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Eric Roberts, sitting in the hot seat, splits with Ussery on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Eric Roberts

Though a junior state champion in both Florida and Tennessee (where he currently resides), a Billiards Education Foundation Junior National Artistic Pool Champion in 2013 (14-and-under division), runner-up in that event twice (2015/2018) and a frequent, cash-winning competitor on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, on which he won his first recorded payout ($50 for 9th place on the tour) five years ago, Eric Roberts, until this past weekend, had yet to chalk up an event title. Technically speaking, because he and BJ Ussery opted out of a final match on the February 13-14 stop on the Q City-9-Ball Tour, he still hasn’t won a title outright. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time he and Ussery came to an agreement on splitting the event’s top two cash prizes this past weekend, though, he does have one of those (*) asterisk event titles to his name. No small feat before you’ve graduated from high school. The tour stop drew 48 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

It was Roberts who sent Ussery to the loss side, downing him 9-1 in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Roberts advanced to face Robert Hamilton in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Mark Hurst squared off in the other one against Dustin Lackey, who’d been runner-up on the tour, two weeks ago. Roberts got into the hot seat match with a 9-5 victory over Hamilton. Hurst joined him after surviving a double hill battle against Lackey. In what proved to be his final match, Roberts claimed his first (recorded) hot seat match on the tour by shutting Hurst out.

On the loss side, Ussery followed his loss to Roberts with victories over Jaxson Hurst (Mark’s son) 12-1 and Hunter White 12-7 to draw Lackey. Hamilton came over and picked up Josh Miller, who’d recently shut out Daniel Shelton and eliminated Travis Guerra 5-4 (Guerra racing to 6).

Ussery ousted White 12-7 and in the quarterfinals, faced Hamilton, who’d gotten by Miller 6-4. Ussery took the quarterfinal match 12-3 over Hamilton and then, punctuating his five-match, loss-side winning streak, shut out Mark Hurst in the semifinals. He and Roberts negotiated the two-cash-prize split and everybody went home.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, AZBilliards, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and Dirty South Grind Apparel Co. The Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour continues to battle the varied restrictions and closures of the states it visits in the southeast corner of the US and lost one of those battles in a search for a stop this coming weekend. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for February 27-28, will be hosted by Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC and will be held to benefit local pool player, Alissa Murph, to help offset the cost of her recently-diagnosed battle against cancer. 

Hollingsworth goes undefeated to win Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour Championship

Reid Vance, Herman Parker &
Landon Hollingsworth

In the 10 events on the 2020 Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour in which he has come away with a cash payout, junior competitor Landon Hollingsworth (15) has never finished lower than 5th, where he’s finished five times. He has finished third, twice and been runner-up, once. This past weekend (Oct. 31-Nov. 1), he became the youngest competitor to ever win the tour’s Tour Championship and in so doing, raised the number of his cash wins on the tour to 11 and his wins to three. The $500-added, 8th Tour Championships (this one, playing out on 9 ft. tables; the tour will host a bar table Tour Championship later in the year) drew 67 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

The event was not without its drama(s). Four of the last 14 matches went double hill, including a winners’ side semifinal match between Hollingsworth and another junior player, Eric Roberts (16) from TN. Hollingsworth was challenged in the finals by Reid Vance, who’d chalked up his first tour win last week (Oct. 24), and faced the competitor he’d faced in the finals, Dustin Coe, in the semifinals this week. Vance won seven on the loss side for the right to face Hollingsworth in the finals of this one.

With Reid already at work on the loss side, sent there by Scott Howard, Howard advanced to a winners’s side semifinal against Coe, while Hollingsworth and Roberts set up for the ‘battle of young ‘uns’ in the other one. With Howard racing to 7, Coe sent him to the loss side 6-5. Roberts, racing to 8, took an early lead against Hollingsworth, but Hollingsworth fought back and forced a deciding game, which he won to claim the hot seat 7-7.

On the loss side, Roberts picked up Raed Shabib, who’d defeated Suede Smith 10-3 and Charles Hartung 10-4 to reach him. Howard ran into Vance, who was four matches into his seven-match, loss-side streak, which had recently eliminated Zach Wilson 7-4 and Rudy Hess 7-1.

Vance downed Howard 7-2 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Raed Shabib got way out in front against the youngster Roberts and racing to 10, was on the hill, ahead by 8 at 9-1. In what was certainly one of the most entertaining matches of the event, Roberts came back to win seven in a row and snatch victory from those proverbial jaws of defeat.

The kid from Tennessee got wrapped up in a second straight double hill battle; this time, against Vance in the quarterfinals. Vance, racing to 7, eliminated Roberts (racing to 8) 7-7.

The winner (Vance) and runner-up (Coe) from the previous week’s event squared off in the subsequent semifinals. One would have thought that this would have been another ‘high drama’ moment, but it didn’t turn out that way. Vance shut Coe out 7-0 for a shot at another youngster, Hollingsworth, laying in wait for him in the hot seat.

The finals didn’t embrace any high drama, either, beyond that of Hollingsworth completing the undefeated run that awarded him his first Tour Championship title. He accomplished that with a 7-3 win over Vance in the only set necessary in the true double elimination final.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, JB Magic Templates, AZBilliards, Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine, Skyline Construction, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and Dirty South Grind Apparel Co. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 7-8), will be hosted by Randolph Billiards in Hickory, NC.