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Chicago Winners: Dobosenski & Cozzolino Head to the Andy Cloth World Tournament of 14.1

The first qualifier for the 2015 Andy Cloth World Tournament of 14.1 took place Saturday, June 6, 2015 at Red Shoes Billiards in Alsip, Illinois for the 7th straight year. Longtime 14.1 specialists Ron Dobosenski of Wisconsin and Chicago's Bob Cozzolino took the top honors. For the 10th year in a row, qualifiers will be held nationwide for the 75th edition of The World Tournament of 14.1. Players all over the United States will be able to take their chance to win a spot into the grand slam of straight pool! Each qualifier winner will be guaranteed a minimal of 6 round robin matches in the finale main event. The main event will take place once more in New York City. Dragon Promotions is pleased to keep the oldest billiard event in the world alive with the 75th production on July 13th-19th, 2015. As usual, a star studded field is expected this year at Steinway Billiards Cafe, who is once more hosting this world class event. The World Tournament Official Equipment include Viking Cue with all matches played on Andy Cloth. Event partners include Mr.Tom Gleich, Dr. Gregory Diehl, Mr. Greg Hunt of Amsterdam Billiards, & Mr. Jim Gottier of Greenleaf's Pool Room. Patron sponsors include Mr. Harold Siegel of Excelsior Graphics, Dr. James Heller, Mr. Charles Eames of Charles Eames Photography, Frank Scharbach of Frank's Billard Cafe, and the National Amateur Pool League. 
 
The World Tournament will be live streamed on AZBTV . Official media partners are www.NYCGrind.com , Pool & Billiard Magazine, & tech support by Gotham City Technologies. 
 
Most of the usual suspects were there, but a few out of towners showed up to take a shot at the biggest straight pool event in the world. We had Hal Johns and Peter Hull coming in from Ohio this year and we had Jim Colling making the trip from Texas as well as Ron Dobosenski and Robert Crawford coming down from Madison Wisconsin all for the second straight year. The rest of our 15 man field was rounded out by local guys from the Greater Chicago area.
 
Ed Latimer, who has been a straight pool fixture in Chicago forever started out with a match against one of the Ohio fellows, Hal Johns. Hal is a straight pool enthusiast who has made trips to Chicago before most notably, whenever Danny Diliberto was in town to give lessons. Hal is an old school player who owns a Balabushka cue. He said he was just getting in the tournament to help support our effort, yet he acquitted himself well, falling just a bit short with Mr. Latimer, 67-100. 
 
Bob Crawford of Madison Wisconsin had been in the Red Shoes Straight Pool League last session, making the 3 hour plus drive twice a month to compete. He had recently made 140 balls in back to back innings, but again, he said he was coming down to help support straight pool in our area. In his first match he bested a young sharpshooter named Chris Medvid, who has been in a few of Red Shoes straight pool leagues, but with a new baby, has had to cut back on his pool playing recently.
 
Tom Karabatsos who has been playing straight pool forever and is a pupil of Dallas West’s matched up with Ted Antle, who is a great straight pool supporter and is in the 14.1 club this year as well as being a 2016 George Fels Memorial Derby City Straight Pool Challenge sponsor.
 
Jim Colling of Texas matched up with Vince Crovetti, a local golf pro who has been playing in Red Shoes Straight Pool Leagues, Illinois Billiard Club Leagues, and who has played in other tournaments closer to the Wisconsin Border where he lives for many years. 9Ball Jim, as he calls himself on AZBilliards has been a nine ball player and is a good shooter, but has been transitioning his game to Straight Pool for probably the last 5 years. He boasts a high run of 70, so far. He was able to beat Vince in their opening round.
 
Rich Klein who has been running most of the straight pool leagues in Chicago, and who is a member of the 14.1 club, and who is a sponsor yearly for the George Fels Memorial Derby City Straight Pool Challenge was matched up against one of the Ohio lads, Peter Hull. Peter Hull is a lawyer from Hinckley, Ohio, who is active in Ohio straight pool circles. He told me he has a pool table and a billiards table in his basement. He ran a 37 en route to dispatching Rich and moved ahead in the brackets.
 
Yours truly, Dennis Walsh got the dubious honor of matching up with Bob Cozzolino in the first round. Coz, as we call him has already been to the big show three previous times and Walsh has never ever beaten him. Perhaps because it was early or perhaps because he was conserving his strength for later, Coz allowed me to get to 95 before running 7 and out to win his first match.
 
Ron Dobosenski is from Madison, Wisconsin where he lives with his wife of 39 years. He is a former multiple state and Midwest champion who played numerous professional events in the early 1980s. He is a student of 14.1 Hall of Fame inductee, Frank “Sailor” Stellman and boasts a high run of 211. He is now retired and has started playing again. He met up with Mario Galletti in the first round and was able to emerge triumphant.
The fellow who got the bye in the first round, Joe Klein, was rewarded by getting to meet up with Tom Karabatsos in the second round. Tom has probably played Joe many times over the years and was able to take him down and move forward.
 
Bob Crawford got to 70 something against Ed Latimer. Jim Colling got to 81 against Cozzolino and Ron Dobosenski was able to beat Peter Hull.
In the next round on the winner’s side, Ed Latimer got to sit in his chair while Tom Karabatsos had two 40 ball runs against him. Bob Cozzolino got ahead of Ron Dobosenski 86-79, but he must have blinked because Ron ended up winner 100-87.
 
This led to the winner’s side matchup between Ron Dobosenski and Tom Karabatsos. Ron had played Tom twice in last year’s qualifier and Tom had won both games, sending Ron back to Wisconsin. This year, Ron saved his best for last, running 52 and a 28 back to back, winning easily.
 
Tom then had to wait while me and the rest of the losers had to battle it out on the left side for the opportunity to play Tom for the second spot. There was a lot of commotion over on the loser’s side, but eventually, Bob Cozzolino beat Peter Hull to take on Tom Karabatsos for the final spot. Bob saved his best for last running a 40 and 2 20s on his way to victory. 
 
Last year’s inductee to the 14.1 Straight Pool Hall of fame, Frank “Sailor” Stellman was there watching most of the matches and hand delivering his $250 donation to the 14.1 club to help with the prize fund. As always, John Lavin was the perfect host , making everyone feel welcome and creating a 14.1 oasis in the Midwest that cannot be beaten. Thanks to all of the players and all of the spectators for creating a wonderful Straight Pool Event once again.
 
The finale qualifier will be held at Amsterdam Billiards in New York City. Amsterdam has been a huge supporter of the World Tournament of 14.1 from the start of its resurrection in 2006 and has held a qualifier every year for 10 years straight, giving them the distinction of being the only billiard room to do so. This has all been due to the enormous generosity of Greg Hunt, owner and founder of Amsterdam Billiard Club since 1989.

Verkruyse & Karabotsos Win Chicago: OB Official Cue of ANDY CLOTH World 14.1 Tournament

Here are the results of the 2014 World Tournament of 14.1,Red Shoes Billiards Qualifier that was held a few weeks back. It was a small field but there were many quality contenders, including Michael Verkruyse, Tom Karabatsos, Ronald Dobosenski, Bob Cozzolino, Richard Michalec Sr., Jim Colling, Rich Klein, and Dean Markoshan, one of Chicago's finest, just back from a straight pool lesson with Dallas West.  
 
OB Cues has also joined as the Official Cue of the ANDY CLOTH World Tournament which takes place on August 4th-9th, 2014. Sponsored by Andy Cloth, Kamui Brands, OB Cues, Amsterdam Billiard Club, Realrealcool.com, Pool & Billiard Magazine , Aramith Balls, and George Beckman Kinetic Sculptures. Official patron 14.1 aficionados are Stu Mattana, Tom Gleich, Harold Siegel, and Dr. Greg Diehl Plastic Surgery.  Each qualifier winner will be guaranteed a minimal of 5 round robin matches in the finale main event. The main event will take place once more in New York City. Dragon Promotions and Dr. Michael Fedak are pleased to bring the 74th production of the oldest billiard event in the world on August 4th-9th, 2014. A star studded field is expected this year at Steinway Billiards Cafe, who is once more hosting the world's grandest straight pool championship.
 
“OB Cues are now the official cues of one of the oldest, longest running tournaments in billiards: The 74th World Tournament of 14.1. This event has a rich history connecting us with legends like Mosconi, Greenleaf, Lassiter, Mizerak, Crane and so many more. OB is proud to be associated with such names in the game they mastered and we look forward to seeing many of the champion players of today competing in this event to try and best the records of some of the great legends of yesteryear." , said Shane Sinnott , Director of Sales and Marketing for OB Cues. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, OB is a leading manufacturer of High Performance Pool Cues and Pool Cue Shafts made 100% in the USA since 2005. 
 
Bob Cozzolino, who has qualified twice before had a tough opening round match with Tom Karabatsos. Bob beat Tom last year on the loser's side of the qualifier and beat Tom in a league match at Red Shoes Billiards just a week earlier. Tom had come in second in the league out of 32 players and has qualified numerous times, so he is always dangerous. Bob got off to an 60-20 lead but Tom came back hard and bested him 100-80. In the other first round match in that bracket, Ron Dobosenski ran a 41 and a 38 and out on Jim Colling who had come down from Texas to play in the qualifier while visiting relatives. Jim is a somewhat recent convert to straight pool that boasts a high run of 70. Ron is a student of Frank "Sailor" Stellman, noted cue maker and 14.1 teacher from Racine Wisconsin. Ron boasts a high run of 211 and Sailor had made the trip down to Chicago to watch his former student and to sweat some straight pool matches. Ron had just finished up one session of Red Shoes Straight Pool league, driving down from Madison, Wisconsin twice a month to play the game he loves.
 
The next round found Tom Karabatsos matched up with Ron Dobosenski and the straight pool heavyweights, who have played each other many times in the last 30 years, traded punches with Tom coming out on top. On the other side of the bracket, Rich Klein, one of the league directors at Red Shoes Billiards and one of the sponsors of the Derby City Classic Straight Pool Challenge every year, matched up with Dean Markoshan, a member of the Red Shoes Straight Pool league and an officer with the Chicago Police Department. Dean is relatively new to straight pool, but gave it everything he had. It was not enough to best the steady Rich Klein. On the other side of that bracket, Rick Michalec, Sr., a veteran of the Illinois Billiards Club Straight Pool League and the Red Shoes league was going up against a new face at Red Shoes in Michael Verkruyse. Rick has a high run of 70 and has won one of the straight pool qualifiers before and is always a threat. The two of them went back and forth with no big runs, and eventually, Michael landed the last punch, winning 100-77. That matched him up with Rich Klein and he was able to get off to a 75-19 lead. A couple of unforced errors on Mike's part were enough to give Rich an opportunity and he was able to get within striking distance, but Mike closed out the game and finished it 100-55. Richard referred to Mike as "Madman MIke, he of the fabulous fundamentals and perfect stroke", Mike is a student of Mark Wilson's and I imagine that might be where he honed his fundamentals. He also has spent some time with Nick Varner, so who knows.
 
I will use the words of Mike to describe the final match on the winners side between him and Tom Karabatos: 
"I had been watching him play all day and knew I had my hands full. The opening break was the first time I had to break all day and I managed to hit a good clean safe leaving him long and tough on the 9-ball. Tom played safe and left me a small glimpse of a shot, I thought to myself if I make it I spread the rack wide open, if I miss it I will spread the rack wide open for my opponent. Well in for a penny in for a pound. I got down and stroked the 4 ball home into the corner pocket and was off and running. I don’t recall much of the middle of the match, only that I had a big lead of like 75-20 something, then tom went on a tear and caught me and passed me with a great run. The score was now closed in tight at 90(me) to 89(tom). A small safety battle ensued and tom took a chance at a ball in the stack and it missed leaving me a wide open table. I made one ball after another, steadily getting out of line lol. I now needed 2 balls for the win and a chance to go to New York. I had a long straight shot on the 15 ball, as soon as I pulled the trigger my heart fell into my stomach as I watched it go slightly wide of the pocket and rattle. Tom cleaned up the rest and was all set to make the break ball and put the nails in my coffin when something happened I did not expect, he missed the break ball! I gathered myself and pocketed the last two balls."
 
 In the meantime, over on the other side, Bob Cozzolino had taken down Jim Colling and Rick Michalec had besTed Dean Markoshan. Bob Cozzolino had qualified from the loser's side before, last year having to beat Jeffrey Mohl, Ed Latimer and Tom Karabatsos to qualify. This year it was not to be as perennial giant killer Rich Klein took him down. At the same time, Rick Michalec who has been there before was beating Dean Markoshan. Ron Dobosenski beat Rick Michalec and then beat Rich Klein, leading to a rematch with Tom Karabatsos for the second spot. Ron has only been back playing pool for about a year and perhaps it showed, but Tom is always a threat and sent Ron back to Wisconsin. 
 
Tom Karabatsos was taught by Dallas West and you can see that in his smooth stroke. He is a perennial high finisher in all Chicago area pool events, especially straight pool. He also had a nice showing at the Maryland Straight Pool Tournament last year, besting Dave Daya and Shaun Wilkie, among others. Michael Verkruyse is 32 years old from Mahomet, Illinois and is currently the House Pro at Jupiter’s Pizzeria & Billiards in Champaign, Illinois. His sponsors are Durbin Custom Cues (www.durbincues.com) out of Sullivan, Illinois, Nick Varner Cues & Cases (www.nickvarner.com), 
Fast Action Cues Clothing and Jupiter's Pizzeria and Billiards. 
Jupiter’s Pizzeria & Billiards

 

Jim Rempe & Frank Stellman Inducted into the 14.1 Straight Pool Hall of Fame

Jim Rempe

"King James" Rempe and Frank "Sailor" Stellman will be this year's Straight Pool Hall of Fame inductees. Both men are still alive and well, and are due to appear in New York City for the first time in a long, long, while. Rempe made a huge impact on the pro pool scene from the 1970's through the early 2000's, while Stellman influenced numerous top players in the mid-west with his 14.1 teachings over a span of 60 years. Fans and players can attend the once in a lifetime special event at 7:00pm on August 6th, 2014 at Steinway Billiards Cafe during the 74th World Tournament of 14.1. It will be a star studded gala with billiard super stars such as Mika Immonen, Shane Van Boening, John Schmidt, Stephan Cohen, Johnny Archer, Darren Appleton & many more with Charlie Williams as the event MC. The ANDY CLOTH World Tournament of 14.1 is  sponsored by ANDY CLOTH, Kamui Brands, OB Cues, Amsterdam Billiard Club, Realrealcool.com, Pool & Billiard Magazine , Aramith Balls, and George Beckman Kinetic Sculptures. Official patron 14.1 aficionados are Stu Mattana, Tom Gleich, Harold Siegel, and Dr. Greg Diehl Plastic Surgery.  Dr. Michael Fedak and Dragon Promotions are pleased to bring the 4th Annual Straight Pool Hall of Fame and the  74th production of the oldest billiard event in the world on August 4th-9th, 2014. 
 
"Straight pool is my favorite pool discipline. It's a game where knowledge is very important and makes the difference between good players and the best players", explained Rempe about his love for 14.1. " I know not many players can say this, but I really look back at my life and see that I did not have a misspent youth. I took my dad's advice on finding something I love and make a living doing it. Pool is the greatest game ever." 
 
Of the 4 nominees including Nick Varner, Lou Butera and Allen Hopkins, Jim Rempe won 40% of the votes submitted by fans via social media, polls, and emails. King James was born in 1947  in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Rempe began playing pool at the age of 6 and he turned pro at the age of 22, winning 98 major championships, and taking 11 world titles, including the World Nine-ball Championship, the World One-pocket Championship, and the All-Around World Championship.  Rempe won 3 US 14.1 Masters Championships (later changed to the US Open 14.1), 1973 NY State 14.1, the US Open 9-Ball, and 4 World 9-Ball titles. He accumulated 23 tournament wins between 1972 and 1978, more than any other pool player in the world, thus acquiring the nickname "King James".
 
"When I decided to become serious about pool five years ago, I looked up Jim Rempe to learn the game from a true professional.  I thought that I would spend a couple of hours with him that afternoon.  His enthusiasm for pool was so infectious that before we knew it, eight hours had gone by.  He has become a good friend and mentor, and he teaches the game as well as he plays it.  His pedigree speaks for itself, and he belongs in the halls of fame of all of the pool disciplines.  Congrats, Jimmy!",  said Dr. Gregory Diehl of Diehl Plastic Surgery. 
 
In the Unsung Hero category, Frank Stellman won 80% of the votes and had many vocal supporters lobbying for this mid-western legend. Frank "Sailor" Stellman is from Racine, Wisconsin and was born in 1927. He was a guru who taught and influenced many 14.1 players and groomed dozens of 100 ball runners. He also organized Wisconsin's first state 9-Ball tournaments for men and women, and he was the technical host for a weekly TV pool show. He has given numerous pool seminars usually free of charge. This was Frank's second year on the 14.1 HOF ballot. 
 
"Wow. This is something I really never expected in my life. I helped players learn the game not for any recognition or money, but only because I felt it was the right thing to do. It's quite an honor and I'm going to do my absolute best to get to New York City! It's all up to my doctor to give me the green light!" The 87 year old Stellman has diabetes and faces amputation of his foot, but still manages to get to the poolroom to watch and advise players. He recently was transported to Red Shoes Billiards to watch the World 14.1 Qualifier in Chicago.
 
"This induction is going to a very, very deserving man. Frank to me is like Yoda, not well known but so full of wisdom and knowledge. He influenced myself as well as so many top notch players. Guys like Dallas West, Jimmy Mataya, and Jeff Carter would always defer to Sailor's final word about any shot on the pool table. That's the kind of reverence he had. And he did it for no money. For him it was about the love of the game. That's why he never competed. He was close friends with Willie Mosconi, and one whom Mosconi considered a peer", said an enthusiastic Mark Wilson, a student of Stellman's as well as a renown teacher now himself. More notably, Mark is the current Captain of the USA Mosconi Cup Team. "No one could be more happier than myself on hearing the news of his induction. For me, this further legitimizes the Straight Pool Hall of Fame."
 
"Every year the Straight Pool Hall of Fame sells out with over a hundred people attending. It's a classy, entertaining, and emotional celebration of the greats of the sport", says Cindy Lee, CEO of Dragon Promotions. 
 
Past inductees include live inductions of Ray Martin, Jerome Keough, Jack Colavita, Danny Diliberto, Oliver Ortmann, Gene Nagy. Group inductions by decades include 14.1 Hall of Famer legends Ralph Greenleaf, Frank Taberski, Erwin Rudolph, Jimmy Caras, Andrew Ponzi, Thomas Hueston, Alfredo de Oro. 
 
 
Fans can buy tickets at the door, and tickets for the Hall of fame 14.1 Banquet in advance for $55 by going to http://worldstraightpool.com/tickets.html  . The dinner includes a 5 course meal and beverages as well as seating next to the stars of billiards. For $141 you can also join the Elite Members of the 141 Club on the same link.
 
People who can't make the dinner can watch the complete ceremony for free online at www.ustream.tv/channel/AZBtv 
Live stream Pay Per View of the matches from Day 1 – Day 6 of the World 14.1 can be bought at www.worldstraightpool.com 

 

Danny Diliberto and Jack Colavito Into Straight Pool Hall of Fame


Queens, New York –  Former World All Around Champion and straight pool legend Danny Diliberto and 5x New Jersey State 14.1 Champion “Gentleman Jack” Jack Colavita will be inducted into this year’s Straight Pool Hall of Fame . Both players have had a long fruitful career in 14.1 accomplishments and both became huge influences on the promotions of the game as well. The 77 year old Diliberto will be dusting off his pool cue and participating in the 72nd Predator World Tournament of 14.1 as the honorary inductee , while Colavita will be honored throughout the week as well posthumously. World Champions from 1912 on through the earlier decades of 14.1 history will also be included and recognized as a group. The induction dinner ceremony will take place August 1st ,2012 at 5pm at Linden Place Banquet Hall adjacent to Carom Cafe which is hosting the Predator World Tournament. Special 14.1 Hall of Fame video presentations will be presented by NYCGrind.com’s founder Jerry Tarantola. The World Tournament will pause for a long dinner break in honor of the ceremony during the fourth day of competition so all the players and fans can join.  

Fans will be in for a rare treat as they watch pool’s favorite 14.1 commentator play in his first World 14.1 in 30 years! The last big straight pool tourney Danny Diliberto played was in 1989 in Chicago only 23 years ago. “I’ll never forget that tournament. They had a $3500 bonus for running 150 & out, and I was playing Varner and ran a 95 and I knew I was going to get that money, then a ball skidded on me!”

Diliberto has become a staple for Accu-Stats, the premiere pool video company in the industry. Danny’s expert commentary and insight has influenced thousands of players worldwide. Diliberto was on the ballot where fans voted along with other top nominees that included Oliver Ortmann, Dallas West, Lou Butera, and Gene Nagy.

“It’s really an honor to be elected in with greats like Ray Martin and Jack Colavita. I’m really looking forward to the event and also playing. I haven’t played straight pool in years, but I’m going to be hitting balls before the World Tournament. Don’t worry I still know how to play!”  said Diliberto. Danny was the prestigious World All Around Champion of the legendary Johnston City events back in 1972 and runner-up to the late Steve Mizerak at the 1982 World 14.1 Championship. Diliberto was also the recipient of the BCA Hall of Fame last year.
“I’m really happy for Jack Colavita and his family. He was a great player, but above that he was a great person. I miss him.”

New Jersey’s Jack Colavita received the lead votes to be elected into the unsung heroes part of the 14.1 Hall of Fame. Colavita was a stone cold legend in the Northeast and was one of the dominant forces of 14.1 in New Jersey during the days of giants such as Steve Mizerak, Ray Martin, and many other notables. Jack won the New Jersey State 14.1 Championships 5 times and the New York State 14.1 Championship 3 times. He also got 3rd at the US 14.1 Open. Later in life, he was a big proponent and helper of the revived New Jersey State 14.1 Championship, before passing away at age 73.

“Jack was one of the greats because he really played the game the right way. He was also a strong 9-Ball player and was super at roll out 9-Ball because he was a great shotmaker. Back in those days, we sometimes played 1000 point matches in blocks over a few days. I remember one of those times Jack ran four consecutive 100 ball runs on me. He was just raining in 100’s ! When he was on, he was a machine and no one played it prettier. He was phenomenal”, said Allen Hopkins, World and US Open Champion in 9-Ball and 14.1.

“Colavita used to win the New Jersey 14.1 Championships back when the field was the same as a World Championship”, said NYC great Danny Barouty.

“It was incredible because Jack didn’t even play on the tour. He had a full time job 5 days a week and a family”, said Pat Fleming, Founder of Accu-Stats.

“There were many factors on why we decided to start the Straight Pool Hall of Fame. We wanted to honor not only obvious choices, but to remember great players that are still alive and remind them that they are not forgotten. They are living treasures of the sport. Also, we wanted to recognize those who may not receive recognition elsewhere, but were huge parts of 14.1 history”, said Charlie Williams, Founder of Dragon Promotions.
 
“Last year’s Straight Pool Hall of Fame was sold-out with over 100 people and we couldn’t believe the terrific response. My own staff had to stand and give up our seats to some desperate fans that wanted to get in to watch. Luckily we still managed to find some dinner!” said Cindy Lee, CEO of Dragon Promotions.

Fans can buy tickets in advance by going to http://worldstraightpool.com/tickets.html  

Guest speakers at the dinner banquet on August 1st  will include several speakers including former World Champions Stephan Cohen, Allen Hopkins, and of course Danny Diliberto . The 14.1 Hall of Fame events will also include video presentations by NYCGrind.com’s Jerry Tarantola. Charlie Williams will MC the evening’s festivities.
 
Danny Diliberto still plays pool and continues to teach players today. The renowned instructor and many times champion can be reached for lessons or appearances at 1-(954)- 665- 5978
 
Good luck to Danny Diliberto going for the World Tournament title at the prime age of 77!

Venue and Hotel: Host location: Carom Café – 3402 Linden Place – Flushing NY 11354 (718) 358-5467
Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel 135-20 39th Ave, Flushing New York 11354 (718)460-6666
Group Code: Dragon Promotions Group Rate $169

The 2012 Predator World Tournament is proudly co-sponsored by Championship Cloth, Olhausen Tables, Amsterdam Billiards, Aramith Balls, Pool & Billiard Magazine, Kamui Brand, and straight pool aficionados Dr.Louis Pannullo of NYC, Stu Mattana of NYC, Ralph Rubin of MD, and Tom Gleich of NC. Co-contributors Dr.James Heller and Charles Eames. For more information on player registration, sponsorship, or if you would like to submit a comment, please email worldstraightpoolchampionships@gmail.com or contact Dragon Promotions at 1-407-782-4978.
Full event info is now at www.Worldstraightpool.com and more info on www.dragonpromotions.com

A little Mosconi Cup History

This year, the Mosconi Cup will be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas December 8th-11th 2011. The very first Mosconi Cup took place at the “Rollerbowl” in Romford, near London in 1994, with a team of eight format, comprised of six men and two women. The European team being made up of mainly famous snooker players, and the now world famous Allison Fisher was one of the ladies on that first Mosconi side – and was still two years away from becoming a star on the US Nine Ball scene.
 
To date, the score line on this prestigious event is USA 11 and the Euro side 5 with one draw (12-12 in 2006). Following the tied match in 2006, the European side won the next two years running – 11-8 in 2007 and 11-5 in 2008 – and went into the 2009 Mosconi at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as clear favorites. Things did not go their way in 2009 and the US side came out the victors with a score line of 11-7 in their favor. But in 2010 the Euro side yet again came out the victors when they met in The York Hall in London with a score of 11-8
 
This year Team USA will be out to avenge that loss, and will definitely have the home crowd advantage. The arena at the MGM Grand will have an even bigger seating capacity (500) than previous years with 100 seats being added at the last minute to accommodate the rush for tickets at this exciting event.
 
Last years event was held at The York Hall, in Bethnal Green, London. A venue that is noted for showcasing World Championship Boxing matches and is famous for its partisan crowds. Last years event was no exception and the home crowd definitely had a bearing on the outcome. Even the mighty Dennis Hatch had trouble rousing his troops and was out shouted at every quarter.
 
This year, Team USA has a new non playing Captain in Charlie Williams who has played 6 times on the Mosconi Cup, and I am sure will bring a breath of fresh air to Team USA. Charlie has a great record of getting the best results out of his pupils, and I know that the US Team are very much behind their new Captain.
 
On paper this years event is a close call because of the extent of the talent that is abundant on both sides. This is clearly two of the most star studded sides that have met to fight out a Mosconi Cup. In my opinion, the home venue advantage for the US Team is huge, and even though the talent looks pretty even, it will be interesting to see how the Euro boys react to the partisan US crowd.
 
My guess is that the Euro side will try to show the US Team – and the crowd – that they do not need fans and will do their talking with their sticks, and will silence the crowd every chance they can.
 
|5563|I do know that both teams have a true leader on their team, with Johnny Archer playing his 15th consecutive appearance and Ralf Souquet (who is a machine of late) making his 15th appearance (although not consecutive). Their team mates will be looking for inspiration from them and you can be assured that they will get it.
 
Last year I said that who ever got out of the gate first would probably be the winner. Well, I was wrong last year as the Team USA started strong and went into the lead for the first two days, yet floundered down the stretch and came out the losers. This year I will only say that I think the sides are pretty evenly matched, yet I think the majority US crowd will play a big part in the proceedings. (OK, I am hedging my bets !!)
 
Chris Melling, the rookie on the Euro side this year, will be out to show the crowd and the cable viewers that he has a game that they will remember. This kid did not get to be the European point leader for nothing, and loves to strut his stuff in front of the cameras. I predict that every one will be talking about Master Melling after the week is over. He is a phenomenal potter of the ball from his snooker background, and has improved his knowledge of the 9 ball game over the last two years tremendously.
 
The USA’s rookie is Mike Dechaine, who is also an aggressive player and does not know there is a word in the dictionary called safety. If it goes in a pocket he will attempt the shot. I am expecting a lot from Mike and I know that Mike is expecting a lot from Mike. I guarantee we will see some fireworks if the two rookies meet one on one, and personally I can’t wait!
 
The other four players on both teams have an arsenal of experience, with Johnny and Ralf having appeared 15 times each in this competition. It will come down to the old adage that the trophy will go to the guys that want it the most.
 
The event is being played on a DIAMOND TABLE this year, for the first time in eighteen years. The table that is designed for the players by the players. I guess we will have to see how this goes down with the players. (I already know what the losers are going to say, Lol.)
 
|5537|This year is also a first on the refereeing front with USA’s Ken Schuman coming on board to share the stage with Michaela Tabb. Ken will be the first to admit that he is not as pretty as Michaela, but he has every other credential needed and is a great addition to the proceedings. Ken is an accomplished referee and tournament director with many years of experience to draw on.
 
Finally, I must mention that we all know that the Mosconi Cup is probably the biggest and best event in the world, and I would like to pay tribute to two people that have been on board at Matchroom Sports from the conception of this event back in 1994. Who knew then that it would grow to what it is today? They are Luke Riches and Sharron Tokley, who have lovingly nurtured this Barry Hearn idea into a reality.
 
It started with two 8 person teams, six men and two women, and endured a few face lifts along the way, until it changed to five men per team in 2007. Comprising of the best players from Europe and the USA. An event that has every player worth his salt frantically trying to get on the team. They play their hearts out throughout the year to earn Mosconi Cup points, until they hopefully get the nod in early November, that lets them know that they have made the dream team.
 
I know from talking to the players that every one of them is proud to represent their country, and the two rookies still do not really know how they will react when they finally step into the arena, or should I say “The Lions Den”.
 
Good luck and may the best team win!
 
TEAM USA 2011
 
|5555|Shane van Boening – 5th consecutive appearance 2007 to 2011
Shawn Putnam – 2005 & 2011
Mike Dechane – making his first appearance 2011
Johnny Archer – 15 consecutive appearance in the Mosconi cup 1997 to 2011
Rodney Morris – 8th appearance on team, 03, 04,05, 06, 07, 08, 10, & 11
 
TEAM EUROPE 2011
 
Chris Melling (ENGLAND) – making his first appearance 2011
Darren Appleton (ENGLAND) – 3rd consecutive appearance 2009, 2010, & 2011
Ralf Souquet (Ger) – 15th appearance on team, and did not play in 1995, 2004, 2005
Nick van den Berg (NED) – 5th appearance on team, 02, 03, 06, 10 & 11
Niels Feijen – (NED) – 8th appearance 01, 04, 05, 07, 08, 09, 11
 
MOSCONI CUP TRIVIA
 
The Mosconi Cup was first played in 1994 at the “Rollerball” in Romford, near London. The first year it was an eight person team, comprised of six men and two ladies.
 
1994 EUROPEAN MOSCONI CUP SIDE – First year
 
|5866|Ralf Souquet (GER) – Steve Davis (UK) – Lee Tucker (UK) – Oliver Ortmann (GER) Tom Storm (SWE) – Jimmy White (UK) – Franziska Stark (GER) & Allison Fisher (UK)
 
1994 USA SIDE
 
Lou ButeraPaul GerniBobby HunterDallas WestMark Wilson – Mike Gulyassi – Jeanette Lee & Vivian Villarreal
 
MOST CONSECUTIVE APPEARANCES
 
Johnny Archer (USA) with 15 straight from 1997 to 2011
Earl “The Pearl” Strickland (USA) with 13 straight from 1996 to 2008
Steve Davis (UK) 11 straight from 1994 to 2004
 
 
OTHER NOTABLE APPEARANCES
 
Ralf Souquet (GER) 15 appearances played from 1994 to 2011 missing 95, 04, & 05
Mika Immonen (FIN) 14 appearance 1996 through to 2006 (missed 2007) then 2008 to 2010
Oliver Ortmann (GER) 8 times 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004
Niels Feijen (NED) 7 appearances 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 11
Rodney Morris (USA) 8 times 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 11
Corey Deuel (USA) 7 times 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010
Jeremy Jones (USA) 6 times 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008
 
PLAYER FORMAT
 
First year 1994 the format was eight players per team, comprising 6 men and two women
For the second and third year 1995 and 1996 it changed seven men per team
In 1997 it changed to six men per team up until 2006
In 2007 it changed to the present format of five per team

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Nick Varner!!!

Nick Varner

A field of 44 top players converged on the "Superman Classic" Open 9-ball tournament in Metropolis, IL over the weekend and it was Nick Varner proving he had the edge over the rest of the field as he went undefeated including an 11-8 win over Johnny Archer in the finals. The win is Varner's first win in a pro 9-ball event this year and it was the third time this year that Archer has made it to a final match, only to lose and settle for second.

 

The win was worth $7,500 for Varner while Archer settled for $4,000 for second. Charlie Williams had another great tournament and finished third. Dallas West completed the top 4 players.