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Action underway in Barnsley

Nick Ekonomopoulos (GRE)

Chris Melling (ENG) 8-3 Karol Skowerski (POL)

Nick Ekonomopoulos
(GRE) 8-2
 Ralf Souquet (GER)

Niels Feijen
(HOL) 8-6
 Karl Boyes (ENG)

The 21st annual running of the PartyPoker World Pool Masters got underway at the Metrodome in Barnsley, Yorkshire and there were first round wins for Chris Melling, Nick Ekonomopoulos and Niels Feijen.  The $66,000 tournament has been a staple on the pool calendar for over two decades and was making its first appearance in the UK since 2005.

In front of an excellent first night crowd at the popular Yorkshire venue, defending champion Karol Skowerski of Poland fell at the first hurdle as was beaten 8-3 by England’s Chris Melling who looked in fine form in front of his local fans.

Melling, whose smooth action is renowned the world over, flew into a 5-0 lead in front of his Yorkshire faithful as he took advantage of the winners’ break format. Skowerski, who enjoyed a magical three days in his home town of Kielce as he won the Masters last year, took the sixth rack to get his name on the board.

The Pole won the next after a quality safety battle and ran out the eighth game from the break to take the score to 5-3. Melling got lucky in the next when a he had a hit-and-hope attempt on the 3 ball which was parked next to the 9. The 8 ball got cannoned into the top pocket and the 3 ball rolled into the opposite corner. From there he cleared to go 6-3 in the race to eight match.

Melling won the next to get to the hill, and although Skowerski got to the table in the next it was the Englishman’s day as he ran out the winner and can look forward to a quarter final match against Ga Young Kim or Alex Pagulayan.

“I played really well. I twitched an easy eight ball but other than that I played really well. I had a good fluke to be fair when I was 5-3 up,” said Melling.

“I am cueing the ball nicely and I have the table speed down well so it is just a matter of getting your chances and taking them when they come.

“This is the first time I have played 9-ball in Yorkshire and I have a good following from Keighley. Come tomorrow I think it will be a packed house. It makes a big difference to have home advantage. It is like the guy in your corner in a boxing match. I have a lot of people behind me and a lot of good support.”

The second match of the evening saw six-time Masters champion Ralf Souquet exit the competition as he was defeated by a sharp shooting Nick Ekonomopoulus 8-2.

They shared the opening two racks but Nick, a Mosconi Cup winner on his debut last December, took the next two with a determined look on his face. A run out from the break made it 4-1 and the six times Masters champion looked in trouble with the winner breaks format.

Another meaty break from the Greek set up a run out for 5-1 and Souquet needed something to happen to give himself a chance. It didn’t come in the next as Ekonomopoulos ran out once again to take himself to 6-1.

An illegal break got Souquet back to the table and sensing that anything less than a run out would sound his death knell, cleared for 6-2. He got the 1 ball into the side pocket off the break in the ninth game but missed the 2 ball and the Greek took full advantage to clear and reach the hill. He ran out the next for an excellent win.

“I played very well although I was lucky in rack one. He played a very good safe and I played a safe but made the ball. After that I made three run outs and in a short format when it is race to eight you can quickly take a big lead,” said Ekonomopoulos.

“I have been playing well and practicing a lot with my friend Darren Appleton. I don’t play my quarter-final until Sunday so I will keep practicing.”

Souquet was a little disappointed at his lack of table time: “I don’t feel like I have been a part of this tournament. Apart from the two scratches he played so well and I wasn’t able to get a chance.”

The final match of the opening session saw two 2013 Mosconi Cup players face off as Niels Feijen of Holland met England’s Karl Boyes.

They shared the opening racks before Boyes fouled as he failed to reach a rail with a safety shot. Feijen ran out to take the lead but Boyes squared it in the next. Both had visits in the fifth rack but it was Feijen who dropped the 9 ball and he took the next for a 4-2 lead.

Boyes got the home crowds cheering in the next as he completed the run out to reduce the deficit.  Feijen was always in the lead but Boyes was never too far behind him but it was the Dutchman who reached the hill first at 7-4.

Boyes though got it back to 6-7 but lost the table as he tried a difficult cut on the 3 ball after a solid break. He got lucky though as he missed but left Feijen hooked. The Dutchman got out of it and when Boyes scratched it was all over as he ran out for the win.

“It was nip and tuck all the way and I feel I caught a couple of rolls in that match but also he was breaking really well, especially at the end,” said Feijen.

“I got a little worried there from 7-4; we had a long tactical game from that point. He made a nice bank on the 3 ball, runs out, breaks and runs out and it was getting close. Then he had a good break but scratched on the 3 ball in the side pocket. I knew if I got it straight on the six it would be over and I am glad I got through that one,” he added.

Boyes said, “It was one of those matches. We both played well, nobody missed anything, it was just the odd safety error. I was breaking well the whole match but I just couldn’t get a shot early in the match.”

This is the 21st annual running of the World Pool Masters following its inaugural event in 1993. Some of the greatest players in the modern era of pool have won this title including the likes of Souquet, Strickland, Orcollo and Appleton. With a field of 16 players there are 15 matches in total – all race to eight racks and culminating in the final on the Sunday evening.

The 2013 PARTYPOKER.COM World Pool Masters is sponsored by, the world's leading online poker site. Cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith. Diamond is the supplier of the Official Table and Predator is the Official Cue.

Fury Cues Joins In For November Giveaway!

The AZBilliards Gold Member Giveaway for November features a new contributor to the series and one we are quite excited to have join the party. Fury Cues has decided to give away a Fury TP-4 Cue that is our first-place prize for the month.
The Fury TP 4 features a forearm of white ABS thermoplastic resin formed around a North American Maple core. It has four points of black resin with alternating veneers of red maple and black resin. Inlaid in each point is a white diamond shape. Complimenting the forearm is a buttsleeve made of black ABS thermoplastic resin with inlaid diamond shapes and red maple veneers arranged in a rhombus configuration connecting the inlays. The wrap is black pressed Irish-linen with red specs that further highlight the subtle red splash of color within the forearm and buttsleeve. Each part of the cue is set apart by white rings with double silver ring accents.

The Fury Special Select shaft is made from hand-selected heartwood Maple dowels, turned down over time, and stored vertically in a fully climate controlled environment. Only the finest woods are selected for these very special shafts. It has a phenolic insert to prevent swelling and ensure a firm fit with the joint pin. It is topped with a XTC ferrule and a Tiger Everest layered tip. The joint pin is an authentic US Radial pin. The joint collars are black phenolic. Every Fury cue includes joint protectors. This cue retails for $735.


Our second place winner gets a very nice prize! This month it is a Viking Limited Edition Cue that retails for $430. It is made of ebony and rosewood with a black wrap and white diamonds inlayed on both the forearm and buttsleeve.  


Once again our third-fifth place winners will receive the TAR-produced Shane Van Boening Instructional DVD and each DVD has been autographed by our recent U.S. Open Champion. These winners also each receive six pieces of Master Sky Blue Chalk.


To get in on the action and be eligible for the monthly drawings, the exclusive content and the specials such as free tickets to the Mosconi Cup and BCA Hall of Fame Dinner just go here and sign up to be part of the fun.

GSBT will hold benefit and memorial tournaments for Tony Morrison

Tony Morrison from 2010, pictured with Shannon Daulton, BJ Ussery and Jimmie Bullis

Friends of and competitors on the Great Southern Billiard Tour were saddened to hear of the death of Tony Morrison, a long-time friend and competitor on the tour himself. Tour director Shannon Daulton, who was informed of Morrison's death by motor vehicle accident on the final night of the US Open 9-Ball Championships, began immediate arrangements for a benefit tournament to help Morrison's family defer the cost of service expenses.
Morrison was a frequent competitor on the Great Southern Billiard Tour with numerous victories, dating back to 2008. Earlier this year (January) he finished second to Josh Newman at a GSBT stop in Albemarle, NC. In August, he faced Daulton in the finals of the Capital City Open in Raleigh, NC. He also competed on the Ozone Billiards, Jacoby Custom Cues and Viking Tours over the years. In 2006, he finished in the tie for fifth place at a stop on the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour. His best (recorded) year was in 2010, a year in which he competed on the GSBT seven times, winning once and 'cashing' in the other six. He also won a stop on the Ozone Billiards Tour that year, and finished in the money twice on the Jacoby Custom Cues Carolina Tour.
The benefit tournament, scheduled for this Saturday, October 26 will be hosted by the Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC. Registration for the handicapped, 9-Ball tournament will open at noon, with the tournament scheduled for a 2 p.m. (prompt) start. Entry fee for this event will be $40, with 50% of the fees going to Morrison's family. Other forms of donations will come by way of auctions/raffles (any and all donated items accepted), cash donations at any event and food sales. Checks can be made out to Annie Quick (Tony's mother) and sent to Gate City Billiards, 6004-A Landmark Center Blvd., Greensboro, NC 27407. Gate City Billiards will be donating 10% of gross sales for the entire day of the tournament.
"Please come out to honor Tony and support one of our own," said Daulton in a flyer prepared for the event. "All proceeds will go to Tony's family to assist with the burial expenses."
Services for Morrison are scheduled for Monday, October 28 at 2 p.m. at the Piney Grove Free Will Baptist Church, 2560 Winblow Road, Ellerbe, NC 28338
In addition to this weekend's benefit tournament, the GSBT has made arrangements for a Memorial Tournament to be held on the weekend of November 16-17 at Lucky Shots in Albemarle, NC. Check the GSBT Web site for further information. For further information on this weekend's tournament or direct donations to the family, contact the Gate City Billiard Club at (335) 856-8800.

Cole comes back from the loss side to win Stop # 6 on the NWPA Tour

Liz Cole (Courtesy of Sandro Menzel)

Liz Cole retained her position atop the Northwest Women's Pool Association leader board with a come-from-the-loss-side victory at Stop # 6 on the tour. She lost a tight match among the winners' side final four against Sheila Clark, and after winning three on the loss side, returned to down Clark in the finals. The $500-added event, held on the weekend of October 19-20, drew 22 entrants to Parlor Billiards in Bellevue, WA.
Once she had survived the double hill match against Cole in one of the winners' side semifinals, Clark faced Kim Jones, who'd defeated Suwanna Matarazzo 7-2. In what would prove to be her final victory, Clark shut Jones out and sat in the hot seat, waiting for Cole.
Cole moved over to pick up Suzanne Smith, who has recently become a member of the NWPA Board of Directors, in charge of promotions and fundraising for the tour. Smith, who'd been another double hill victim of Clark in the second round of play, was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side streak of her own, having survived a double hill match against Elane Eberly and defeated Mary Olson, Kit Dennis and Natalie Seal 6-3. Matarazzo faced Mary Coffman, who'd defeated Robin Adams 6-2 and Gloria Villa 6-1, to reach her.
Coffman handed Matarazzo her second straight loss 6-3, and in the quarterfinals, had to contend with Cole, who'd ended Smith's loss-side run 6-3. Cole eliminated Coffman 6-4, and then, in the semifinals, downed Jones 6-2 to earn herself a re-match against Clark. She took full advantage, defeating Clark 9-3 to claim the event title.