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Woman’s Poison VG 9-Ball Championship This Week

Neight Mindham, with the Cue It Up Network, is at it again this week. After the success of his VG 10-Ball Championship 2.0, Mindham is back and he is bringing the ladies with him for the Woman’s Poison VG 9-Ball Championship. 

A star studded field of sixteen professional female players will compete against the ghost in four groups of four players with the top player from each group, joined by two wildcard finishers, facing off in a single elimination bracket for over $5000 in prize money. 

The field of players is a who’s who of top 9-ball talent, including World Champion Kelly Fisher, Monica Webb, Wei Tzu Chien, Pia Filler, Margaret Fefilova, Chihiro Kawahara and more. 

Plays kicks off at 1:00 PM Eastern Time on Thursday with Monica Webb, Eugenia Gyftopoulos, Turkey’s Eylul Kibaroglu, and Bulgaria’s Kristina Zlateva competing. 

All of the action will be online at https://www.facebook.com/CueItUpPodcast.

Fisher downs Baretta twice to win first WPBA Virtual 9-Ball Ghost Challenge

There was reportedly very little trouble finding members of the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) who were anxious to play some competitive pool with each other, albeit from the comfort of their own home and/or pool room. Based on an idea brought up by Dawn Hopkins, Angela Janic, a relatively new member of the WPBA, volunteered to organize and coordinate the organization’s first (and definitely not the last) Virtual 9-Ball Ghost Challenge during the week of May 10-16. While so-called ‘ghost’ matches and isolated streaming events have been cropping up on the Internet since the restrictions brought on by the pandemic began, this was something relatively new; a 16-entrant, double elimination tournament with prize money that pitted players from around the globe against each other, playing against the ‘ghost,’ a ‘player’ normally only encountered in practice, when a player is alone.

From her home pool room in Dumfries, Scotland, Kelly Fisher went undefeated through the field and downed Jennifer Baretta, playing from her pool room in Brooklyn, NY (Skyline Billiards), twice; once, battling for the hot seat and again, in the finals. Talking to both players, it was apparent that winning or losing wasn’t among the things that resonated in their minds about playing in the tournament.

“It was really good fun,” said Fisher. “I really enjoyed it.”

Baretta had played some ‘ghost’ matches in a recent USA vs. Europe matchup and found the experience to be “kind of nerve wracking.”

“But now,” she said, “I want to play more of them.”

“In practice, I play the ghost all the time,” she added. “I play a race to 7, but I play so that if I miss, I have to kick and/or bank (subsequent balls).”

This WPBA event was based on playing 10 racks, per player, per match. Players were allowed to begin shooting after their break with ball-in-hand. Essentially, each ball was worth one point, though if you ran the rack, you’d get an extra point for 10 points total, available per rack. There were 15 points available for a rack if you chose not to take advantage of ball-in-hand after the break. A number of the 30 matches ended before one of the competitors had completed the 10 racks, because one player had scored enough points to make ‘catching’ that player impossible.

Fisher’s path to the winners’ circle ran through Lonnie Fox-Raymond and April Larson, before coming up against Monica Webb in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Baretta downed Eugenia Gyftopoulos and Canada’s Suzanne Peters to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal against Dawn Hopkins.

With Allison Fisher and LoreeJon Hasson commentating on the live stream, Kelly Fisher defeated Webb 104-70. Baretta sent Hopkins to the loss side 83-69. In the hot seat match that followed, Fisher chalked up the event’s highest score of 120, when she ran all 10 racks, four of them which she ran without benefit of ball-in-hand at the start.

Upon her arrival on the loss side of the bracket, Dawn Hopkins picked up an immediate rematch against Mary Rakin Tam, whom she’d defeated in the opening round and who was working on a three-match, loss-side winning streak during which she’d eliminated Cheryl Baglin, April Larson and one of the event’s significant organizers, Angela Janic. Webb drew Line Kjorsvik, who’d lost her opening round match to April Larson and was also working on a three-match, loss-side winning streak that had eliminated Lonnie Fox-Raymond, Ewa Mataya Laurance and Suzanne Peters.

Rakin Tam and Kjorsvik advanced to the first money round, the quarterfinals. Tam defeated Hopkins 74-60, as Kjorsvik downed Webb 79-58. Kjorsvik then eliminated Tam 90-75.

The semifinals of this event – Kjorsvik versus Baretta – had a way of demonstrating the best that this particular format had to offer viewers. At the end of their 9th rack, the two were separated by a single point; Baretta ahead by one at 74-73. Baretta refused the ball-in-hand option after her break of the final rack, looking to chalk up 15 points instead of just 10. Unfortunately, she only added three balls to her score; missing the fourth ball and finishing her 10 racks with a score of 77. All Kjorsvik had to do was sink five balls. With two of the five down, she found herself hooked and forced to make a jump shot, which she missed to finish at 74.

In the finals that followed, with the racks-necessary extended to 13, and Jeremy Jones in the streaming ‘booth,’ commentating, Baretta was ahead by seven points after four racks, 45-38. Though Baretta would extend her lead by opting out of ball-in-hand in the 5th rack and running the table to hit 60 points, while Fisher had her 5th rack stopped at 6 balls, the tables started to turn, as Fisher started to pick up speed, reminding everyone of her “KwikFire” nickname.

They would both run racks #6 & 7 without ball-in-hand, leaving Baretta out in front by 16 (80-64). Fisher would go on to opt out of ball-in-hand for racks # 8, 9, 10 & 11 and ran all four, leaving her at 124 when she was through. Baretta, now working two racks behind Fisher, picked up only three in rack #8, and though she ran racks #9 & 10, she was, for the first time since her fourth rack, no longer in the lead, but behind Fisher by six at 109-103.

Fisher closed out her run with two break and runs, opting for ball-in-hand in both to finish her 10 racks with 144 points. In order to defeat Fisher, Baretta, at the time, was preparing to break her 11th rack and would have had to play all three of her last racks without ball in hand. Two without and one with ball in hand (assuming she ran the table) would have left her one point shy of Fisher’s 144 total. Baretta missed a shot in the 11th rack and conceded the victory, punctuating the concession by going down on her knees and bowing. Fisher extended a hand to shake and all smiles, the two of them traded an across-the-ocean-via-Internet handshake.

In some ways, the entire event, to include how quickly it came together and successfully it occurred came as a bit of surprise. Angela Janic thanked particularly Jennifer Hamilton for her work on the live stream, noting that Hamilton had “kept us all organized and just did a fantastic job.”

“Thanks, too,” Janic added,” to everybody on the WPBA, the board and all the players. I had just sent messages out and asked people for help and everybody just jumped in and said yes. I’d read names but there are just too many of them.”

According to Janic, another edition of the WPBA’s Virtual 9-Ball Ghost Challenge will occur on Memorial Day weekend (May 31-June 6) and while no names have been confirmed for participation, she expects another field of 16.

“Nothing’s going to change much,” she said of the upcoming event. “It’ll probably get a little easier.”

After the imaginary handshake, and Janic thanking her for her participation, Fisher added her thanks to all those who’d been involved.

“It was such short notice and it happened so quickly,” said Fisher. “You did an absolute fantastic job putting it together and running it smoothly.”

“It was great for the sport and great for the WPBA,” she added. “Thank you very much for doing this for us.”

Shanna Lewis gets by Lai Li twice, double hill, to win JPNEWT season opener

Shanna Lewis

Pool tournaments will often play host to competitors who, for one reason or another, have been away from the game for a while. Depending upon the skill level they’d attained before they stopped competing, how long they’ve been away and the overall competitive level of the field they enter upon their return, the result could go either way. The competitor could go ‘two and out,’ if they’re seriously out of practice and stroke, or they could make it seem as though pool’s like riding a bicycle, where one can more or less pick up where they left off.

Shanna Lewis, whose last reported cash payout in a pool tournament was at a Q Master Billiards Mid-Atlantic Women’s 9-Ball Open in 2015 (9th place), returned to the tables this past weekend (March 7-8) to compete in the season opener of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour. Lewis chose the ‘like riding a bicycle’ option and went undefeated through the field of 31, downing last year’s runner-up in the Tour Championship standings, Lai Li, twice. The $500-added (by Coins of the Realm), NAPT Div. II Semi-Pro event drew 31 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.

Her own assessment of her TAFT (time away from table) was more in the vicinity of 10 years. It was an absence prompted by a decision to focus on the business career side of her life. She’s back, now, still working on the business side of her career, but with some flexibility to spend more TAT (time at table). While acknowledging that she’s returned with her skills more or less intact, she noted that it wasn’t as easy as it looked from the nature of the undefeated run and her two victories over Lai Li might indicate.

“Yeah, there were times during the tournament when I was thinking, ‘Yeah, this is great,” she said, “but there were other times when I felt like I couldn’t put a ball in the hole that was a straight shot.”

That said, Lewis was back on the bicycle right from the start, winning 14 of her first 17 games. She gave up only one rack to Judie Wilson and then two to Melissa Mason before running into Elaine Wilson, who, in essence, by chalking up five racks against her, applied some brakes to Lewis’ bicycle. It dropped Lewis’ game-winning percentage by 10 points in a single match. Lewis won, though, and advanced to face Teri Thomas in a winners’ side semifinal.

Lai Li, in the meantime, had opened with a 7-1 victory over Charlynn Dzambo, defeated Kelly Wyatt 7-4 and downed the tour’s 2020 champion, Linda Shea, 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal.  The draw wasn’t getting any easier as Li advanced to face Kia Sidbury in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Lewis got into the hot seat match with another 7-1 victory, over Thomas, and faced Li, who’d sent Sidbury to the loss side 7-4. In their first of two, they battled to double hill before Lewis prevailed to sit in her first hot (bicycle) seat in a while.

On the loss side, Nicole Nester and Sharon O’Hanlon were working on modest three-match, loss-side winning streaks that had begun when they’d lost their winners’ side quarterfinal match to  Teri Thomas and Kia Sidbury, respectively. Nester and O’Hanlon both won two loss-side double hill battles; Nester, versus Colleen Shoop and Eugenia Gyftopoulos; O’Hanlon, over two ‘powerhouse’ opponents – Nicole King and Tour Director, Linda Shea. They did not, however, draw rematches because Nester drew Sidbury and O’Hanlon drew Thomas.

Nester advanced to the quarterfinals 7-4 over Sidbury, as Thomas eliminated O’Hanlon 7-3. Nester then downed Thomas 7-3 in those quarterfinals, before herself being eliminated in a double hill fight versus Li in the semifinals.

A second, slightly longer double hill fight, Li’s third straight, ensued in the finals. Lewis won it 9-8 to claim the title to JPNEWT’s 2020 season opener.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, The Turtle Rack (www.mezzusa.com), Baltimore City Cues, and the live stream, sponsored by Britanya E. Rapp, billiards artist (angle aim Art). The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of April 4-5, will be hosted by Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.

Kelly Fisher comes from the loss side to down Tzu-Chien Wei at WPBA’s Aramith/DR Classic

Kelly Fisher

Kelly Fisher came to Rothschild, WI on the long weekend of November 20-24 in search of her first 2019 win and knew almost immediately that she might need to defeat some adversaries she’d faced before. There were, at the WPBA’s Aramith/DR Pool Classic, the usual array of suspects in that regard; Allison Fisher, Jasmine Ouschan, Jennifer Baretta, LoreeJon Hasson, Janet Atwell and Line Kjorsvik, to name just a few. And though she wouldn’t have to face China’s Siming Chen, who did not compete and who’d defeated her in the finals of the WPBA Masters last February in Michigan, she knew she might have to face Chinese Taipei’s Tzu-Chien Wei, whom she’d defeated in the semifinals of that WPBA Masters and then, been defeated by in the semifinals of August’s Sondheim Diamond Invitational in Iowa. She did face Wei this time around, twice as it turned out, losing the first, but coming back from the loss side to win the second and claim the event title. The $20,000-added event drew 48 entrants to the Central Wisconsin Convention and Expo Center in Rothschild.

The importance of chalking up her first win of the year at this event was not lost on Fisher. As a professional, she’s not inclined to dwell on a given event’s individual importance, lest it interfere with the game(s) at hand, but having been on the mend since surgeries sidelined her for a few years, she was getting a little antsy.

“I was getting a worried for a moment there,” she said. “I’d had numerous semifinal wins (since last May; 3, to be exact), so I’m very pleased to have gotten this title.”

“I’m finally feeling that my game is back to where it was a few years ago,” she added.

Fisher was one of 16 seeded competitors who were awarded opening round byes, as the other 32 squared off against each other. Fisher drew Shanelle Loraine out of that original 32, defeated her and joined 12 other players who’d been awarded opening round byes in advancement to the third round. Only Gerda Gregerson, Melissa Little, Line Kjorsvik and Jenna Bishoff from that group of 16 seeded, went to the loss side, sent by (in order) Jeannie Seaver, Dawn Hopkins, Jasmin Ouschan and Teruko Cucculleli.

Fisher went on to defeat Monica Webb 8-1and then survived a double hill battle versus Jennifer Baretta to draw Tzu-Chien Wei in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Jasmin Oushchan, in the meantime, got by Joanne Ashton 8-1, survived her own double hill battle versus Kjorsvik, and downed Dawn Hopkins 8-2 to pick up Jia Li.

Wei defeated Fisher 8-5 and in the hot seat, faced Ouschan, who’d sent Li to the loss side 8-4. A double hill battle ensued for possession of the hot seat. Wei prevailed, sending Ouschan off to a second straight, double hill semifinal matchup against Fisher.

Over on the loss side, there were some top-notch matches brewing as the tournament’s elites moved toward picking up Fisher and Jia Li, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. After losing to Jeannie Seaver in the second round, Gerda Gregerson embarked on a six-match, loss-side streak that saw her eliminate Eugenia Gyftopoulos, Catherine Tschumper and, moving into the early money rounds, Caroline Pao and Emily Duddy. She went on to down Brittany Bryant 8-5 and young Atlantic Cup Challenge competitor, April Larson 8-4 to draw Li.

Fisher drew Tamara Peeters, who was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak of her own and fresh off something of an 8-1 upset over Teruko Cucculleli. Cucculleli had defeated Allison Fisher on the winners’ side, before being sent over by Jia Li in a winners’ side quarterfinal. She proceeded to eliminate Jessica Barnes, Beth Fondell and jumped into the money pool with an 8-4 win over Loree Jon Hasson. She downed Gail Eaton and Dawn Hopkins, both 8-6 and then, eliminated Cucculleli to reach Fisher.

Fisher gave up only a single rack to Peeters in advancing to the quarterfinals. She was joined by Jia Li, who’d sent Gregerson home 8-6. Fisher won a second straight 8-1 match, eliminating Li 8-1.

That little 16-2 run wasn’t destined to last, as Fisher squared off against Jasmin Ouschan in the semifinals. It was Ouschan’s second straight double hill match, and proved to be the second one in a row that she lost.

With lingering echoes of previous matchups and a nagging little voice that kept telling her that since she’d earned herself a second chance against Tzu-Chien Wei, she’d damn well better take advantage of it, Fisher launched into the finals, in search of her first 2019 win. There are, she noted, generalities about such endeavors, and specifics, related to particular opponents. You have to play ‘your game,’ regardless of opponent, while awareness of specific opponents can inform decisions about approach.

“My main thing,” said Fisher, “is to come out of the gate strong, to keep control of the table.”

“Looking back at previous matches against Wei,” she added, “it was about not allowing her to come back. She’s capable of coming back from behind, so I knew once I had (the lead), I had to keep it.”

As noted in a Biblical proverb – “The heart of Man (Woman) plans his/her way, but the Lord establishes his/her steps.” Fisher lost the opening four racks and immediately switched roles to become the person “capable of coming back from behind.” She allowed Wei only one more rack, before she chalked up 10 to claim that first 2019 title.

“I’ve been practicing quite hard,” she said a few days later from her home in Scotland. “It came down to being patient. I knew I was close (to getting back into previous form), and that there was room to grow.

“I want to win the big ones,” she added, “and it really is just a matter of practice.”

She’ll spend a few days at home, more than likely find time to do some of that practice and then head for China and competition in the 2019 Women’s World 9-Ball Championships, to be held from December 13-20.

WPBA representatives thanked the ownership and staff at the Central Wisconsin Convention and Expo Center for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Diamond Billiards Products, Aramith, Outsville and Simonis Cloth.

Li goes undefeated, downing Sykes twice to win JPNEWT season finale

Bethany Sykes & Lai Li

The finalists in the season finale of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour were both in the midst of their best earnings year to date and were looking for their first win on the tour. Though Bethany Sykes was the State of Virginia’s 8-Ball Champion almost exactly a year ago, had chalked up a win on the gender-mixed Action Pool Tour in January and a month later, had won the Division II Championship on the (presently) all-female North American Pool Tour in February, she had yet to win an event on the JPNEWT. Lai Li, her opponent in both the hot seat match and finals, was looking for her first regional tour win ever and found it, as she went undefeated to win the tour’s season finale on the weekend of Nov. 16-17. The $500-added (by Coins of the Realm) event (Stop #8) drew 22 players to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.

The victory elevated Lai Li one spot on the Tour Standings list to #2. Tour director Linda Shea, who, for obvious reasons, has competed in all eight of the tour’s stops, finished 3rd in the season finale to retain her spot at the top of the tour standings. Caroline Pao, who won the three stops in which she competed and finished 3rd in the tour standings, did not compete in the season finale.

Following victories over Ceci Strain 7-1, Teri Thomas 7-3 and Melissa Jenkins 7-4, Lai Li advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Anita Sowers. Sykes’ trip to the hot seat match was almost derailed at the outset. After being awarded an opening round bye, Sykes drew Eugenia Gyftopoulos, who battled her to double hill before finally giving way for Sykes to advance. Sykes went on to down Kelly Wyatt 7-5 and advance to her winners’ side semifinal match against Judie Wilson.

By identical 7-5 scores, Li and Sykes defeated Sowers and Wilson and advanced to the hot seat match. Li took the first of their two matches 7-5 and waited on her return.

On the loss side, Sowers picked up tour director Linda Shea, who’d been sent to the loss side by Judie Wilson in a winners’ side quarterfinal and had then defeated Serafina Concannon 7-5 and Sharon O’Hanlon 7-3. Wilson drew a rematch against Kia Sidbury, whom she’d defeated in an early round and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had most recently included victories over Carol V. Clark 7-3 and a double hill win over Melissa Jenkins.

Shea defeated Sowers 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Sidbury, who’d had a successful rematch against Wilson 7-4. Shea then ended Sidbury’s loss-side streak 7-5 in those quarterfinals.

Sykes, though, ended Shea’s four-match, loss-side trip with a 7-3 victory in the semifinals. Li, apparently unaffected by the wait, defeated Sykes in their second match, the finals, 7-3.

Tour director Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, Mezz USA, Baltimore City Cues, and for the live stream, Britanya E Rapp with angle aim Art. The tour will be back at Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD for their 2020 season opener on the weekend of March 7-8, 2020.

Pao wins seven on the loss side to meet and defeat Shea in JPNEWT finals

Caroline Pao (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Going into the finals of the July 27-28 stop on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT), Caroline Pao had something of a dismal record on the winners’ side of the bracket. Of course, she’d only played twice, downing C.C. Strain 7-1 and then, falling to tour director Linda Shea 4-7 (11-8; 57%). Over the next seven matches on the loss side of the bracket, Pao gave up an average of less than two racks per match (1.43) and chalked up a remarkable aggregate score of 49-10 (83%), that included back-to-back shutouts in the quarter and semifinals. She capped the loss-side performance with a 9-4 victory over Shea in the finals to claim the event title. The $1,600-added event drew 28 entrants to Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD.
 
Shea and Pao had distinctly different opening rounds, which may have contributed to their first matchup in the second round. Pao gave up only a single rack to Ceci Strain, while Shea locked up in a double hill fight that did eventually send Melissa Mason to the loss side. Odds were likely to have been good that Shea and Pao would have a double hill fight, but they didn’t. Shea prevailed 7-4, adding two matches to Pao’s event total.
 
With Pao at work on the loss side, Shea, the tour’s current #1-ranked player, advanced through Teri Thomas 7-2 and arrived at a winners’ side semifinal against the tour’s current #2-ranked player, Nicole King. Lai Li, in the meantime, the tour’s #3-ranked competitor, having dispatched Sharon O’Hanlon, Judie Wilson and Elaine Wilson to the loss side, faced Kia Sidbury (#7) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Shea and Li advanced to the hot seat match 7-5 over King and Sidbury. Shea downed Li 7-2 to claim the hot seat, and waited on the fateful return of Pao.
 
On the loss side, it was King who drew Pao, four matches into her winning streak. At that point in time, Pao had given up only seven racks; one each to Noel Rima, Sharon O’Hanlon and Christie Hurdel and four to Anita Sowers. Sidbury drew Thomas, who, following her defeat at the hands of Shea, had eliminated Eugenia Gyftopoulos 7-5 and survived a double hill fight against Kathleen Lawless.
 
Thomas and Sidbury locked up in a double hill fight for advancement to the quarterfinals. Thomas, who’d already improved on her two previous appearances on the 2019 tour (finishing 17th in March and May), downed Sidbury to meet Pao, who’d defeated King 7-3.
 
Pao then chalked up two straight shutouts, against Thomas in the quarterfinals and Lai Li in the semifinals, to earn a shot against the so-far undefeated hot seat occupant, Shea, who came into the finals with a 72% game-winning percentage. Thanks to her 83% loss-side performance and her two winners’ side matches, Pao entered the finals at 76%. Pao completed her run with a 9-4 victory over Shea in the finals.
 
Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Champion Billiards and Sports Bar and Coins of the Realm, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, angle aim Art (Britanya Rapp), The Turtle Rack, Baltimore City Cues, and Billy Ray Bunn Cue Repair. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for August 10-11, will be hosted by Triple Nines Bar & Billiards in Elkridge, MD. 

Brandon Shuff Seals the Deal at Maryland State 9-Ball Championship

Brandon Shuff, Loye Bolyard, Shaun Wilkie, Jake Lawson, Kenny Ruttman and Rick Scarlato

In yet another action-packed weekend of competitive pool, Brandon Shuff emerged as the winner of the Maryland State 9-Ball Championship. The event, which is owned and managed by On The Hill Productions, was held at the Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD during the weekend of May 4th-5th. This has been a successful year so far for Brandon. He recently finished 4th in the Barry Behrman Memorial in April and the VA State 10-Ball in February. In this tournament, he sailed through the field and dropped only one set to Shaun Wilkie, who came back from the B-side to try and claim the title. Brandon held firm and was able to lift the trophy in victory.
 
The 82-player field was customarily strong, loaded with such powerhouses as Shaun Wilkie, Kevin West, Brett Stottlemyer, Chip Klein, Del Sim, David Hennessy, Kenny Rutman, Matt Krah, Steve Fleming, Thomas Zippler and Scott Haas to name a few. The ladies were represented by local favorites Bethany Sykes, Eugenia Gyftopoulos, Gwen Townsend, Lai Li, Stefanie Manning and newcomer to the tournament scene, Jenny Mohammed.
 
Not to be left out, the young guns also made their presence felt. Tournament-regulars Dylan Spohr and Coen Bell were there to stir the pot, but the young man who stood head and shoulders above the rest was Justin Martin from Wilmington, NC. He had a very strong finish of fourth place and impressed everyone with his display of fundamentals, technique, and poise. Don't be surprised if he snaps off one of these big events very soon! 
 
The recent champion of the MD State 9-Ball Bar Table Championship, Brandon Sluzalis was also there, but his efforts to repeat were cut short first by Kenny Rutman, then by the straight-shooting Bobby Pacheco. He had to settle for 9th. place.
 
Congratulations to all who finished in the top 24 places this weekend. 
This event owes its success to the following sponsors:
McDermott Cues
Billiard Sports Network
Lights Out Billiard Apparel
Phillippi Custom Cues
TAP Pool League – Chesapeake Region
 
Many thanks to the owner Gary Allen & staff at Champion Billiards for hosting another successful event. The high-quality free stream was provided by Jake Lawson and Josh Setterfield of Billiard Sports Network. Tour directors Rick Scarlato Jr. and Loye Bolyard continue to provide great tournaments with the utmost professionalism and quality.

Shea goes undefeated to take her first 2019 JPNEWT title

(l to r): Friend, King, Hatcher, Wong, Li, Shea, Sidbury & Gyftopoulos

The top two players on the 2018 J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour, were at it again on the weekend of April 27-28, 2019. Tour director Linda Shea, who finished at the top of last year’s tour rankings went undefeated in this second stop on her tour, while Nicole King, who finished in the second spot in those 2018 tour rankings, finished in the second spot in this event, as well. The $500-added event drew 24 entrants to Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.
 
In addition to the main event, which was an NAPT Div. 2: Semi-Pro Tournament, the JPNEWT held a Sunday Amateur tournament for players with 4 and under handicaps only. That event drew seven entrants and saw two ‘Jenns’ emerge from the event’s round robin format to collect the top two prizes; Jenn Tully finished in 1st place, with Jenn Sylvester as runner-up.
 
In the main event, Shea advanced through Ada Lio 7-5, Lisa Dougherty 7-1 and Anita Sowers 7-3 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Eugenia Gyftopoulos. King, in the meantime, was awarded an opening round bye, and then, defeated April Hatcher 7-1 and Noel Rima 7-5 to draw Lai Li in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Shea advanced to the hot seat 7-5 over Gyftopoulos, and was joined by King, who’d defeated Li 7-2. Shea claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited on King’s return.
 
On the loss side, Kia Sidbury was fighting her way back from a first-round, double hill defeat at the hands of Lai Li, and after a first-round, loss-side bye, was in the midst of a four-match winning streak that was about to end. She’d downed Melissa Jenkins, Carol Clark, Noel Rima (double hill) and Suzzie Wong 7-5, to draw Gyftopoulos. Li, in the meantime, picked up Kathy Friend, who after losing double hill to Gyftopoulos on the winners’ side, had shutout Ada Lio and defeated April Hatcher 7-5 to reach her.
 
Gyftopoulos and Sidbury locked up in a double hill fight (Sidbury’s 4th) for advancement to the quarterfinals and Gyftopoulos was the one to advance. She was joined in the quarterfinals by Friend, who earned her rematch against Gyftopoulos by handing Li her second straight loss 7-5.
 
Friend went a step further, defeating Gyftopoulos 7-1 in those quarterfinals, before having her own four-match, loss-side winning streak brought to an end by King, who defeated her 7-2 in the semifinals.
 
The wait didn’t seem to do much harm to Shea in the finals. She bettered her score in the hot seat match by two racks, completing her undefeated run with a second victory over King; this time 7-3.
 
Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Markley Billiards, as well as sponsors J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, angle aim Art (Britanya E Rapp), The Turtle Rack Combo (Mezzusa.com), Baltimore City Cues and Billy Ray Bunn Cue Repair. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for May 18-19, will be hosted by First Break Bar & Grill in Sterling, VA.

Corr has to come from the loss side to win her second straight on the JPNEWT

(l to r): Kia Sidbury, Caroline Pao & Karen Corr

In an uncharacteristic path to the winners’ circle, Karen Corr had to come from the loss side to win the August 11-12 stop (#5) on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour. It was Corr’s second straight appearance and win on the tour since it began in March. Though she would advance to the hot seat match, she was sent to the loss side by Caroline Pao (making her first appearance on the 2018 tour). Corr came back from the semifinals to win a nail-biting, double hill match against Pao to claim the event title. The $500-added (by Coins of the Realm) event drew 23 entrants to Triple Nines Bar & Billiards in Elkridge, MD.
 
In addition to Pao, Corr had to face the tour’s #3-ranked player (coming into this event), Kia Sidbury, twice. Corr opened her campaign against Sidbury, downing her 7-1, and would meet her again in the semifinals. Corr then defeated Eugenia Gyftopoulos 7-3 and Kathy Friend 7-2 to draw the tour’s #2-ranked player, Linda Shea, in a winners’ side semifinal. Pao, in the meantime, opened her bid for the event title with a 7-3 victory over the tour’s top-ranked competitor, Nicole King. She sent King to the loss side 7-3 and then shut out Leslie Furr to draw Nicole Monaco in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Corr and Shea came within a game of going double hill, before Corr edged out in front to win 7-5 and advance to the hot seat match. Pao defeated Monaco 7-3 to join her. Pao sent Corr to the semifinals 7-4 to claim the hot seat.
 
Following her loss to Corr, Sidbury embarked on a six-match, loss-side bid for a rematch. She got by Valerie Nolan, Sharon O’Hanlon, Bethany Sykes, and won a double hill match against King to draw Monaco. Shea picked up Elaine Wilson, who’d defeated Lynn Richard 7-5 and Gyftopoulos 7-3 to reach her.
 
Sidbury and Shea advanced to the quarterfinals; Sidbury 7-1 over Monaco and Shea 7-3 over Wilson. Sidbury and Shea fought a double hill match that eventually earned Sidbury her rematch against Corr in the semifinals. Corr gave up only two racks in that semifinal to earn her own rematch against Pao in the finals.
 
In the extended race-to-9 format of the finals, Corr had to (and did) reach seven racks before Pao. They traded racks to an 8-8 tie before Corr broke and ran to capture the event title.
 
The event was a North American Pool Tour (NAPT) Qualifier for the upcoming Desert Challenge, to be hosted by Griff’s Billiards in Las Vegas. With Corr already qualified, Pao picked up the qualifying spot.
 
The results led to a bit of a shakeup among the tour’s top competitors going into the 6th stop on the tour, scheduled for September 15-16, to be hosted by First Break Café and Billiards in Sterling, VA. Tour director Linda Shea and Nicole King switched places; Shea moving into 1st and King, dropping to 2nd. Kia Sidbury, previously tied with Erica Testa (who did not compete), stayed right where she was. Corr, with her second straight win, moved up to 4th place, as Judie Wilson maintained her hold on 5th place in the tour rankings.
 
Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, live stream sponsor – angle aim Art, Mezz USA, and Baltimore City Cues. 

Chinakhov goes undefeated to win 2018 VA State 10-Ball Championships

(l to r): Warren Kiamco, TD Raymond Walters & Ruslan Chinakhov

Atwell goes undefeated to reclaim Ladies title she won in 2016
 
Most players will spend a few hours, sometimes quite a few, practicing at their local pool room before venturing out to compete in a major tournament. Russia’s Ruslan Chinakhov spent two days on the West Coast in what’s been described as a “grueling” one-on-one 10-ball challenge (which he won) against Oscar Dominguez, before showing up 3,000 or so miles away, three days later, to compete in the 2018 VA State 10-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour on the weekend of February 10-11. Chinakhov went undefeated through the field of 64 entrants in the Open portion of the Championships, which were hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA. A concurrently-run Ladies tournament was won by Janet Atwell, who went undefeated through a field of 16 entrants to reclaim the title she’d last won in 2016.
 
Chinakhov faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of this event. He met the Action Pool Tour’s top-ranked player, Reymart Lim in the hot seat match, and in the finals, Warren Kiamco, whom he’d defeated earlier in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Following victories over Joseph Sellechia, Steve Fleming and Donnie Haynes, Chinakhov downed Kiamco 8-5 and moved on to a winners’ side semifinal against John Newton. Lim, in the meantime, who’d won the APT’s season opener, downed Matty Arcuri, Chris Pyle, David Stanley, and Mike Davis to draw Kirill Rutman in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Rutman battled Lim to double hill, but it was Lim who advanced to the hot seat match. Chinakhov joined him after sending Newton to the loss side 8-1. Chinakhov claimed the hot seat with an 8-3 win over Lim and waited on the return of Kiamco.
 
Though this year’s VA State 10-Ball Championships did not include last year’s winner, Dennis Orcollo, it did feature last year’s runner-up (Shaun Wilkie), third place (Larry Kressel), fourth place (Lim), and both 5th place finishers (Newton and Davis). Newton, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal this year drew Davis, who’d survived a double hill battle against Chris Bruner and defeated Kenny Miller 8-1 to reach him. Rutman picked up Kiamco, who, following his defeat at the hands of Chinakhov, stopped Shaun Wilkie’s four-match, loss-side winning streak 8-4, and then eliminated this event’s 2016 champion, Eric Moore 8-1.
 
Kiamco advanced to the quarterfinals 8-2 over Rutman, while Davis was downing Newton 8-2 to join him. Kiamco sent Davis home 8-4 in those quarterfinals; one spot higher than he’d reached last year. Kiamco then downed Lim 8-6 in the semifinals, sending him home one spot higher than he’d finished last year.
 
Chinakhov completed his undefeated run with a commanding 10-3 victory over Kiamco in the finals.
 
Atwell returns to chalk up her third VA State 10-Ball Ladies Championships
 
[photo id=48695|align=right]For two years in a row – 2015/2016 – Janet Atwell and Jacki Duggan were winner and runner-up, respectively, in the Ladies edition of the VA State 10-Ball Championships. Atwell did not compete in 2017, although Duggan did, finishing in the tie for 7th place. Duggan was on hand this year, as well, although she would be shut out by Atwell in the second round, and for the second year in a row, end up in the tie for 7th place. Last year’s champion, Meredith Lynch, showed up to defend her title and finished fourth, just behind Lisa Cossette, who would win three on the loss side before falling to the undefeated Atwell in the finals.
 
Atwell’s path to the winners’ circle proved a little shaky at the outset, as she survived an opening round, double hill match against Falon Newton. Atwell went on to shut out Duggan and then, faced Lynch in a winners’ side semfinal. Nicole King, in the meantime, got by Sierra Reams, and Soo Emmett to face Cossette in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Atwell sent last year’s winner to the loss side 6-1, and was joined in the hot seat match by King, who’d defeated Cossette 6-4. Atwell claimed the hot seat 6-2 over King and waited on Cossette’s return.
 
On the loss side, Cossette picked up Duggan, who’d defeated Judie Wilson and Bethany Sykes, both 6-3, to reach her. Lynch drew Buffy Jolie, who’d shut out two straight opponents – Eugenia Gyftopoulos and Falon Newton – to reach her.
 
The two battles for the right to advance to the quarterfinals went double hill; Cossette downing Duggan, and Lynch eliminating Jolie. So did the quarterfinals, with Cossette eventually moving on to face King. Cossette, who was likely a little tired of the double hill route, gave up only a single rack to King in the semifinals and turned to face Atwell in the finals. Atwell gave up only two to Cossette in the finals to claim her third VA State 10-Ball Ladies Championship.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond BIlliards, as well as sponsors Kamui, Tiger Products, Predator, Viking Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Aramith, SImonis, Ozone Billiards and George Hammerbacher. The next stop on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for March 17-18 will be a Bar Box Bash, hosted by Peninsula Billiards in Newport News, VA.