Archive Page

Lower-bracket Downs holds off upper-bracket Emerson loss-side challenge on NE 9-Ball Series

Jordan Emerson, Andy Downs and Justin Bertrand

Jordan Emerson, initially competing in an upper bracket, almost made it back from a long loss-side run to win stop #11 on the New England 9-Ball Series, but Andy Downs, who began the tournament in the lower bracket, completed an undefeated run with two double hill victories in the hot seat match and finals to claim the event title. The $500-added event drew 36 entrants to Run ‘Em Racks in Johnston, RI on Saturday, May 8.

Downs began his title run the way he ended it, with a double hill win. He survived his opening match 5-4 over William Aley and then, defeated Joel Smith 5-3 and Ed Murray 7-2 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Heidi Rezendes. Meanwhile, Billy Lanna got by John Vitale 6-3 and then sent Jordan Emerson to the loss side 7-2 to draw Beau Powers in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Bertrand defeated Lanna, double hill (5-6), while Downs gave up only a single rack to Rezendes to join Betrand in the hot seat match. In a straight-up race to 6, Downs won his second double hill match of the tournament and claimed the hot seat over Bertrand.

On the loss side, Emerson had opened his journey back to the finals with 5-3 wins over Channing Thompson and Samantha Barrett. He then eliminated Clyde Matta, double hill, and Keith Platt 5-2, to draw Lanna, coming over from the winners’ side. Rezendes, in the meantime, drew Chuck Sampson, who’d defeated Ed Murray 5-3 and Kacey Devine 4-2 to reach her.

Over the next three matches, which would put him into the finals, Emerson gave up only four racks in 22 games. He gave up the first of those against Lanna, which put him in the quarterfinals against Rezendes, who’d survived a double hill bout versus Sampson.

Emerson gave up one more rack sending Rezendes to the proverbial showers in those quarterfinals and then, in his final hurdle to the finals, gave up two against Bertrand in the semifinals. 

Fargo Rate calculations would tell you that if Downs and Emerson faced off in a race to 6, 10 times, Emerson (with the higher Fargo rate; 575-527) would win seven times. They were apparently involved in one of the three percentage-hypothetical matches, because while Emerson battled him to double hill, Downs hung on to win the final game, set and match to claim the event title.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Run ‘Em Racks, as well as title sponsor Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AzBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3 Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Piku Tips and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories. The next stop on the NE 9-Ball Series (#12), scheduled for Sunday, May 16th, will be a $500-added Partners Tournament, hosted by House of Billiards in Hampton Falls, NH.

McAuliffe and Gaetani go undefeated to win NE 9-Ball Series’ two-part return to the tables

Mark Morgan, Kerry McAuliffe and Andy Downs

Though their official 2020-2021 schedule will not begin until the weekend of September 26-27, the cancelled-since-March New England 9-Ball Series returned to the tables this past weekend (Aug. 29-30) to hold its annual Summer Sizzler tournament. Normally, a single affair held over a weekend, this Summer Sizzler, in deference to issues related to the pandemic, played out over two days and featured two separate tournaments on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, in six matches, Kerry McAuliffe played 40 games and lost only six of them, finishing his undefeated run to the winners’ circle of Summer Sizzler Day 1 with shutouts in his winners’ side semifinal against Mark Morgan and his two matches – hot seat and finals – against Andy Downs. On Sunday, in five matches, Frank Gaetani played 35 games and lost 10 of them to go undefeated and claim the Summer Sizzler Day 2 title. Both events were hosted by Strokers Bar & Billiards in Pelham, NH and drew 32 (Saturday) and 29 (Sunday) entrants. There was some duplication in the entrants for both days, although none in the payout department.

On Day 1, McAuliffe, playing in the upper bracket, got by Shaun Conley, Ronnie Chestna and survived a double hill match versus Vadim Brown (6-3, Brown racing to 4) to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Mark Morgan (one of the players who competed on both days). Andy Downs, from the lower bracket, defeated Nathan Johnson, Emily Cady and Tony Legos to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Casey Olivieri.

McAuliffe began his run of three straight shutouts with a defeat over Morgan, putting him in the hot seat against Downs, who’d defeated Olivieri 4-2. McAuliffe then shut Morgan out to claim the hot seat.

Moving to the loss side and right into the first money round, Morgan survived a double hill match against Steve Sutton and advanced to the quarterfinals. Olivieri joined him after a 4-2 victory over Bob Campbell.

Morgan leapfrogged right into the semifinals, when Olivieri forfeited the quarterfinal match. In the semifinals that followed, the much higher Fargo-rated competitor (Morgan) hit a bump in his road and was only able to muster a single rack against Downs, who, with Morgan racing to 5,  won the match 4-1. The momentum of the semifinal win didn’t appear to help Downs at all. McAuliffe shut him out a second time in the finals and undefeated, claimed the Summer Sizzler’s Day 1 title.

Frank Gaetani, Owen Gomez and Tom Comerford

Summer Sizzler Day 2
On Day 2, it was Frank Gaetani, from the event’s upper bracket, taking center stage and it looked, initially, as though he were going to follow in McAuliffe’s ‘shutout’ footprints as he shut out Justin Cunningham in the opening round. He had to survive a second-round, double hill battle against Dana Mackenzie before regaining his footing and shutting out Mark Morgan, who was apparently still ‘out of gear’ from his day-before 3rd place finish. Gaetani faced Tom Comerford in one of the winners’ side semifinals and would face him again in the finals. Owen Gomez, in the meantime, giving up only three racks total to Paul Kazalski (2), Norm Charett (1), and Donny Call, faced Jenn Fogg in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Gaetani sent Comerford west 5-1 and in the hot seat match, faced Gomez, who’d chalked up his second shutout against Fogg. Gaetani claimed the hot seat 5-2 over Gomez.

On the loss side, Comerford and Fogg had to battle to advance to the first money round, which was the quarterfinals. Comerford made it with a 5-3 win over Jodie Thompson. Fogg did not, falling to Tony Mendonca 6-2.

In a straight-up race to 5, Comerford eliminated Mendonca in those quarterfinals, and then, defeated Gomez 5-2 for a second shot at Gaetani. In a straight-up race to 5, Gaetani claimed the Day 2 title 5-3.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Strokers for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AzBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell with Lease Fundings, Master Billiards, OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America and Piku Tips. As noted above, The New England 9-Ball Series’ season opener is scheduled for the weekend of September 26-27. The $1,000-added event will be hosted by Rack City in Bangor, ME.