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Junior competitor Niko Konkel goes undefeated to win Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball stop

Dave Strum and Niko Konkel

It was one of those now-frequent battles between a junior competitor and an older opponent. David Strum, who was the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour’s champion eight years ago, has returned to the tables after an intermittent absence and faced 16-year-old junior competitor, Niko Konkel twice, in a winners’ side quarterfinal and the finals of this past weekend’s (Dec. 10-11) tour stop. As Strum was chalking up the victories that gave him the tour’s championship title in 2014, Niko Konkel was eight years old. The high school student won both of their matches to claim title to the event that drew 65 entrants to Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC.

“It was a great tournament,” said tour director, Herman Parker, “and a lot of junior players did really well.”

“We paid out eight spots,” he went on to say, “and four out of the eights spots went to junior players.”

It should be noted, as well, that two of those four payouts went to the same family, while a third, Bethany Tate (16), was eliminated outside of the ‘money.’ Joey Tate (17) finished in 4th place, while his younger sister, Noelle (13) just made it into the 7th/8th payout slot.

Konkel and Strum met first in a winners’ side quarterfinal that sent Strum to the loss side 6-2. Konkel advanced to face another junior, 13-year-old Jas Makhani, in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Matt Lucas squared off against Runal Bhatt in the other one. Konkel moved on to the hot seat match 6-2 over Makhani and met up with Lucas, who’d defeated Bhatt 6-3. Konkel took the first of their two 6-2 and sat in the hot seat waiting for Strum to return for their rematch.

On the loss side, it was Bhatt picking up Strum, who’d followed his loss to Konkel with a victory over Jacob Blake 6-1 and in another veteran-versus-junior matchup, defeated Noelle Tate 6-1. Makhani had what turned out to be the misfortune of drawing Joey Tate, who’d eliminated Mark Bolton, double hill, and Orlando Marcus 9-3 to reach him.

Strum’s trip back to his rematch versus Konkel was almost derailed at the start when Bhatt battled him to double hill before giving way. Tate, in the meantime, shut out fellow junior competitor, Makhani, and joined Strum in the quarterfinals.

Strum eliminated the last of the Tate family 6-4 in those quarterfinals and then gave up only a single rack to Lucas in the semifinals. Strum would need to defeat Konkel twice to claim the title. 

Konkel had already made 2022 his best earnings year of the two he’s recorded thus far by winning the first stop on the Junior International Championships’ series of events in January and placing 5th at both the Q City 9-Ball’s Winter Classic in February and the inaugural Shane Van Boening Junior Open in Las Vegas in October. He added $875 to his 2022 winnings with his first victory on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Gate City Billiards Club, along with title sponsor Viking Cues, Breaktime Billiards (Winston-Salem, NC),, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat,, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division.

This coming weekend will mark the tour’s 10th anniversary, a considerable feat in this come-and-go pool tour environment and while 10 years is not necessarily a long time in the annals of some of the country’s pool tours, it is a milestone that led Parker to articulate his pride in reaching it. The 10th year will conclude with its 10th Annual Bar Box Championships, scheduled for this weekend, Dec. 17-18. The $1,000-added event will be hosted by Rock House in Gastonia, NC. 

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Lucas and Francis split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Matt Lucas

Brian Francis was looking for his first major win on a regional tour. Matt Lucas was looking for his first win on the tour since before the time that the tour began reporting results to AZBilliards, approximately nine years ago. They both found what they were looking for. Sort of.

This past weekend (Nov. 13-14), they both signed on to compete at a stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour and both were to appear in a final match. They opted out, leaving Lucas, the undefeated hot seat occupant at the time, as the event’s official winner, while Francis settled for his second shared-win since he did so with Mackie Lowery, a little over three years ago at a stop in Hickory, NC. This past weekend’s $500-added event drew 51 entrants to Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC.

Their first meetup, battling for the hot seat, followed Lucas’ double hill victory over Mike Tutt and Francis’ 6-4 win over Don Lilly. In what would prove to be the deciding match between them, Lucas claimed the hot seat 5-3.

On the loss side, Tutt drew David Strum, who’d defeated Orlando Marcus and Thomas Sansone, both 6-4, to reach him. Lilly picked up Montez Lloyd, who’d recently eliminated Jason Rogers 6-5 (Rogers racing to 8) and Dale Lloyd 6-2.

Lilly got by Montez Lloyd 7-3. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Strum, who’d defeated Tutt 6-1. Lilly and Strum then battled to double hill in those quarterfinals, before Lilly ended it.

Even without the handicap, which gave Brian Francis a single ‘bead on the wire’ at the start of his semifinal race-to-7 match against Lilly, Francis would have won. That 6-2 win over Lilly gave Francis a second shot against Lucas in the hot seat, which, by mutual agreement, he did not take.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Breaktime Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues,, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat,, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 20-21), will be hosted by Gate City Billiards in Greensboro, NC. 

Farrar downs Johnson twice, goes undefeated to win Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop

Kelly Farrar

Until the weekend of September 7-8, Kelly Farrar had cashed in only three events on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, finishing 4th twice (both times in May, 2018 and 2019) and 5th once (this past April). In a relatively small field on hand for the tour stop at Brown’s Billiards in Raleigh (18 entrants) this past weekend, he went undefeated to claim his first tour title.
He defeated Scott Johnson, also looking for his first tour win, twice to do it. Johnson had only cashed twice previously on the tour, finishing 3rd a little over a month ago (July) and was runner-up to JT Ringgold at a stop in April, 2016.
They advanced through the short field to a winners’ side semifinal match. Farrar faced Travis Guerra, as Johnson met up with Gary South. Johnson sent South west 7-3. He was joined in the hot seat match by Farrar, who’d given up only a single rack to Geurra in a 6-1 victory. With Johnson racing to 7, Farrar defeated him double hill (6-6) and sat in the hot seat, awaiting his return.
On the loss side, Guerra drew Josh Shultz, who’d defeated Brian Overman 6-4 and Steve Jenkins 6-2 to reach him. South picked up Tanya Parsley, who’d been defeated in the opening round of play by Ricky Dickson and was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take her as far as the semifinals. She’d recently shut out Billie Spadafora and defeated David Strum 4-3 (Strum racing to 6).
Both matches for advancement to the quarterfinals went double hill, with Guerra downing Shultz 6-5 and Parsley knocking off South 4-6 (South racing to 7). With Guerra racing to 6, Parsley won the quarterfinal match 4-4.
Johnson was able to put an end to Parsley’s winning streak in the semifinals, but not before she’d brought him to the brink and forced a 10th and deciding game. Johnson’s 7-3 win gave him a second shot at Farrar in the hot seat. Farrar, though, improved on his hot seat performance with a 6-4 win over Johnson in the finals.
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Brown’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (September 14-15), will be the $500-added North Carolina State 8-Ball Championships ($1,000-added with field of 64), hosted by Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC.

Strum gets by Parson twice to win Q City 9-Ball stop

In a field that featured a high percentage of younger players (18 and under), one of whom (Peter Abantangelo; age 14) reached the semifinals, David Strum went undefeated during a Q City 9-Ball Tour stop on the weekend of April 23-24. The event drew 43 entrants to Brown's Billiards in Raleigh, NC.
Strum had to get by 18-year-old Cole Parsons twice to claim the title (Cole's brother, Ethan, age 11, was in the field, as well). They met first in the hot seat. Strum sent Daniel Jones to the loss side 7-2, while Parsons was working on a 5-1 victory over Solomon Pope. Strum claimed the hot seat over Parsons 7-2 and waited on his return.
On the loss side, Abantangelo, sent to the loss side in his opening match against Pope, was at work on his eight-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the semifinals. He chalked up wins #5 and #6 against Randy Hodges 5-3 and AJ Hertzog, double hill to draw Jones. Pope picked up Jody Musselman, who'd eliminated Daniel Adams 7-2 and Jordan Grubb 7-5.
Abantangelo earned his way to a quarterfinal re-match against Pope with a 5-2 victory over Jones. Pope eliminated Mussleman 7-1. Abantangelo wreaked his vengeance on Pope 7-5, but had his loss-side streak ended in a youth semifinal against Parsons. Parsons prevailed 5-2 for a second shot against Strum.
Strum repeated his hot seat performance. He completed his undefeated run with a second 7-2 victory over Parsons to claim the event title.
Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Brown's Billiards, as well as sponsors Viking Cues, Delta 13 racks, AZBilliards, Professor Q Ball, and Bet Somethin Apparel. The next stop on the Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for April 30-May 1, will be hosted by The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.