Shea wins small-field, first JPNEWT stop since early March

Linda Haywood Shea

The J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour started up again this past weekend (Saturday, July 25). Adhering to protocols established by the venue, players wore masks and were advised of the need to maintain recommended social distancing. It was the first event for the tour since March 7 and with $500-added to the purse by Coins of the Realm, drew a small field of only nine players to Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD. Tour director Linda Shea went undefeated through four opponents to win what will go into the tour books as Stop #5, although it was only the second event of the year.

Shea faced Kia Burwell (formerly Kia Sidbury) twice in this event. First, in a winners’ side semifinal and later, in the finals. Shea took the first of those two 7-5, as Melissa Jenkins defeated Eugenia Gyftopoulos 7-5 in the other winners’ side semifinal. Shea claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Jenkins and waited on Burwell’s return.

On the loss side, Burwell picked up Nicole King, who’d been defeated by Gyftopoulos in an opening winners’ side round and then, eliminated Melissa Mason to face Burwell. Gyftopoulos drew Kelly Wyatt, who’d been sent over by Shea in their opening round and then, on the loss side, had downed Patti Jakusz.

Gyftopoulos advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-3 win over Wyatt. Burwell joined her after eliminating King, double hill. Burwell chalked up a second straight double hill win in those quarterfinals versus Gyftopoulos and then, got herself a second shot at Shea with a 7-3 win over Jenkins in the semifinals.

There were, including the finals, nine matches played on the winners’ side of the bracket. Five of those matches resulted in 7-5 scores, including the final. Shea claimed the event title and rocketed up to the #1 position on her tour’s rankings. She was previously in the #7 spot, tied with Gyftopoulos after the first (and only) event. Burwell moved from her first week position (#5) into the #2 spot. Gyftopoulos moved up to #3, just ahead of Lai Li.

Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Champion Billiards for their hospitality, especially under such trying conditions. It was not the sort of field the tour likes to see in terms of numbers, but as one tour member, Judie Wilson, put it, “It’s a start, coming back.” Shea also thanked title sponsor J. Pechauer Cues, Coins of the Realm, angle aim Art (Britanya E Rapp) and The Turtle Rack. The next stop on the JPNEWT (#6), scheduled for August 15-16, will be hosted by Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.