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2016 Canadian Championships

Naomi Williams, John Morra, Alex Pagulayan and Brittany Bryant

From May 5th to May 10th, le Tapis Vert in Quebec City hosted the Canadian Billiards & Snooker Association’s (CBSA) 21st annual Canadian Pool Championships.  The six-day event consisted of 8-ball, 9-ball and 10-ball tournaments open to any person holding a Canadian passport. The CBSA is affiliated with the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA), through the WPA’s North American affiliate, the Billiard Congress of America (BCA). With these affiliations, it grants Canada the opportunity to be represented at all World Pool Championships, and most other major International pool events.
The restructured CBSA Board of Directors made a wise decision this year in selecting Quebec as the host province for 2016.  The Province of Quebec has a great attitude towards billiards, they produce a great number of top calibre players, and there was a significant increase the attendance from previous years.
Women’s Events
Naomi Williams and Brittany Bryant continue to dominate this sport in the Women’s Canadian field.  Year after year, these ladies share titles and this year was no different.  Brittany and Naomi played each other in the finals of both events (9-Ball and 10-Ball).  After losing to Brittany in the A-side finals, Naomi returned from the B-side to win her forth Canadian 9-Ball title with an 11-6 win.
In the 10-Ball event, it was Brittany’s turn to shine.  Both players traded racks for the first 8 games and the score was tied 4-4.  All of a sudden, Brittany took control and went into dead stroke winning the next 6 games in a row to take the 10-Ball title.  Well done girls.
Open 8-Ball
Earlier in the year the organizing committee for the 2016 World 8-Ball Tournament announced that the event would be held in Toronto at The Corner Bank.  It was disappointing to recently learn that the event was moved from Toronto to China.  A large number of players had high hopes of competing at the international level in front of their fellow countryman.  In any event, the show must go on.
In the Canadian event, the crowd favourite, Alex Pagulayan looked unstoppable only losing 6 games in his first 4 matches.  Alex outscored his opponents 36-6.  Alex’s then faced 3-time Canadian 8-Ball Champion Jason Klatt.  Klatt was also having a good day with wins over Jason Thomas, Alain Martel, Sylvain Gingras and John Morra.  A very focussed Klatt got the 9-5 win over Alex in their 5th round match.
In the finals, Jason faced Alex Pagulayan for the second time.  Both players traded racks in the alternate break format and the score remained close until the end.  With the score tied 10-10, Jason broke and ran the final rack to take the match and the title.  An impressive start for Klatt as he went undefeated to claim his fourth Canadian 8-ball title.
Open 9-Ball
A few weeks before this event, it was announced that the 9-Ball would be racked on the spot.  This rule was implemented to follow the lead of the World Pool-Billiard Association which will be enforced at the World Championships.  All participants needed to adapt to this break format on short notice.
Although Alex fell one game short in the 8-ball event, “The Lion” reigned in the 9-ball.  Three days into this event, Alex was well adjusted to the conditions of the room.  Alex dominated his opponents and reached the finals with wins over Jeff Blais, Danny Hewitt, John Morra, Sylvain Grenier and Alain Martel.  It was John Morra who had the last opportunity to dethrone Alex.  John has been travelling the planet and is currently ranked 5th in the world rankings.  Unfortunately for John, the break shot was not cooperating with him and he had very few opportunities to gain any momentum.  Pagulayan stayed in control the entire match and won the 9-ball title with a solid 15-6 performance.
Open 10-Ball
In this event, “The Dancing Bear” Alain Martel proved he still has what it takes to compete with the best players in the country.  His gentle, finesse style put him in the A-bracket semi-finals with wins over Randy Bagot, Charles Castonguay, Shannon Ducharme and Stephan Doiron.  Alain continued his clinic against Alex Pagulayan and mounted a 6-2 lead.  Unfortunately for Alain, no lead is safe against Alex.  Pagulayan somehow managed to comeback and win 10-9.  Martel was eventually eliminated by John Morra and settled for a respectable 4th place finish.
The final match would see John Morra face off against Alex Pagulayan.  This was a rematch of the 9-ball finals and John wanted revenge.  Morra got off to a great start winning the first 4 games.  In the 5th rack, John committed an early foul and Alex pounced at the opportunity to get on the scoreboard 4-1.  John scratched on the next break in this alternate break format and Alex ran out again to bring the score to 4-2.  From there, the smooth stroke of John Morra took over.  John kept the pressure on Alex as he won 9 of the next 10 racks to clinch the title with a dominating 13-3 score.  A fabulous finish to a great tournament.
“The CBSA very much needed a bounce-back year, and the numbers were big enough to say that this event should help pave the way for better things in the future”, said Randall Morrison President, Canadian Billiards & Snooker Association.  Check out their website for full brackets from the event –
A special thanks to all the special people that made this event happen.  The CBSA Secretary, Candace Campbell, did an excellent job as tournament director and had a great time doing it.  Volunteers Barry Hetherington and Alain Parent were gracious to offer their assistance in helping conduct the bracket, calling matches and officiating shots.  Acknowledgement should also be given to the sponsors for contributing to the costs associate with running these national events:  Tiger, Simonis/Aramith, Kamui, Chalk-Cube, F.G. Bradley’s, Think Green Industries and Jostens.

Falcon Tour Stop #3: Hewitt Makes Impressive Comeback to Defeat Morra in Final

Danny Hewitt, Luc Pacquette and Alain Parent photo by Markus Noé

This past weekend Terminus Billiards & Bar located in Gatineau, Quebec hosted the third stop of the newly formed Falcon Cues Québec Pro Tour. This tour has been received with open arms by not only Québec players but from the entire Canadian pool community as this is currently the only professional tour in the country.
The first two stops have been played in Rimouski and Jonquiere, Québec averaging 32 players.  Last weekend saw 47 players show up to participate. I credit this increase in the field size due to several factors. Gatineau borders Ottawa, Ontario and is only a few hours away from Montreal, Québec while the last two tournaments have been several hours away from Montreal which is home to hundreds of players. Also the announcement that the 8th ranked player in the world, John Morra along with his father and solid professional Mario Morra added some extra buzz.
Day 1 featured a few shocking results and a couple big matches early on. Winner of the last stop Danny Hewitt paired up with Luc "The Machine Gun" Salvas in the first round. Salvas a multiple World Speed Pool Champion, is always a crowd favorite as his speed and obvious love of the game makes him very entertaining. However he was in tough against the current #1 player in Québec Hewitt and lost his first match 9-6. Despite this early loss Salvas went on to win 7 matches before losing to Alain Martel in the 4th place match. 
The biggest upset of the day was Sylvain Grenier who has had a solid year in his return to pool, failing to make it to Sunday. He suffered a 9-6 loss to Dany Nguyen a young professional from Montreal. On the losers side he won one match before being eliminated by strong local semi-pro Sébastien Cousineau 9-5. Another upset of note is Karl Petrin a newly ranked "A" player from Montreal beating Lelsie Cookie a "AAA" 9-8.
Overall as in most cases in talent packed tournaments such as this the creme floated to the top. Going into Day 2 the final eight were John Morra vs Andre Goyette, Danny Hewitt vs Yannick Bedard, Alain Martel vs Sébastien Cousineau, Luc Salvas vs Patrick De Repentigny. A feel good story going into the final was the success a few local players had been having. There was of course Cousineau who was mentioned earlier. However not to be undone is Canadian legend Andre Goyette at 75yrs who old fought right till the final 4 winners side. House pro at Terminus Repentigny also had a great deal of success only losing to Goyette and Salvas finishing tied for 8th with Cousineau.
The pool hall really became electric when there were 4 remaining. On one table there was Martel vs Salvas while Morra and Hewitt did battle on the next table. Morra defeated Hewitt 9-7 and waited in the hot-seat while Martel and Hewitt went to war to decided who would get the last shot at the tournament favorite. Martel looked a bit fatigued and perhaps was distracted by a waitress who came to bring me a coffee at aninappropriate time in the match and appeared to inadvertently "Shark" him out of a key shot. In the end Hewitt won easily 9-4 and earned a rematch.
The final began with a flurry from Morra who was breaking well and mounted a 6-1 lead in this extended race to 11. A dry break for Morra and accidentally hooking himself on a wide open was all Hewitt needed to mount a comeback, and in a blink it was 6-6. Hewitt even went on to take the lead 8-6 before Morra had a chance. Hewitt finally missed a shot and even got a good roll to not leave it easy. However Morra a former Derby City 9 Ball Banks Champion, stepped up and fired a full table cross corner on the 5 ball and ran out to get within a game. 
In the end Hewitt was just playing too well and Morra a was just a bit unlucky as Hewitt went on to win 11-7.  This was a phenomenal tournament all around and perhaps the most entertaining one I have seen in Canada outside the Archer Cup in Thetford Mines, Québec. Once again it was proven that Québec is the current "Mecca" for pool in Canada as it is one of the best places for the Pro's to come to be respected and watched. The local crowd was absolutely thrilled with the talent that was on display in their pool hall. I would also like to commend the amateur level players who came out to participate, because in reality there were only 12 ranked Professionals. The rest were high level Semi-Pro's and Amateurs. This to me is very important as currently in Toronto we see professional's are being left out of many tournaments, while in Québec they use staggered entry fee's and not handicaps to encourage lesser players to improve alongside some of the best in the country. 
I would like to thank the Falcon team which consists of Danny Hewitt, Alain Parent and David Deschenes as well as Patrick De Repentigny and the entire Terminus staff. Combined they not only gave me everything I needed to cover this event but embraced me with open arms understanding the importance of promoting the Tour and the Sport of Pool. There will be a quick turn around for the Falcon Tour as the next stop is this weekend November 21-22 in Trois-Riviere, Québec. We will update the tournament early next week as my partner Erik Hjorleifson and myself will be playing in the Eastern Canada Barbox Championships at Tailgators in Ottawa, Ontario. I invite everyone to come and join the Nation on our Facebook page, you can also catch up with all the other videos I took at this event.

Day 2 From Thetford Mines: World Class Shooting with a Hint of Controversy

Mike Dechaine

Day two at Thetford mines was the beginning of the 10 ball event, as well as second chance for those who washed out early in the 9 ball to make a little bit of money before leaving town. This day had a little bit of everything; great crowds, world class pool and some heated words between two top touring professionals.
For those who have not heard of up and coming Quebec talent like Michael Bernier or Dany Nguyen, this weekend acted as a coming out party for them. Both are young talents who have worked their way through the Montreal SCAB Federation ranks and exploded on the local pro tour by claiming wins during their first year as a ranked professional. Bernier Finished 13-16 in the 9 ball and placed 7/8 in the ten ball losing a close match 8-6 to Jayson Shaw to be elimiated. Nguyen placed 7/8 in the 9 ball and 9-12 in the ten ball losing a tight match to his friend Bernier 8-7.
It was also a good day for other Canadian talent like Erik Hjorleifson, Alain Martel and Jason Klatt, who all had good showings. Klatt cruised through his first few matches on the winner side until meeting up with Thorsten Hohmann who was in form beating him 9-3. Next up was Jayson Shaw who continued his high level of play despite suffering a 9-8 loss to Mika Immonen first round. He has been tearing up the B side and ended Klatts bid  8-2. Hjorleifson was virtually automatic early on and went on to finish in the 5/6 spot only losing to Mike Dechaine and Jayson Shaw. Martel, who lost his first round match, made some noise of his own on the losers side winning 4 matches to finish 7/8, losing to Johnny Archer on the hill.
The match that had everyone talking on this day was the winners side final between Mike Dechaine and Thorsten Hohmann. Hohmann, who was in control of this match from the start, earned himself a 4-0 lead when he kicked combo a six ball to the disbelief of Dechaine. According to Dechaine,  Hohmann neglected to call this shot and after some jawing back and forth a frustrated Hohmann yelled, "you think you are World Champion? You have won nothing!" This brought some laughter from the crowd and resulted in the two taking a break to work things out.  Hohmann came back and continued to dominate, winning 10-1. Regardless, Dechaine is only one win away from a rematch in the final which could turn out to be a classic match up.
Returning for the last day of the 10 ball is Hohmann, Archer, Shaw and Dechaine; in the 9 ball the same except for the addition of Klatt. As I finish this update, Klatt just lost 8-4 to Dechaine. Archer will take on Dechaine next to see who plays Shaw in the 9 ball final.

Pagulayan Pockets 8-Ball Title

Alex Pagulayan (Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson

The Men’s Open 8-Ball Event took place this past weekend with 27 players looking to take the Canadian title. With last years champion Alain Martel not in attendance, we were guaranteed a new champion this year. After Mario Morra sent tournament favourite Alex Pagulayan to the b-side, it looked like the Morra father son duo would monopolize the event.

Mario then faced his son John Morra in the “hot seat” match. John Morra took the 9-3 win securing his spot in the finals. In the b-side bracket final, Mario faced Alex Pagulayan once again. As the tournament progressed, Pagulayan’s game got stronger. Alex took care of business beating Mario 9-5 to set up the finals against the young John Morra. Once again, it was Alex who came out on top to take his first ever Canadian 8-Ball title with a 11-7 win.

8-Ball Open Results
1st – Alex Pagulayan
2nd – John Morra
3rd – Mario Morra
4th – Brad Poorman
5-6th – Jesse Piercey
5-6th – Justin Kluznik

In the Junior 9-Ball Event, local player Cody Ward went through the tournament undefeated beating Quebec player Charles Guimont in the finals 11-8.
Junior 9-Ball Results

1st – Cody Ward
2nd – Charles Guimont
3rd – Wilson Galbraith
4th – Kayla Roloson

The FREE LIVE STREAMING has been provided courtesy of CPA Southern Ontario and commentated by Rod Babin.

This article originally appeared at

Hill-hill win for Archer in Quebec

A strong field of 36 players travelled to the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu hotel in La Malbaie, Quebec for the second annual Challenge du St. Laurent.

Canada put forth some of our best players while Americans from the south traveled north of the border with something to prove taking the first three spots in this 10-Ball tournament. Free live streaming of the event was provided by
In the top half of the bracket, it was the Scorpion Johnny Archer who shot down Justin Kluznik (11-6), Francis Crevier (11-9), John Morra (11-6) and Alain Martel (11-8). The bottom half of the bracket witnessed Martin Daigle pull off a thrilling 11-10 victory over last years champion Shane Van Boening.

Martin was then quickly dispatched to the b-side by Mike Dechaine who just came off wins over Shawn Putnam (11-5) and Danny Hewitt (11-5).

In the A-Side finals, Dechaine looked good winning the first three racks, but Archer’s kept his composure and secured his spot in the top two with an 11-8 win.

The finals of the B-side, Dechaine now faced the lefty Shawn Putnam for the second time in this tournament. Putnam was the runner-up at the U.S. Open just two weeks ago. Dechaine was unable to beat Putnam the second time around and would have to settle for third losing 9-2.
The race to 13 finals was an all american match, Shaun Putnam from Pennsylvania and Johnny Archer from Georgia. With the current exchange rate on the american dollar, the colour is about the only difference between the two dollars. A few early unforced errors by Putnam gave Johnny Archer a commanding 9-4 lead. It looked like Archer was going to run away with the match in this alternate break format. Putnam battled back to bring the score to within one at 12-11. With Archer breaking for the match, a cell phone from the audience rang. Archer broke and scratched, giving Putnam ball in hand on an open table. The score was now 12-12. Putnam broke in the last rack making two balls with no shot on the three ball. A poor safety by Shawn, gave Johnny the opening. Archer quickly cleaned the balls and lint from the table as he remained undefeated throughout the event. Nice escape for Archer.
Special thanks to Francis Crevier, Jean Bergeron and Marco Sanschagrin who have helped organize this tournament. Happy travels, see you next time.

Immonen Takes World Crown

After 511 matches over nine days Mika Immonen, the London-born Finn, is the new Champion of the World, as he overcame Ralf 'the Kaiser'Souquet of Germany by 17 – 10 in front of a packed house at the Cardiff International Arena to claim the title of 2001 Admiral World Pool Champion.
128 players came to Cardiff seeking glory and the game's top prize of $65,000 but in the end it was just one man who stood alone, atop of the pile.
28 year-old Immonen, who now lives in New York, played the kind of dominant pool that saw him come through knock-out matches against the likes of Corey Deuel, Tony Drago, Anthony Ginn, Niels Feijen and Alain Martel.
Ralf took the better of the early exchanges as he moved into an early 4 – 2 lead but a careless mistake saw Mika move into gear and take the next three to go 5 – 4. Ralf took the next but Immonen then edged ahead and things looked ominous with the score at 11 – 7.
Souquet, though is renowned throughout the pool world for his resilience and he dug deep and won the next three to put the match in the balance at 11 – 10 to Immonen.
That was the Kaiser's last stand, though. He made another rare mistake and let Immonen back to the table and at 16 – 10 up the Iceman found himself breaking in what would be the ultimate rack of the championship match.
Immonen dropped the 3-ball off the break but with the 1-ball unavailable to pocket, Mika laid it off to the rail leaving Ralf a tricky kick shot. It was almost a great recovery by the Kaiser but the cue ball over ran by an inch, and that was all the Immonen needed.
When the 9-ball dropped the CIA crowd erupted as the emotion of the occasion got to Immonen and tears of joy began to flow.
An emotional Mika said immediately afterwards." My motto is never say never. Five years ago I thought that I would win the world championship before I was 30 so at 28 I have accomplished my dream.
" When I came to the final rack I was so nervous I thought I was going to puke but I gathered myself and thought what's three balls after the thousands I've potted all week?
Souquet, who won this trophy in 1996 was understandably gutted to fall at the final hurdle; "I just couldn't get going. Even when I was two racks up early on I never thought I could win it. Mika played well and he's a true champion but I made two terrible mistakes which ultimately cost me seven or eight racks.
" The worst part was the waiting today. I just didn't know what to do. I went for a walk for a couple of hours but basically I spent my time sitting in a room doing nothing. I practised for about 25 minutes prior to the match and I felt very comfortable and wasn't even nervous but that was blown away.
" Mika broke well and had the roll and I think that he is worthy world champion and good for the game."
After winning European championships and Euro-Tour events Immonen moved to New York City a year ago and has had plenty of success State-side winning the ESPN 7-Ball Shoot Out and the Turning Stone Casino Classic but this is by far and away the biggest win of his career.
Immonen displays over the nine days of the 2001 World Pool Championship showed an ice-cool nerve under pressure. Commented Immonen, " During the match I was telling myself not to think about what is happening here, that it's just a game of pool, not the World Championship. I focused on my techniques and tried to visualise patterns to take the pressure off.
"I was really confident about my game throughout the week. I'd been away on holiday to Cancun for a week prior to the championship and practiced solidly for ten days leading up to this week. Once I discovered how to break the balls I knew I could out run any of these guys.
" This is definitely going to get a lot of attention in Finland. It's a relatively new game there and I am the first generation of pool players back home and I think my success here will make the game bigger and bigger.
" I hope that finish TV will be picking up on this as well as Mosconi Cup because this game can only get bigger and bigger.
Immonen plans to invest most of his winnings and taking his girlfriend Helen on a getaway holiday.
The 2001 Admiral World Pool Championship takes place from 14 – 22 July features 128 players from 44 countries shooting it out for US$300,000 prize-money. The event is live on Sky Sports as well as over 60 countries around the world
Tables for the World Championship are provided by Brunswick, cloth by Simonis, balls by Saluc and racks by Lou Sardo Products. The event's official bookmaker is Stan James.