Ryan takes two out of three over Gregory to win 1st return stop on Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour

Robert Clark, Donnie Gregory and Jim Ryan

Pool came back to Texas in the form of the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour’s first stop since the weekend of February 22-23. Unwittingly, the tour paid homage to that last stop on the tour by repeating the final circumstances, albeit with different players. In the earlier event, Brian Cady took two out of three matches over Louie Pacheco, claiming the hot seat and the second set against him in the finals. On this past weekend (Aug. 22-23), it was Jim Ryan taking the same two out of three over Donnie Gregory to claim the event title. Both competitors were looking for their first tour win. Ryan, who was a member of the BCAPL’s 2017 National Championship Team (Top Shelf) was looking for his first cash finish on the tour. The $1,000-added event drew 63 entrants to Snookered Billiards, Bar and Restaurant in Frisco, TX.

Ryan’s path to his first appearance in the winners’ circle was no luck-of-the-draw walk in the park. After a shutout over Brendan Fuller in the opening round, Ryan survived his first of three double hill matches against JP Kinman. He then sent Texas veteran Greg Sandifer to the loss side 7-4 and Jersey Jack Lynch 7-1 to draw Doug Winnett in a winners’ side semifinal.

Gregory, in the meantime, had defeated Jim Tallman 7-3 and survived his first of three double hill matches versus Daniel Herring. He advanced to down Sabrina Henson 7-2 and his second double hill match versus Hector Guerrero to draw Robert Clark in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Ryan won his second double hill match versus Winnett and advanced to the hot seat. Gregory downed Clark 7-4 to join him. Ryan chalked up his third double hill fight, against Gregory, and claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Winnett picked up Tony Top, who, after being defeated in the opening round by Fahad Alrawi, set out on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He’d recently eliminated Jamie Cummings 8-4 and Greg Sandifer 8-6. Robert Clark picked up Jersey Jack Lynch, who, following his defeat at the hands of Ryan on the winners’ side, had defeated JP Kinman 7-6 (Kinman racing to 8) and Chris Ferguson 7-3.

Clark downed Jersey Jack 8-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Top, who’d survived a double hill fight versus Winnett. In a straight-up race to 8, Clark then ended Top’s winning streak 8-5 in those quarterfinals.

In the semifinals that followed, Gregory faced his third double hill challenge, which almost turned out in favor of Clark. In the flurry of shots in the final moments of the deciding game, after Gregory had snookered himself shooting at the 8-ball, Clark, with the table and the win staring at him, hit a ball too hard and ended up turning the table back over to Gregory, who proceeded to win his third double hill challenge.

The momentum from that semifinal, double hill win sent Gregory into the finals on a bit of a roll. He won the opening set of the true double elimination final 7-2. Ryan, though, collected his thoughts in time to challenge strongly in the second set. It came within a game of becoming, for each of them, their fourth double hill challenge. Ryan pulled out in front near the end and claimed the title with a second-set 7-5 win.

Nestled among the four players who shared the tie for 13th place in this event was Sabrina Henson, who, in addition to the $80 she earned for finishing in that spot, proved to be the event’s top female finisher and the best finisher at Skill Level 5. Each of those accomplishments earned her an extra $60, making her take-home at this event an even $200.

Tour director Monica Anderson thanked Craig and Janna Lucas for being the “hosts with the most,” along with title sponsor CueTec and the Fort Worth Billiards Store. The next stop on the CueTec DFW 9-Ball Tour is scheduled for the weekend of September 19-20, although the site for the event is yet to be determined. Local ordinances related to the Covid-19 epidemic could affect the choice. Visit the tour’s Facebook page or their Web site at http://www.dfw9bt.com.