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Lucas and Nou split top prizes on New England 9-Ball Classic

Jimmy Nou, Robert Lucas, and Ricardo Diaz

Robert Lucas and Jimmy Nou were to have played each other twice at Stop #5 of the New England 9-Ball Series this past weekend (Sunday, May 1). They played their first, battling for the hot seat, with Lucas winning. They opted out of the second, which would have been the finals,  and split the top two prizes, leaving Lucas as the official winner. The $2,000-added New England 9-Ball Classic drew 48 entrants to Snooker’s in Providence, RI.

Lucas worked his way through progressively tough opponents in the lower bracket, shutting out Sandra Kostant, for starters, then allowing Joey Arruda to chalk up two racks against him. William Aley battled him to double hill, before Lucas advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Fred Soulliere. Nou, on the other hand, opened with a double hill win over Francisco Cabral, before downing his next three opponents 6-2 (Dave Morganelli), 6-3 (Mark Ruzzano), 6-3 (Mark Tringali). Nou turned to face Ricardo Diaz in the other winners’ side semifinal.

In the two, straight-up races to 6, Lucas defeated Soulliere 6-4 and Nou sent Diaz west 6-2. In what would prove to be the official title-winning matchup, Fargo Rate gave Lucas a 40-60 chance of defeating Nou in the battle for the hot seat. Playing with three ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 7, Lucas claimed the hot seat by adding the four he needed, while giving up only one to Nou.

On the loss side, Diaz picked up a rematch against Russell Bellisle, whom he’d sent to the loss side in the third winners’ side round. Bellisle won four on the loss side, including two straight double hill wins over Dave Morganelli and Steve Sutton, before eliminating Mark Tringali 5-1 and Mark Ruzzano 5-3 to earn the rematch. Soulliere drew Rob Simonetti, who’d lost a double hill match to Joey Arruda on the winners’ side before mounting a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated William Aley 4-2 and Dalica Shatee 4-1 (whom he’d sent to the loss side in the opening round of play).

Diaz got back into the swing of things with a second win over Bellisle 5-2. Simonetti, though he only had a Fargo-calculated, slightly better than one-in-four chance of defeating Soulliere (27-73), he did just that. With Soulliere racing to 8, Simonette moved on to the quarterfinals against Diaz 4-3.

Diaz put a stop to that right off in the quarterfinals, downing Simonetti 9-1 and then, in what proved to be the final match of the New England 9-Ball Classic, Nou gave up only one rack to Diaz. The split was negotiated and the New England 9-Ball Classic was in the books.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Snooker’s for their hospitality along with sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Outsville, Salotto and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories.

The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#6), a $500-added event, originally scheduled for Sunday, June 12, has been postponed until a to-be-determined date, sometime before Stop #7 in August.

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Morganelli goes undefeated through field of 112 to win NE 9-Ball Series Winter Classic

(l to r): Clyde Matta, Dave Morganelli & Robert Piersa

Lineham wins second-tier 10-ball event
There were two distinctly different events at the 12th stop on the New England 9-Ball Series; its annual Winter Classic held on the weekend of January 26-27 and hosted by Snooker’s in Providence, RI. The main event was a $2,000-added 9-ball tournament that was traditionally handicapped with the use of FargoRates to determine the matches and drew 112 entrants. There was also a $500-added, non-handicapped 10-ball tournament with 21 entrants, which was billed as something of a Second Chance event, but offered $1,570 worth of cash prizes for the top four finishers.
Dave Morganelli went undefeated through the field of 112 to take the 9-ball event, downing Rob Piersa twice. RYan Lineham did likewise through the shorter-field 10-ball tournament, defeating Corey Avallone in the hot seat match and Lukas Fracasso-Verner in the final. It took Morganelli seven matches to claim the 9-ball title. Lineham grabbed the 10-ball title in five.
Morganelli was one of 12 competitors in the 9-ball tournament’s lower bracket that was awarded an opening round bye, after which he got by Justin Grant, Chuck Sampson, Mourad Idrais, and Phil Medeiros to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Bob Lucas. Rob Piersa, in the meantime, without a bye in the upper bracket, defeated Rich Senna, Ryan Lineham (the eventual winner of the 10-ball event), Brian Chase and Bill Cote to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against Kevin Bauccio.
In a straight-up race to 5, Morganelli advanced to the hot seat match 5-3 over Lucas. Piersa joined him after downing Bauccio 7-4 (Bauccio racing to 6). Morganelli, with a FargoRate of 539, started the hot seat match with three on the wire in a race to 7 against Piersa, with his FargoRate of 651. They split the actual games 4-4, but with the handicap, Morganelli claimed the hot seat.
On the loss side, Lucas picked up Adam Blair, who’d defeated Emily Cady 5-2 and Rich Ferrell 5-3 to reach him. Bauccio drew Clyde Matta, who’d eliminated Bill Cote, double hill (7-6) and Mike Demarco 7-4.
In straight-up races to 5 (Lucas/Blair) and 7 (Matta/Bauccio), Blair and Matta handed Lucas and Bauccio their second straight loss; Blair 5-3 over Lucas and Matta 7-5 over Bauccio. Matta took the subsequent quarterfinal match over Blair 7-3.
In a straight-up race to 6, Piersa (651) downed Matta (611) 6-1 in the semifinals to earn himself a second (and potentially, third) shot against Morganelli, waiting for him in the hot seat. Morganelli took the opening and only set necessary 5-2 to claim the NE 9-Ball Series Winter Classic title.
Lineham becomes second person on the weekend to eliminate Fracasso-Verner
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Lukas Fracasso-Verner, 17, has made something of a dangerous habit out of coming from the loss side to claim a number of event titles, including a 12-match, loss-side trip to win last year’s “Ginky” Memorial, and a seven-match, loss-side winning streak to win the NE 9-Ball Series’ Robert Dionne Memorial, two weeks ago. On the weekend of January 26-27, the habit got the best of him at the NE 9-Ball Series’ Winter Classic. He was sent to the loss side in the third round of the main event, and won only one match on the loss side, before being eliminated, out of the money. He rallied a bit in the 10-ball tournament, advancing to a winners’ side semifinal, and then, winning three on the loss side for a shot against Ryan Lineham in the hot seat. Lineham prevailed.
After an opening round bye, Lineham had defeated Kerry McAuliffe and Mike Hurley to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Chad Bazinet. Fracasso-Verner, in the meantime, faced Chad Avallone.  Lineham downed Bazinet 7-5, as Avallone was sending Fracasso-Verner to the loss side 7-4. Lineham claimed the hot seat 7-2 over waited on what turned out to be the return of Fracasso-Verner.
On the loss side, Fracasso-Verner shut out Jon Leandro and in the quarterfinals, faced Bazinet, who’d eliminated Francisco Cabral 5-1. Fracasso-Verner downed Bazinet in those quarterfinals 5-3, for a rematch against Avallone in the semifinals. A double hill fight ensued that eventually sent Fracasso-Verner to the finals.
They could have played a modified race to 5 in the finals, but Fracasso-Verner and Lineham opted to play it out to the normal race to 7. Fracasso-Verner survived the double hill, opening set of the true double elimination final 7-6, but Lineham grabbed the second set 7-5 to claim the 10-ball event title.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Snooker’s for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, USAPL New England, FargoRate, 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 (#13), will be a $750-added event, scheduled for the weekend of February 16-17 and hosted by Straight Shooters Family Billiards in Fall River, MA.