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Ahmed goes undefeated to capture first regional title on NE 9-Ball Series

(l to r): Phil Walton, Brian Tierney & Shiekh Ahmed

Three of the four matches that Shiekh Ahmed played to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal during the 4th stop on the New England 9-Ball Series on the weekend of October 19-20, went double hill. Working from the event’s lower (Fargo Rate) bracket, in straight-up races to 5, he gave up four racks to all but one opponent. He was sent to the loss side in the winners’ side semifinal match, won three on that side of the bracket and then, double-dipped hot seat occupant Brian Tierney to claim his first recorded event title. The $500-added event drew 42 entrants to Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT.
Looking for your first regional title, getting locked up in two straight double hill fights right out of the gate can’t be encouraging. Ahmed survived his opener against Mark Menillo and his second match against John Porto, before he caught a bit of break and was able to down Sarah Archer 5-2. He was right back in the soup for the winners’ side quarterfinal, where once again, he had to play a single, deciding game. He won that game versus Mike Zingarella and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Phil Walton.
Meanwhile, in the upper bracket neighborhood, Brian Tierney, following a bye, was working his way toward the hot seat with victories over Dennis Brewer 6-4, Ryan Cullen 4-4 (Cullen racing to 7) and Tom D’Alfonso 4-5 (D’Alfonso racing to 8) to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Brett Cavazos.
Tierney sent Cavazos to the loss side, double hill (6-5) and in the hot seat match faced Walton, who’d sent Ahmed over 4-3 (Ahmed racing to 5). Tierney claimed the hot seat 7-1 over Walton and waited on the return of Ahmed.
Ahmed moved over and picked up Kevin Brule, who was in the midst of a roller-coaster, five-match, loss-side winning streak, in which he’d shut out two opponents (Liana Pitre and Mike Zingarella), gave up a single rack to two more (Aundria Reynolds and Mark Menillo) and survived a double hill match against a fifth (Justin Bertrand). Brett Cavazos picked up Lukas Fracasso-Verner, who was working on a six-match, loss-side streak that had most recently eliminated Frank Porto 6-1 and shut out Tom D’Alfonso.
Ahmed advanced to the quarterfinals by recording his fourth double hill win, over Brule. He was joined by Fracasso-Verner, who won his seventh loss-side match 6-2 over Cavazos (racing to 4).
With Fracasso-Verner racing to 7, Ahmed advanced 4-7 to his semifinal rematch against Walton. With Walton racing to 4, Ahmed earned his shot at Tierney in the hot seat with a 5-2 semifinal victory.
With Tierney racing to 6 in the first set, Ahmed won it 5-4. The second set, technically a loss-side match, featured a different dynamic, as the two squared off in a straight-up race to 5. Ahmed took that match 5-2 to claim his first event title.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Yale Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell with Lease Fundings, Master Billiards and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#5), scheduled for Saturday, October 26, will be a $500-added event, hosted by Legends Billiards in Lewiston, ME.

Cavazos and Oldham split top prizes on NE 9-Ball Series’ Dave Marcus Memorial

(l to r): Brett Chansky, Brett Cavazos & Buddy Oldham

What a difference a week can make. At the New England 9-Ball Series’ 2019-2020 season opener last week (Sept. 22), Tyler Boudreau chalked up his third 2019 victory on the tour, meeting and defeating in the event finals, Buddy Oldham, who’d won nine on the loss side for the right to face him.  Boudreau and Oldham were back this past Saturday (Sept. 28) for the second stop on the ’19-’20 tour; Boudreau looking to chalk up his fourth win, and Oldham still looking for his first major win. Boudreau went two and out, while for the second week in a row, Oldham settled for a runner-up finish. Both were defeated by Brett Cavazos, who went undefeated at the $500-added, Dave Marcus Memorial Tournament that drew 43 entrants to Buster’s Billiards in Somersworth, NH.
Boudreau was awarded an opening round bye and then lost his first match to Cavazos. Separated by only six Fargo Rate points (Boudreau, 550 & Cavazos, 544) they played a straight-up race to 6, which sent Boudreau to the loss side 6-3, where he lost his first match. Demonstrating that it wasn’t a fluke, Cavazos advanced to shut out Yenik Nazarian and then, in another straight-up race to 6, defeat last week’s third-place finisher Mourad Idrais 6-4. This moved Cavazos into a winners’ side semifinal match against Brett Chansky. Oldham, in the meantime, apparently not enamored of the extra matches needed to be played with an early loss, downed Dana Hussey, Greg Andrecyk, survived a double hill fight against Aundria Reynolds and defeated Phil Walton to draw Kyle King in the other winners’ side semifinal (King had been the only opponent he’d defeated on the winners’ side of the bracket in last week’s event).
Cavazos sent Chansky to the loss side 6-2. Oldham joined him in the hot seat match after shutting out King. Cavazos claimed the hot seat 6-3 (Oldham racing to 5).
On the loss side, Chansky picked up Idrais, who, after his defeat at the hands of Cavazos in a winners’ side quarterfinal, downed Tony Albair 5-2 and shut out TJ Marshall. King drew Phil Walton, who followed his defeat at the hands of Oldham with victories over Richard Comeau 4-1 and Jamie Dube in a shutout.
Chansky advanced to the quarterfinals with a double hill win over Idrais. King joined him when Walton forfeited. Chansky and King battled to double hill before Chansky closed it out to face Oldham in the semifinals.
Oldham started the semifinal with two on the wire in a race to 6. He and Chansky both chalked up four racks, but the handicap advantage advanced Oldham to the finals. Cavazos and Oldham opted out of those finals and split the top two prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Cavazos went on record as the official winner of the Dave Marcus Memorial Tournament.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Buster’s Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, USAPL New England, BCA Pool League, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell with Lease Fundings, Master Billiards and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America.  The next stop on the NE 9-Ball Series (#3), scheduled for the weekend of October 12-13, will be the $2,000-added Bangor Bash, to be hosted by Rack City in Bangor, ME. Pre-registration is required for this event, with a deadline of 5 p.m. on Friday, October 11.