Swinson & Knuckles split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop

Graham Swinson

In a tournament that featured a number of junior national champions, Graham Swinson, who’s been playing on the Viking Cues Q City 9-Ball Tour since he was 12 in 2013, went undefeated to the hot seat and then, in collaboration with Justin Knuckles, opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. The $250-added event drew 17 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC.

Having sent Knuckles to the loss side in the second round, Swinson advanced through the field to a winners’ side semifinal match versus Bethany Tate, 14, who was the BEF Junior National Champion in 2018 (Girls 11 & Under) and was on-hand with two of her siblings; younger sister, Noelle (11, whom Knuckles defeated in the opening round) and older brother, Joey, a regular on the tour and a two-time BEF Junior National Champion (’17 & ’18, 14 & Under Boys). Jorge Ramos, in the meantime, squared off against Kenny Daughtrey in the other winners’ side semifinal. 

Swinson shut Bethany Tate out and in the hot seat match, faced Ramos, who’d sent Daughtrey to the loss side 7-1. Swinson claimed the hot seat 8-5 in what would prove to be his last match.

On the loss side, as the event moved into the battles for 5th/6th place, there was a ‘buzz in the air’ regarding the possibility that Joey and Bethany Tate might face each other in the quarterfinals. Daughtrey drew Joey, who’d eliminated Walter Berry, double hill, and Ron Sellers 8-3 to reach him. Bethany Tate had picked up Justin Knuckles, three matches into the loss-side winning streak that would take him into the finals (that weren’t). The siblings went out together; Joey, falling to Kenny Daughtrey 6-4 and Bethany, eliminated by Knuckles 6-1.

Knuckles completed his six-match, loss-side winning streak with back-to-back 6-3 victories, over Daughtrey in the quarterfinals and Ramos in the semifinals. At that point, Knuckles and Swinson opted out of the final, split the cash and called it a night.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Mickey Milligan’s, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Diamond Brat, Federal Savings Bank’s Mortgage Division and AZBilliards. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Sept. 3-5, will encompass two separate tournaments – a $500-added Ladies Open and a $1,000-added Open (for all) 9-Ball on Diamond tables at Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, NC.