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Brothers battles back in finals to win B & L 2nd Annual Fargo Open 9-Ball Championship

Josh Brothers

At the height of Josh Brothers’ pool career, defined by us here at AZBilliards as his best earnings year (2010), he finished among the top five competitors in 18 of the 19 (recorded) events in which he cashed that year. He won 10 of them; nine on the Mezz Pro Am Tour and was that year’s Maryland State Champion in a November event at which Manny Chau finished in the tie for 5th place. Twelve years later, this past weekend (Sept. 17), Brothers went undefeated at the B & L Billiards Tournaments’ 2nd Annual Fargo Open 9-Ball Championships and had to come from behind in the finals versus Manny Chau, who’d won seven on the loss side to challenge him. The event drew 78 entrants to Bank Shot Bar & Grill in Laurel, MD.

Brothers, racing to 8 throughout, was moving right along through his opponents (racing to between 5 and 7), who were chalking up an average of three or four racks against him; Sam Roberts (3), Josh Mohammed (2), Shawn Toni (4) and Rick Molineiro (2). This set Brothers up in a winners’ side semifinal match against Tom Zippler. Marvin Ramirez, in the meantime, racing to 5, got by Jenn Benton (1), Brandon Vaughan (3), junior competitor Nathan Childress (4, racing to 8), Curtis Branker (4, racing to 6) and Derek Crothers (4, racing to 7), which set him up to face Matt Krah in the other winners’ side semifinal. Krah had been responsible for sending Manny Chau to the loss side in the third round. 

Brothers advanced to the hot seat match 8-4 over Zippler and was joined by Ramirez, who’d defeated Krah 5-5 (Krah racing to 7), sending him west to an immediate rematch against Chau. 

Brothers shut Ramirez out to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Chau had chalked up loss-side wins #3 & #4 against Rick Molineiro 8-5 and Mike Saleh, double hill (8-6), when who should show up but the man who’d made all that extra loss-side work necessary, Matt Krah. Zippler drew Derek Crothers, who’d followed his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Ramirez with wins over Richey Orem 7-2 and Scott Haas 7-4. 

Krah had a single ‘bead on the wire’ in a race to 8. He could have been given five of them, because Chau eliminated him 8-2. Crothers downed Zippler 7-2 and then had his brief, loss-side run stopped by Chau in the quarterfinals 8-1.

Chau had his hands full in the double hill semifinals that followed. Ramirez started the match with three ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 8 and won four of the five he needed to win. Chau chalked up his eight and turned to face Roberts waiting for him in the hot seat.

Fresh off his double hill win in the semifinals, Chau opened the finals with five straight racks before Brothers got on the board. Brothers went on to win seven of the next nine games; #6 put him on the hill, #7 gave him the championship.

Co-tour directors Brian Kilgore and Lai Li thanked the ownership and staff at Bank Shot Bar & Grill for their hospitality, as well as all of those who came to play, to whom they extended their congratulations.

“We ended up a little short of our (attendance) goal,” noted Kilgore, “but with 78 unbelievable, game-ready competitors, we couldn’t be too upset.”

Special congratulations were extended to the winner and runner-up for “a roller coaster final set,” as well as to B & L regular and third-place finisher, Marvin Ramirez, in his first time “going deep” in one of the organization’s singles events.

“An unbelievable run,” said Kilgore, “beating two ‘700’ Fargos and multiple monsters along the way.”

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Deska comes back from semifinals to win second straight Action Pool Tour stop

With a couple of significant 'cats' away, a few fairly formidable 'mice' came out to play at the Action Pool Tour's fourth stop of the year. One of the 'cats' who stayed behind for the April 9-10 stop was Brian Deska, who came back from a hot seat defeat to challenge Jimmy Varias and win his second straight Action Pool Tour stop. The event, missing regular APT 'cats' Brandon Shuff and Shaun Wilkie, who were competing in the Don Coates Memorial in Raleigh, NC, drew 41 entrants to First Break Cafe in Sterling, VA.
 
Sporting remarkably similar won/loss records, featuring only three kinds of scores (8-5, 8-2 and each recording a shutout), Deska (32-9) and Varias (32-12) advanced to a winners' side semifinal against an opponent named Paul; Deska versus Paul Helms and Varias against Paul Cogle. Deska chalked up his second 8-5 score, defeating Helms, while Varias won his first 8-3 match, sending Cogle to the loss side. Varias won his second 8-3 match, defeating Deska to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Helms picked up Alan Duty, who was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He won his third and fourth loss-side matches against Derek Crothers 7-2 and Chris Hansen 7-3. Cogle drew Will Moon, who'd been sent to the loss side by Deska in a winners' side quarterfinal and was on his own, somewhat shorter loss-side streak that would advance him to the semifinals. Moon had defeated Trevor Dentz 7-1 and Paul Oh 7-4 to draw Cogle.
 
Duty downed Helms 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, met up with Moon, who'd eliminated Cogle 7-5. Moon ended Duty's loss-side run with a 7-5 victory in those quarterfinals, to earn himself a re-match against Deska. Deska, though, obviously determined, defeated Moon a second time, but not before Moon had forced a final, deciding 15th game. 
 
Deska's second shot at Varias came within a game of coming to double hill. In the end, though, Deska pulled out in front to win it 10-8 and claim his second straight APT title of the year. The victory movEd Deska up on the tour's ranking list, from outside of the top 10 to within three of the leader, the absent-for-this-stop Shuff and the VA State 10-Ball Champion, Eric Moore.