Skeens and Hollingsworth split top prizes at 3rd Annual Brian James Memorial in Bristol, TN

Mike Skeens

Prior to this past weekend, Saturday, June 4, the last time Mike Skeens had cashed in an official event of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, was eight days shy of a year ago (June 12, 2021), when he was defeated twice, in a winners’ side semifinal and eventually, the loss-side semifinal by Janet Atwell, owner of the host room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. Back at the same room a year later, last Saturday, Skeens went undefeated to the hot seat, downing DJ Brads to claim it, and later, after the semifinals, he and junior competitor Landon Hollingsworth opted out of a final match, leaving Skeens as the official winner of the 3rd Annual Brian James Memorial. It was Skeens’ first recorded tour victory, albeit with a no-final-match asterisk. The event drew 52 entrants to Borderline Billiards.

Skeens was no doubt relieved to hear that however his tournament run was to proceed, it would not entail running into Janet Atwell, who didn’t compete in the event, although a run-in versus Clevinger was possible. Skeens advanced through the field to draw Hollingsworth in one of the winners’ side semifinals, while Brads squared off against Ricky Bingham in the other one.

With Hollingsworth racing to 9, Skeens defeated him 5-5 and in the hot seat match, faced Brads, who’d sent Bingham to the loss side 6-4. In a straight-up race to 6, Skeens and Brads battled to double hill in what would prove to be the defining match of the event. Skeens prevailed and Brads headed off to the semifinals.

On the loss side, Hollingsworth drew James Brown, who’d rendered a Clevinger/Skeens final matchup impossible when he downed Clevinger 5-2 and then, Doug Schulz 5-5 (Schulz racing to 8) to face Hollingsworth. Bingham picked up Thomas Sansone, who’d defeated Eric Roberts 7-6 (Roberts racing to 9) and Adam Pendley 6-5 (Pendley racing to 9) to reach him.

In the first money round, Bingham eliminated Sansone, double hill, and in the quarterfinals, faced Hollingsworth, who’d also survived a double hill match (9-5), versus Brown. Hollingsworth stopped Bingham’s loss-side run 9-3 in those quarterfinals.

Hollingsworth then spoiled Brads’ bid for a rematch against Skeens by defeating him 9-4 in the semifinals. The decision to split the top two prizes was made and Skeens went into the record books as the official winner of the 3rd Annual Brian James Memorial.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues,, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat,, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend, June 11-12, will be a Scotch Doubles event, hosted by Corner Pocket in Fayetteville, NC. 

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