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Fracasso-Verner stops loss-side challenge by Souto to claim Ocean State 9-Ball Championship

Jonas Souto, Lukas Fracasso-Verner and Jared Demalia

Lukas Fracasso-Verner’s victory at the 34th Annual Ocean State 9-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour at Snooker’s in Providence, RI this past weekend (Nov. 12-13), put him over the top, making 2022 his best earnings year since his recorded earnings began seven years ago. Though he didn’t have to face the event’s defending champion and winner of the previous stop (#8) on the Joss Tour, Bucky Souvanthong, he did have to contend with Spain’s Jonas Souto, who was defeated by Souvanthong in a winners’ side quarterfinal and came back to challenge Fracasso-Verner in the finals. Souto was looking for his first reported (to us) win, anywhere, even though entering the tournament, he’d already earned (primarily in Europe) over three times the amount that Fracasso-Verner has earned in 2022. The $5,000-added event ($500 to a Second Chance Tournament) drew a full field of 128 entrants to Snooker’s.

Fracasso-Verner’s seven-match trip to the winners’ circle got him by Ashley Benoit, Derek Cunningham, Ray McNamara (double hill), Barry Hetherington and Mhet Vergara, before coming up against Bob Forchilli in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Jared Demalia, in the meantime, defeated Mike Zhu, Mike Crema, Chad Bazinet, Moritz Neuhausen and Matt Jarrell to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal versus defending champ, Souvanthong, who had just sent the eventual runner-up, Souto, to the loss side 7-4.

Fracasso-Verner gave up just one rack to Forchilli in advancing to the hot seat match. Demalia gave up four to Souvanthong and joined him. In the first of two straight double hill matches that he faced to claim the title, Fracasso-Verner first claimed the hot seat over Demalia.

On the loss side, Souvanthong ran into Germany’s Neuhausen, who, earlier in the month, had finished 9th in both the American 14:1 Straight Pool Championships and the following week’s International Open, before packing his bags and heading north to New England. Neuhausen had followed his loss to Demalia with victories over four opponents by an aggregate score of 20-4; Beau Powers (5-2), Frank Hernandez (1), Mhet Vergara (1) and Suad Kantarevic (1). 

Jonas Souto had followed his loss to Souvanthong with victories over Jaydev Zaveri (1) and Tom Zippler (2) to pick up Forchilli. He downed Forchilli 5-1 to draw Neuhausen, who’d battled Souvanthong to double hill before spoiling the potential Souto/Souvanthong rematch. . 

There was a bit of an exclamation point to the two matches that eventually put Souto into the finals against Fracasso-Verner. He arrived at the final match having not given up a single rack to either of his previous two opponents, shutting out Neuhausen in the quarterfinals and Jared Demalia in the semifinals. 

He battled to double hill in the finals but Fracasso-Verner dropped the last 9-ball and claimed the event title, his second of the Joss NE Tour’s 2022 season.

Tour director Mike Zuglan thanked Regina and Steve Goulding, along with their Snooker’s staff for their hospitality, ongoing support of the tour and the live stream that was provided for this event. He also noted the continuing support of title sponsor Joss Cues, Turning Stone Resort Casino, Simonis Cloth, Poolonthenet.com, AZBilliards, Aramith, Billiards Press, and World Class Cue Care.

The 34th Annual Ocean State 9-Ball Championships were the last 2022 event of the ‘22/’23 season. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for the weekend of January 5-8, 2023 will be Turning Stone Classic XXXVI, as always, hosted by the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, NY. The field for this event is full, but Mike Zuglan is taking names on the waiting list, for players interested in competing in this Matchroom Pool Nineball Ranking event. Zuglan can be reached at 518-356-7163.

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Kolee Wins Second Career Joss Tour Stop at Sharpshooters in New York

Qays Kolee and Bucky Souvanthong

Four events into last season on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour, Bucky Souvanthong had played in all four final matches and won half of the stops. This season is a different story though, as the tour crowned a fourth different champion at Sharpshooters Billiards & Sports Pub in Amsterdam, NY on October 8th – 9th. 

Souvanthong did go through Saturday without a loss, joining Ron Casanzio, Qais Kolee and Nate Marshall on the winners side on Sunday morning. Souvanthong sent Casanzio to the left side of the board 9-6 on Sunday morning, while Kolee did the same to Marshall 9-4. The hot-seat match went to Souvanthong 9-6 and it looked like he might notch his first tour stop of the season. 

Nate Marshall was waiting for Kolee on the one loss side after wins over Barry Hetherington (who had been riding a four match winning streak) and Casanzio, but Kolee made quick work of him 7-2 to book the rematch with Souvanthong in the finals. 

The final match was not just a rematch from the hot-seat match, but it was also a rematch from the final match of the Northeast 9-Ball Open XXXII at Sharpshooters back in February of 2020, when Kolee beat Souvanthong in the first set of the finals 9-4 for his first Joss Tour win. The first set of the finals this time was also a 9-4 scoreline with Kolee winning again. That left one race to seven to determine the winner, and it was Kolee with a hill-hill win for his second tour stop win and first of the new 2022/2023 season. 

Sundays second chance event saw Tom Acciavatti get off to a slow start with a 3-0 loss to Aaron Greenwood in the first round, but Acciavatti quickly got things under control and rattled off eight straight wins, including back to back wins over Mark Creamer in the finals, for the tournament win. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard in Utica, NY this weekend for another $1500/$500 added event. 

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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 – http://www.cbsa.ca
 
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.