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Mike Davis, Jr. wins 5th NC State 9-Ball Championship on PremierBilliards TOP Tour

Mike Davis

After the 1st NC State 9-Ball Championships were won by Larry Nevel in 2013, Mike Davis, Jr. won the next three between 2014 and 2016 He skipped three years in which Shannon Fitch (’17), Reymart Lim (’18) and Keith Bennett (’19) won, before returning to the annual event in 2020, downing Justin Martin in the finals. BJ Ussery claimed the title in 2021 and Jesus Atencio won it last year. Mike Davis, Jr. chalked up his fifth NC State 9-Ball Championship title this past weekend (Feb. 25-26), going undefeated and downing Brian White twice; hot seat and finals. The $1,000-added event, held under the auspices of the PremierBilliards.com TOP (The Open Players) Tour, drew 38 entrants to Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC.

A previously-scheduled Ladies event did not occur when it drew only 5 women, including a pair of junior competitors, Hayleigh Marion and Skylar Hess. The women were offered the opportunity at a reduced entry to compete in the Open event and did so, comporting themselves quite well actually.

“Even when they lost,” said tour director, Herman Parker, “the fact that they’d won a few, collectively, against some strong (male) competition was pretty significant.”

Skylar Hess, a regular on the Junior International Championship circuit (JIC), defeated Jason Blackwell before losing to Barry Mashburn and Kirk Overcash. Hayleigh Marion won two on the winners’ side and one on the loss side before being knocked out by Q City 9-Ball veteran and multiple event winner, Reid Vance. Christy Norris, who plays on the tour regularly in mixed-gender events, came within of match of advancing to the first money round, before she forfeited a match against her significant other, Barry Mashburn (who promptly loss in the subsequent round, which led to some gentle ‘ribbing’ after the fact).

“I was super-impressed with the womens’ play this past weekend,” said Parker.

Davis and Brian White met first in the hot seat match after Davis had defeated Clint Clark 7-3 in one of the winners’ side semifinals and White had downed Don Lilly 7-1 in the other one. Davis claimed the hot seat 7-4 and waited on White’s return.

On the loss side, Davis actually had two “White”s to watch, because Hunter White was working his way through the bracket on the loss side as well. Hunter had eliminated Mark Bolton 7-3 and in the first money round, Barry Mashburn 7-4 to draw Lilly. Clark picked up Josh Padron, who’d recently defeated Kelly Farrar 7-3 and to enter that first money round too, survived a double hill battle versus Scott Howard to reach him.

Hunter White defeated Lily 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, met up with Clint Clark, who’d eliminated Padron 7-4. Hunter White then downed Clark 7-2 in those quarterfinals, leaving Davis (waiting in the hot seat) in the position of wondering which “White” to watch as the two of them squared off in the semifinals.

One “White” won as the other went down. Brian defeated Hunter 7-3 for a second crack at Davis in the finals. Davis and Brian White mirrored their hot seat match score, which gave Davis his fifth NC State 9-Ball Championship title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Breaktime Billiards for their hospitality (and sponsorship of the tour), as well as title sponsor PremierBilliards.com, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and TKO Custom Cues. 

The next stop on the PremierBilliards.com TOP Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 18-19 will be the 2023 West Virginia State 9-Ball Open, to be hosted by The League Room in Parkersburg, WV. The next stop on the PremierBilliards.com Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this coming weekend (March 4-5), will be hosted by West End Billiards in Gastonia, NC.

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Mike Davis, Jr. claims first Open event of the 2023 PremierBilliards.com Q City 9-Ball Tour

Mike Davis

In the first of 12 planned Open events in 2023, to be known as The PremierBilliards.com TOP (The Open Players) Tour, Mike Davis, Jr. was crowned as its premier champion. The $500-added, non-handicapped event had to compete with a number of other regional events in the immediate and not-too-distant area and as a result, drew only 18 entrants to Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC.

Davis and Mark Bolton opted out of a final at this event, allowing their one and only match to stand as the title-claiming victory. As the occupant of the hot seat at the time, Davis went into the books as the event’s official champion and they split the top two prizes.

With races to 7 on both sides of the bracket, they met first in the hot seat match, once Davis had defeated Barry Mashburn 7-5 in one of the winners’ side semifinals and Bolton had sent Kelly Farrar to the loss side 7-4 in the other one. Davis claimed the hot seat and, as it turned out, the official event title with a 7-3 win over Bolton.

On the loss side, Mashburn picked up Josh Heeter, who’d defeated Graham Swinson and Corey Morphew, both 7-2, to reach him. Farrar drew Chris Turner, who’d survived two straight double hill matches, versus William Baize and Derek Leonard, for a shot at Farrar.

By identical 7-3 scores, Heeter and Farrar advanced to the quarterfinals over Mashburn and Turner, respectively. And it was 7-3’s all the way to the end. Farrar over Heeter in the quarterfinals and Bolton over Farrar in the final match of the event, the semifinals.

Davis and Bolton opted out of the final, split the top two prizes and completed the Open Tour’s first event.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Gate City Billiards Club for their hospitality, along with title sponsor PremierBilliards.com, Breaktime Billiards (Winston-Salem, NC), BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and TKO Custom Cues. The next stop on The PremierBilliards.com TOP Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Deb. 25-26 will be the 11th Annual North Carolina State 9-Ball Open and Ladies 9-Ball Open, to be hosted by Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC.

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Hughes wins first cash by winning Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour Championship

Cameron Hollingsworth, Breaktime owner Sundeep “Sonny” Makhani and Larry Hughes.

Both finalists in the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball’s 10th Tour Championships, held this past weekend (Nov. 19-20), had something to play for, beyond just the cash and whatever bragging rights they might claim later. Larry Hughes and Cameron Hollingsworth were both looking to record their first cash wins. Hollingsworth was also trying to take advantage of the fact that his older brother, the twice-defending champion of this event, Landon Hollingsworth, was in Puerto Rico. Ahead of the final match, each of them had recorded a single loss. Hughes took the last match to claim the title. Though the outcome could be attributed to any one of a number of factors, it would appear to be unlikely that it was due to which of them wanted it more. The $1,500-added event drew 56 entrants to Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC.

Winning it was a breakthrough for Hughes. Coming from the loss side, winning seven and the opening set of the true double elimination, not to mention recording his first cash win was a breakthrough for Hollingsworth.

With Hollingsworth on the loss side, having lost a third round match to Billy Walker, Hughes advanced through the field to face Eric Stanton in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Clay Davis and Jason Blackwell squared off in the other one.

Davis defeated Blackwell 8-1, while Hughes was shutting Stanton out. Hughes grabbed the hot seat 6-2 and waited on the as-determined-as-he-was Hollingsworth to complete his loss-side run.

With two notches on that loss-side belt, Hollingsworth defeated Barry Mashburn 5-4 (Mashburn racing to 9) and Trent Talbert 5-4 (Talbert racing to 6), to pick up Stanton. Blackwell drew Josh Heeter, who’d defeated Jeff Howell and Thomas Sansone, both 9-3, to reach him.

Hollingsworth and Heeter advanced to the quarterfinals; Hollingsworth 5-2 over Stanton and Heeter 9-4 over Blackwell. Hollingsworth chalked up wins #6 and #7 with a double hill, quarterfinal win over Heeter and 5-1 victory over Davis in the semifinals.

With Davis racing to 6, Hollingsworth took the opening set of the true double elimination final 5-4. Hughes fought back in the second set to take a lead and stretch it to three games, winning it 6-3 to claim his first event title and the 10th Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour Championship title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked tour sponsor Sundeep Makhani and his Breaktime Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Breaktime Billiards (Winston-Salem, NC), BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division.

The tour will be off for the Thanksgiving weekend and return to the felt on the weekend of Dec. 3-4. The event will be a $250-added event, hosted by Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC.

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Heeter downs Fowler, double hill, in finals of Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop

Josh Heeter

Just over two weeks ago (March 19-20), Billy Fowler and Josh Heeter faced off in the finals of the first-ever West Virginia State 9-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. Fowler won it 9-5 to chalk up his 8th recorded win on the tour, dating back to 2016. They’d met twice in the event; once in a winners’ side semifinal, won by Heeter and again, in the final, won by Fowler.

This past weekend (April 9-10), they met in an event final on the tour again. They met only once this time, though Fowler returned from the same relative position on the loss side as he had in West Virginia to challenge him. They reversed finish positions, with Heeter going undefeated this time to claim the title. The $500-added event drew 63 entrants to The Rock House in Gastonia, NC.

As had happened in West Virginia, they both emerged victorious from their respective winners’ side quarterfinal matches, but not to face each other in the winners’ side semifinals. Heeter squared off against Barry Mashburn, while Fowler faced Kelly Piercy. 

Piercy sent Fowler to the loss side 6-5 (Fowler racing to 10) and in the hot seat match, faced Heeter, who’d defeated Mashburn 9-3. Once again, Heeter claimed the hot seat, this time sending Piercy to the loss side 9-4.

On the loss side, Fowler picked up junior competitor Cole Lewis, who’d recently eliminated Michael Carter and Dayne Miller, both 8-3. Mashburn drew Zach Martin, who’d defeated Jesse Draper, double hill, and Thomas Sansone 5-3 to reach him. 

Martin downed Mashburn 5-4 (Mashburn racing to 9) and in the quarterfinals, was to face Fowler, who’d fought a double hill battle against Lewis, before prevailing 10-7. Fowler jumped over the quarterfinals when Martin couldn’t return on Sunday and forfeited the match.

Fowler took care of the last obstacle in his path to a second straight final against Heeter, Kelly Piercy 10-4 in the semifinals. Unlike the open (no handicap) event in West Virginia, in which Fowler, coming from the loss side, won just a single, extended, race-to-9 final match, he’d have to win twice to claim the handicapped event title in North Carolina. Heeter began with a single ‘bead on the wire’ in a race to 10. They battled to double hill, before Heeter prevailed 9-9 to claim the title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at The Rock House, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Break Time Billiards of Winston-Salem, NC, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (April 16-17), will be hosted by Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC. 

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Davis goes undefeated to win Stop #1 on Capital City Pool Tour

Mike Davis

Mike Davis, Jr. chalked up his first 2022 tour win last weekend (Feb. 19), although the win picked up a half-asterisk (for which we have yet to discovery a keyboard symbol) because in a finals race to 10, his opponent, Tony Pete, down 8-0, forfeited the remainder of the match. Davis went undefeated through the event’s maximum field of 32 at the $500-added, Capital City Pool Tour’s Stop #1, hosted by Break Time Billiards and Sports Café in Cary, NC.

Davis got by Tony Pete twice (counting the half-asterisk forfeit in the finals). After getting by Kevin Williams, Kyle Webber and Robert West with an aggregate score of 30-6, Davis faced Pete for the first time in a winners’ side semifinal. In the meantime, Jason Rogers, who’d sent Allison Tilley, Justin Knuckles and Barry Mashburn to the loss side, faced Solomon Pope.

Davis downed Pete 10-2, as Rogers defeated Pope 8-5. With three on the wire in a race to 10, Rogers battled to double hill (9-7) before Davis claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Pete picked up Mashburn, who, after his loss to Rogers, had defeated Yogi Liu 9-4 and Jesse Gilbert 9-3. Pope drew Christy Norris, who would be the event’s top female finisher. Norris dropped her opening match to Mark Bolton and then embarked on a five-match, loss-side streak that started with three matches in which she gave up only five racks (21-5). Then, Robert West chalked up five on his own against her and Justin Knuckles battled her to double hill before she prevailed.

Pope ended Norris’ streak 7-4 and advanced to the quarterfinals. With two on the wire at the start of race to 9, Pete was able to join Pope in the quarterfinals, once he had successfully navigated a double hill match versus Mashburn. In a straight-up race to 7, Pete then eliminated Pope 7-3 in those quarterfinals.

With one on the wire in a race to 8, Pete downed Rogers 8-5. The finals began, but didn’t last as long as they might have, when, at 8-0, Pete opted out of continuing. Davis claimed the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Break Time Billiards and Café for their hospitality. For further information about upcoming stops on the tour, visit Capital City Pool Tour’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ccpooltour/

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Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour launches series of seasonal Open events

Lisa Cossette

Martin and Cossette take Open and Ladies events at inaugural Winter Classic

In the future, there’ll be a Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall Classic on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. They are a component of a larger plan that tour director Herman Parker is initiating to feature more Open (non-handicapped) events on the tour schedule. In the inaugural Winter Classic, held this past weekend (Feb. 5-6), Justin Martin and Lisa Cossette went undefeated through the Open and Ladies fields to claim the two titles. 

“I want to attract the culture of people who want to play in Open events, rather than handicapped events,” he said, following the completion of the Winter Classic. “I’m planning on 10-12 this year and my goal, down the road is to have it be 50-50; that’d be ideal.”

“I don’t know if it’ll get there,” he added, “but this year, I want to do, on average, about one (Open event) a month.”

The inaugural Winter Classic, featuring its Open tournament and a Ladies event, which, according to Parker, is a side of the tour that he is trying to grow. Three women who competed in the Ladies tournament, also competed in the Open event. The $1,500-added events ($1,000 in the Open and $500 in the Ladies) drew 52 and 18 entrants, respectively, to Break Time Billiards and Sports Bar in Winston-Salem, NC. The 18 women were the largest number of female entrants to ever compete in an Open event on the tour. One of them, 11-year-old Noelle Tate, who finished 4th, became the youngest competitor of either gender to cash in a Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball event in the nine years of its existence.

So, we’ll start there and focus on the 11-year-old for a moment. Noelle Tate is just one member of a family of competitors who are making a name for themselves at the pool tables. Noelle is a younger sister to Bethany and Joey Tate. They were all competitors during last year’s nation-wide series of events, known as the Junior International Championships (JIC), which began its second season just last month. JIC founder, tour director and something of a ‘parental unit’ at JIC events, Ra Hanna, had announced, prior to the start of the JIC’s second season, that part of the second-year plan was to move the junior competitors into the arena of regional tours and Open events. Noelle Tate and (in the Open event) Landon Hollingsworth are manifestations of that plan. Tate came into the event and lost her second-round match to Marianne Merrill. She went on to win four on the loss side, including a 5-2 win over the woman who was favored to win the tournament, Christy Norris. She was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Katie Bischoff 5-3.

The eventual winner, Lisa Cossette, advanced through the field to a winners’ side semifinal against Norris, as Shannon Johnson and Amanda Mann squared off in the other one. Cossette and Johnson, following victories over Norris (double hill) and Mann (7-4), advanced to the hot seat match, at which Cossette prevailed 7-3.

Norris moved to the loss side and ran into Tate, who’d recently eliminated Casey Cork, double hill and Beth Allen 5-2. Mann picked up Katie Bischoff, who’d downed Marianne Merrill and Allie Tilley, both 5-2, to reach her. Tate defeated Norris 5-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Bischoff, who’d shut Mann out.

Bischoff eliminated Tate in that quarterfinal (5-3), but not soon enough to keep the 11-year-old out of the money in what was the first money round. Bischoff moved on to defeat Johnson in the semifinals 5-3. An appropriate double hill fight ensued in the single-match finals with Cossette claiming the title over Bischoff 7-6.

Justin Martin

Martin and Ussery battle twice to claim first Winter Classic title

Nine times out of 10, the winner and runner-up of an event, if they’ve competed against each other twice, have done so in the hot seat match and finals. Not so, this time around. Justin Martin and BJ Ussery, both heavily favored as potential winners of the event, met first in the third round. Martin sent Ussery to the loss side 7-1, where he began a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would offer him a second shot against Martin in the finals.

Martin advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Graham Swinson, as Corey Sykes and Jeff Abernathy squared off in the other one. Martin shut out Swinson and was joined in the hot seat match by Sykes, who’d sent Abernathy west 7-1. Martin claimed the hot seat in a double hill fight over Sykes.

On the loss side, Swinson drew Ussery, three matches into his loss-side streak, which had recently eliminated Thomas Sansone 7-5 and Josh Padron 7-1. Abernathy picked up junior competitor Landon Hollingsworth, who’d defeated Niko Konkel and Barry Mashburn, both 7-1. Mashburn had been afforded the opportunity to face Hollingsworth when, in the previous round, Christy Norris, one of the three women who competed in the Open event, along with Allie Tilley and Beth Allen, forfeited her match to Mashburn.

Ussery downed Swinson 7-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Abernathy, who’d defeated Hollingsworth 7-3. Ussery then eliminated Abernathy 7-2 and in the semifinals, Sykes in a double hill match. Martin defeated Ussery a second time in the finals, this time 7-2 to claim the inaugural Winter Classic.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Break Time Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Feb. 12-13) will be hosted by Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC.

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BJ Ussery goes undefeated to win Invasion of the Triangle event in Raleigh, NC

Mike Davis, TD Xzavia Boykin and BJ Ussery

The headlined ‘Triangle’ actually refers to a trio of cities (Raleigh, Durham and the town of Chapel Hill) in the Piedmont area of North Carolina, encompassing three major research universities (North Carolina State, Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Sometimes referred to as the Research Triangle, the area played host to a $2,500-added event, held under the auspices of Player Madness Tournaments, that led 53 competitors to ‘invade’ Brass Tap & Billiards in Raleigh, NC this past weekend (Jan. 1-2).

BJ Ussery led the ‘invasion’ with an undefeated run through that field of 53, downing multiple North-Carolina-state champion, Mike Davis, Jr., twice; hot seat and finals. It also featured the JIC’s 18 & Under boys’ champion, Landon Hollingsworth (who finished third) and Venezuela’s Jesus Atencio, who chalked up 2021 wins on the Lone Star Billiards Tour, the Ronny Park Memorial and the New City (NY) Heritage Super Tournament. Atencio opened his 2022 campaign in the Triangle with a 5th place finish, launched when Hollingsworth defeated him in the second winners’ side round and concluded after four wins on the loss side.  

Ussery and Davis advanced through the winners’ side to meet up with (respectively), Barry Mashburn and Hollingsworth in the winners’ side semifinals. Ussery dispatched Mashburn to the loss side 8-2, as Davis downed Hollingsworth (in their first of two meetings) 8-5. Ussery and Davis battled to double hill in their first of two, but it was Ussery who claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Mashburn picked up Atencio, who was three matches into his loss-side journey, which had recently eliminated Joey Tate (runner-up to Hollingsworth in the JIC’s 18 and Under Boys championship) 6-1 and Graham Swinson 6-4. Hollingsworth drew Mark Bolton, who’d followed his winners’ side quarterfinal defeat versus Mashburn with shutout over Jeffrey Underwood and a 6-2 win over Dylan Letchworth.

Mashburn downed Atencio 6-2, as Hollingsworth was shutting out Bolton. Hollingsworth and Mashburn battled to double hill in the quarterfinals that followed, before Hollingsworth prevailed for a second shot at Davis in the semifinals.

Though Hollingsworth took an early lead in the rematch, Davis fought back to win it, earning himself a second shot versus Ussery, waiting for him in the hot seat. In the extended race-to-11 finals, Davis never quite got his ‘game’ going, falling to Ussery a second time, 11-4.

Tour director Xzavia (X-Man) Boykin thanked the ownership and staff at Brass Tap & Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsor Classic Home Billiards. Further information about future Player Madness events can be found on the Player Madness Billiards Tournaments Facebook page.

Davis comes from the loss side, and returns to NC State Open 9-Ball winners’ circle

Mike Davis, Jr.

Mike Davis, Jr. won the first three NC State Open 9-Ball championships from 2014 to 2016. After relinquishing the title for three years, to (in order) Shannon Fitch (‘17), Reymart Lim (’18) and Keith Bennett (’19), Davis returned to compete in the 7th Annual NC State Open 9-Ball tournament and in spite of having his path to victory re-routed through the loss side of the event’s bracket, returned to meet and defeat Justin Martin in the finals and reclaim the title. The $500-added event drew 43 entrants to Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC.

Davis advanced through the field to draw Justin Martin in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Barry Mashburn faced Brian Capps in the other one. Martin sent Davis to the loss side 7-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Mashburn, who’d defeated Capps 7-5. Martin claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Mashburn and waited on Davis’ return.

On the loss side, in the first money rounds, Davis picked up Josh Heeter, who’d shut out Kirk Overcash and eliminated Jeff Abernathy 7-3 to reach him. Capps drew Mackie Lowery, who’d eliminated Hank Powell, double hill, and Edwin Delacueva 7-3.

Capps sent Mackie Lowery home with some cash in a 7-5 win. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Davis, who’d survived a double hill battle versus Heeter. Davis then denied Capps a second shot at Mashburn by downing Capps in those quarterfinals 7-2.

Davis moved on to deny Mashburn a second shot at Martin with a 7-3 win in the semifinals. In the finals that followed, Davis was looking to regain a title he’d last held in 2016. His opponent, Justin Martin, was looking to break a three-year streak of being the NC State Open 9-Ball tournament’s runner-up.

Davis won his fourth NC State Open 9-Ball title and handEd Martin his 4th runner-up finish. Davis completed his run with a 9-4 win in the finals.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Randolph Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for March 7-8, will be a $500-added event ($1,000-added with 64+ entrants), hosted by Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.

Ussery comes from the loss side to win win VA State 10-Ball Championships

(l to r): Reymart Lim, TD Tiger Baker & BJ Ussery

Taylor becomes only 4th woman since 2013 to win VA State Women’s 10-Ball title
 
It’s a little early to start making predictions or get too much of a ‘read’ on a tour’s point standings (at least those that run on a calendar year schedule), but the Action Pool Tour’s second stop provided some intriguing information. It wasn’t so much about who’s in the top spots at this point, but who, among last year’s top players are apparently starting out a little slow. Stop #2 on the Action Pool Tour – the 2020 VA State 10-Ball Open Championships – drew 73 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA on the weekend of February 15-16. Six of last year’s top 10 players in the tour’s final standings competed in this event. Two finished out of the money, including the event’s defending champion, RJ Carmona. Three, including last year’s tour champion, Chris Bruner, finished in the first money round. Reymart Lim, who finished in 4th place overall last year and won this year’s season opener was this event’s runner-up. In his first appearance on the tour in seven years, BJ Ussery came from the loss side to earn a finals rematch against Lim, which he won to claim the event title.
 
Meanwhile, the 2020 VA State Women’s 10-Ball Championships drew 16 women to the same location. As they did last year, Liz Taylor and Janet Atwell battled twice to claim this title. The results of those two battles were a reverse of last year’s; Atwell, winning the first and Taylor, winning the final (more on this a bit later).
 
Ussery’s appearance on the Action Pool Tour is a reflection of his desire to play generally stronger opponents than those he tends to face on regional handicapped tours. The last time he’d appeared on the APT, he’d finished 7th in the inaugural (2013) VA State 10-Ball Championships.
 
“I’m hoping to play in more of these (APT events) this year,” said Ussery. “I want to play against better players and compete in the some of the bigger events, like the US Open or the Super Billiards Expo.”
 
Any time at table, ultimately, is good time at table, but playing in a handicap system, no matter which one it is, carries a downside. According to Ussery, it’s less about the game and more about human nature.
 
“I get so used to giving up a handicap,” Ussery explained, “that when I get into a non-handicap game, it’s hard for me to bear down.”
 
His opening matches tended to demonstrate this. Ussery opened with an 8-6 win over Reggie Jackson, had a strong 8-1 victory over Jonathan Syphanthavong, and then gave up five against Shorty Davis. He had to win a deciding, 15th game in his fourth match, against Justin Martin. Nathan Childress chalked up six against him next, but Ussery prevailed and advanced to his first meeting against Reymart Lim, in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Lim had downed Barry Mashburn, RJ Carmona, Larry Kressel and shut out Greg Sabins (last year’s #12 in the point standings) to reach Ussery. Shane Wolford and Eric Moore (the APT’s 2016 Tour Champion) squared off in the other one.
 
By identical 8-1 scores, Lim and Wolford advanced to the hot seat match over Ussery and Moore. Lim and Wolford then locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Wolford to the semifinals and left Lim in the hot seat.
 
Ussery opened up on the loss side against Mike Davis, who was working on a five-match winning streak that was about to end and had included recent wins over Kelly Farrar 7-3 and Justin Martin 7-2. Moore picked up Scott Roberts, who’d been shut out by Greg Sabins in the second round and was working on his own seven-match, loss-side streak that included a successful 7-5 rematch against Sabins and a 7-5 victory over Nathan Childress, which led to Moore.
 
Ussery ended Davis’ streak 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Roberts, who’d defeated Moore 7-4. Ussery ended Roberts’ streak and Wolford’s short visit to the loss side in the semifinals, both 7-5.
 
Going into the final match, Ussery was mindful not only of the earlier matchup, in which Lim had allowed him only a single rack, but previous matchups, as well. They’d faced each other on a number of occasions over the years, and playing against him, Ussery knew what the difference was.
 
“I knew he was a good player when we’d met before,” said Ussery, “but I knew then, that part of the reason he was beating me was that he’d been putting in the time.”
 
“These days,” Ussery added, “I’m as prepared as anybody.”
 
Ussery spoiled Lim’s bid for a second straight win on the APT. He defeated him 10-8 to claim his first APT title.
 
Taylor spoils Atwell’s bid for a third straight, sixth overall VA State 10-Ball Woman’s title.
 
[photo id=51605|align=right]Since 2013, there have been four women who’ve claimed the VA State Women’s 10-Ball title. Tracie Majors won it in 2014 and Meredith Lynch captured the title in 2017. Janet Atwell has claimed the title five times; once in its inaugural year (2013) and then, back-to-back, twice (’15,’16, ’18, ’19). Last year, Atwell was defeated by Liz Taylor, double hill, in the hot seat match and came back to down Taylor 8-2 in the finals to claim her second straight and fifth overall title.  This year, at the event that drew 16 entrants (one more than last year), they reversed things. Taylor was defeated in the hot seat match and came back to defeat Atwell in the finals and claim the 2020 women’s title.
 
It took them each three matches to meet for the first time in the hot seat match. Atwell got by Nicole King, Tina Nash and, in a winners’ side semifinal, shut out Hayleigh Marion. Taylor defeated Soo Emmett, Christy Norris and, in her winners’ side semifinal, survived a double hill match against Lisa Cossette. Atwell claimed the hot seat 6-1.
 
Taylor’s return faced a stiff challenge from Deeqa Nur, who’d been defeated in the opening round of play by Cheryl Sporleder and came back through five opponents to draw Taylor in the semifinals. Nur battled to double hill against two of those opponents. She picked up Hayleigh Marion, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal and defeated her, just ahead of downing Lisa Cossette in a double hill quarterfinal. Taylor spoiled the strong, loss-side bid 5-3 in the semifinals.
 
And so it was, that for the second year in a row, Liz Taylor and Janet Atwell battled for the State of Virginia’s Women’s 10-Ball title. In a reversal of fortunes, Taylor gave up only one rack to Atwell in claiming the event title 8-1.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Full Stroke Billiards Apparel and Haselman & Hunt, D.D.S., P.C. Family Dentistry. The next stop on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for March 28-29, will be a Double Points event – The East Coast Landscaping Bar Box Bash – to be hosted by Peninsula Billiards in Newport News, VA.

Roberts downs Davis twice to claim NC State 10-Ball Open title

One of the more persistent regrets of the pool industry is the absence of detailed history.  Major League Baseball could probably tell you what Babe Ruth had for breakfast on the day he set the home run record. There is no Major League Pool, of course, and the varied entities which comprise the governing bodies of the sport couldn’t, for example, provide its fan base with a definitive answer as to how many times Johnny Archer and Tommy Kennedy have faced each other over the years, and which of the two has the greater number of victories in those head to head matches.
 
They had a chance to meet again this past weekend (November 23-24) at the North Carolina State 10-Ball Open, held under the auspices of the Q City 9-Ball Tour and event sponsor Beasley Custom Cues. It didn’t happen. There was a chance that they could have met in the hot seat match, and when that didn’t happen, a second chance developed moving into the event’s quarterfinals. That didn’t happen either.
 
According to Kennedy, although their most memorable two matchups occurred in the hot seat and finals of the 1992 US Open 9-Ball Championships, when Kennedy claimed the hot seat over Archer and then defeated him a second time in the finals to claim his first, and as it’s turned out, only US Open title. Both matches were broadcast on ESPN.
 
“I beat him 13-1 in the hot seat match,” Kennedy recalled of that event 27 years ago, “and 9-1 in the finals. I think he’s ahead in overall matches, though, but not by too, too much. Probably 60-40.”
 
That same absence of detailed history holds, as well, for the winner and runner-up of this year’s NC State 10-Ball Open. Josh Roberts went undefeated at the $2,000-added event ($500 from the room owner and $1,500 from Beasley Custom Cues) that drew 42 entrants to SpeakEazy Billiards in Sanford NC. Roberts had to get by Mike Davis twice – hot seat and finals – to claim the event title and chalk up the two most recent events in the lengthy, though not specifically detailed history of their meetups in any number of events over the years.
 
Those four were the winners’ side final four at this North Carolina State 10-Ball Open. Roberts advanced to meet Kennedy in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Davis advanced to pick up Archer in the other one. The possible hot seat match loomed, but Roberts sent Kennedy to the loss side 7-4, while Davis and Archer (another pair with a history) locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Archer over and allowed Davis to join Roberts in the hot seat match. Roberts claimed his second hot seat in as many weeks (he claimed it last week – Nov. 15-17 – at the NC State Open One Pocket Championships), downing Davis 7-4 this week and waiting on his return.
 
Over on the loss side, a number of potential winners of the event continued to lurk, including (among others) Tony Chohan, BJ Ussery, Jonathan (Hennessee from Tennessee) Pinegar and Barry Mashburn. Archer and Kennedy picked up two of them. Chohan downed Wayne Miller 6-1 and shut out Mashburn to meet up with Archer. Pinegar eliminated Michael Yingling and Ussery, both 6-3, to draw Kennedy (Ussery and Pinegar, being yet another matchup with some history).
 
The possible Archer/Kennedy matchup loomed yet again. Kennedy got off to a bad start and was down 5-1 to Pinegar, before he rallied to tie and then win it 6-5, doing his part. Chohan, though, eliminated Archer 6-2 and then dropped Kennedy 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
 
Davis put a stop to Chohan’s run 6-2 in the semifinals for a second shot at Roberts in the hot seat. According to tour director Herman Parker, in a single set, race-to-9, employing alternate break, Roberts “missed one ball, the entire set.” He gave up only a single game to Davis and claimed the NC State 10-Ball Open title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Speakeazy owners, Jimmy and Wendy Bullis, and their staff for hosting the event, as well as Beasley Custom Cues and its owner, Doug Beasley, for his ongoing support of the games. The next stop on the Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 1, will be a $500-added, 9-Ball Scotch Doubles event, to be hosted by Break ‘N Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.