exactly what happened in the battle for the hot seat, claimed by Rowe.

On the loss side, Cullen picked up Michael Matthieu, who’d defeated Tour Director Marc Dionne 5-1 and in the first money round, Mario Argentino, double hill, to reach him. Dale, Jr. drew Michael Selig, who’d recently eliminated Robert Lucas 4-1 and Nathan Johnson 4-2.

Dale, Jr. and Selig locked up in a double hill fight, which eventually sent Dale, Jr. to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Cullen, who’d defeated Matthieu 5-1. Cullen then downed Dale, Jr.8-2 in those quarterfinals.

Fracasso-Verner gave up only a single rack in his semifinal matchup against Cullen. Fracasso-Verner had to win twice in the true double elimination finals versus Rowe, but he never made it out of the first set. Rowe took that opening set 4-2 (Fracasso-Verner racing to 10) to claim only his second recorded payout appearance on the tour, as well as the event title.

Tour director Marc Dionne offered special thanks to US 1 Billiards & Bar room owner, Jayson Shaw, who, on short notice, agreed to host the event, originally scheduled to be hosted by Yale Billiards. Shaw spent time with the players during the event and put on a few trick shot demonstrations for the assembled crowd. Dionne also thanked tour sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Professor Q-Ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Outsville, Salotto and Just the Tip Cue Repair.

The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#18), scheduled for Saturday, November 6, will be the $500-added Tony Mendonca Memorial Tournament. The event will be hosted by Stroker’s in Pelham, NH.