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Ashley Benoit Wins Inaugural “Women In Pool” Championship

Ashley Benoit

A full field of 64 players from CT, RI, MA, NJ, NY, PA and several other states came together for two reasons over the weekend of September 10th – 11th at Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT for the Women In Pool Inaugural Women’s 9-Ball Championship. 

The field was made up of skill levels ranging from APA 3’s all the way up to Fargo 650 players for this non-handicapped event. Connecticut’s Ashley Nicole Benoit may not have had the highest ranking of all of the competitors, but she had the biggest drive to win as she scored impressive wins over Dawn Fox, Lindsey Bazinet, Stacie Bourbeau and Tina Malm on her way to the hot-seat. 

On the one loss side, Pennsylvania’s Rachel Walters bounced back nicely from her loss to Malm on the winners side. Walters had wins over Bazinet, Alyssa Solt and Malm to earn her place in the finals. Walters would have to settle for second on this weekend, as Benoit was unstoppable on her way to a 7-3 win in the first set of the finals. 

While all of the ladies in attendance were there with hopes to perform well in the tournament, event director Gloria Jean explained that the ladies were there for another reason. “In my 15 years of being a Tour Director, I have never seen a more vibrant, tenacious, happy, yet competitive group of women smile so much!” said Jean. “Women met like-minded Women with the same passion for the sport, the desire to improve, hone their skills, and relate to one another on a personal level. Many walked away with not just spectacular payouts but new friends to bond with and a once in a lifetime experience.”

Jean’s Women In Pool project was born from conversations on her podcast, where she has collaborated with such notables as Kelly Fisher, Allison Fisher, Joann Mason Parker, LoreeJon Ogonowski-Brown, Ewa Laurance, Mary Kenniston and many others. Jean created the project at the start of the year and says she has always wanted a tournament like this to be a part of it. 

More information can be found online at where fans can find out about the entire project. 

Jean thanked the great staff at Yale Billiards, as well as her tournament director Ty Speedwell, Sharkstream for streaming the event, Bobby Hilton for refereeing, Joe Raccio, Curtis Rohrer, Crystal Atkinson, Andy Now and all of her sponsors, Iwan Simonis Cloth, Aramith Premium Balls, N’ The Zone Sportswear, Navigator Chalk, Dragon Billiards Instruction, Harriman Real Estate, Bulletproof Break Tips, Pool League Association, NM Billiards Sales and Service, Narragansett Brewery, Outsville Templates, PoolDawg, McConnaughy’s Irish Pickles and J. Pechauer Cues.

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Joss NE 9-Ball Tour Heads to Wallingford Connecticut This Weekend

Players & Fans,

Congratulations to “The Maine Event XIV” winners, Dave Hall ($1,000 Maine Event XXIV), Jeff Mosimann ($300 Second Chance) & $1,900 Joss Cue raffle winner Michael Duff

Stop # 2 of my Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour will be at Yale Billiards in Wallingford CT on September 24 & 25 for a $2,000 ($1500+$500) added 9-ball event. Our host, Bobby Hilton, deserves much credit for bringing our tour back to Connecticut. The Northeast is very lucky to have someone who promotes the game as well as Bobby! So let’s come out in big numbers to show our support! Yale Billiards has been around for almost 30 years with just the last few in their new building. They have a full bar with an extensive bar food menu to satisfy all of our needs. There are 16 Gold Crown tables all covered with 860HR Simonis plus a couple of Valley bar boxes for league play. Yale Billiards is also the home of the increasingly popular “The Sharkstream” which allows for live streaming league and tournament pool matches as well as our event. You can access the live stream on Facebook on “The Sharkstream” page or on YouTube by searching Yale Billiards Shark Stream. So come on down to compete or just watch another great tournament. Be sure to take a chance on winning a beautiful, $1,900 custom engraved Joss cue in the cue raffle. Anyone can participate and you do not have to be present to win! We will draw for the cue just prior to the finals of the main event. For more information about visit them at or call them at 203-294-9591

If you will be in need of motel accommodations, please call the room at 203-294-9591

This event at Yale Billiards will consist of a $1500 added Saturday and Sunday Main Event (entry Fee $120 for pro level or $70 for non pro level plus applicable tour fees) and a $500 added second chance event on Sunday ($20 Entry Fee) for those non pro players eliminated from the main event on Saturday. All of our billiard parlor main events are now races to 9 on the winners side and races to 7 on the one loss side.

For those of you coming to play, please arrive on Saturday September 24, BEFORE 11:00 AM, and in proper dress please. Jeans and sneakers are permitted in our billiard parlor events. But please, No T-shirts, No tanks, No shorts or sweats. Complete tour info can be found on our site

Please remember to spread the word to frequent your local billiard parlors and utilize the world class products of our most generous sponsors. They are the backbone of our sport and deserve our support more than ever!!

Thanks, and I hope to see you all at Yale Billiards.

Mike Zuglan

The Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour Is Proudly Sponsored By;

Joss Cues –
Turning Stone Resort Casino – 
Simonis Cloth – – –
Aramith –
Billiards Press –
World Class Cue Care –

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Savoie, Zieminski and Cullen run out of time and split top prizes on NE 9-Ball Series

(l to r): Kevin Zieminski, Ben Savoie & Ryan Cullen

It’s not difficult enough that pool players have to battle each other, or their own interior mental processes as a tournament advances toward a conclusion. In many cases, involving a variety of factors – number of tables in a room, number of entrants and enforcement of legally established closing times – pool players are in a race against the clock, which sometimes, they lose. On Saturday, February 23, at a stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#14), Ben Savoie, Kevin Zieminski and Ryan Cullen lost their clock race, opted out of the event’s final two matches (semifinals, finals) and split the top three prizes. It was likely most painful for Ryan Cullen, who, at decision time, was in the midst of an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that ended with his quarterfinal victory. Savoie, in the hot seat at the time, was awarded the official event title, with Zieminski, his vanquished hot seat opponent and Cullen’s potential semifinal opponent, in second place. Cullen had to settle for the official third place. The $500-added event drew 69 entrants to Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT.
Savoie’s upper-bracket path to the hot seat went through Ray Buthe, Gene Hunt, Mario Argentino and Bart Rivezzi, before arriving at a winners’ side semifinal match against Tito Montalvo. Zieminski, in the meantime, worked his way through the lower bracket, defeating David Colbeth, Sr., Troy Fortin, Mike Felix and Joanne Corbett to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against Josh Christian. Cullen, following victories over Greg Madar and Sal Midolo, had been sent to the loss side by Montalvo, and would earn his right to a rematch, seven loss-side matches later.
In a straight-up race to 7, Savoie advanced to the hot seat match 7-3 over Montalvo. Ziemenski joined him after winning his straight-up race to 5 against Christian, double hill. Savoie claimed the hot seat, winning what proved to be his last match 6-1.
On the loss side, Cullen eliminated Frank Celedita, Darron Jevens and picked up a forfeit win over Mario Argentino, before downing Frank Porto and moving into the first money round, where he defeated Bobby Hilton 6-1 and Tom D’Alfonso, double hill (5-6; D’Alfonso racing to 7). This earned him his re-match against Montalvo. Christian drew Joanne Corbett, who’d eliminated Anthony Petruzelli 4-2 and in a straight-up race to 4, shut out John Kirwan to reach him.
Cullen downed Montalvo 7-3 and moved into his last match, the quarterfinals, against Christian, who’d given Corbett a taste of her own ‘shutout’ medicine, by eliminating her 4-0. Cullen gave up only a single rack to Christian in those quarterfinals, and for all concerned, the night was over. Savoie was the official winner, Zieminski was the runner-up and Cullen would never know whether he could have won the two more necessary to give him the title.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Yale Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Bourgeois Farms and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#15), scheduled for Saturday, March 9, will be the $500-added Joe Brown Memorial Tournament, hosted by Buster’s Billiards in Somersworth, NH.
Dionne has also notified potential competitors that following the event at Buster’s Billiards, the New England 9-Ball Series will host its $1,000-added Players Championships, scheduled for the week after the event at Buster’s Billiards, on the weekend of March 16-17. Pre-registration is recommended for the event, which will be hosted back at Yale Billiards, and restricted to 128 players. There will be an additional $250-added 10-Ball event, scheduled for Sunday, March 17 (maximum Fargo Rate of 675, races to 5), which will be limited to 32 players.

Burnham comes from the loss side, double dips Fracasso-Verner to win NE 9-Ball Series

Derrick Burnham, Lukas Fracasso-Verner & Steve Romann

As the upper and lower brackets, detailing the progress of Stop #23 on the NE 9-Ball Series, began to join near the end of the tour stop on Saturday, April 21, Derrick Burnham got edged out of the winners’ side of the upper bracket by Bobby Hilton. He moved to the loss side, won five straight to get into the finals against former junior champion Lukas Fracasso-Verner, and double-dipped him to claim the event title. The $500-added event drew 46 entrants to Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT.

Following his victory over Burnham, Hilton drew Fracasso-Verner in one of the (overall) winners’ side semifinals, while Steve Romann and Kelly Hodder met up in the other one. Fracasso-Verner moved into the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Hilton and was joined by Romann, who’d sent Hodder to the loss side 6-2. Fracasso-Verner claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Romann and waited for Burnham to complete his loss-side run.
Burnham opened his loss-side campaign with a double hill win over Sal Midolo, and followed it with a shutout over Ryan Urso, to draw a re-match against Hilton. Hodder picked up Shiek Ahmed, who’d won two straight double hill battles, against Phil Medeiros and Mike Marzik, to reach him.
Burnham allowed Hilton only a single rack in their re-match, as Hodder was busy downing Ahmed 5-4 (Ahmed racing to 6). Burnham then gave up only single racks to both Hodder in the quarterfinals (8-1) and Romann in the semifinals (7-1) to finish his loss side run with an aggregate score of 33-7 (his earlier three-match run on the winners’ side featured an aggregate score of 17-8).
In the double elimination final that followed, Burnham gave up more racks in two matches than he’d given up to either his winners’ side or loss-side opponents, combined, over eight matches. But with Fracasso-Verner racing to 7, Burnham won two straight matches, double hill (6-6) to claim the event title.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Yale Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q Ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series tour, (#24) scheduled for Saturday, April 28, will be hosted by Maxamillian’s Billiards in Tyngsboro, MA.

Dechaine, from the loss side, and Fracasso-Verner split NE 9-Ball Players’ Championships

(l to r): Anthony Petruzelli, Mike Dechaine & Lukas Fracasso-Verner

In the end, it was a battle of generations. Though Mike Dechaine hasn’t got enough years on his resume to be considered a member of any ‘older’ generation (in the vein of Earl Strickland, Nick Varner, or Shannon Daulton, as examples), he has certainly earned the title of veteran player. At 16, Lukas Fracasso-Verner is still young enough to be considered a ‘Junior,’ although he’s been competing against fellow juniors, veterans and the Pros for over three years now.
The two met in the finals of the $2,000-added New England 9-Ball Series Players’ Championships. Held on the weekend of March 17-18, the event drew 56 entrants to Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT. To the surprise of many, although not, apparently, to Dechaine himself, Mike lost his opening match to Lance Lisciotti. This launched a 10-match, loss-side winning streak for Dechaine that allowed him to challenge Fracasso-Verner in the finals. Dechaine took the opening set of the true double elimination final, before he (with a three-hour drive ahead of him) and Fracasso-Verner (more or less in his own backyard), both at that stage with a single loss, opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes.
Dechaine’s opening round loss was a 5-6 victory for Lisciotti (as a Pro player, Dechaine was racing to 10). Asked if the loss came as a bit of surprise to him, Dechaine said that it hadn’t.
“No,” he said. “Lisciotti is capable of playing well, and he played well.”
Later in the tournament, Dechaine had the opportunity for a re-match, and the results were quite different. It should also be noted that in Dechaine’s 10-match, loss-side run, he won just over 89% of the games he played, with an aggregate score of 110-13.
As Dechaine began work on the loss side, Fracasso-Verner (an A player) and Anthony Petruzelli (C+) were advancing through their respective upper- and lower-bracket fields for a meetup in the hot seat match. Verner won four to meet Ryan Urso (a B Player) in one winners’ side semifinal, while Petruzelli won his four to face fellow C+ player, Jimmy Gonzalez in the other one. Fracasso-Verner and Petruzelli gave up only two racks between them (one each, to Urso and Gonzalez) to move into the hot seat match. Fracasso-Verner was even stingier in the winners’ side final, giving up none at all to sit in the hot seat.
Meanwhile, back at the (loss-side) ranch, Dechaine was mowin’ ‘em down, one by one. Opening loss-side wins of 10-1, 11-1, and 11-3 brought him into the money rounds, where he defeated Bobby Hilton by shutting him out and then, in his re-match against Lisciotti, sent him home 10-2. This set him up to face Urso, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Gonzalez’ first opponent on the loss side was Jack Cooper, who’d shut out Ralph Caton in the first money round, and then survived a double hill fight against Darryl Helm (5-5; Helm, as a C+, racing to 6) to reach Gonzalez.
Dechaine and Cooper handed Urso and Gonzalez their second straight loss. With Urso racing to 4, Dechaine eliminated him 11-1. Cooper gave up only one to Gonzalez in a 5-1 victory (Gonzalez racing to 6). Dechaine took the quarterfinal match 13-1 over Cooper, and completed his loss-side run with a 12-2 victory over Petruzelli in the semifinals.
The final match actually dropped Dechaine’s winning-game percentage down a notch, from its 89.4% after the semifinals to 88% at the end of the first double-elimination set. Dechaine won it 10-2, and then, in consultation with Fracasso-Verner, opted out of trying to make it two in a row.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Yale Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-Ball’s National and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#20), scheduled for the weekend of March 24-25, will be a $500-added, 8-Ball event, to be hosted by Legends Billiards, in Auburn, ME.

Gibbs, Jr. wins second set of final to take Stop # 8 on the New England 9-Ball Series

Bobby Hilton, Paul LaVerdiere and William Gibbs Jr

At the eighth stop on the New England 9-Ball Series, held on Saturday, Sept. 26, Bobby Hilton won three on the loss side and the opening set of a true double elimination final to force a single, deciding match against hot seat occupant, William Gibbs, Jr. Gibbs won that second set to claim title to the $500-added event which had drawn 26 entrants to Town Billiards in Hamden, CT.
The winners' side semifinals in this event pitted two C+ and two B+ players against each other to determine the hot seat opponents. The C+ players, Gibbs, Jr. and Frank O'Malley faced off, while Hilton and Paul Laverdiere, representing the B+ class, met in the other winners' side semifinal. Gibbs, Jr. won his straight-up race to 5, 5-2, while Laverdiere sent Hilton to the loss side in their race to 6, 6-1. Gibbs, Jr. started the hot seat match with three on the wire, and won it 5-5 over Laverdiere, who was racing to 8.
Hilton started his trip back to the finals against Dave Gavrish, who'd gotten by Robert Piersa 6-4 and Chris Gloersen, double hill (8-4) to reach him. O'Malley picked  up Ed Murray, the only D+ player still at work among the event's final 12, who'd eliminated Kajone Ky, double hill (3-6) and Chris Masterson 3-1.
Hilton defeated Gavrish 5-3, and in the quarterfinals, faced Murray, who'd ended O'Malley's day 3-4 (O'Malley racing to 6). Murray took a six-game advantage into those quarterfinals, and almost made it happen. He chalked up two of the three racks he needed against Hilton, but Hilton chalked up the nine he needed to win it.
The semifinal matchup between Hilton and Laverdiere was more competitive than their earlier match in the winners' side semifinal. In their straight-up race to 6, Hilton prevailed 6-4 for a shot at Gibbs, Jr. in the hot seat. 
With Gibbs, Jr. racing to 5, Hilton took the double elimination opener 8-3. Gibbs, though, rallied in the second set, giving up only two racks to Hilton, and claiming the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Town Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-Ball’s National Pool and 3 Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. Stop # 9 on the New England 9-Ball Series, scheduled for December 3-4, will be a $1,500-added event, hosted by Stix and Stones in Abington, MA.