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Final 16 set for American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships, Ladies finish opening Round Robin phase

Tyler Styer was the beneficiary of an Earl Strickland disqualification

Day Three of the 16th Annual American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships featured some surprises and the start of the first-ever Women’s division, featuring 15 of the world’s top female competitors. The day began with the final Round Robin matches in eight divisions of the Men’s copmpetition, which cut the initial field of 48 entrants in half. Of the 24 that remained, eight competitors were awarded an opening round bye in the single elimination phase, while the other 16 squared off for the right to advance to the final 16.

By evening the Round Robin phase had ended, but not before some creative decision-making had advanced Tyler Styer, who’d already finished 4th and been eliminated within his group. Late in the day, Earl Strickland was disqualified from the tournament when, after the match was over,  he reacted to some distractions that had occurred during his match against Albin Oushchan. Both had entered the final match of their Round Robin group with 4-0 records. The disqualification led to a ‘hole’ in the upcoming single elimination phase, and instead of moving a 4th player from the group into that spot (which would have been Michael Yednak), tournament officials compared the match records and ultimately, the point differentials of two of the eight 4th place finishers, advancing Tyler Styer to the final 24.

The Round Robin phase had finished with seven competitors going undefeated; Shane Van Boening, Wiktor Zielinski, Albin Ouschan, Michael Lechner, Aloysius Yapp, Mario He and Alex Kazakis. The eighth competitor to receive an opening round bye in the single elimination phase went to defending champion, Ruslan Chinakhov, who’d finished with the best record (4-1) in his Round Robin group.

High run honors for the Round Robin phase of the event (players must have a minimum run of 100 at the time they reach the number of balls designated for the win to proceed) went to Joshua Filler, who, in his match versus Pagulayan on Wednesday, ran to 213. Shane Van Boening’s run of 210 was the next highest run in his match versus Lee Van Corteza.

Brittany Bryant

Five women finish with 2-0 records on Day One of Ladies competition’s Round Robin phase

Two of the three groups of five women ended up with two women who went 2-0 on their first day of competition. Kelly Fisher downed Billie Billing 80-27 and Emily Duddy 80-10, while Monica Webb also defeated Billing, 80-58 and Mary Rakin Tam 80-52 to finish as the two undefeated women from Group A. Ashley Burrows and Brittany Bryant from Group C finished their first day undefeated; Burrows, downing Gail Eaton 80-49 and Bethany Sykes 80-44, while Bryant defeated Janet Atwell 80-62 and Bethany Sykes 80-53. Pia Filler was the only woman from Group B to finish undefeated. She downed April Larson 80-41 and Liz Taylor 80-38.

Action will begin for the ladies on Day Two of their Round Robin stage at noon.

Final 16 men will get underway at 10 a.m., tomorrow (Friday)

The 16 male competitors in the opening round of the tournament’s single elimination phase got underway last night (Thursday) at around 7:30 p.m. and finished before 11 p.m. The winners of the eight matches will meet the eight competitors who’d received byes as a result of their work in the Round Robin phase of the event.

Konrad Juszczyszyn defeated Corey Deuel 150-77 to face Albin Ouschan tomorrow. Also advancing were Joshua Filler, who defeated Tyler Styer 150-27 for the right to meet Alex Kazakis. John Morra got by Dennis Grabe 150-44 for the right to meet Wictor Zielinski. Mieszko Fortunski defeated Alex Paguluyan 150-27 (after which, as he collected his winnings, Pagulayan was heard to say that he was absolutely going to quit the sport). Fortunski will meet Aloysius Yapp in the morning.

Rounding out the advancing eight will be Fedor Gorst, whose 202-45 victory over Bader Alawadhi put him among the final 16 against Mario He. The Iceman, Mika Immonen, eliminated Darren Appleton 150-44 and will face Max Lechner. The Kaiser, Ralf Souquet, got by Mohammad Ali Beriaoui 150-114 and will face defending champion Ruslan Chinahov. Oliver Szolnoki def Thorsten Hohmann 150-125 to face Shane Van Boening.

The first eight matches will commence at 10 a.m. The event quarterfinals, scheduled for 1 p.m.  will (roughly) follow the 2nd Round Robin sets for the ladies at noon. 

Free streaming is available on the American 14.1 Facebook page, the AZBtv Facebook page and from Istreampool on Youtube. Online brackets are available at Cuescore.com. All matches are played on Diamond Pro-Am tables with Simonis 866 cloth and Predator balls. Corner pockets are 4.5” and the sides are 5”.

Burwell goes undefeated for the first time to claim her first JPNEWT title since 2018

Nicole Nester, Linda Shea, Melissa Jenkins, Kia Burwell and Naoko Dabreo

Kia Burwell has been a consistent performer on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) and other professional and semiprofessional tours and events since about 2015. An oddity of our AZB Money Leaderboard had her climbing to her highest number on that leaderboard (141) last year, even though her best earnings year, to date, has been 2018, when she came from the loss side to win her first JPNEWT stop in March of that year. This past weekend (June 26-27), Burwell won her second JPNEWT stop and went undefeated for the first time.

The tour returned to New Jersey for the first time since August, 2016 and welcomed a new venue. The event drew 21 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

As the JPNEWT approaches the midway point of its 2021 season (with stop #6 of 12, scheduled for July 17-18), the tour standings experienced a bit of a shuffle among its top players. Caroline Pao, who continues to look for her 8th win on the tour since 2019, finished out of the money in this one, though her previous two victories, runner-up and 3rd place finish in the first four events put her far enough ahead that she still sits atop the tour standings. In the absence of Liz Taylor at this event, Nicole Nester moved up a spot to be 2nd behind Pao. Tour director Linda Shea moved up a spot, too, to #3. Burwell, who came into the event in 7th place in the standings, moved up three slots to take over 4th place. Taylor moved down three to end up in 5th place, while Judie Wilson maintained her position in 6th place.

Burwell’s path to the winners’ circle took her past Jennifer Tully 7-3, Ashley Burrows 7-5 and Alison Davis 7-1 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Linda Shea. Nicole Nester, in the meantime, downed Kris Consalvo-Kemp 7-3, Naoko Dabreo 7-5 and Ada Lio in a shutout to draw Melissa Jenkins in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Burwell downed Shea 7-4 and moved into the hot seat match. Nester joined her after dispatching Jenkins 7-5. Burwell claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Nester.

On the loss side, Shea picked up Ashley Burrows, who was working on a four-match, loss-side streak that had begun with her loss to Burwell and recently eliminated Ashima Butler 7-4 and Ada Lio 7-2. Jenkins drew Dabreo, who was also working on a four-match, loss-side streak and had most recently defeated Joanne Corbett 7-2 and Jay Pass 7-5. 

Jenkins put a stop to Dabreo’s loss-side run 7-5 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Shea leap-frogged over Burrows, who ran into transportation issues associated with her return on Sunday and was unable to compete.

Shea gave up only a single rack to Jenkins in the quarterfinals. She then defeated Nester in the semifinals 7-3. Burwell completed her first undefeated run on the tour with a 7-4 victory over Shea in the finals.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked Kris Consalvo-Kemp and her staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Bitzel and Associates PTPA Physical Therapy, George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor) and Britanya E Rapp (angle aim Art) for the event’s live stream. Stop #6 on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of July 17-18, will be hosted by Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD. 

Pao goes undefeated, downing Burrows twice to win second straight JPNEWT stop

Caroline Pao and Ashley Burrows

It’s rare that a pool player sneaks by the usual pattern of first appearing in a number of events, then cashing in one or two, then finishing among an event’s top five and after years (sometimes, many), chalks up an event victory on a tour somewhere. Caroline Pao’s second straight victory on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour this past weekend (Nov. 7-8) was not a surprise from the WPBA-ranked player (#12). To a certain extent, though, her competitor in the hot seat and finals of the event was a bit of a surprise. Ashley Burrows, who turned Pro in 2018, and is currently ranked as #30 with the WPBA, has four recorded cash finishes in the AZBilliards’ database. All but one of those was recorded last year; two 17th place finishes in WPBA events (the Masters in February/March of 2019 and the Aramith/Dr. Pool Classic, almost exactly a year ago; Nov. 21-24) and until this past weekend, only one recorded victory, a shared one on the Tri-State Tour in June of 2019. 

In her first (that we know of) appearance on the JPNEWT, Burrows got by the tour’s #12, #11, #3 and #4 players to arrive at the hot seat battle versus Pao. They played the last two matches of the $1,200-added event that drew 25 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD. Triple Nines added $500 of that money, while Coins of the Realm contributed $700, $200 of which was added in memory of a recently-deceased area player, Danny Green. Pao went undefeated through the field to claim the event title.

Pao was awarded an opening round bye, after which she shut out Lynn Richard (#18 in tour rankings) and sent Melissa Jenkins (#5) to the loss side 7-1 to draw tour director Linda Shea (#1) in a winners’ side semifinal. Burrows, in the meantime, shut out Melissa Mason (#12), survived a double hill battle versus Carol V. Clark (#11) and sent Kathy Friend (#3) to the loss side 7-5, to draw Lai Li (#3) in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Pao moved into the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Shea, as Burrows got by Li 7-4 to join her. Pao gave up only a single rack in the hot seat match to be a single step away from winning her second straight stop on the tour.

On the loss side, Shea picked up Kathy Friend, who, after her defeat at the hands of Burrows, had survived a double hill battle against April Hatcher and eliminated Sharita Green 7-5. Li drew Kia Burwell, who was runner-up to Pao in her last JPNEWT win last month. Burwell had been sent to the loss side by Friend in the second round and was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would end in the semifinals against Burrows. She’d most recently eliminated Melissa Jenkins 7-2 and Noel Rima 7-4.

Friend chalked up a 7-3 win versus Shea, who hadn’t finished that far back (5th/6th) since the JPNEWT season opened in March, when she finished in the tie for 7th. Burwell and Li locked up in a somewhat predictable double hill fight that eventually advanced Burwell to join Friend in the quarterfinals.

In what would prove to be her final victory, Burwell defeated Friend in the quarterfinal match that came within a game of double hill (7-5). Burrows ended Burwell’s loss-side winning streak at six with a 7-4 win in the semifinals.

In the finals that followed, Burrows was looking to reach 7 racks first, in which case the race would extend to 9. If Pao reached 7 first, it would be over. Though they were far from pretty or straight-forward runs, Pao opened the extended-race-to-9 finals with four straight racks. She almost made it five, but her shot at the 9-ball in that rack rattled in a corner pocket and Burrows got on the board at 4-1.

Pao rattled the 8-ball in the same corner pocket that she’d attempted with the 9-ball in the previous rack and Burrows finished the rack to double her production from the hot seat match and cut Pao’s lead in half. Then, it was Burrows’ turn. She rattled a ball in a corner pocket in rack #7 that allowed Pao to finish the rack and make it 5-2.

Pao chalked up the eighth rack to reach the hill. Burrows won what proved to be her last rack to make it 6-3 and after dropping two balls on the final rack, Pao used a subsequent, fortuitous cue-ball bounce off the tip of a side pocket, to close it all out 7-3.

Adjustments to the tour rankings after this event resulted in a single adjustment to the top five players. Pao’s second straight win in only her second appearance on the 2020 tour, allowed her to move in between Lai Li in 4th place and Melissa Jenkins in 5th place. Shea retained her spot at the top of the rankings, ahead of Kia Burwell, Kathy Friend and Lai Li 

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, angle aim Art (Britanya E Rapp) and Turtle Rack. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of November 21-22, will be hosted by Cue Sports Bar & Grill in Front Royal, VA.  

“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 comes from the loss side to win second WPBA Virtual 9-Ball Ghost Challenge

After a slow start in which she won two winners’ side matches and was then moved to the loss side by Jeannie Seaver, UK’s Kelly Fisher came back and won five in a row for a shot at Chinese Taipei’s Wei Tzu Chien, waiting for her in the hot seat. Fisher took full advantage of the opportunity she’d created for herself and won her second straight WPBA Virtual 9-Ball Ghost Challenge, held from June 1-6, primarily in the US, but also from the UK (Kelly), Norway (Line Kjorsvik) and Chinese Taipei (Wei Tzu-Chien).

In addition to winning the event for the second time, Fisher also had the highest individual score in both events (120). Each rack, if run from the break, can represent either 10 or 15 points, depending on whether you take BIH after the break (10) or you don’t (15). If you fail to run the rack, you score the number of balls you did pocket in that rack. In this second event, the field of 16 averaged 64.43 points per rack (3,737 total points over 29 matches featuring 58 players). Though she’d fail to score above 90 points in her first two matches (85, 81) Fisher would finish the event (eight matches, 83 racks) with an average of 94.6 per match, which was achieved, in part, by scoring over 100 in two of her last three matches and 99 in a fourth.

Fisher seemed to be headed in the wrong scoring direction at the outset, as she defeated Kristie Bacon 85-46 in the opening round and was then defeated by Jeannie Seaver 87-81. Wei Tzu-Chien moved into the hot seat match with a 93-59 win over Seaver and was met by Webb, who’d sent Little to the loss side 88-28. In one of only three matches (Fisher scored the other two) that saw either competitor score over 100 points, Chien claimed the hot seat over Webb 107-74.

Over on the loss side, Seaver ran into Line Kjorsvik, who’d been sent to the loss side by Jennifer Barretta in a 74-73 nail biter in the opening round and was working on a three-match, loss-side winning streak that saw her send Dawn Hopkins (97-76), Ashley Burrows (73-63) and Kristie Bacon (61-45) home; check that, they were already home. It was Little who had the misfortune of running into Fisher, working on her (eventual) five-match, loss-side streak, having eliminated Kia Sidbury 86-36, and in a rematch featuring the winner and runner-up of the first event’s hot seat and finals, Jennifer Barretta 93-62.

Seaver advanced into the quarterfinals with a 70-66 win over Kjorsvik. Fisher joined her after eliminating Little 99-34. Seaver ended up as the unfortunate competitor on the other side of the event’s highest score (120-81) in those quarterfinals.

Fisher slipped a little in the semifinals that followed. Her loss side average dropped from 99.5 down to 95.6 when she defeated Webb 80-57 in those semifinals. Though she’d not maintained her high average, she’d prevailed for a chance to win it all.

“I feel good,” said Fisher at the conclusion of her match against Webb. “I had a little trouble in the last couple of matches, but so it goes; a couple of awkward layouts, a couple of unforced errors and a couple of silly errors.

Fisher’s reputation, as represented by her nickname (Kwikfire), was enhanced by her work in the finals. In the extended race to 13 racks, she was done, with a score of 113, as Tzu-Chien was preparing to break her 9th rack, having already scored 68 points. The dynamic of this created something of a nail-biter for Fisher, as she watched Tzu-Chien draw closer in the final racks. Those watching the stream watched Fisher, watching Tzu-Chien.

Tzu-Chien took ball-in-hand at the start of rack #9 and ran the table to bring her score to 78; 35 points away from Fisher with four racks to go and needing to score an average of 9 points per remaining rack to defeat Fisher. Tzu-Chien snookered herself shooting at the 6-ball in rack #10, and missed the shot, giving her 83 points total; 30 points away with three racks to go. If she were to use the ball-in-hand option for the remaining three racks and assuming a successful runout of each of them, she’d tie Fisher at 113 and the event would move to a rack-by-rack tie breaker.

Tzu-Chien took BIH in the 11th rack, but missed a shot after dropping four. Now at 87 points, Tzu-Chien would need to run the final two racks without BIH. Running one rack with and one rack without BIH would net her 112 points, one shy of a tie.

She broke the 12th rack and as it was her only option, she began her run without BIH. With Fisher watching anxiously, she ran to the 9-ball and then missed it. She scored only eight points, for a total of 95, which put the win out of reach. She broke the 13th rack anyway, dropped a single ball and missed the next one to finish the match.

For the second time, Fisher had nothing but praise for the WPBA and the individuals who organized and coordinated this and the previous ghost challenge events.

“I know it’s a tough schedule for you,” Fisher told event organizer Angela Janic and fellow stream commentator, Dawn Hopkins at the conclusion of the week-long event. “We really do appreciate all your hard work. It allows us to play, to do what we enjoy doing, and what we do for a living. Without you guys we couldn’t do that, so we really do appreciate it.”

Fisher and runner-up Wei Tzu-Chien are long-time opponents and friends and noting this friend’s frustration at the end of the match, Fisher suggested to the woman she knows as “Wei-Wei” to not say what she was thinking.

“I can’t speak English, right now,” said Tzu-Chien. “There is an appropriate Chinese term for what just happened.”

“Aiyee ya!!,” she added.

Fisher comes back from hot seat loss to down Barretta and claim Ashton Twins Classic in Alberta

Holem, Plowman, Osborn and Lane win four concurrently-run Amateur/Open events

 

Two of pool’s old-school professionals battled in the hot seat and finals of the WPBA’s 4th Annual Ashton Twins Classic over the weekend (Dec. 2-5). Allison Fisher, who entered the tournament as the WPBA's #1 competitor,, and Jennifer Barretta (#3) fought to double hill in the hot seat match, before Barretta prevailed. Fisher came back from the semifinals to meet and defeat her in the finals and claim the 4th Ashton Twins Classic title, her 82nd pro title. Since the event debuted in 2017, it’s been won by two ‘new-school’ professionals, Brittany Bryant (2017, currently #2) and April Larson (2018, currently #23) and in the past two years, by old-school professionals, Vivian Villareal (2019, currently #48) and Fisher this year. The $20,000-added event drew 50 entrants to the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Calgary, Alberta.

 

The long weekend also featured four, concurrently-run Amateur and Open events; an Amateur Men’s 9-Ball (51 entrants), a Women’s Amateur 9-Ball (26), a Men’s 8-ball (71; the highest number of the weekend’s events) and a Women’s 8-Ball event (56). A summary of these four events, to include winners and runners-up will follow the Pro event details.

 

While the old-school professionals were represented in this year’s final, the new-school professionals were right there behind them, finishing 3rd (Russia’s Kristina Tkach, #22) and 4th (China’s Wei Tzu-Chien, #4). The tie for 5th place featured one each from the two categories; Janet Atwell (#11), who fell to Wei Tzu-Chien and the event’s 2017 winner, Brittany Bryant, who was eliminated by Tkach. The event’s 2018 champion, April Larson was on hand for this event, as well. She was sent to the loss side by Wei Tzu-Chien and was defeated in her first loss-side match by Kim Newsome (#24). Vivian Villareal did not make the trip to Canada.

 

Following an opening round bye, Fisher opened her six-match winning campaign with three victories in which she gave up a combined total of two racks; one each to (first) Stephanie Hefner and (third) Caroline Pao, with a shutout over Laura Smith in between. This set Fisher up to face Wei Tzu-Chien in one of the winners’ side semifinals (old-school/new-school). Barretta, in the meantime, had also been awarded a bye, and though not quite the domineering performance exhibited by Fisher, she did get by Stephanie Mitchell 9-2, June Maiers 9-3 and Monica Webb 9-2 to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal against Brittany Bryant (another old-school/new-school matchup).

 

Bryant chalked up as many racks against Barretta as all three of Barretta’s previous opponents combined, but fell two short, advancing Barretta 9-7 to the hot seat match. Wei Tzu-Chien chalked up three times as many racks as Fisher’s first three opponents combined, but fell three short, advancing Fisher 9-6 to meet Barretta. As befitted their status, Barretta and Fisher locked up in a double hill fight that saw Barretta down 5-8, before mounting a four-match comeback that left her in the hot seat and Fisher headed for a semifinal matchup versus Kristina Tkach.

 

Going into the money rounds on the loss side (17-24), there were still more than just a handful of potential winners vying to get back to the finals. Among them were Janet Atwell, who’d been defeated, double hill, by Caroline Pao and dropped into the loss side’s first money round. She subsequently got by Emily Duddy 9-7, Laura Smith 9-3, Monica Webb 9-6, and Jia Li 9-6, to draw Wei Tzu-Chien, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal.

 

Also lurking on the loss side was Kristina Tkach, who’d lost her first winners' side match (after a bye) to Kyoko Sone, and then launched an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take her all the way to the semifinals. After eliminating Ada Lio and Ashley Burrows to make it into the money rounds, she defeated Gail Eaton 9-1, Dawn Hopkins, double hill, Caroline Pao 9-5 and the WPBA’s #1-ranked competitor going into the tournament, Line Kjorsvik 9-2, to draw Bryant.

 

Tkach dispatched Bryant 9-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Wei Tzu-Chien, who’d eliminated Atwell 9-7. Tkach finished up her loss-side winning streak with a 9-3 win over Chien.

 

The commentators on the Cue Sports Live stream employed a slightly different vocabulary for the semifinal match, opting to call it a match between the ‘old guard’ and the ‘new guard.’ Fisher won the opening game of the semifinal match, and though Tkach responded to tie it up, she only did that twice and never got out in front. After the tie at the end of game #2, Fisher won three straight. Tkach came back with two, Fisher got another and Tkach won another two to create the second tie at 5-5. Fisher got out in front by two again, before Tkach chalked up her sixth and final rack. Fisher closed it out 9-6 for a second shot against Barretta.

 

The assembled were expecting a second double hill fight between the two ladies left standing. The race to 11 didn’t pan out that way, although it came close. Fisher took advantage of her second opportunity and downed Barretta 11-8 to claim her first (recorded) event title since she defeated Ga Young-Kim in the finals of the WPBA’s Ho-Chunk Classic in September of 2018.

 

From her home in Charlotte, NC a couple of days later, Fisher commented about her win and the prospect of future wins for her and players like her, like Jennifer Barretta, who's eight months younger than she is.

 

"It's like your own personal battle," she said. "You're constantly wondering 'Can you do it again?' 'Is it ever going to happen?' All those things go through your mind."

 

"There's not as much (time) distance (from former major victories) with me," she added, "but I was a prolific winner and as time goes on, you question and doubt. You're competing with yourself in personal growth."

 

Fisher is also assigning value to other considerations in her life; specifically her time at home with her family, which she noted she had not had much of in her past. Now, she's finding herself elevating that time on a priority scale above shooting pool. She has found that this shift in priorities tends to elevate the significance of each accomplishment.

 

"I don't play a lot these days, because some things (events) are not worth the time to be away from my family," she said. "I don't expect to be competing in 10 years time, so any victory is very valuable to me."

 

Concurrent Amateur/Open events take center stage

 

Kudos to Brian Champayne, who coordinated this long and multi-faceted event, which, as noted at the outset, included four other tournaments, including two which drew more entrants than the main event.

 

Up first on Thursday, January 2 were the Amateur Men’s and Women’s 9-Ball events. In the Men’s event, Tyler Edey and Kevin Osborn battled twice to claim the title. Edey won the first 7-1 to claim the hot seat. Osborn came back after downing Joe Spence 6-4 in the semifinals to defeat Edey 9-7 in the final and claim the Amateur Men’s 9-Ball title. Regene Lane went undefeated to grab the Women’s Amateur 9-Ball title. She and Cindy Nana fought a double hill hot seat match that eventually sent Nana to the semifinals, where she defeated Jenny Lucas 5-2. Lane defeated Nana a second time, this time 7-3 in the final to claim that 9-ball title.

 

On Friday, January 3, Tyler Edey was also in the finals of the most heavily-attended event of the long weekend, the Men’s 8-Ball, which drew 73 players. Edey was sent to the loss side in a double hill, winners’ side quarterfinal, as Stephen Holem advanced to the hot seat, downing Mike Robinson 6-1 in the winners’ side final. Edey worked his way back through five loss-side opponents, including a double hill win over Robinson in the semifinals to face Holem in the finals. Holem completed his undefeated run with a 7-4 victory over Edey.

 

In the Women’s 8-Ball event, which drew 56 entrants, Bonnie Plowman and Tasha Thomas battled twice, hot seat and finals, to determine the winner. Plowman, who finished undefeated, took the hot seat match 5-3, and when Thomas returned from a 4-2 victory over Jana Montour in the semifinals, defeated her a second time 6-4 to claim the event title.

Jimenez breaks through to win his first Tri-State stop in five years

Greg Matos and Luis Jimenez

Luis Jimenez just made 2019 his best earnings year at the tables to date, according to our records. His previous best was in 2013 when he won two stops on the Tri-State Tour and cashed in seven more. The following year, he won only once at a Tri-State stop at Gotham City Billiards. He finished in the money on four Predator Pro Am stops that year and only one other on the Tri-State Tour. Some lean years at the table followed, including 2018, when he finished in the Tri-State Tour money only once. This year, he’s already cashed in 11 stops on the Tri-State Tour and three on the Predator Pro Am Tour, which have included three runner-up finishes on the Tri-State in March, July and last week (Sunday, Sept. 22). On Sunday, September 29, at a $1,000-added Tri-State 10-ball event that drew 25 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ, Jimenez broke through and went undefeated to chalk up his first 2019 Tri-State victory. The first-place prize of $475 put Jimenez $25 over what he earned in all of 2013. And he’s still got three months to go.
 
Jimenez faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of this one. Following victories over Kevin Kemp, Jaydev Zaveri (double hill) and Ashley Burrows, Jimenez would face Paul Madonia in one of the winners’ side semifinals. In the meantime, his eventual opponent in the finals, Greg Matos, would square off against Mike Strassberg in the other one. Jimenez shut Madonia out, as Strassberg was sending Matos to the loss side 5-3. As he’d done last weekend, Jimenez claimed the hot seat, here downing Strassberg 6-2.
 
On the loss side, Madonia drew Joe Mazzeo, who’d defeated Jeff Martinez 6-4 and last week’s winner, Pascal Dufresne 6-2 to reach him. Matos picked up Dax Druminski, who’d recently eliminated Vinny Mistry 5-2 and Mac Jankov, double hill.
 
Matos earned himself a re-match against Strassberg with a 6-2 victory over Madonia in the quarterfinals. He followed that with a successful reverse-of-earlier score rematch 5-3 over Strassberg in the semifinals. 
 
No doubt with thoughts of the previous week’s tournament still very much alive, Jimenez once again prepared to chalk up his first 2019 Tri-State victory. Matos didn’t make it easy. They battled to double hill before Jimenez dropped the last 10-ball to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bludworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, October 6, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 

Burrows wins (*) final stop on Tri-State’s 2018/2019 season, splits top two prizes with Joseph

(l to r): Joshua Joseph & Ashley Burrows

Ashley Burrows would go undefeated into the hot seat at the Tri-State Tour’s last event of the 2018/2019 season. Joshua Joseph would win six on the loss side of the bracket and earn the right to meet her in a final match. The two opted out of that final match, leaving Burrows, the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, as the official winner and Joseph, in his highest finish on the tour, as runner-up. The $1,000-added event drew 48 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Joseph, appearing in his eighth event of the 2018/2019 season, solidified his position among the D+ class of competitors. He finished the season in third place, guaranteeing him an invite to the year-ending Invitational Tournament. Though her (*) victory advanced Burrows among her fellow B class players, she was 400 points away from the 16-player cutoff point for an invite to the year-ending Invitational Tournament. That tournament, scheduled for the weekend of June 29-30, will feature the top 16 players from each of six divisions and crown a champion for each of them, as well as a Tri-State Tour Grand Champion, who, at the end of the 2017/2018 season, was Erick Carrasco.
 
Burrow’s path to the hot seat went through Joe Palone, survived a double hill battle against Paul Madonia, and sent Levie Lampaan and Paul Wilkens to the loss side, to draw Manny Gomez in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Bianca Martinez, in the meantime, well-positioned at #8 to earn an invite to the D+ event of the Invitational faced Rick Rodriguez in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Burrows and Martinez became the first women, in an ill-defined long time, to square off in the hot seat match of a Tri-State tournament. Burrows had sent Gomez to the loss side 7-5, as Martinez was busy sending Rodriguez west 7-1. Burrows claimed the hot seat over Martinez 8-6 in what would prove to be her last match.
 
On the loss side, Gomez and Rodriguez ran right into their second straight loss. Gomez drew Jason Goberdhan, who’d defeated Bob Toomey, double hill and Paul Wilkens 7-1 to meet and defeat Gomez 6-3. Rodriguez picked up Joshua Joseph, who was three matches into his six-match, loss-side winning streak and had most recently defeated the competitor who’d sent him to the loss side Marco Daniele 5-3 and shut out Ada Lio. He downed Rodriguez 7-4 to join Goberdhan in the quarterfinals.
 
Joseph defeated Goberdhan 7-3 in those quarterfinals and then, double hill, defeatEd Martinez in the semifinals. Joseph and Burrows agreed on the split and ended the regular 2018/2019 Tri-State Tour season. 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next scheduled Tri-State Tour event will be its annual Tri-State Invitational, scheduled for the weekend of June 29-30 and hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Bryant comes from the loss side to defend WPBA Blue Emu title at Borderline Billiards in TN

Crowning achievements for (l to r) Kyoko Sone & Brittany Bryant with Janet Atwell

It began on Thursday, May 30 with a preliminary tournament made up of 30 lower-ranked players from the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) and ended on Sunday night, June 2 with the crowning of defending champion Brittany Bryant, who had to come from the loss side (five matches) to meet Kyoko Sone in the finals of the WPBA’s Signature Tour Stop, the Blue-Emu Southern Open. The $10,000-added event drew a total of 62 entrants, including Janet Atwell to her venue, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

The event was not exactly a proverbial ‘walk in the park’ for the WPBA’s #4-ranked player. Bryant won the event, having won less than 60% of the games she played in it (70-49; 58.8%). The seven opponents she faced in races-to-8 chalked up an average of five racks against her. She got by Kelly Cavanaugh, Jessica Barnes and Mary Rakin by an aggregate score of 24-7, but against her other four race-to-8 opponents (LoreeJon Hasson, Allison Fisher, Melissa Little & Jennifer Baretta) she chalked up an aggregate of 32-26, or 55%. Not surprising necessarily, given the upgrade in the competition over those four matches. And then, of course, there was the third-round, 4-8 loss to Gail Eaton, which really did a job on the ‘numbers.’ Without that loss, Bryant would have finished with an overall game-winning average of just over 60% (62.8), rather than less.

“I go to every event to win it,” said Bryant, “but I didn’t go with any expectations this year. “There were actually a few more players who were higher up (in rankings) than there were last year when I won it.”

The ‘First Stage’ double elimination bracket yielded 16 players who advanced to the Final Stage; eight from the winners’ side and eight from the loss side of that bracket. Among those who emerged from that bracket was runner-up Kyoko Sone, who lost her opening round match, double hill to Mary Rakin. Rakin advanced to defeat Kelly Isaac 7-5 and become one of the eight winners’ side competitors to advance to the Final Stage. Sone moved to the loss side, where she defeated Toni Esteves and Janet Ritcey, both 7-2, to become one of the eight loss-side competitors to advance to the final stage.

The other winners’ side competitors to advance to the Final Stage were Jennifer Berzinski, Jessica Human, Hiroko Makiyama, Ashley Burrows, Stephanie Mitchell, Kia Sidbury and Billie Billings. The other loss-side competitors to advance were Autumn Duncan, Kelly Isaac, Susan Wilbur, Julie Cooper, Angela Janic, Stephanie Goens, and Catherine Tschumper.

Moving into the Final Stage, beginning on Friday, May 31, the 16 arrivals from the preliminary bracket faced 16 players more or less in the middle of the WPBA rankings (approximately #17-#32). The winners in this opening round of Final Stage play advanced to meet the WPBA’s top 16 players, who had been awarded opening round byes.

Of the WPBA’s top 16 players who waited until Friday evening to begin competing, only three failed to advance on the winners’ side past their opening match; Jessica Barnes (WPBA-ranked #16) was defeated 8-2 by Kyoko Sone, Gerda Gregerson (#8) lost to Mary Rakin 8-6 and Emily Duddy (#10) joined them on the loss side following an 8-3 defeat at the hands of Naomi Williams. Among the more notable matches in this round of play, and the only one to go double hill was the battle between Allison Fisher and Russian teenager Kristina Tkach, who, a week earlier, had been the only female to compete in the Open/Pro event of the 9th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial in New York City (she finished in the tie for 5th place). She was defeated by Fisher here and went on to win two loss-side matches before being eliminated by Line Kjorsvik.

A final round on Friday night brought the field down to the winners’ side quarterfinals. Kyoko Sone had sent Line Kjorsvik to the loss side and on Saturday night, faced Mary Rakin, who, after her victory over Gregerson, had sent hostess and WPBA-ranked #9 Janet Atwell over. Brittany Bryant, who’d defeated Loree Jon Hasson was to meet up with Gail Eaton, who’d gotten by Melissa Little. Fisher followed up her win over Tkach with a victory over Jia Li and on Saturday night, faced Naomi Williams, who had just survived a double hill battle against Helena Thornfeldt.  The last of the winners’ side quarterfinals pitted Jennifer Baretta against Monica Webb.

These matches elicited the winners’ side semifinals, which began immediately afterwards. Sone, who’d downed Rakin 8-5 met Eaton, who’d sent Bryant to the loss side 8-4, as Fisher, who’d defeated Williams 8-3 met Baretta, who’d gotten by Webb 8-5.

“I have to give Gail so much credit,” said Bryant of her only loss in the tournament. “I have never seen her play that well. I was down 7-1, took a break, composed myself and got it to 7-4.”

“I wasn’t disappointed,” she added. “I didn’t play poorly and Gail took control when she needed to.”

Sone advanced to the hot seat match 8-3 over Eaton. Fisher and Baretta, almost predictably, fought to double hill before Baretta prevailed to join Sone in the hot seat match. Sone downed Baretta 8-4 to claim the hot seat and waited on what turned out to be Bryant’s fateful return.

Meanwhile, back at the loss-side ranch, Bryant and Melissa Little were laying in wait for Fisher and Eaton, respectively. Bryant had defeated Jessica Barnes 8-2 and Mary Rakin 8-3 to draw Fisher. Little had won four loss-side matches, including a double hill win over Naomi Williams and an 8-4 victory over Kjorsvik to draw Eaton. Little made it five in a row with an 8-5 win over Eaton and advanced to the quarterfinals. Bryant joined her after surviving a double hill fight against Fisher.

“I expected to go back and forth with Allison,” she said. “It was actually the first time I had ever beaten her. I ended up breaking and running at double hill to win it.”

Bryant followed her double hill win over Fisher with a double hill win over Little in the quarterfinals and for the second time, she finished with a break and run. In the semifinals, Jennifer Baretta came within a game of giving Bryant a third straight, double hill challenge, but Bryant edged out in front at the end to win it 8-6.

“I was up 6-2 in that match and she came back (to almost tie it),” Bryant said. “And then, there was a big game swinger, when she could have tied it at 6-6, but I won to go up 7-5. She won a game and I won the next game to win the match.”

The finals between defending champion Bryant and Sone came within a game of going double hill, as well, but for the second time in a row, Bryant edged out in front at the end to win it 10-8 and claim the 2019 Blu-Emu Southern Open.

“We didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” said Bryant of the final match. “She broke and ran the opening game and we had a few safety battles. I was up 6-2 and she started to make a comeback.”

As with the semifinal match against Baretta, Sone had the opportunity to tie things up at 6-6.

“She missed a key 8-ball to tie it up (at 6-6),” she said, “so it was 7-5 and I won the next three.”

WPBA representatives thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for hosting the event, as well as sponsors Simonis Cloth, Aramith, Diamond Billiard Products and Outsville.com. The next WPBA event, scheduled for August 8-11, will be a $10,000-added Signature Event, to be held in Fairfield, IL. Further details will be available soon. Bryant said that she plans to be in attendance.

Lee goes undefeated to take Predator Pro Am Amateur stop at Gotham City Billiards

(l to r): Andrew Lee, Zain Sundaram & John Morrison

Hernandez takes Open/Pro event
 
Andrew Lee got by John Morrison twice during the Predator Pro Am Tour’s visit to Gotham City Billiards on the weekend of May 18-19, and finished undefeated to claim the event title. According to tour director Tony Robles, the event was something of an experiment, designed to divide the normal crowds that show up for the tour’s A/B/C/D amateur events and lead to seriously late night/early morning finishes. Robles isolated the C/D players and invited them to the $1,800-added amateur event that drew 39 entrants to Gotham City Billiards.
 
Of arguably more ‘human interest’ in the amateur event was a match between husband and wife, Monika and Mike Callaghan. They ended up battling for the right to advance to the amateur event’s first money round. More on this when we get to the loss-side activities of the event.
 
On Sunday, May 19, a $700-added Open/Pro event drew 16 entrants and saw Frankie Hernandez claim that title, by winning the semifinals. More on this when we get to the Open/Pro event.
 
In the Amateur event, Andrew Lee and John Morrison met first in a winners’ side semifinal as Zain Sundaram and Juan Melendez squared off in the other one. Sundaram survived a double hill battle versus Melendez to earn his spot in the hot seat match. Lee joined him after sending Morrison to the loss side 7-3. Lee claimed the hot seat 7-1 and waited for Morrison to complete his three-match, loss-side winning streak.
 
The match between the married Callaghans would not normally appear in a report, because only one of them advanced beyond the 9/12 matches. They battled for the right to make it to the amateur event’s first money round. It was a double hill match, 6-5, won by Monika, at the end of which, according to Robles, she stuck her tongue out at husband, Mike, who was reportedly only partially amused. Her elation didn’t last because in the first money round, Mac Jankov, who’d eliminated Bob Toomey 6-3, defeated her double hill to advance and meet Melendez. Morrison picked up Joe Wilson Torres, who’d defeated Keith Jawahir 7-4 and survived a double hill fight against Tony Ignomirello to reach him.
 
Melendez advanced to the quarterfinals with a double hill win over Jankov. Morrison downEd Torres 7-4 to join him. Morrison took the quarterfinal match over Melendez 7-4 and then, defeated Sundaram 7-3 in the semifinals, to earn a shot at Lee in the hot seat.
 
Lee completed his undefeated run by allowing Morrison only a single rack in the finals. The 7-1 victory earned Lee the tour’s first-ever, strictly C/D amateur title.
 
Hernandez downs Sim in semifinals to claim Open/Pro title
 
The one time they did meet, in a winners’ side semifinal of the Open/Pro event, Jorge Rodriguez and Frankie Hernandez battled to double hill before Rodriguez prevailed to get into the hot seat match. He was joined by Del Sim, who had also survived a double hill match, against Alex Osipov. Rodriguez claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Sim, and unable to continue, forfeited the final match. This elevated the status of the event semifinals, allowing its winner, Hernandez, to claim the event title.
 
On the loss side, Frankie Hernandez picked up Pat Fleming, who’d shut out Jennifer Baretta and eliminated Mike Salerno 7-4. Osipov drew Mhet Vergara, who’d defeated Ashley Burrows 7-4 and survived a double hill fight against tour director Tony Robles.
 
Vergara downed Osipov 7-3, as Hernandez had his hands full surviving a double hill fight against Fleming. Hernandez moved on to defeat Vergara 7-3 in the quarterfinal match, and then, in what in effect was the event final, defeated Del Sim 7-4 to claim the event title.
 
Robles thanked Kevin and Isabel Buckley and their Gotham City Billiards staff for their continuing support as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, PoolOnTheNet.com, Cappelle (Billiards Press), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiards Magazine, and Billiards Digest. Robles also thanked his always-supportive cast of assistants, to include his lovely wife, Gail.
 
The next stop on the Predator Tour, scheduled for this coming Memorial Day Weekend (May 25-27), will be the 9th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Tournament. As always, the $4,000-added event will be held under the combined auspices of the Predator Pro Am, Tri-State and Mezz Tours, and will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.