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Fisher goes undefeated to claim Diamond Open Ladies title

Allison Fisher

It seemed to be pretty clear right from the start, or at least as clear as it can ever be in the often-unpredictable world of professional pool, that Allison Fisher was going to claim the Hanshew’s Ladies 9-Ball title at the inaugural Diamond Open. She arrived at one of the winners’ side quarterfinals, having not given up a single rack to any of her first three opponents. Her fourth was Jeanette Lee, who was making her first professional appearance since being diagnosed with ovarian cancer seven months ago. Fisher went on to complete a seven-match, undefeated run to claim the title, downing Russia’s Kristina Tkach in the finals. The $3,000-added Hanshew Ladies event drew 38 entrants to The Rack & Grill III in Aiken, SC.

Once Fisher got by Katherine Cool, Ashley Rice and Sonya Chbeeb, she turned her attention to the winners’ side quarterfinal that was easily the most anticipated match of the entire six-day Diamond Open that featured the return of Jeanette Lee to the tables. In a match, detailed in an earlier post, Fisher downed Lee 7-2 and advanced to a winner’ side semifinal against Mary Tam. 

Monica Webb, in the meantime, looking for her first major win (of which we are aware) since she won the Women’s Austrian Open, seven years ago, got by Kelly Cavanaugh, Jennifer Berzinski and Janet Atwell to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal versus Caroline Pao. The eventual runner-up, Kristina Tkach, had won her opening match versus Pia Filler and then fell, double hill, to April Larson in the second round. Pao sent Larson west just prior to meeting up with Webb.

Fisher got into the hot seat 7-2 over Tam and was joined by Webb, who’d sent Pao over 7-5. Fisher claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Webb and waited for Tkach to finish her loss-side run.

That run, by the time it met up with Pao, had eliminated Lily Pham, Tam Trinh, Bethany Sykes and in her final match of the event, Jeanette Lee 7-2. Tam picked up April Larson, who followed her winners’ side loss to Pao with loss-side victories over Chris Fields 7-4 and Janet Atwell 7-5.

Tam ended Larson’s tournament run 7-1, and in the quarterfinals, met up with Tkach, who’d downed Pao 7-3. Tkach took the quarterfinals 7-1 Tam and then spoiled Webb’s potential second shot at Fisher by defeating 7-4 in the semifinals.

Tkach, who admitted to being tired when she played with Fedor Gorst as a partner in the Scotch Double final against Van Boening and Fisher the night before, had to have been even more tired at this point on late Sunday night in the Ladies event. And it wasn’t, she had said earlier in the day, just about participating for the last five days, but as she put it, with a bit of laugh, “the whole year.” Regardless of the outcome of the Ladies final on this night, in this place, it would be her 15th cash finish in 10 months, beginning with her win at the Michael Montgomery Memorial in Texas that she won in January, through five wins, two runner-up finishes (one with partner Gorst in the Scotch Doubles the night before) and an appearance, most recently at the US Open 9-Ball Championships.

That and the loss-side run that had brought her to the finals did not, however, put much of a crimp in the style of her competitive spirit. The problem was that she was running into something of a legend, known, almost in spite of her generally easy-going demeanor, as the Duchess of Doom. Tkach fought said Duchess to a 13th and deciding game, but ‘doom’ descended in the final rack and Fisher claimed the title. 

Fisher downs the Black Widow in winners’ side quarterfinal at Omega Billiards Diamond Open

Jeanette Lee and Allison Fisher

As it turned out, if you didn’t know, you likely didn’t learn it or even suspect it, as the match progressed. In her third match of the $5,000-added, Hanshew’s Ladies 9-Ball at The Rack & Grill III in Aiken, SC, Jeanette Lee, returning to the tables seven months after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, ran into long-time rival Allison Fisher in a winners’ side quarterfinal, which played out live on Omega Billiards’ Facebook page.

Aside from a frailty of movement, an indication of some struggles with pain, Lee competed with all the verve and skills that have been a part of her game for as long as she’s been carrying the moniker of the deadly Black Widow. In fact, the match played out, virtually without any unforced errors; Lee scratched twice, in the second and third rack of the 9-game contest, but she did so shooting at a difficult shot from a position in which Allison had placed her. Fisher rattled a couple of balls in their intended pockets, but they were tricky shots to begin with.

As they bent to lag, Lee put on a mock-serious, ‘I’m gonna get you’ face and shook her fist at Fisher, which set the tone for the entire match. From beginning to end, as they spoke to each other during the match, it was the clearest indication that the match and the people playing it were completely separate aspects of the single experience.

Fisher dropped three balls on her opening break and ran the rack from there to take the lead that she’d never relinquish. Jeanette’s break left her with a long, short-rail to short-rail shot at the 1-ball, off of which she scratched. Fisher dropped the 1-ball, before rattling the 2-ball in a corner pocket, allowing Lee to run to the 7-ball. She couldn’t ‘see’ the 8-ball, but while she successfully touched it, she left Fisher the opening to make it 2-0.

Lee’s scratch in the third rack allowed Fisher to make it 3-0. Lee’s subsequent break forced her to ‘push,’ out of which Fisher made a commanding, forceful shot at the 2-ball and then, ran the table from there to make it 4-0. Another break and run for Allison pushed it to 5-0 quickly.

Nothing, at this point, about Lee’s posture, movement or execution of the basics gave any clue to the pain that was dogging her from the opening; good decisions, clean stroke, and most importantly, maintenance of a sense of humor, which flashed briefly in the 6th rack.

Lee dropped three balls on her break and then promptly rattled the 2-ball in a pocket. Fisher returned the favor moments later, rattling the 4-ball in a pocket. Jeanette missed the chance she was given but nestled the cue ball right up against the 9-ball, forcing Fisher to make a strong shot just to hit it, but ultimately, giving Lee the chance she needed. She finished the rack, to general applause from the gathered crowd, raised her arms in the air as she stepped away from the table and said “Yay!!”

“Here I come!!” she added, to a burst of laughter from the crowd, as she moved to sit in her chair.

In the seventh rack, Fisher dropped a ball, but couldn’t see the 1-ball well enough to risk taking a shot at it, and she pushed. Looking at the 1-ball, tucked behind the 7-ball at the opposite end of the table, Jeanette gave the table back to Fisher, and as Fisher paused to consider her options, Lee spoke up to clarify her decision.

“I’d shoot it,” she told Fisher, “but I don’t want to show off.”

Fisher laughed along with everybody else on the perimeter of the TV table, smiled a ‘thank you’ at Lee for ‘not wanting to show off.’

“I’ll show off for you,” she told her, Lee laughing with the rest of the crowd.

And she almost did. She bounced the 1-ball off the far short rail and it traveled to the other end of the table, looking for all the world like it had a notion to drop into the corner pocket, but it didn’t. They battled back and forth over issues related to the 7-ball, until Fisher had the chance to run them, and she did, to reach the hill first. Jeanette followed up with her first and only break and run to chalk up her second rack.

Fisher followed Lee’s first break and run with her first dry break, out of which Lee chose against taking a poke at a fairly hidden 1-ball. Allison gave the table back to her. After some initial struggles, Fisher broke the ‘logjam’ and finished the rack to win it.

They hugged generously at the end, long enough to give Jeanette the post-hug opportunity to put the match in perspective. 

“I want you to know,” she told the crowd, “I still hate her,” thus, exiting the arena in the way she’d entered it at the beginning, giving those who’d gathered to watch, something to laugh about. 

Fisher/Van Boening down Tkach/Gorst in finals of Omega Diamond Open Scotch Doubles

Mike Hoang, Allison Fisher and Shane Van Boening

The finals of the Omega Billiards Diamond Open’s $7,500-added Mixed Doubles Invitational got underway late on Saturday night (Oct. 2) and some of the wear and tear of five straight days of high-level competition for its four participants was starting to show. It had no apparent effect on their quality of play, but it made for a very deliberate pace. The team of Shane Van Boening and Allison went undefeated through the field of teams to claim the event title. The competition, one of three still being contested at the week-long event, drew eight teams of two to The Rack & Grill III in Aiken, SC.

Scotch Doubles is the only type of competitive play that allows between-shots chit-chat and part of the fun of watching Allison Fisher and Shane Van Boening compete against Fedor Gorst and Kristina Tkach was witnessing the way that the two (relative) youngsters and the two (relatively) older veterans used their time between shots.

Gorst and Tkach had a tendency to roam, moving around the 9 ft. Diamond table, sometimes communicating across the felt, as they discussed where they wanted their partner to leave the cue ball for the next shot, if it came. They’d exchange words back and forth for a while and then, when the matter was settled, the shooting partner would step into the shot. Van Boening and Fisher would get together at one spot on the table, usually near one of the short rails, side by side. They’d exchange maybe two or three words, sometimes turning their heads to make eye contact, nod in agreement and one of them would step to the table and execute. 

As befitted their professional history, you couldn’t tell by watching them whether Van Boening and Fisher were ahead by a number of racks or stepping to the table at a double hill juncture, on the brink of losing. To their credit, Tkach and Gorst stayed within themselves well, even as their elders took command of the match about halfway through it.

The event got underway on Thursday night, with Van Boening/Fisher downing Naoyuki Oi and Sakura Muramatsu 7-1. They awoke the following morning to face Dennis Orcollo and Jennifer Baretta. A 7-3 win in that contest set them up to face the Filler family, Mr. and Mrs. (Joshua and Pia). Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the bracket, The Lion, Alex Pagulayan, and the five-time BEF Junior National Champion (aka The Grinder), April Larson, began their trek toward the hot seat, opening with a 7-4 win over Roland Garcia and Bethany Sykes. They then dispatched the team of Jayson Shaw and Caroline Pao 7-3 to arrive at their winners’ side semifinal versus Sky Woodward and Monica Webb, the team that had sent Tkach and Gorst to the loss side in the opening round.

Van Boening/Fisher got into the hot seat match 7-4 over the Fillers, as The Lion & Grinder sent Woodward and Webb west 7-5. Van Boening/Fisher made short work of Pagulayan and Larson (7-1) and sat in the hot seat, waiting for Tkach and Gorst to complete their six-match, loss-side winning streak. 

That streak opened against Dennis Grabe and Janet Atwell and after eliminating them 7-2, moved on to shut out Roland Garcia/Bethany Sykes and give up only a single rack to the Woodward/Webb team. They then defeated the Fillers 7-5 in the quarterfinals and Pagulayan/Larson 7-2 for a shot at the South Dakota Kid and The Duchess of Doom in the finals.

As noted above, as a result of a general lack of high-wire tension in the atmosphere of Scotch Doubles, one might never have known that these two teams were competing for all of the proverbial marbles in an event final; cool, calm and collected with no drama.

They opened by trading racks to a 3-3 tie, after which Tkach/Gorst took what would prove to be their last lead. At 3-4, Van Boening and Fisher took command, and as with the general atmosphere, it did not entail any dramatic shooting, beyond the occasional and almost-anticipated evidence that this was not the couple’s first rodeo. They won four in a row, methodically, and all smiles and handshakes, claimed the Scotch Doubles title.

Van Boening & Fisher Take Texas Open 9 Ball Titles

Shane Van Boening and Allison Fisher

Over the past weekend, the grand finale of the 48th Annual Texas Open 9 Ball Championships took place. Hosted by owners Kim and Tracy Sanders, the newly remodeled Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX was the place to be!

The $20,000 added 9 Ball Open had an entry fee of $125. The double elimination event was races to nine and winner breaks. Using a template rack, the nine was racked on the spot with three point rule in effect. After a record-breaking players auction, the brackets were posted and play began.

Using eighteen brand new Diamond tables, the 160 player field was whittled down by Saturday night to the final 32. A second players auction was held and when it was finished, play resumed.

Two players battled their way through the very tough field to the hot seat match – Shane Van Boening and Roland Garcia. The match was all Shane as he defeated Roland 9-3. Over on the one loss side, Dennis Orcollo was in dead punch as he handily dispatched Sky Woodward and Roland with identical scores of 9-4 to face Shane in the finals. Two-time Texas Open champ Woodward would have to settle for fourth place this time and Garcia finished in third place. Good tournament, guys!

As this event was true double elimination, Dennis would have to defeat Shane twice for the title. Dennis was looking to sweep both events as he had already claimed the One Pocket title in this event a few days earlier. Shane was looking to claim his second Texas Open 9 Ball title as he had previously won in 2008.

Seems that Dennis wasn’t the only one in dead stroke as Shane blew though his opponent 9-2!

The Women’s Division had a full field of 32 players and races to seven.

After several matches, Allison Fisher and Sakura Muramatsu battled for the hot seat. This was Allison’s first appearance at the Texas Open and she didn’t disappoint defeating Sakura 7-3 to claim her spot in the finals.

Sakura was sent to the west side to await the victor of the Chris Fields-Courtney Peters match. On a mission, Courtney battled her way through Chris Fields 7-5 and then defeated Sakura 7-5 to lock up her spot in the finals. Sakura finished in third place.

Again, Courtney would have to defeat Allison twice to win the tournament. Starting out neck and neck, Allison finally pulled away at the end of the well-played match to close it out 7-4.

Congratulations to both Shane Van Boening and Allison for becoming the 2021 Texas Open 9 Ball Champions! Great tournament, Dennis and Courtney!

And, thanks again to everyone at Skinny Bob’s for, as usual, a first class event! Local sponsors for this event included Hanshew Custom Cues, Austin Pro, Mints Amusements, Sanders Roofing & Exteriors, GAF and ABC Supply Company.

Thanks to Tournament Director Jason Hill for an exemplary job juggling multiple events. We’d also like to thank Larry Schwartz, Jeremy Jones, Tom Wirth, Del Sim, Michael Yednak, Mary Kenniston, Alex Pagulayan, Scott Frost, Tony Chohan & our own Ray Hansen for their excellent commentary.

And, as always, PoolActionTV would like to thank our fans and sponsors! They include JB Cases, Diamond Billiard Products, Enviroassessments, Castillo Leather Goods, Durbin Custom Cues, Simonis, Lomax Custom Cues, IPKT, Hanshew Jump Cues, IPKT, TeamStraightPoolEye, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

Our next event is the $150,000 Champions One Pocket Challenge featuring Alex Pagulayan and Tony Chohan! Held at the Rack & Grill III in Aiken, SC, this is going to be great! Dates are September 23rd-26th! Hope to see you there!!!

Playcraft Announces Partnership with World Champion Pool Player Allison Fisher

Allison Fisher

Playcraft, a leader in the home recreation market delivering the highest value in style forward billiards, shuffleboards, hockey, and other game room products, today announces its partnership with Allison Fisher, world champion pool player and deemed the best female pocket billiards player in the world.

“Allison embodies our brand with her sportsmanship and enjoyment of play, and we are thrilled to be working with her,” said Paul Sheck, President, Global Merchants, Inc. “Allison will endorse our brand for its aesthetic appeal, while reinforcing that our tables can be played on and enjoyed by even the most discriminating player.”

Fisher will be the official spokesperson for the Playcraft brand, promoting the brand through social media in instructional videos, at industry events, and on both her and Playcraft’s websites.

“I am delighted to be partnering with Playcraft, and I’m excited to share my love of pool and shuffleboard, and my tips and tricks with my fans and customers of Playcraft,” said Fisher. “We have a shared knowledge of the vital role of Play in our lives. It is important to embrace special moments creating wonderful memories with our family and friends. Playcraft brings play back into your home, through exquisitely designed game room furniture.”

About Playcraft

Founded In 1975, Playcraft has carefully built a select line of home tables that incorporate style and aesthetics, while always respecting their original values of superior value and workmanship. In 2008, Paul Sheck bought the company. With the belief that play is beautiful, and by bringing Play into your home – and making it beautiful – through exquisitely designed game room furniture, Playcraft promises a sense of pride in your home and greater joy in your life. Playcraft today is a leader in the home recreation market and is delivering the highest value in style forward shuffleboards, billiards, hockey, and other game room products. For more information, please visit playcraft.com.

About Allison Fisher

Allison Fisher, the Duchess of Doom, is an English professional pool and former professional snooker champion. She began her career playing Snooker winning over 80 national titles and 11 world titles. In 1995, she moved to the United States to play on The Women’s Professional Billiard Association Tour (WPBA Tour). She has won an unparalleled 50 plus WPBA titles, 4 world 9 Ball championships and a World Games Gold medal. She was the top-ranked player on the WPBA circuit from September 1996 to June 2001, and again each year from 2002 to 2007. In 2009, Fisher was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame. She is a role model and ambassador of the Sport Worldwide, known for mentoring youth players, commentating and coaching. She continues to be a force within the sport. To learn more about Allison, visit allisonfisher.com.

Brilliant Netherlands Into Quarter Finals But Great Britain B Out At World Cup Of Pool

ROUND 1
Philippines 7
-3 Great Britain B

ROUND 2
Finland 1-7 Netherlands
Slovakia 7-6 Czech Republic

Netherlands fired a warning shot to the rest of the field as they stormed into the quarter-finals of the World Cup of Pool with a near-perfect 7-1 victory over an out-of-sorts Finland.

Slovakia are also through to the last eight having beaten Czech Republic in the tournament’s first hill-hill match, while Great Britain B’s Allison and Kelly Fisher crashed out 7-3 in round one to the Filipino pairing of Jeff De Luna and Roberto Gomez.

Niels Feijen has twice been a World Cup runner up, in 2013 and 2014, both playing alongside Nick van den Berg. Marc Bijsterbosch stepped up in 2017 after Van den Berg retired, and their 7-1 drilling of Petri Makkonen and Casper Matikainen was probably the best performance the new Dutch duo have put in together.

Finland, and particularly their rookie Matikainen, struggled at the table but in contrast the Netherlands were near faultless in booking their place in the quarter-finals.

“We played well, with confidence and we did a good job,” said Bijsterbosch. “We can’t complain today, but we aren’t there, we have to prepare for the next match and we have to keep going.

“We know Finland are a really good team but we looked at our own game and we really, really hit it off today, it was a great match,” said Feijen. “We are really enjoy this, we played a great match and we get some time to enjoy that.

“I felt really good, Marc, if you leave him tough he is still central so that gives me a lot of confidence too. If we keep playing like this, we are dangerous.”

Czech Republic lead their match against Slovakia 4-2 but with the chance to go 5-3 ahead failed to capitalise when Polach missed the 9; Gavenciak also failing to conclude the rack with a long pot. Koniar took the easy 9 left for him, and Slovakia led for the first time in the match when they went 5-4 up.

The tenth went the way of the Czechs, but Slovakia regained their lead after a dry break to reach the hill at 6-5 up. The next rack was a reversal of its predecessor; this time Slovakia breaking dry and Czech Republic taking advantage to join their opponents on the hill.

Gavenciak was breaking but again came up dry. Polach played safe and though Urban’s reply seemed to have done enough, Koniar played off the side rail to make the 1. It didn’t present his side with the opportunity to clear, though, and at his next visit he scratched on the 2.

The table didn’t look easy and even when Urban missed a straight 4, Czech Republic fell safe. Koniar then benefited from a bit of fortune in making the 4 trying to escape a snooker and this time the roadmap was there, and Slovakia cleared the table for a place in the quarter-finals where either Russia or Japan will await.

The session had opened with a highly-anticipated round one match between Great Britain B and Philippines. The all-female British pairing looked to have settled quickly and took the second rack to keep the scores level early on. However, De Luna and Gomez were breaking well and managed to open up a 5-1 lead before Great Britain B next won a rack. Despite falling further behind, Fisher and Fisher cut the gap to 6-3 but that was to be their last rack as Philippines took the next to close out a 7-3 win.

“We had a great time out there,” said Allison. “it has been a while for me and I really enjoyed it. There were some good shots in there but we never got going. We had a nice start to the match and we were never really frozen out but some of the games were a bit awkward. At this stage for me the most important thing is to have fun out there and I really enjoyed it.”

“We are competitors so we are disappointed, of course,” said Kelly. “In the match we never really got the chance to get going, everything fell a bit awkward. Me and Allison are great friends off the table, we gel well together, and we have loved every moment and had fun.”

Round one concludes on Tuesday evening with USA taking on Australia, Great Britain C in action against South Africa and Great Britain A up against Belarus.

The World Cup of Pool is broadcast live globally including on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live. Full broadcast details can be found at matchroompool.com.

For all the latest news and announcements follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

Draw Made For World Cup Of Pool

Austria will begin their World Cup of Pool title defence against Slovakia, while hosts Great Britain A will face debutants Belarus in the first round of the doubles tournament, which begins on Sunday, May 9 at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, live on Sky Sports.

Among the standout first-round ties is Great Britain B (Kelly Fisher & Allison Fisher) against three-time champions Philippines (Roberto Gomez & Jeff De Luna), while 2019 semi-finalists Spain will face Italy.

The 16 seeded teams were automatically placed into the draw brackets, with 16 unseeded teams drawn at random. The draw is set for the whole tournament, with some mouth-watering potential second-round match ups including USA vs. Philippines.

Defending champions Austria (Albin Ouschan & Mario He) also lifted the World Cup in 2017 and could become the first pairing to win the trophy three times.

The tournament will begin on Sunday, May 9 with fan-favourites Japan (Naoyuki Oi & Masato Yoshioka) in action against Croatia (Philipp Stojanovic & Roberto Bartol). All first round matches are race to 7, with three matches per session and two sessions per day. The first round will complete on Tuesday, May 11 with Great Britain A (Jayson Shaw & Chris Melling) facing Belarus’ all-female pairing of Margarita Fefilova & Yana Halliday. Halliday’s husband, Richard, will represent South Africa alongside brother Vincent. They face Canada (Alex Pagulayan & John Morra) in the first round.

The World Cup of Pool will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live, with further international broadcasters to be confirmed.

For all the latest news and announcements follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

MATCH SCHEDULE

Sunday, May 9 (12:00-16:00)
R1: Japan vs. Croatia
R1: Czech Republic vs. Hungary
R1: Austria vs. Slovakia

Sunday, May 9 (17:30-21:30)
R1: Russia vs. Switzerland
R1: Greece vs. Serbia
R1: Canada vs. South Africa

Monday, May 10 (12:00-16:00)
R1: Netherlands vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina
R1: Finland vs. Iceland
R1: Albania vs. Denmark

Monday, May 10 (17:30-21:30)
R1: Spain vs. Italy
R1: Germany vs. Lithuania
R1: USA vs. Australia

Tuesday, May 11 (12:00-16:00)
R1: Philippines vs. Great Britain B
R1: Poland vs. Kuwait
R1: Estonia vs. Belgium

Tuesday, May 11 (17:30-21:30)
R2: Austria/Slovakia vs. Czech Republic/Hungary
R2: Canada/South Africa vs. Greece/Serbia
R1: Great Britain A vs. Belarus

Wednesday, May 12 (12:00-16:00)
R2: Russia/Switzerland vs. Japan/Croatia
R2: Finland/Iceland vs. Netherlands/B&H
R2: Spain/Italy vs. Albania/Denmark

Wednesday, May 12 (17:30-21:30)
R2: Germany/Lithuania vs. Poland/Kuwait
R2: USA/Australia vs. Philippines/Great Britain B
R2: Estonia/Belgium vs. Great Britain A/Belarus

Thursday, May 13 (12:00-16:00)
Quarter-final 1
Quarter-final 2

Thursday, May 13 (17:30-21:30)
Quarter-final 3
Quarter-final 4

Friday, May 14 (12:00-16:00)
Semi-final 1
Semi-final 2

Friday, May 14 (17:30-21:30)
Final

“Jawz” Joins Team Break Out

BreakOut Apparel would like to welcome our newest member to the family, D’Angelo “Jawz” Spain! We can’t say enough about this young man. At only 9 years old, he is an absolute beast on the table. He not only competes against other juniors but adults as well. He learned how to play pool at the young age of 4 years old. He is currently coached by his father, Frank Spain, and we are excited to see what the young man can do. He’s poised, confident, respectful, and a fierce competitor on the table. Check out his list of accomplishments at only 9 years old.

TOURNAMENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS
2020 – Brews and Cues 9 Ball Tournament (Glen Burnie, MD)
• 1st Place
2020- TAP Short Stack 8 Ball Tournament (Glen Burnie, MD)
• 1st Place
2020 – Joss North East 9 Ball Juniors Event (Amsterdam, NY)
• 1st Place 12 & Under
2019 – APA Junior Nationals Tournament Skill Level 5’s (St. Louis, MO)
• 49th place out of 101 players
2019 – Summer Classic Scotch Doubles Tournament (Baltimore, MD)
• 1st Place
2019 – APA Juniors National Qualifier (Laurel, MD)
• 1st place – Advanced to Nationals in St. Louis in July
2019 – Maryland State Juniors BEF 9ball Tournament 12&U (Laurel, MD)
• 3rd Place
2019 – Billiards Education Foundation Nationals Qualifier (Greenville, SC)
• 5th Place

His other SPONSORS include:
• Jacoby Custom Cues • Risky Shotz Billiards

Please welcome “Jawz” to the #BreakOutFamily. Jawz is the second junior player to join the Break Out Family, joining Skylar Hess. The complete roster of Break Out players is Allison Fisher, Loree Jon Hasson, James Aranas, Shaun Wilkie, Del Sim, James Blackburn, Ashley Burrows, Manny Perez, Clint Palaci, Steve Fleming, Tina Malm, Chuck Sampson, Dylan Spohr, Shanna Lewis, Skylar Hess and D’Angelo Spain.

We have more exciting news in the works, so stay tuned to your news feed!

You can follow Jawz on Facebook & Instagram:
@JawzSpain

Fisher downs Baretta twice to win first WPBA Virtual 9-Ball Ghost Challenge

There was reportedly very little trouble finding members of the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) who were anxious to play some competitive pool with each other, albeit from the comfort of their own home and/or pool room. Based on an idea brought up by Dawn Hopkins, Angela Janic, a relatively new member of the WPBA, volunteered to organize and coordinate the organization’s first (and definitely not the last) Virtual 9-Ball Ghost Challenge during the week of May 10-16. While so-called ‘ghost’ matches and isolated streaming events have been cropping up on the Internet since the restrictions brought on by the pandemic began, this was something relatively new; a 16-entrant, double elimination tournament with prize money that pitted players from around the globe against each other, playing against the ‘ghost,’ a ‘player’ normally only encountered in practice, when a player is alone.

From her home pool room in Dumfries, Scotland, Kelly Fisher went undefeated through the field and downed Jennifer Baretta, playing from her pool room in Brooklyn, NY (Skyline Billiards), twice; once, battling for the hot seat and again, in the finals. Talking to both players, it was apparent that winning or losing wasn’t among the things that resonated in their minds about playing in the tournament.

“It was really good fun,” said Fisher. “I really enjoyed it.”

Baretta had played some ‘ghost’ matches in a recent USA vs. Europe matchup and found the experience to be “kind of nerve wracking.”

“But now,” she said, “I want to play more of them.”

“In practice, I play the ghost all the time,” she added. “I play a race to 7, but I play so that if I miss, I have to kick and/or bank (subsequent balls).”

This WPBA event was based on playing 10 racks, per player, per match. Players were allowed to begin shooting after their break with ball-in-hand. Essentially, each ball was worth one point, though if you ran the rack, you’d get an extra point for 10 points total, available per rack. There were 15 points available for a rack if you chose not to take advantage of ball-in-hand after the break. A number of the 30 matches ended before one of the competitors had completed the 10 racks, because one player had scored enough points to make ‘catching’ that player impossible.

Fisher’s path to the winners’ circle ran through Lonnie Fox-Raymond and April Larson, before coming up against Monica Webb in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Baretta downed Eugenia Gyftopoulos and Canada’s Suzanne Peters to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal against Dawn Hopkins.

With Allison Fisher and LoreeJon Hasson commentating on the live stream, Kelly Fisher defeated Webb 104-70. Baretta sent Hopkins to the loss side 83-69. In the hot seat match that followed, Fisher chalked up the event’s highest score of 120, when she ran all 10 racks, four of them which she ran without benefit of ball-in-hand at the start.

Upon her arrival on the loss side of the bracket, Dawn Hopkins picked up an immediate rematch against Mary Rakin Tam, whom she’d defeated in the opening round and who was working on a three-match, loss-side winning streak during which she’d eliminated Cheryl Baglin, April Larson and one of the event’s significant organizers, Angela Janic. Webb drew Line Kjorsvik, who’d lost her opening round match to April Larson and was also working on a three-match, loss-side winning streak that had eliminated Lonnie Fox-Raymond, Ewa Mataya Laurance and Suzanne Peters.

Rakin Tam and Kjorsvik advanced to the first money round, the quarterfinals. Tam defeated Hopkins 74-60, as Kjorsvik downed Webb 79-58. Kjorsvik then eliminated Tam 90-75.

The semifinals of this event – Kjorsvik versus Baretta – had a way of demonstrating the best that this particular format had to offer viewers. At the end of their 9th rack, the two were separated by a single point; Baretta ahead by one at 74-73. Baretta refused the ball-in-hand option after her break of the final rack, looking to chalk up 15 points instead of just 10. Unfortunately, she only added three balls to her score; missing the fourth ball and finishing her 10 racks with a score of 77. All Kjorsvik had to do was sink five balls. With two of the five down, she found herself hooked and forced to make a jump shot, which she missed to finish at 74.

In the finals that followed, with the racks-necessary extended to 13, and Jeremy Jones in the streaming ‘booth,’ commentating, Baretta was ahead by seven points after four racks, 45-38. Though Baretta would extend her lead by opting out of ball-in-hand in the 5th rack and running the table to hit 60 points, while Fisher had her 5th rack stopped at 6 balls, the tables started to turn, as Fisher started to pick up speed, reminding everyone of her “KwikFire” nickname.

They would both run racks #6 & 7 without ball-in-hand, leaving Baretta out in front by 16 (80-64). Fisher would go on to opt out of ball-in-hand for racks # 8, 9, 10 & 11 and ran all four, leaving her at 124 when she was through. Baretta, now working two racks behind Fisher, picked up only three in rack #8, and though she ran racks #9 & 10, she was, for the first time since her fourth rack, no longer in the lead, but behind Fisher by six at 109-103.

Fisher closed out her run with two break and runs, opting for ball-in-hand in both to finish her 10 racks with 144 points. In order to defeat Fisher, Baretta, at the time, was preparing to break her 11th rack and would have had to play all three of her last racks without ball in hand. Two without and one with ball in hand (assuming she ran the table) would have left her one point shy of Fisher’s 144 total. Baretta missed a shot in the 11th rack and conceded the victory, punctuating the concession by going down on her knees and bowing. Fisher extended a hand to shake and all smiles, the two of them traded an across-the-ocean-via-Internet handshake.

In some ways, the entire event, to include how quickly it came together and successfully it occurred came as a bit of surprise. Angela Janic thanked particularly Jennifer Hamilton for her work on the live stream, noting that Hamilton had “kept us all organized and just did a fantastic job.”

“Thanks, too,” Janic added,” to everybody on the WPBA, the board and all the players. I had just sent messages out and asked people for help and everybody just jumped in and said yes. I’d read names but there are just too many of them.”

According to Janic, another edition of the WPBA’s Virtual 9-Ball Ghost Challenge will occur on Memorial Day weekend (May 31-June 6) and while no names have been confirmed for participation, she expects another field of 16.

“Nothing’s going to change much,” she said of the upcoming event. “It’ll probably get a little easier.”

After the imaginary handshake, and Janic thanking her for her participation, Fisher added her thanks to all those who’d been involved.

“It was such short notice and it happened so quickly,” said Fisher. “You did an absolute fantastic job putting it together and running it smoothly.”

“It was great for the sport and great for the WPBA,” she added. “Thank you very much for doing this for us.”

Barretta Takes Top WPBA Points List Spot

Jennifer Barretta (Courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

For Jennifer Barretta, it was a long journey and reaching the top of the hill came at a time when her mind was furthest from it. 
 
Barretta reached the number 1 position on the WPBA points list at the conclusion of the recently completed Ashton Twins Classic in Alberta Canada. Barretta had taken the hot-seat in the event, with a hill-hill win over WPBA Legend Allison Fisher. It was her first career WPBA hot-seat, and her first WPBA final match. Unfortunately, she came up short in the rematch with Fisher in the finals.
 
“It was bittersweet because I found out about becoming number 1 while I was crying my eyes out about losing in the finals in Calgary” said Barretta. 
 
“After nearly fifteen years on the tour, Barretta said she wasn’t even thinking about her points list position. “It came as a complete surprise. I look back on my journey, and I always say that if I knew how much there was to learn, I never would have started. I finally feel like I’ve mastered the game, and although there are small things left for me to learn, I never thought I’d be able to say that.” she said. 
 
While Barretta says many people helped her with mechanics, sighting and other physical parts of the game, she gives credit to Stu Mattana for all of her position play, strategy, kicking, and defense. “None of this could have happened without my coach and mentor, Stu Mattana”