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Double Gold For Super Russia

Alexandra Guleikova and Kristina Tkach

Russia swept the two gold medals in the team events at the Dynamic Billiards European Championships taking place in Antalya, Turkey. First Russia’s strong men’s team beat Denmark without losing a match in the final and then the ladies’ team sealed a double gold as they beat Germany 2-0.

The Russian ladies’ team consisted of the minimum two players in the shape of the stellar Kristina Tkach and 20 year-old Alexandra Guleikova and they lost just a single match as they went undefeated through the field in the format that involves an 8-ball and 9-ball match followed by a shoot-out if it’s tied at 1-1. There were nine countries in total represented in the event.

After seeing off a strong-looking Polish team 2-0 in the semi-final, they emphatically beat Germany 2-0 for the gold. Earlier, Poland had defeated Germany 2-0 in the last four to relegate the Germans to a bronze.

For Kristina Tkach it was her third team medal at the European Pool Championships while her playing partner, Alexandra Guleikova opened her medal account with a gold.

Commented Tkach, “I think it was a team effort completely. I know Alexandra tried her best and I also tried mine and I was counting on her a lot. It was great to win the team gold and I have further chances in the individual events.

Guleikova added, “It’s a big honour for me. I tried really hard and wanted to play my best and I’m so excited about this!”

Medals – Ladies

Gold –          Russia (K. Tkach, A. Guleikova)
Silver –        Germany (V. Ivanovskaia, I. Kaplan, M. Sussenguth,
Bronze –        Poland (O. Zalewska, M. Zabek)
Sweden (L. Furberg, M. Nguyen, M. Margeta)

Andrey Seroshtan, Konstantin Stepanov, Sergey Lutsker and Fedor Gorst

In the men’s division, there was more dominance from Russia as they won gold in a strong 22 nation field. The team of EC straight pool champ, Fedor Gorst, experienced veteran Konstantin Stepanov, big-breaking Sergey Lutsker and back-up man Andriy Seroshtan was just too strong despite an unexpected snag on the road to gold.

After beating Switzerland in their opening match, they found themselves on the one-loss side of the bracket after an upset win by Portugal in the winner’s qualification round. However, they battled back with a win over Norway before they faced a good-looking Dutch team in the last eight.

Armed with a 2-0 win, Russia then scrapped a 2-1 win over Poland to reach the final where they faced Denmark.

The format features teams with a maximum of five players with only three playing in any one match. The games are 8-ball, 9-ball and 10-ball with the final match not played in the event of a 2-0 win.

The Danes had themselves been dumped into the one-loss side courtesy of a terrific performance from Northern Cyprus. Wins over Croatia, Finland and Turkey saw them through to the quarters where they dispatched Portugal 2-1 before overcoming Germany by a similar scoreline to guarantee silver.

It was the Russians who prevailed though, needing just two wins to get their collective hands on the trophy and secure their first team gold in the history of the championship.

Fedor Gorst, who won his second gold medal of the championships said, “It feels great! Winning the first medal in the team division is always something special. In my opinion it’s always more pressure when you play in a team.

“Even when the last match is there and you’re tied 1-1 and you have to go and win the decider. Much more pressure than individual matches. We’re all happy though, and we’ll celebrate tonight”

For veteran Konstantin Stepanov it was a proud moment: “We’ve been close to the gold in the team division but we’ve never won it. I don’t play that much anymore but I have experience and I still play some good 8 ball and I’m so happy for the younger generation because we won this gold medal altogether with experience and their power. They wanted it so much.”

Finally, Sergey Lutsker added; “I think we won because we have a really good atmosphere in the team. We know each other a lot and practice with each other and Kosta (Stepanov) teaches us a lot.”

Medals – Men

Gold –          Russia – (K.Stepanov, S. Lutsker, F. Gorst, A. Seroshtan)
Silver –        Denmark (A. Madsen, M. Krause, C. Lentz, J. Thyde)
Bronze –        Germany (R. Souquet, T. Hohmann, L. Kukherm)
Poland (W. Szewczyk, M. Fortunski, D. Maciol, T. Kaplan, M. Skoneczny)

All the matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com

Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com

Gorst And Kaplan Are First Champions At Euros 2021

Fedor Gorst and Ina Kaplan

Russia’s Fedor Gorst and Germany’s Ina Kaplan are the straight pool champions at the Dynamic Billiards European Championships taking place in Antalya, Turkey.

Gorst, the 26 year-old Russian, had flown into Turkey following a heavy stint of tournaments in the USA but any signs of fatigue were set aside as he won eight straight matches to secure the first trophy of the annual Euro pool festival.

With 95 players competing in the division, Gorst managed to stay on the winner’s side with some dominant performances. Play resumed today at the last 32 stage and the 21 year-old superstar from Moscow didn’t disappoint as wins against Kim Laaksonen (Finland) and Michael Schneider (Switzerland) took him through to the quarter-finals.

The race moved up from 100 to 125 as Gorst despatched Tim De Ruyter (Netherlands) and then veteran Swiss Dmitri Jungo 125-22 to secure a berth in the final. His opponent, the ever-dangerous Marc Bijsterbosch, had lost his opening match to Alex Montpelier but had battled through the one-loss side, including a big win against fancied Thorsten Hohmann, to reach the last 32.

Wins against Fabio Petroni and a revenge victory over the aforementioned Montpelier (France) put the Dutchman into the medals and a semi-final win over Roman Hybler ensured a show-down with Gorst for the championship.

It was the Russian who controlled the game though for a 125-11 win for the title.

“I’ve just come back from the USA after a few tournaments there but I’m a professional and totally dedicated to the sport, so I can only give 100% whatever the circumstances.

“I’m excited to have won the first men’s gold of the championships, but now it’s time to get some rest and prepare myself for the 8 ball,” added Gorst.

Medals – Men

Gold – Fedor Gorst (RUS)
Silver – Marc Bijsterbosch (NED)
Bronze – Dimitri Jungo (SUI)
Roman Hybler (CZS)

In the ladies’ division, revenge was sweet for Germany’s Ina Kaplan as she headed the field of 36 players to take the gold medal in the ladies’ straight pool, her first gold in her long history in the championships. Kaplan, 34, had been bounced into the loser’s side 75-31 by Spain’s Amalia Matas in the winner’s qualification round. She battled through though, beating Monika Zabec (Poland) in the quarters and then compatriot, Tina Vogelmann in the semi-finals to set up her second match against Matas for the title. It was a very close one with Kaplan reaching the magic 75 with her opponent stranded on 69.

Commented Kaplan, “Straight pool is not my major discipline. In 9 ball and 10 ball I had three finals and always lost. My mind was going crazy. Finally, I got it now so I’m over the moon! I never ever thought my first gold would come in straight pool – it’s a miracle, I think!

“I don’t play straight pool that much. I practised before this tournament as I wanted to get off to a good start. Yesterday I didn’t play that well but it was getting better and better and now I’m standing here with the gold medal. Never give up, always play your heart out and believe in yourself!” see added.

Medals – Ladies

Gold – Ina Kaplan (GER)
Silver – Amalia Matas (ESP)
Bronze – Tina Vogelmann (GER)
Tamara Rademakers (NED)

Matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com

Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com

International 9-Ball Open Final Sixteen Set to Compete Today

Max Lechner (Karl Kantrowitz)

The International 9-Ball Open is now down to just sixteen players in the final single elimination bracket. The final sixteen undefeated players in the first stage of the event were redrawn into the single elimination stage, with each of those players being randomly drawn to face one of the final sixteen players with one loss from stage one. All of those players had one match on Wednesday night and that leaves the event with sixteen players. 

That first round of single elimination matches spelled the end of the line for sixteen players, including reigning champion Jayson Shaw, Mosconi Cup Team Member Earl Strickland, Alex Pagulayan, Ralf Souquet, Young Gun Nathan Childress and World #1 ranked Aloysius Yapp. Yapp’s elimination was a quick and painless one, with Austria’s Max Lechner scoring a decisive 10-4 win in the final feature match of the night. 

Second round matches lined up Thursday include Lechner vs Mika Immonen, Albin Ouschan vs Joshua Filler, Shane Van Boening vs Wiktor Zielinski and Fedor Gorst vs Dennis Orcollo. 

In addition to the eight matches today in the Open 9-Ball event, the Junior Invitational Championship kicks off today, with sixteen of the top male and eight of the top female juniors in the country competing. 

Follow all of the action with Live Scoring and online brackets for the 9-Ball, Boys Junior 9-Ball and Girls Junior 9-Ball. AzBilliards is working along with digitalpool.com to help put those brackets online.

The International 9-Ball Open will continue play all of this week and can be watched as part of the online PPV for this event at https://www.onsitepool.com/accustats/. For the first time in the history of this event, fans can watch action on any table as part of the PPV coverage.

International 9-Ball Open Second Stage Underway

Alex Pagulayan (Karl Kantrowitz)

The International 9-Ball Open is now into the single elimination second stage of the brackets. The top sixteen undefeated players will now face a random player drawn from the final sixteen players with one loss.

The first matches to take place are…

Jayson Shaw vs Naoyuki Oi
Earl Strickland vs Denis Grabe
Shane Wolford vs Fedor Gorst
Dennis Orcollo vs Alex Pagulayan
Omar Al Shaheen vs Hunter Lombardo

The remaining players will be drawn later in the day.

All players at this stage of the event are guaranteed prize money, with players losing in the round pocketing $1000.

Follow all of the action with Live Scoring and online brackets for the 9-Ball. AzBilliards is working along with digitalpool.com to help put those brackets online.

The International 9-Ball Open will continue play all of this week and can be watched as part of the online PPV for this event at https://www.onsitepool.com/accustats/. For the first time in the history of this event, fans can watch action on any table as part of the PPV coverage.

Joshua Filler completes a strong week at the tables to win American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships

Joshua Filler (File photo courtesy Euro Tour)

Germany’s Joshua and Pia Filler – The Killer Fillers – finished their week in Virginia Beach, VA by appearing in both finals of the 16th Annual American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships. Joshua faced Russia’s Fedor Gorst in the Men’s final, while Pia met an undefeated Kelly Fisher, playing in her first professional straight pool tournament (see separate report on the Ladies event). Joshua downed Gorst to claim the men’s title, while Pia finished as the Ladies event runner-up to Fisher.

Joshua finished 9-1, overall. He lost his last Round Robin match to Alex Kazakis in what proved to be one of the closest matches of the week 125-114. He also finished with a +897 ball differential, in spite of that single loss. That differential was boosted substantially by his 125-to-minus-one match against Alex Pagulayan and his 150-and-out match against arguably the strongest European competitor in attendance, Albin Ouschan. His opponents averaged about 48 balls per match, even with Kazakis’ 125 balls in that last Round Robin match.

Day Five of the Championships began at noon today (Saturday) with four semifinal matches; two each in the Men’s and Ladies events. Filler faced Mieszko Fortunski in one of the men’s semifinals, while the event’s defending champion (from 2019), Ruslan Chinahov squared off against countryman Fedor Gorst. 

Filler eliminated Fortunski 150-59, as Gorst was busy spoiling Chinahov’s plans for a second straight title 150-96. Filler got out in front in the finals versus Gorst and stayed there, finishing at 150-89 to claim the title.

In a brief award ceremony at the end – of the match and week – event founder Peter Barrows, as he’d done after the Ladies had completed their final match, thanked all of the players who’d attended and to the agreement of those who’d gathered in the gallery to watch the final match, told everyone that it was “nice to see straight pool coming back.” He advised everyone that the 17th Annual 14.1 Straight Pool Championship was “going to be bigger and better.”

“It’s one of the best events I’ve ever played in,” Joshua Filler commented, adding that the last time he played in a straight pool tournament was six years ago, when he entered the World Tournament of Straight Pool in New York, at which he finished fifth. 

Filler particularly liked the group stage of this event, which guaranteed participants at least five matches.

“Sometimes when you play straight pool,” he said, “you get two opponents who play straight to 100 and you’re out already.”

“(Straight pool) is my favorite game and I love to play it,” he added. “I wish we had more tournaments (with it).”

As Kelly Fisher had noted about her victory in the ladies event, Filler, too, found room for improvement. Though he conceded that his shot-making at this event was “just good enough to win,” there’s work to be done.

“To be honest,” he said, “my straight pool game needs to be improved, especially with my break shots, because (here) I misjudged every break shot. I really need to put more time into it and next year, I’ll be much better.”

Peter Burrows thanked the ownership and staff at Q Master Billiards for their hospitality, and the combined efforts of AZBTv and IStreamPool, which, in spite of a few Internet connection glitches during the week, kept the free live stream running smoothly and afforded (literally) thousands of viewers to watch the events unfold. Over 600 watched the Men’s finals and 2,300 (+/-) watched the two semifinals. A match early in the week, featuring Shane Van Boening and Earl Strickland drew over 4,000 viewers.

Burrows also thanked a number of individual and corporate sponsors, including but not restricted to Iwan Simonis, Aramith Billiard Balls, the Predator Group, Bob Jewett, Dennis M. Walsh (attorney at law), Billiards Digest, George Hart, Doug Desmond, John Lavin of Red Shoes Billiards, Richard Klein, Diamond Billiard Products, Rebecca Snow Burrows & Erik R. Addington, Michael Frank, Alex Borukhovich, Alan Duty (Gem Laser Printing), Nick Varner Cues & Cases, Richard Eselman, Bob & Vicki Paski and Ned & Karen Redick.

Defending champ still standing as semifinals set for American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships

Ruslan Chinakhov

Filler highlights Day Four with 156-0 victory over Albin Ouschan

And then there were four. And four.

Highlighted by a 156-0 run by Joshua Filler that took just over half an hour, the men battled for most of Day Four at the American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships to arrive at the event’s final four. At noon today (Sat., Oct. 23), Filler will meet Mieszko Fortunski in the event’s semifinals. Defending champion Ruslan Chinahov will take on Fedor Gorst at the same time. The men’s semifinals will coincide with the women’s semifinals, both of which will be streamed live in a collaboration between AZBTv and IStreamPool that will allow people to watch both of the men’s and women’s semifinals. 

The women played their first single elimination round last night (Friday), after a long day settling on the ‘who is and who isn’t’ advancing question (more on this later, as results occur).

As far as we have been able to determine, the 156-0 run by Joshua Filler was the first such 150-ball run (Filler dropped six balls after he’d hit 150) in a professional 14.1 straight pool setting since 1992, when Mike Sigel took down Mike Zuglan in the finals of the then 14.1 Straight Pool Championships in New York. There appeared to be some disagreement about this among the gathered crowd, but nobody disputed that it was a remarkable achievement. And it put Filler into the semifinals against Mieszko Fortunski at noon today (Saturday), Mieszko having defeated Wiktor Zielinski 150-44 in their quarterfinal matchup.

The other story of the quarterfinals was the advancement of the event’s defending champion, Ruslan Chinahov, who defeated Max Lechner 150-65. That will put him up against Fedor Gorst, who’d defeated Oliver Szolnoki 150-110 to become the tightest battle of the event quarterfinal.

The final round of the Round Robin stage of the Ladies event started at 5 p.m. It finished up around 9:30, when Janet Atwell and Bethany Sykes closed out a 4-hour-plus struggle that had kept three or four women wondering if they’d qualify for the opening round of single elimination. There were at least three women ‘on the bubble’ and as they and the already-qualified gathered and chatted at the restaurant/bar, the Atwell/Sykes battle kept going, a room away.  The different win/loss scenarios at work in the Atwell/Sykes match would have an impact on the overall win/loss records, head-to-head matches and point differentials of all who hoped to advance and in professional sports parlance, they were relaxed and enjoying themselves, but engaging in a little ‘scoreboard watching,’ too.

Among the women who knew they’d qualified for advancement to the women’s final eight before the Atwell/Sykes match ended were the ones who’d finished 1st in their group; Kelly Fisher (4-0), Brittany Bryant (4-0), and Pia Filler (3-1). Three of the Pia Filler, Liz Taylor, Kia Burwell, Dawn Hopkins and April Larson group went 3-1, with Filler and Larson getting the automatic advance on the basis of their record, and overall better point differential. Filler at 113 and Larson at 96, had each dropped that many more balls than their opponents during the round robin phase. Hopkins advanced as a ‘wild card’ because she was the only competitor among all those who finished third in their groups with a 3-1 record.

Monica Webb, in Kelly Fisher’s group finished 2nd with a 3-1 record and advanced automatically. The final 2nd place finish and 2nd ‘wild card’ would await the finish of the Atwell/Sykes match. Without delving too deeply into the calculations, Mary Rakin Tam, Gail Eaton and of course, Atwell herself were invested in how that final Round Robin match played out.

Atwell won, 80-68 to finish 2nd in her group and advance automatically. Mary Rakin Tam picked up the 2nd ‘wild card’ slot, having allowed her opponents 20 balls less than Gail Eaton’s opponents had allowed her.

Less than an hour later, the first round of the first ladies single elimination phase got underway. 

Mary Rakin Tam tossed a wry grin and a raise of her eyebrows to the fact that she hadn’t even known she was going to advance, and then, realized that she’d drawn Kelly Fisher in the first single elimination round. Atwell made do with the short break she got and squared off against Pia Filler. April Larson faced Monica Webb and the undefeated Brittany Bryant took on the ‘wild card’ from the Filler, Taylor, Burwell, Hopkins and Larson group, Dawn Hopkins.

Kelly Fisher earned her spot in the noontime today (Saturday) semifinals with an 80-32 win over Mary Rakin Tam. Fisher will face April Larson, who downed Monica Webb in the tightest quarterfinal match 80-65. 

Hopkins defeated the previously undefeated Brittany Bryant 80-46. In the semifinals, Hopkins will meet Pia Filler, who defeated Janet Atwell 80-62.

So, to recap. . . Men’s and women’s semifinals at noon, women’s finals at 3 p.m. and men’s finals at 6 p.m. All will be streamed live on IStreamPool’s  and AZBTv’s Facebook, with links to be found on the 14.1 Straight Pool Championship Facebook page. 

Van Boening Runs 210 at American 14.1 Straight Pool Day One

Shane Van Boening

Following a 2020 COVID cancellation, the 16th edition of the American 14.1 Straight Pool Championship returned to action today in Virginia Beach VA at Q Masters Billiards in the fabulous spectator friendly 15 table tournament room. The 2019 tournament was also played at this venue. One of the strongest fields ever assembled for this event were on hand to kick off the 5 day event at noon on Tuesday, all vying for a piece of the $43,000 purse. There is an additional prize awarded to the player who achieves the highest run of the tournament. Any player who has an active run of 100 or more when they close out their match can continue shooting in an attempt to post the high run.

The 48 man field was seeded into 6 levels then split into 8 flights; each flight contains a player from each level (total 6 players per flight). The top 8 seeded players are Shane Van Boening, Ruslan Chinahov (2019 champion), Joshua Filler, Thorsten Hohmann, Fedor Gorst, Darren Appleton, Max Lechner and Albin Ouschan. Each flight will play a round-robin format with races to 125. The top 3 players in each flight then advance to the 24 man single elimination phase of the tournament. All flight winners will receive a first round bye.

Of the top seeds, only Van Boening, Lechner and Ouschan got through day 1 without a loss. Other players that went 2-0 today were Bader Alawadhi, John Morra, Alex Pagulayan, Alex Kazakis, Mieszko Fortunski, Mario He, Mika Immonen, Wiktor Zielinski, Corey Deuel, Aloysius Yapp and Ralph Souquet.

The spotlight player of the day was clearly Van Boening. This is the first time Shane has ever competed in this tournament. But don’t let that fool you – he can flat out play 14.1 as his record in this discipline over the past several years clearly bears this out. He faced Dennis Grabe in his first match where he executed a 94 ball run in the 4th inning to assume control of the match then closed it out in 5, 125-39. He then faced Lee Van Corteza in his second match. Lee Van cleared the first rack, but missed the breakball to open up the second rack. Van Boening stepped to the table and calming ran 15 racks totaling 210 balls to take the game while setting an all-time tournament record of balls run, and in the process treated the capacity crowd to a memorable experience. The previous record was held be Niels Feijen at 176. Shane’s run ended when his position for the breakball of the 16th rack left him with an impossible cut.

Van Boening wasn’t the only player producing high runs on Tuesday. Mika Immonen checked in with a 182 in his second match. That effort was followed by Wiktor Zielinski with a 194 in his match with Fedor Gorst. The run ended on a makeable breakball that failed to find the pocket. The combination of high level 14.1 talent along with the superb playing conditions provided by Q Masters virtually ensures the high runs to continue.

Play resumes Wednesday at noon EST as 2 more round-robin matches are played. Free streaming is available on the American 14.1 Facebook page, the AZBtv Facebook page and from Istreampool on Youtube. Online brackets are available at Cuescore.com. All matches are played on Diamond Pro-Am tables with Simonis 866 cloth and Predator balls. Corner pockets are 4.5” and the sides are 5”.

Hall wins second set of double elimination final to win Cuetec Banks at Omega Diamond Open

Brett Garson from Cuetec Cues, Justin Hall and Mike Hoang (Photo courtesy Mike Lear)

In 2012, Justin Hall, at the age of 25, downed Alex Pagulayan in the Banks division finals of the 1st Annual Southern Classic in Tunica, MS. He also won that event’s One Pocket division and went home with the event’s Master of the Table title. At the time, Russia’s Fedor Gorst, Hall’s opponent in the Cuetec Banks division finals of the 1st Annual Omega Diamond Open in Aiken, SC this past weekend (Sept. 29-30), was 12 years old.

Of the 41 entrants who competed and cashed in that first Southern Classic in Tunica, six of them, including Pagulayan, were in the house to compete in Aiken, SC; Warren Kiamco, Dennis Orcollo, Mike Delawder, and among the 15 competitors who finished in the tie for 27th place in Tunica, were Shane Van Boening and John Morra. Hall and Morra met up in the hot seat match this past weekend. The $3,000-added event, requiring players to call both the pocket and the number of rails to be employed in a table-race to five balls for a game win, drew 32 entrants to The Rack & Grill III in Aiken.

After an opening round shutout over Bader Alawahdi, Hall ran through a triple gauntlet of the sport’s top players. He survived a double hill match against Jayson Shaw and made short work of Billy Thorpe 4-1 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Sky Woodward. Morra, in the meantime, who had also opened with a shutout (vs. Josh Roberts), got by Billy Burke 4-2 and sent Van Boening to the loss side 4-1, arriving at his winners’ side semifinal versus against Gorst. 

Hall got into the hot seat match with a double hill win over Woodward and was joined by Morra, who’d sent Gorst to the loss side 4-2, for what would turn out to be an eventual rematch in the semifinals. Hall shut Morra out in the hot seat match.

On the loss side, Woodward ran into Jayson Shaw, intent on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Naoyuki Oi 4-2 and Van Boening 4-1. Gorst drew Mike Delawder (already doing better than he had in Tunica, 12 years ago), who’d lost his opening round match to Tony Chohan and was working on his own five-match, loss-side run that included the double hill elimination of Billy Thorpe and a 4-2 win over Louis Demarco.

Woodward stopped Shaw’s run and Gorst finished Delawder’s by the same 4-2 score. Gorst then defeated Woodward 4-1 in the quarterfinals. The second Tunica-competitor-versus-Gorst match, the semifinal rematch between Gorst and Morra, went double hill, before Gorst prevailed to face Hall in the finals. 

Gorst handed Hall his first loss of the event in the opening set of the true double elimination final, which went double hill before Gorst forced a second set. Hall won the second set 4-2 to claim the event title. 

Fisher/Van Boening down Tkach/Gorst in finals of Omega Diamond Open Scotch Doubles

Mike Hoang, Allison Fisher and Shane Van Boening

The finals of the Omega Billiards Diamond Open’s $7,500-added Mixed Doubles Invitational got underway late on Saturday night (Oct. 2) and some of the wear and tear of five straight days of high-level competition for its four participants was starting to show. It had no apparent effect on their quality of play, but it made for a very deliberate pace. The team of Shane Van Boening and Allison went undefeated through the field of teams to claim the event title. The competition, one of three still being contested at the week-long event, drew eight teams of two to The Rack & Grill III in Aiken, SC.

Scotch Doubles is the only type of competitive play that allows between-shots chit-chat and part of the fun of watching Allison Fisher and Shane Van Boening compete against Fedor Gorst and Kristina Tkach was witnessing the way that the two (relative) youngsters and the two (relatively) older veterans used their time between shots.

Gorst and Tkach had a tendency to roam, moving around the 9 ft. Diamond table, sometimes communicating across the felt, as they discussed where they wanted their partner to leave the cue ball for the next shot, if it came. They’d exchange words back and forth for a while and then, when the matter was settled, the shooting partner would step into the shot. Van Boening and Fisher would get together at one spot on the table, usually near one of the short rails, side by side. They’d exchange maybe two or three words, sometimes turning their heads to make eye contact, nod in agreement and one of them would step to the table and execute. 

As befitted their professional history, you couldn’t tell by watching them whether Van Boening and Fisher were ahead by a number of racks or stepping to the table at a double hill juncture, on the brink of losing. To their credit, Tkach and Gorst stayed within themselves well, even as their elders took command of the match about halfway through it.

The event got underway on Thursday night, with Van Boening/Fisher downing Naoyuki Oi and Sakura Muramatsu 7-1. They awoke the following morning to face Dennis Orcollo and Jennifer Baretta. A 7-3 win in that contest set them up to face the Filler family, Mr. and Mrs. (Joshua and Pia). Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the bracket, The Lion, Alex Pagulayan, and the five-time BEF Junior National Champion (aka The Grinder), April Larson, began their trek toward the hot seat, opening with a 7-4 win over Roland Garcia and Bethany Sykes. They then dispatched the team of Jayson Shaw and Caroline Pao 7-3 to arrive at their winners’ side semifinal versus Sky Woodward and Monica Webb, the team that had sent Tkach and Gorst to the loss side in the opening round.

Van Boening/Fisher got into the hot seat match 7-4 over the Fillers, as The Lion & Grinder sent Woodward and Webb west 7-5. Van Boening/Fisher made short work of Pagulayan and Larson (7-1) and sat in the hot seat, waiting for Tkach and Gorst to complete their six-match, loss-side winning streak. 

That streak opened against Dennis Grabe and Janet Atwell and after eliminating them 7-2, moved on to shut out Roland Garcia/Bethany Sykes and give up only a single rack to the Woodward/Webb team. They then defeated the Fillers 7-5 in the quarterfinals and Pagulayan/Larson 7-2 for a shot at the South Dakota Kid and The Duchess of Doom in the finals.

As noted above, as a result of a general lack of high-wire tension in the atmosphere of Scotch Doubles, one might never have known that these two teams were competing for all of the proverbial marbles in an event final; cool, calm and collected with no drama.

They opened by trading racks to a 3-3 tie, after which Tkach/Gorst took what would prove to be their last lead. At 3-4, Van Boening and Fisher took command, and as with the general atmosphere, it did not entail any dramatic shooting, beyond the occasional and almost-anticipated evidence that this was not the couple’s first rodeo. They won four in a row, methodically, and all smiles and handshakes, claimed the Scotch Doubles title.

Gomez goes undefeated to claim 10-ball title in inaugural Omega Diamond Open

Roberto Gomez

Late September through the end of October has become something of a magnet for tournaments following the World 10-Ball Championship & US Open Pool Championship and leading up to Pat Fleming’s International Open in Norfolk, VA, scheduled this year for the week of October 22-30. Players from around the world come to the US and in the hopes of killing the proverbial two (or three or four) birds with a single stone (trip), move about the country, hoping to win a little extra cash as they move geographically toward the International Open.

If the winners’ side final four of the $10,000-added, 10-ball tournament is any indication, the 1st Annual Omega Diamond Open in Aiken, SC is in for one hell of a week of non-stop pool. The field of 32 entrants began its quest for the Open’s first 10-ball title on Tuesday (Sept. 28th) and concluded on Wednesday night. The field worked its way down to that final four on the winners’ side and featured the eventual winner, Roberto Gomez, battling Dennis Orcollo, as Alex Pagulayan and Fedor Gorst squared off in the other one.

The hot seat match between Gomez and Gorst, their first of two, went double hill, sending Gorst to the semifinals and leaving Gomez in the hot seat .

Waiting for the defeated players from those two matches (Orcollo and Pagulayan) were Joshua Filler and Mario He, who’d just defeated, respectively, Jayson Shaw and Hungary’s Oliver Szolnoki. The winners’ side final four proved to be the end of the line for The Lion and Dennis Orcollo, as Filler downed Pagulayan and He eliminated Orcollo.

Filler downed He in the quarterfinals 7-2, but had his run stopped by Gorst 7-3 in the semifinals. The rematch between Gorst and Gomez in the true double elimination finals needed only a single set, won by Gomez 7-4 to become the 1st Annual Omega Diamond Open’s first player to claim an event title.

As we ‘speak,’ the $3,000-added Banks Open Division is underway. Further reports will follow.

Later this evening (Thursday, Sept. 30), the $7,500-added 9-Ball Mixed Doubles Invitational will get going, as will the $10,000-added One Pocket tournament. Beginning on Saturday (Oct. 2), the $10,000-added 9-Ball main event will begin, as will the $2,500-added Ladies 9-Ball Open.