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“Kwikfire” goes undefeated to win second straight WPBA title

Kelly Fisher

Fresh off her undefeated win two weeks ago at the WPBA’s Northern Lights Classic in Minnesota, where she faced Allison Fisher for the first time in a final match since 2016, Kelly Fisher came to the CSI/Predator US Pro Billiard Series’ Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, held this past weekend (March 31-April 3) and went undefeated a second time to capture her second straight WPBA title. Though Allison Fisher was, once again, ‘in the house,’ the two did not meet up at this latest event. Allison was eliminated in the opening round of the single-elimination final phase to which they’d both advanced. The event drew 64 entrants to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The event was divided into two phases; an opening, 64-entrant, double-elimination Phase 1, followed by a 16-entrant, single-elimination Phase 2 that eventually crowned Kelly as the champion. The format was best-two-out-of-three races to 4. If the competitors were tied after two matches, a “spot shootout’ followed to determine the winner.

Kelly, who was in a 16-player, Phase 1 bracket that included eventual runner-up, Brittany Bryant, advanced to be among the eight winners’ side entrants in Phase 2 without having to play a third match. She played a total of 27 games against three opponents in Phase 1 and gave up only three of them, downing Sarah Kapeller (4-0, 4-1), Ashley Burrows (4-0, 4-0) and Cathy Metzinger (4-1, 4-1). To join Kelly in advancement to Phase 2, Bryant, in the meantime, had to play 44 games and lost 18 of them. She got by Anna Riegler and junior competitor Savannah Easton, both 4-2, 4-2, before facing Jennifer Baretta, who won the opening set 2-4. Bryant came back to win the second set and the “spot shootout,” both double hill.

Angela Ticoalu got by Jeannie Seaver, Nicole Keeney and Woojin Lee with an aggregate score of 24-15 to qualify for Phase 2, as did Susan Williams from the same 16-entrant section of the opening bracket. Williams sent June Maiers, Vang Bui Xuan and Joanne Ashton to the loss side to join Ticoalu in the winners’ side advancement to Phase 2.

Allison Fisher chalked up an even more impressive Phase 1 than Kelly had. She, too, advanced to Phase 2 without having to play a third match against any of her three opponents, downing Susan Wilbur, Veronique Menard and Naomi Williams and giving up only two racks (to Menard, in their second race-to-4). Kyoko Sone joined Allison in advancement to Phase 2 from the same 16-entrant section of the opening bracket, downing Sandy Badger, 13-year-old junior competitor Sofia Mast and Amalia Matas Heredia.

Rounding out the field of eight winners’ side competitors to advance to Phase 2 were Jasmin Ouschan and Line Kjorsvik. Ouschan got by two of her opponents without having to play a “spot shootout” third match, downing Tamami Okuda 4-2, 4-1 and Beth Fondell 4-1, 4-2, before splitting her first two against Mary Tam 1-4, 4-3. Ouschan won the shootout 3-2 to advance. Kjorsvik did not play a third, tie-breaking “spot shootout” against any of her first three opponents either, joining Ouschan in advancement after defeating Gigi Callejas (4-1, 4-2), Camille Campbell (4-2, 4-0) and Melissa Helland (4-0, 4-1).

After five losers’ side rounds, Kaylee McIntosh, Woojin Lee, Angela Janic, Heather Cortez, Melissa Helland, Mary Tam, Amalia Matas Heredia and Ashley Burrows joined the eight winners’ side competitors in advancement to Phase 2, which in some ways, was notable for those left behind as much as for those who advanced. Among those who failed to make the cut were long-time WPBA veterans (in no particular order) Stephanie Mitchell, Teruko Cucculelli, Monica Webb, Jeannie Seaver, Liz Cole, Kim Newsome, Emily Duddy, Dawn Hopkins, Loree Jon Brown, Janet Atwell and Caroline Pao. It should also be noted that while both 13-year-old junior competitors, Sofia Mast and Skylar Hess, failed to advance, one (Mast) fell to an opponent (Angela Janic) who was among the final 16 and the other (Hess) was eliminated by someone (Cucculelli) who arguably should have been. It was the first appearance for these two extraordinarily talented and professionally-composed young women and WPBA competitors should be on notice that these two will be back and barring any unforeseen life changes, for many years to come.

The Final Four in this event competed in plenty of time for those so inclined to turn their attention to the NCAA Final Four, which got started well after the four ladies in Vegas got underway at about 2 p.m. on Saturday. It was an International Final Four, which was absent representation from the United States.  Kelly Fisher, representing the UK was matched up against Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan. Spain’s Amalia Matas Heredia, who, in February, chalked up her first win on the European Ladies’ Tour, faced Canada’s Brittany Bryant.

Kelly Fisher had kept her no-third-match streak going through the opening round against Heather Cortez, whom she defeated 4-1, 4-0 before drawing Angeline Ticoalu, who took the opening set against Fisher 4-2. Fisher came back to win the second set 4-1 and then, in something of a nail-biter, the “spot shootout” 6-5. Ouschan, who got by Kaylee McIntosh 4-0, 4-1 in the opening round of Phase 2 had her own nail-biter in the second round, where she won two straight double hill fights against Kyoko Sone to draw Kelly.

Advancing to the other semifinal, Bryant had played 24 games against two opponents, eliminating Woojin Lee 4-2, 4-1 and then Ashley Burrows 4-2, 4-3 to advance. Heredia proved to be Allison Fisher’s downfall in the opening round of Phase 2. Fisher took the opening set, double hill, but Heredia came back to win the second set and the “shootout,” double hill. Heredia went on to down Mary Tam 4-1, 4-3 to pick up Bryant.

Kelly Fisher downed Ouschan 4-2, 4-1 in their semifinal matchup. She was joined in the finals by Bryant, who’d defeated Heredia 4-2, 2-4 and 4-2 in the “shootout.” 

It’s not hard to imagine Fisher’s “I’ve got this,” and Bryant’s “Uh, oh, trouble right here in Sin City” when Fisher shut Bryant out in the opening set of the final. It’s also not hard to imagine the spectator’s rooting for Bryant in the second set when she and Kelly finished the 6th game, tied at 3 apiece. Fisher, though, completed her undefeated run by winning the second set to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, as well as sponsors and partners the WPBA, Alfa Coin, CueSports International, Predator Group, Kamui, Seybert’s, Medalla Light, Rums of Puerto Rico, BCA Pool League and the USA Pool League.

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Kelly Fisher goes undefeated, Allison Fisher is runner-up at WPBA Northern Lights Classic

Allison Fisher and Kelly Fisher (Photo courtesy WPBA)

There are any number of back stories to the $20,000-added, WPBA Northern Lights Classic, held this past weekend (March 16-20) that offer a striking ‘snapshot’ of the WPBA’s past, present and future. Encompassing all three of those time periods, at the event to which 64 entrants were invited to the Northern Lights Casino Hotel and Event Center in Walker, MN, were the competitors who squared off in the event finals; the Fishers, Kelly and Allison, who’ve played so many matches against each other over the years, that they have no idea how many times it has actually happened. 

The last time they faced each other in an event final was a little hazy to them, as well. Two days after the Northern Classic, from Allison’s home in Charlotte, NC, they pondered the question together over coffee. Kelly came up with a possibility, and after a moment or two of mutual reflection, they both settled on 2016 as the last time they’d met in a final. At that event – the 19th Annual International Women’s Tournament of Champions, held in September at the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City – Kelly started both sets of the races-to-four finals, up 2-0, but Allison came back to win four straight, twice, and claimed the title.

“We’ve played against each other since then,” said Allison, “and the last time was pre-COVID, of course, but I think that was the last time we were in a final together.”

Kelly had won the WPBA’s Sondheim Kiwanis Invitational Tournament last year, while it had been just weeks over three years since Allison had last appeared in a WPBA event, which, as it turned out, was the last time they’d faced each other in a match that wasn’t a final. It was the 2019 WPBA Masters Tournament, held in September at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Michigan. Kelly had been sent to the loss side of the event in the second round by the eventual winner (Siming Chen) and went on a nine-match, loss-side run that would propel her to the finals. Six matches into that loss-side run, Kelly ran into Allison, who’d been sent to the loss side by Kristina Tkach in a winners’ side semifinal. Kelly advanced and was eventually defeated by Chen in the finals.

Noting something of a protracted absence away from a more regular schedule of WPBA events, together, they made note of the fact that it was good to gather with their mutual WPBA friends and acquaintances, old and new. 

“The WPBA competition is back on schedule and it was great to see a lot of the old faces, and some new faces, some youngsters, too,” said Kelly, “and the future is bright.”

“I think it’s wonderful that we had juniors at this event, especially by WPBA invitation,” said Allison. “It’s nice for us to see them, because they represent well, they look good, they’re playing great. . . 

“Professional,” Kelly interjected.

“Yes, they’re very professional,” Allison said, “and I think that’s the move, anyway. To invite more younger players as much as we can.”

It should be noted before moving on to the event itself, that in addition to its junior contingent which included 12-year-old Savannah Easton, it also featured 84-year-old Jeri Engh, making the demographic representation at this WPBA event, span almost four generations of the WPBA’s ongoing history.

Appearing in the same half of the upper bracket, the Fishers meet in the only two places possible 

They knew from the start, that they were not going to play in the hot seat match. Positioned in the upper half of the 64-entrant bracket, it put the Fishers in a possible first match against each other in the winners’ side semifinals. The second possibility was in the finals and both were exactly what happened.

Kelly Fisher got by Kelly Isaac (forfeit), Bonnie Arnold 8-4 and Dawn Hopkins 8-1 to reach Allison Fisher. Allison Fisher shut out Peg Haggerty and Catherine Tschumper before downing Kim Newsome 8-3 and Monica Webb 8-6, to draw Kelly. From the lower half of the bracket, Joann Mason Parker, who, prior to winning a stop on the Garden State Pool Tour, a 3rd place finish on the Tri-State Tour and cashing in three events of a New Jersey-based Women’s Invitational event last year, had not won or even cashed in a tournament in over a decade, sent LoreeJon Brown, Cathy Metzinger, Janet Atwell (double hill) and Brittany Bryant to the loss side, drawing Jennifer Baretta in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kelly sent Allison to the loss side 8-6, as Baretta and Parker locked up in a double fight that eventually sent Parker to the loss side. Kelly claimed the hot seat 8-4 over Baretta and waited for Round 2 of Fisher v. Fisher.

On the loss side, Allison picked up Bryant, who’d followed her loss to Parker with a victory over Sara Miller 8-5 and survived a double hill battle against Ashley Burrows. Parker drew Monica Webb, who’d followed her loss to Allison Fisher in a winners’ side quarterfinal with victories over Sarah Rousey 8-2 and Angela Janic 8-4.

Parker’s somewhat improbable run was ended by Webb 8-5. Allison advanced to the quarterfinals after eliminating Bryant 8-5. Fisher leap-frogged over the quarterfinals on a Webb forfeit and then, defeated Baretta 8-5 for a second shot at Kelly, waiting for her in the hot seat.

In a race to 10, the two Fishers came within of game of forcing a 19th deciding game, but Kelly pulled out in front to claim the WPBA’s Northern Classic title 10-8.

“She’s at the top of her game,” said Allison of Kelly. “She’s always improving, rarely misses a shot. She’s a tough opponent and you have to be in top form to play her.”

“All the stuff she’s been doing in the past year is showing up in her game,” she added. “We’re good friends, so she’s helped me out with my game, too. It’s always fun playing her.”

“Both matches we played were really good, high standard, great quality matches,” said Kelly, “and the final was very, very exciting for spectators, I’d say; a high standard match.”

“Allison’s thoughts of retiring are going to have to go out the window,” she added. “She’s playing too good for that, to be honest. She’s playing great.”

Kelly will be headed for Las Vegas to be competing in both the WPA 10-Ball World Championships (March 28-April 1) and the WPBA Predator Event (March 31-April 3), both being held at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino. Allison will follow to participate in the later of those two events. 

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Fisher goes undefeated for the second time in a month, winning WPBA Ho-Chunk Classic

Ga Young Kim and Allison Fisher (Photo courtesy of the WPBA)

Fresh off her August 16-19 victory at the NAPT Summer 10-Ball Classic, Allison Fisher proved once again that age is just a number, and a fairly insignificant one at that. On the long weekend of September 13-16, Fisher joined what turned out to be 63 WPBA entrants in a multi-stage/bracket format at the Ho-Chunk Casino in Wisconsin Dells, WI and went undefeated through that field to capture her second title in a month. Fisher had to get by Korea’s Ga-Young Kim twice to claim that title.
 
The multi-stage format of this event created preliminary, 32-entrant rounds of play for 64 invited and seeded players, based on current WPBA standings going into the event. The lower-ranked invitees faced off against each other on Thursday, Sept. 13, in a standard 32-player bracket. Sixteen players, eight on each side of the bracket, emerged and advanced to play against a group of 16 players already selected to compete on Friday. When that Friday bracket came down to a final 16, those 16 advanced to compete against the WPBA’s top 16 players on Saturday (chosen from among the invitees who were able to attend). It was in this third, Saturday bracket that Fisher began her quest for the title.
 
On Thursday in races to 7, Kaylin Wikoff, Caroline Pao, Tonya Wiser, Naomi Williams, Kristie Bacon, Cathy Metzinger, Jia Li, and Jenna Bishoff won two matches each to advance to Friday’s bracket. In her second match, Jia Li downed LoreeJon Hasson 7-5 to get into that winners’ side final eight. Metzinger was among the final eight as the result (in part) of a forfeit by Jeannette Lee in her opening round of play. Lee came back through two rounds of loss-side play to become one of the 16 that advanced to Friday. Hasson won her only match on the loss side of the Thursday bracket and advanced, as well, along with Maria Juana, Lisa Cossette, Susan Wilbur, Sonya Chbeeb, Bonnie Arnold and Stephanie Mitchell.
 
On Friday in races to 8, Pao, Metzinger, and Arnold made it through their second day, winning two matches each to become one of the winners’ side final eight advancing to Saturday. Joining the event for the first time and winning their first two were Maureen Seto, Siming Chen, We Tzu Chien, April Larson and Kia Sidbury. Sidbury was originally scheduled to start on Thursday but a no-show for the tournament led to the 63-entrant field and an opening on Friday, into which she slipped. On the loss side of Friday’s bracket, Juana, Bishoff, Williams, Li, and Jeannette Lee advanced to their third day of competition. Lee had been defeated by April Larson, double hill, in Friday’s opening round and won two to join everybody on Saturday. Also winning two on the loss side and advancing to Saturday were Janet Atwell (defeated by Pao, double hill, in Friday’s opening round), Sara Miller and Robin Parker.
 
On Saturday in races to 8, Fisher said ‘hello’ to everybody and opened with an 8-1 victory over Juana, before running into Jeannette Lee (first of a series of classic women matchups during the day). Lee had defeated Kim Newsome 8-5 to start her day. Fisher defeated Lee 8-4 and then picked up the Texas Tornado, Vivian Villareal, who’d defeated Jennifer Barretta 8-2 in the previous round. An 8-2 win over Villareal sent Fisher to a winners’ side semifinal against Siming Chen, who’d defeated Line Kjorsivik 8-4 and Caroline Pao 8-3 to reach her. Melissa Little and Ga Young Kim squared off in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Fisher defeated Chen 8-2 and arrived at the hot seat match with an aggregate score of 32-9 (78%). Kim sent Little to the loss side 8-2, as well, and she came to the hot seat with an aggregate score of 32-14 (69%). Allison claimed the hot seat 8-3 over Kim and waited on her return from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Chen picked up Barretta, who was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had included victories over Jeannette Lee (8-5), Jia Li (8-4) and Brittany Bryant 8-5. Little drew The Grinder, teenager April Larson, who’d been defeated by Jia Li on the winners’ side of the final bracket, and was in the midst of a six-match winning streak that would take her as far as the semifinals. Larson had most recently eliminated Vivian Villareal and Caroline Pao, both 8-3.
 
Larson advanced to the quarterfinals with an 8-5 win over Little, and was joined by Chen, who’d defeated Barretta 8-2. Larson took the quarterfinal match over Siming Chen 8-5.
 
Larson’s remarkable run ended in the semifinals, when Kim defeated her 8-5. Kim’s second shot against Fisher, waiting for her in the hot seat, was a tightly contested, double hill battle. Fisher closed it out to claim the WPBA’s 2018 Ho-Chunk Classic.

The Texas Tornado goes undefeated to win the 3rd Annual Ashton Twins Classic

With its two previous winners ‘in the house’ – Brittany Bryant and April Larson – the 3rd Annual Ashton Twins Classic got underway on June 14, at 6 p.m. in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Though Bryant would get two chances, hot seat and finals, to win her second Ashton Twins Classic, the attempts were disrupted by a Texas Tornado known as Vivian Villareal, who went undefeated to claim the event title. Defending champion, April Larson, was sent to the loss side in the third round by Line Kjorsvik in a live-streamed match on Saturday and was eliminated in a double hill, loss-side match by Liz Cole to finish in the tie for 9th place. Emily Duddy, who was third in the inaugural event and battled Larson in the finals for the title last year, defeated one of the Ashton twins (Beverly) in a second-round match, and then, after being sent to the loss side by Cathy Metzinger, was defeated in her second loss-side match by the second Ashton twin, Joanne. The $8,000-added event drew 46 entrants to The Hidden Spot in Calgary.
 
After being awarded an opening round bye, Villareal got by her first three opponents by an aggregate score of 27-4, giving up two racks to Leandrea Gaff, and one each to Claire Pipestem and Valerie Franiel, which set her (Villareal) up to face Monica Webb in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Bryant, in the meantime, who was not awarded an opening round bye, worked her way to the other winners’ side semifinal with an aggregate score of 36-17, sending Elizabeth Jensen (1), Aryana Lynch (5), Sandy Badger (4) and Line Kjorsvik (7) to the loss side and turning to face Cathy Metzinger in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Monica Webb put up a fight against the Tornado, chalking up more racks against her in the winners’ side semifinal than all of Villareal’s previous opponents combined. Villareal, though, advanced to the hot seat match 9-5, and faced Bryant, who’d sent Metzinger west 9-1. Bryant proved to be Villareal’s second strong challenge in a row. She chalked up seven against her, but once again, Villareal advanced, sitting in the hot seat, waiting for what turned out to be Bryant’s return.
 
On the loss side, Webb picked up Teruko Cucculelli, who, after a defeat by Metzinger in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had downed Bonnie Plowman 9-3 and eliminated Kjorsvik 9-6. Metzinger drew Joanne Ashton, who, after eliminating Emily Duddy 9-6, had also eliminated Franiel 9-5 and Liz Cole 9-7 (Cole had just eliminated Larson).
 
Webb ended Cucculelli’s loss-side run 9-3, and in the quarterfinals, faced Metzinger, who’d eliminated the last-standing Ashton twin 9-2. Metzinger and Webb locked up in a double hill, quarterfinal battle that eventually advanced Metzinger to the semifinals against Bryant.
 
Bryant, apparently very determined to get a second shot at Villareal, allowed Metzinger only two racks in those semifinals. In what proved to be a nail-biting, extended-race-to-13 final, Bryant got out in front early, staking herself to a 5-1 lead, which by rack #13 had been extended to a 9-4 lead and then, quickly, an 11-6 lead.
 
Over the next 40 minutes of the match, Villareal had cut that lead down to a single game. She capped the four-game run by attempting an 8-9 combination which initially failed, only to have the 8-ball continue to travel and drop into a side pocket, leaving Villareal with a straight-on shot at the 9-ball in the opposite side pocket. It was 11-10, with Villareal breaking.
 
Bryant stopped the bleeding to reach the hill first at 12-10, but the Texas Tornado, which had been lurking on the horizon through much of the match, started to pick up some speed. She won game #23 and when Bryant missed a tough shot on the 7-ball in rack #24, Villareal jumped on it and won the rack to force a single deciding game.
 
Bryant broke the last rack, sunk a ball and had a clean, albeit bridge-necessary shot at the 1-ball. She dropped the 1-ball in a lower corner pocket, but as she drew back from the shot, her right wrist nudged the 9-ball forward, out of its original position by about an inch. Tournament officials took a minute or two to sort that out to Villareal’s satisfaction, as Bryant contemplated the difficult shot she’d left herself on the 2-ball. She made the 2-ball, but on a much easier shot, rattled the 3-ball in a corner pocket.
 
Villareal pocketed the 3-ball and played safe, leaving Bryant with a potential jump shot to make the 4-ball. She opted for a kick off the long rail, putting the 4-ball back up-table on a short rail with the cue at the opposite end of the table, leaving Villareal a long, sharp cut shot. A subsequent missed bank shot by Bryant left Villareal with a long-rail cut shot at the 4-ball, which she made, and proceeded to drop the next four balls, including the 9-ball to claim the 3rd Ashton Twins Classic title. 
 

Edmonton hangs on to win first Alberta Cup trophy

Team Edmonton

Modeled after the Mosconi Cup ("with a twist," according to organizers), Cue Sports Live (CSL) held its first Alberta Cup, on the weekend of June 16-18. The 10-ball event pitted two of that Canadian province's cities against each other in teams of seven players each, drawn from six months of qualifiers. The cities of Edmonton and Calgary were represented by teams consisting of five men and two women, selected by slightly different processes. This 1st Annual Alberta Cup, was hosted by The Hidden Spot in Calgary, and saw the city of Edmonton claim the first title 15-13 over the city of Calgary.
 
Edmonton sported a team made up of seven players, which included their captain Garry Hauck. Eight qualifiers were held from which four males (Hauck, Rob Phillips, Carlos Barbosa, and Roger Colbert) and one female (Sandy Badger) were chosen. Hauck selected one more male (Brian Butler) and one more female (Cathy Metzinger). Calgary did things just a little differently, ending up with a team of seven players and a non-playing captain, Barry Hooey, who was chosen before the qualifying players had been identified. As with Edmonton, the qualifiers produced four males (Jason Onespot, Eric Vargas, Ben Francis, and Albert Augustin) and a female (Joanne Ashton), after which Hooey added one male (Joe Spence) and one female (Bev Ashton)
 
Edmonton got on the board first in Day One by winning the team match 8-1 (the only match that went to 8; all others were races to 5). Alternating between scotch doubles and singles, Edmonton took the next four, as well, and were up 5-0, having won 21 of the 32 games played. With one match to play on this opening day, a singles match, Calgary was, psychologically at least, in something of a must-win situation. Calgary's captain, Hauck, chose his personal pick for the team, Joe Spence, who stepped up to the challenge and downed Edmonton's Carlos Barbosa 5-1, which was also the score of the day's matches with Edmonton on top.
 
Calgary had some work to do on Day Two and they started off on the right foot, winning three straight double hill matches. Calgary's Joanne Ashton then downed Edmonton's Cathy Metzinger 5-2 to knot the teams at 5-5.
 
Edmonton wasted no time getting back into the swing of things, as Day Two progressed. Edmonton Captain Garry Hauck and his scotch doubles partner Rob Phillips defeated Calgary’s Ben Francis and Jason Onespot 5-2 to retake the team lead at 6-5. Edmonton went on to win five more, including a shutout by Edmonton’s scotch doubles team of Brian Butler and Sandy Badger over Calgary’s Erik Vargas and Joanne Ashton. Each team chalked up one more win to complete the Alberta Cup's second day, which ended with Edmonton up 12-6; three more matches away from victory.
 
  
As they'd done the day before, Calgary came to the tables on the final day (featuring all singles matches), looking to make up lost ground, and promptly chalked up four games to cut Edmonton's lead to 12-10. Calgary's Joanne Ashton, hoping to get her team within one, was on the hill in game #7 in this match (4-3) against Edmonton's Cathy Metzinger, when she (Ashton) scratched, shooting at the 9-ball. Metzinger closed out the game, putting the two of them at double hill (4-4).  Metzinger broke dry and with eight of the 10 balls in holes, Ashton found herself looking at an almost identical layout from the one she'd faced in the previous game.
 
"Well, this shot looks familiar," Ashton called out, as she took aim at the 9-ball. For the second game in a row, Ashton scratched shooting at the 9-ball, but this time, it cost her not only the game, but the match. It was Edmonton's first win of the final day and gave them the momentum shift they'd been looking for. 
 
Calgary chalked up match #24 to draw them back to within two at 13-11. Edmonton's Carlos Barbosa got to the hill first in game six (4-2) of match #25, but in game seven, missed a tough cut to give Calgary's Jason Onespot the break he needed to finish the rack and draw within one. Onespot broke and ran to force a deciding game. In that deciding game, Barbosa got to the 8-ball, looking at an easy layout on the 9-10, when he miscued and sunk the 8-ball in the wrong pocket. Onespot sunk the 9-ball, and left himself with perfect shape on the 10-ball. He sunk it to cheers from the Calgary fans in attendance, because the team was within one at 13-12.
 
At 3-3 in match #26, Edmonton's Rob Phillips, playing against Calgary's Erik Vargas, broke and ran to reach the hill first. In game #8, Phillips got as far as the 8-ball, poised to win the game, but scratched. Vargas finished the game, forcing a ninth and deciding game. Phillips promptly broke and ran to win the match, and put Edmonton on the hill at 14-12.
 
With the Alberta Cup on the line, Calgary's captain Brian Hooey put up the team's eventual MVP and his personal team pick, Joe Spence. Edmonton countered with Roger Colbert. Spence won 5-3, and, as the saying goes, the hometown and room Calgary crowd went wild, with their team now a single game away from double hill at 14-13.
 
Match #28 pitted Edmonton Captain Garry Hauck's pick, Brian Butler, against Calgary's Ben Francis. Butler took a quick 3-0 lead, but Francis came right back and chalked up two. Francis broke in game six and ran to the 8-ball, before rattling it in the hole, and allowing Butler to finish the game and reach the hill first at 4-2. Francis fought back in game seven to draw within one at 4-3.
 
Calgary's Francis broke rack #8, and though he sunk the 7-ball, he had no shot at the 1-ball. Francis opted to play safe, looking to take advantage of the three-foul rule to get on the hill with Butler. He reckoned, though, without Butler's experience with the game of snooker. Francis tried twice to put Butler in a foul situation, and not only did Butler foil both attempts, but in the second attempt, he left Francis tough, forcing him to foul. With ball in hand, Butler sunk the 1-ball, and the 2-ball, before lining up and making a 3-10 combination that gave him the match win and his team, the 1st Alberta Cup. The Edmonton team pocketed $4,000 and each team member will have his/her name inscribed on a trophy, which will be held in the winning city until further competition. MVP awards went to Edmonton's Cathy Metzinger, who won four of her five matches, and Brian Butler, who won five out of seven, including the championship match. Calgary's Joe Spence picked up an MVP award, as well, for his five out of seven victories. All three of the MVPs were captain picks for the teams.
Event director Valerie Franiel thanked the owner of the Hidden Spot, Joanne Ashton, for her hospitality during event qualifiers and the actual Albert Cup competition, along with sponsors  Cuejo Custom Cues (Darcy Musurichan), Fuss Cupcakes (Kostas Broumas), Recreation World (Jay MacDougall for the Olhausen balls), Elaine Hicks-Reaper from ReMax, Spruce Grove, Discount Custom Apparels (Tim/Ron), Barry Hooey, David Harding, AZ Billiards (Promotions), E&B Plumbing, ScoreSaloon (Jenny Lucas), Fuze Graphics (Curtis Lea), and Jerry W. Briesath.
The entire event was streamed live, courtesy of CueSportsLive, with commentary by Dave Harding, PJ Massicotte, Jim Wych, and a number of participating members from both teams.
 
According to Franiel, this 1st Annual Alberta Cup featured 213 games, and 33 hours of play, supported by (among other things) endless hours of work by volunteers. There will, she said, be more to come.
 

Larson goes undefeated to capture 2nd Annual Ashton Twins Classic title

April Larson

In discussing the young April Larson, in an interview about her which appeared in Billiards Digest magazine last July, Mark Wilson, captain of the US Mosconi Cup team for three years, made mention of her skills and the likelihood of their development over time.
 
"She's got the tools," he said. "It's just a matter, now, of sharpening them."
 
Since that interview, Larson, a five-time Junior Nationals Champion in two separate divisions (under 13 & 13-17), has gone on to compete at the professional level, chalking up a victory at the North American Pool Tour's (NAPT) Summer 10-Ball Classic last August, and finishing among the top 10 in four other events last year; a stop on the North Central Pool Tour (runner up), the Super Billiards Expo's Women's Championship (5th), the NAPT's Inaugural 10-Ball Invitational (7th) and The Tornado Open (9th).
 
On the weekend of June 10-11, she traveled with her sharpened tools to Calgary, Alberta and went undefeated at the $5,000-added, 2nd Annual Ashton Twins Classic to chalk up her first (recorded) win of 2017. This, in spite of a strong nine-match, loss-side winning streak by her eventual opponent in the finals, Emily Duddy, who'd finished third in the 1st Ashton Twins Classic last year.
 
In races to 9, Larson's seven opponents in this most recent event, which drew 46 entrants to the Hidden Spot in Calgary, were chalking up an average of just under five racks per match against her (4.71, to be exact), but her undefeated run through the field was surgical, none the less. What had to be frightening to her opponents was the casual ease with which she approached every shot, stroke and eventual game victory; no signs of body language hinting at nervousness, silent aggression, or frustration when an unlucky roll or unforced error led to one of those 4.71 racks against her. Just a friendly, business-like attitude that served her well through the 100 games that she played, and the 67 of them that she won to secure the title.  
 
And the recently-turned-17-year-old has yet to graduate from high school.
 
"I have one more year left," she said, "and I can't wait to be out."
 
With plans to join Mark Wilson's program at Lindenwood University, where she will presumably further sharpen her already considerable skills, her future in the sport is bright. And being noted by those who've opposed her, like veteran pro LoreeJon Hasson, who defeated her in a one-on-one Challenge Match at The Break Room's 2nd Annual 8-Ball Classic last weekend. The match went double hill before Hasson won the challenge and then warned potential opponents in Larson's future.
 
"WPBA ladies," said Hasson, after the match, "Watch out! April is the real deal."
 
Following victories over Maria DeWolff, Shaundra Norquay, Kathie MacDonald and Denise Belanger, Larson moved into a winners' side semifinal against the opponent who would end up keeping Larson's racks-against average below 5, Rashiela Dela Cruz. In the meantime, one of the event-namesake Ashton twins (Joanne) advanced to the other winners' side semifinal versus Liz Cole.
 
Dela Cruz chalked up her event-leading seven racks against Larson, but the youngster put up her nine and advanced to the hot seat match. She was joined by Ashton, who'd defeated Cole 9-5.
Larson grabbed the hot seat 9-3 over Ashton and waited for Duddy to complete her loss-side run.
 
On the loss side, it was Dela Cruz who ran into Duddy, six matches into the streak that would put her into the finals against Larson. Duddy had most recently eliminated Theresa Lien 9-2 and Veronique Menard 9-7. Cole drew Cathy Metzinger, who'd defeated Robyn Petrosino 9-1 (Petrosino had sent Duddy to the loss side in the event's second round) and last year's Ashton Classic winner, Brittany Bryant 9-6 to reach her.
 
Duddy advanced to the quarterfinals 9-6 over Dela Cruz, where she was met by Metzinger, who'd eliminated Cole 9-7. Duddy defeated Metzinger 9-3 and then spoiled Joanne Ashton's bid for a second shot at Larson with a 9-7 win in the semifinals.
 
By virtue of her resume, her gutsy loss-side streak and natural inclinations toward self-confidence, Duddy entered the race-to-13 finals prepared to win. She maintained that air of confidence through about 14 of the eventual 18 games, in spite of chalking up only one of the first seven. At 6-1, she chalked up two in a row to cut Larson's lead in half. They traded racks to 7-4, before Larson chalked up three for a 10-4 lead. In the 15th rack, Larson took aim at an easy 9-ball shot and rattled it in the hole. Thanking goodness for small favors, Duddy dropped it to win what would prove to be her last rack.
 
In typical style, Larson shrugged off that single one of her very few unforced errors, and returned to the table for racks 16, 17 and 18. She won them all to complete her undefeated run, and claim the event title.
 
On her way back home, Larson said that underneath her apparent calm exterior throughout the tournament ("Everybody says that," she noted), was a nervous wreck. Friends who gathered around the pool table when the last match was over were surprised that she was shaking, a remnant of nerves, hidden below the surface of her calm exterior.
 
"Oh, for sure," she said. "I was glad it was over."
 
Though she'd faced and defeated Duddy before at her first SBE appearance two years ago, she was under no illusions that a win this time would be guaranteed.
 
"I told some friends of mine before the event started that if I got into a final against either Emily or Joanne (Ashton), it was going to be tough," she said. "I wanted this real bad, and I knew I had to forget who I was playing, and just play the table."
 
And she did, of course. She joined Emily and a few gathered well-wishers in a ceremonial 'shot' just after the match ended; a 'shot,' which given Canada's age restrictions on the consumption of alcohol, and her own preferences, consisted of milk. She tries not to drink anything during a match – no water, or soft drinks – to avoid any need for a bathroom break, but she reportedly welcomed the milk.
 
She'll rest up for a week, and then travel to Des Moines, Iowa to participate in Big Dog Billiards and Diveny Custom Cues' 2017 Midwest Billiards and Cue Expo, scheduled for June 21-25. Though she won't be a part of that event's Bigfoot 10-Ball Challenge, One Pocket Championship or Banks Ring Game, she will sign on to that event's $2,000-added 9-Ball Open, where she'll mix it up with the boys.
           
"I've been able to experience the best of the best women," she said, "so it's all the same to me."
 
Note to Mosconi Cup organizers: It might be time to rethink the male restriction on members of the US team.
 
" I certainly hope so," she said, "because that's what I'd like to do."
 

Defending Champion Allison Fisher Heading to the WPBA US Open Finals

Allison Fisher

TULSA, OK – Results are in for today’s first semi-final matchup between the #1 and #2 seeds in the WPBA US Open 9-Ball Championships taking place this week at the River Spirit Event Center. ESPN cameras rolled as Monica Webb and Allison Fisher, two veteran champions, took the stage.  

Monica took the first point in the race to seven, but Allison quickly answered with two games of her own. Monica won the next three to lead 4-2. In the seventh game, Allison missed a surprising five ball in the corner that put Webb back at the table to extend her lead 5-2.  
 
Allison picked up the next game to trail 5-3, and then another to trail 5-4 when Monica ended up short on a nine ball and missed a cross-side bank. She then broke and ran out to tie the match 5-5, and again to get to the hill, 6-5! 
        
With no shot after the break, Fisher was forced to push out. A safety battle ensued but Fisher got first look at a long, sharp cut on the one. She nailed that, and proceeded to execute a tricky rack to take the win 7-5! Webb finishes tied for third place. 
 
Next up: Gerda Hofstatter plays Jeanette Lee at 3 p.m. to determine who will face Fisher in the finals.     
  
The quarter final, semi final and final matches will be broadcast by ESPN in seven one-hour national shows, airing Saturday, July 14, (Quarterfinals 12-4pm on ESPN2) and Sunday, July 15, (Semifinals/Final 1-4pm on ESPN2).   
 
Fans and media can keep up with ongoing results at http://www.wpba.com/images/stories/brackets/2012_us_open.pdf Refresh the link for the most up-to-date results — scoring updates will take place throughout the day’s play!   
 
Schedule of Events:
Sunday, June 10 at 3 pm and 5 pm
ESPN Semifinal #2 and Final (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)     

It’s all taking place at the River Spirit Event Center, adjacent to the River Spirit Casino at 81st and Riverside in Tulsa.  
Tickets are just $20 on June 9th and 10th!  VIP tickets are available for $25. Visit www.riverspirittulsa.com/entertainment/eventcenter for tickets and more information!  
 
Final Results – 64 Players 
Champion:
__________________
2nd 
__________________
3/4th
__________________
Monica Webb 
5/8th
Helena Thornfeldt, Brittany Bryant, Line Kjorsvik, Mary Rakin
9/12th
Melissa Herndon, Kim Shaw, Jennifer Barretta, Jennifer Chen
13/16th 
Jana Montour, Teruko Cucculelli, Angelina Paglia, Vivian Villarreal
17/24th 
Stacy Novack, Ewa Laurance, Jessica Barnes, Janet Atwell, Sara Miller, Emily Duddy, Brianna Miller, Liz Ford
25/32nd 
Vicki Paski, Belinda Calhoun, Susan Williams, Kim Pierce, Megan Smith, Kim White-Newsome, Cathy Metzinger, Rhonda Pierce
33/48th
Cheryl Pritchard, Carrie Williams, Emilyn Callado, Morgan Steinman, Brittany Colbert, Kelly Cavanaugh, Lisa Just, Joanne Ashton, Eleanor Callado, Melissa Little, Susan Mello, Kathy McMinn, Lori Jones, Erin McManus, Liz Cole, Laura Smith  
49/64th
Suzanne Smith, Michelle McDermott, Kayla Batson, Eugenia Gyftopoulis, Tonya Wiser, Delia Mocanu, Tamre Rogers, Teresa Gifford, Jessica Karacia-Human, Nicole Keeney, Melinda Huang, Stephanie Goens, Shari Ross, Pauline Mattes, Barbara Lee, Tina Hess  

WPBA US Open Final Twenty Four

TULSA, OK – The WPBA US Open 9-Ball Championships at the River Spirit Event Center in Tulsa continued with eight more matches on the one-loss side of the double elimination chart. Winning players are matching up evening session play against losers of Round Three. Losing players below finish 25th – 32nd. 
    
Elimination Round Three (Defeated Players Eliminated) 
Jana Montour d. Vicki Paski 9-4
Monica Webb d. Belinda Calhoun 9-1
Teruko Cucculelli d. Susan Williams 9-6
Janet Atwell d. Kim Pierce 9-4
Mary Rakin d. Megan Smith 9-4
Emily Duddy d Kim White-Newsome 9-6
Brianna Miller d. Cathy Metzinger 9-5
Liz Ford d. Rhonda Pierce 9-2

Fans and media can keep up with ongoing results at http://www.wpba.com/images/stories/brackets/2012_us_open.pdf (refresh the link for the most up-to-date results!)  
 
Schedule of Events:
Friday, June 8 at 10 am
Double elimination play in day and evening sessions
Saturday, June 9 at 1 pm
ESPN Quarterfinals (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)
Sunday, June 10 at 1 pm
ESPN Semifinals and Final (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)
The quarter final, semi final and final matches will be taped by ESPN for seven one-hour national broadcasts, airing Saturday, July 14, (Quarterfinals 12-4pm on ESPN2) and Sunday, July 15, (Semifinals/Final 1-4pm on ESPN2).    

It all takes place at the River Spirit Event Center, adjacent to the River Spirit Casino at 81st and Riverside in Tulsa.  
Tickets are just $10 on June 8th and $20 on June 9th and 10th!  VIP tickets are available for $25. Visit www.riverspirittulsa.com/entertainment/eventcenter for tickets and more information! 

WPBA US Open Final Thirty Two

TULSA, OK – The WPBA US Open 9-Ball Championships at the River Spirit Event Center in Tulsa continued this morning with sixteen more matches on the one-loss side of the double elimination chart. Winning players are matching up in day session play later today; the losing players finish 33/48th. 
    
Elimination Round Two (Defeated Players Eliminated) 
Jana Montourd. Cheryl Pritchard 9-4
Vicki Paski d. Carrie Williams 9-3
Belinda Calhoun d. Emilyn Callado 9-5
Monica Webb d. Morgan Steinman 9-8
Teruko Cucculelli d. Brittany Colbert 9-7
Susan Williams d. Kelly Cavanaugh 9-3
Kim Pierce d. Lisa Just 9-8
Janet Atwell d. Joanne Ashton 9-6
Megan Smith d. Eleanor Callado 9-6
Mary Rakin d. Melissa Little 9-5
Emily Duddy d. Susan Mello 9-5
Kim White-Newsome d. Kathy McMinn 9-6
Cathy Metzinger d. Lori Jones 9-4
Brianna Miller d. Erin McManus 9-8
Rhonda Pierce d. Liz Cole 9-7
Liz Ford d. Laura Smith 9-5

Fans and media can keep up with ongoing results at http://www.wpba.com/images/stories/brackets/2012_us_open.pdf (refresh the link for the most up-to-date results!)  
 
Schedule of Events:
Friday, June 8 at 10 am
Double elimination play in day and evening sessions
Saturday, June 9 at 1 pm
ESPN Quarterfinals (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)
Sunday, June 10 at 1 pm
ESPN Semifinals and Final (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)
The quarter final, semi final and final matches will be taped by ESPN for seven one-hour national broadcasts, airing Saturday, July 14, (Quarterfinals 12-4pm on ESPN2) and Sunday, July 15, (Semifinals/Final 1-4pm on ESPN2).    

It all takes place at the River Spirit Event Center, adjacent to the River Spirit Casino at 81st and Riverside in Tulsa.  
Tickets are just $10 on June 8th and $20 on June 9th and 10th!  VIP tickets are available for $25. Visit www.riverspirittulsa.com/entertainment/eventcenter for tickets and more information! 

WPBA US Open Round Two Underway

TULSA, OK – The WPBA US Open 9-Ball Championships continued with Round Two at the River Spirit Events Center and sixteen players have emerged undefeated so far in the 64 player field. The one big upset in the round was Phoenix sharp-shooter Angel Paglia knocking #2 ranked Monica Webb of Atlanta to the one loss side.
 
One loss side matches are in progress. 
    
Round Two Winner’s Bracket Results 
Allison Fisher d. Laura Smith 9-4
Kim Shaw d. Liz Cole 9-4
Jennifer Barretta d. Erin McManus 9-5
Jessica Barnes d. Cathy Metzinger 9-3
Ewa Laurance d. Kim White-Newsome 9-5
Brittany Bryant d. Mary Rakin 9-4
Stacy Novack d. Eleanor Callado 9-8
Jeanette Lee d. Joanne Ashton 9-0
Melissa Herndon d. Lisa Just 9-5
Line Kjorsvik d. Susan Williams 9-5
Vivian Villarreal d. Teruko Cucculelli 9-4
Angel Paglia d. Monica Webb 9-5
Gerda Hofstatter d. Belinda Calhoun 9-5
Helena Thornfeldt d. Vicki Paski 9-5
Sara Miller d. Cheryl Pritchard 9-8 
 
Winners of these matches all play at 1:30 today. Losers move to the one-loss side to attempt to make the final eight for the single elimination final stage of the tournament. Fans and media can keep up with ongoing results at http://www.wpba.com/images/stories/brackets/2012_us_open.pdf (refresh the link for the most up-to-date results!)  
 
Schedule of Events:
Friday, June 8 at 10 am
Double elimination play in day and evening sessions
Saturday, June 9 at 1 pm
ESPN Quarterfinals (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)
Sunday, June 10 at 1 pm
ESPN Semifinals and Final (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)
The quarter final, semi final and final matches will be taped by ESPN for seven one-hour national broadcasts, airing Saturday, July 14, (Quarterfinals 12-4pm on ESPN2) and Sunday, July 15, (Semifinals/Final 1-4pm on ESPN2).    
It all takes place at the River Spirit Event Center, adjacent to the River Spirit Casino at 81st and Riverside in Tulsa.  
Tickets are just $10 on June 7th & 8th and $20 on June 9th and 10th!  VIP tickets are available for $25. Visit www.riverspirittulsa.com/entertainment/eventcenter for tickets and more information!