Archive Page

Gabriel goes undefeated, chalks up first major tour win on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Junior Gabriel

Junior Gabriel has cashed on five occasions on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour over the past five years. He’s been runner-up twice – to Hunter White (2019) and Gary South (2020) – and this past weekend (Oct. 30-31), he broke through to win his first tour event. He went undefeated through a not-insubstantial field of 52 entrants at the $500-added event, hosted by West End Billiards in Gastonia, NC.

Gabriel battled Steve Ellis twice in the event. He and Ellis advanced to face each other in one of the winners’ side semifinal matches, while Graham Swinson and Jonjon Newman (brother to room owner Josh Newman) squared off in the other one. Gabriel moved on to his first (recorded) hot seat match with a 6-4 win over Ellis, as Swinson was sending Newman to the loss side 8-2. Gabriel’s trip to the winner’s circle was almost sidetracked when Swinson battled him to double hill, but Gabriel prevailed to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Ellis picked up Josh Heeter, who’d defeated Beth Allen 9-3 and, in the first money round, Clay Davis 9-2. Newman drew Billy Fowler, who also assured himself of a cash finish by eliminating Matt Lucas 10-4 and then, double hill, Dalton Messer 10-5.

Newman and Ellis got back on track with respective victories over Fowler (6-3) and Heeter (6-4). Ellis then defeated Newman in the quarterfinals 6-3. Ellis defeated Swinson by the same 6-3 score in the semifinals.

Swinson had almost sidetracked Gabriel’s first major win in the hot seat match. Ellis almost derailed it in the finals, putting up a double hill fight in the straight-up race to 6. But Gabriel hung on to win it and claim his first (recorded) title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Josh Newman and his West End Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Diamond Brat, Federal Savings Bank’s Mortgage Division and AZBilliards. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 5-7), will be a double event. The 9th Annual NC State 9-Ball Championships, which will be hosted by Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC, will feature a $1,500-added Open and a $500-added Ladies tournament. 

Swinson & Knuckles split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop

Graham Swinson

In a tournament that featured a number of junior national champions, Graham Swinson, who’s been playing on the Viking Cues Q City 9-Ball Tour since he was 12 in 2013, went undefeated to the hot seat and then, in collaboration with Justin Knuckles, opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. The $250-added event drew 17 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC.

Having sent Knuckles to the loss side in the second round, Swinson advanced through the field to a winners’ side semifinal match versus Bethany Tate, 14, who was the BEF Junior National Champion in 2018 (Girls 11 & Under) and was on-hand with two of her siblings; younger sister, Noelle (11, whom Knuckles defeated in the opening round) and older brother, Joey, a regular on the tour and a two-time BEF Junior National Champion (’17 & ’18, 14 & Under Boys). Jorge Ramos, in the meantime, squared off against Kenny Daughtrey in the other winners’ side semifinal. 

Swinson shut Bethany Tate out and in the hot seat match, faced Ramos, who’d sent Daughtrey to the loss side 7-1. Swinson claimed the hot seat 8-5 in what would prove to be his last match.

On the loss side, as the event moved into the battles for 5th/6th place, there was a ‘buzz in the air’ regarding the possibility that Joey and Bethany Tate might face each other in the quarterfinals. Daughtrey drew Joey, who’d eliminated Walter Berry, double hill, and Ron Sellers 8-3 to reach him. Bethany Tate had picked up Justin Knuckles, three matches into the loss-side winning streak that would take him into the finals (that weren’t). The siblings went out together; Joey, falling to Kenny Daughtrey 6-4 and Bethany, eliminated by Knuckles 6-1.

Knuckles completed his six-match, loss-side winning streak with back-to-back 6-3 victories, over Daughtrey in the quarterfinals and Ramos in the semifinals. At that point, Knuckles and Swinson opted out of the final, split the cash and called it a night.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Mickey Milligan’s, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Diamond Brat, Federal Savings Bank’s Mortgage Division and AZBilliards. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Sept. 3-5, will encompass two separate tournaments – a $500-added Ladies Open and a $1,000-added Open (for all) 9-Ball on Diamond tables at Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, NC.

Ussery and Bumgarner split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop

BJ Ussery

Since he began 2020 with a 5th/6th place finish (tied with John Gabriel) behind Sky Woodward, Dennis Orcollo, Jeffrey DeLuna and Josh Roberts at the Music City Classic’s Open event in January, BJ Ussery has been on a roll, albeit one that’s stumbled a bit thanks to the pandemic. Though he would finish as runner-up in a Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball event in early February, winning the opening set of a true double elimination final to Billy Walker, but dropping the title-winning second set, Ussery went on to win his next three; the VA State 10-Ball Championships, and two stops on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, including last week’s (June 13-14) 1st Annual Brian James Memorial. He made it four in a row with a second straight ‘asterisk’ victory this past weekend (June 20-21). Ussery and Mike Bumgarner (who’d won the June 6-7 stop on the tour at the same location) opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Ussery claimed the official win. The event drew 39 entrants to Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC.

Their first and only encounter, battling for the hot seat, followed a 7-1 victory for Bumgarner over Sammy Manley and a 12-5 win for Ussery versus Graham Swinson. Ussery took what proved to be the title match 12-2 over Bumgarner and sat in the hot seat.

On the loss side, Manley picked up Matt Harrell, who’d defeated Matt Lucas 7-2 and Stevie McClinton 7-4 to reach him. Swinson drew Hunter Zayas, who’d recently eliminated Cameron Hollingsworth (elder half-brother to junior player Landon Hollingsworth) 5-2.

In the first money round, battling for 5th/6th, Manley and Swinson got right back to work and advanced to the quarterfinals; Manley, with a double hill win (5-6) over Harrell and Swinson 7-3 over Zayas. Swinson then downed Manley 7-2 in those quarterfinals.

In what was the final match of the day on Sunday (an Open event, which was scheduled for Sunday, did not materialize), Bumgarner foiled Swinson’s hope for a  rematch against Ussery with a 7-5 victory in the semifinals. Ussery and Bumgarner negotiated their split of the top two prizes, with Ussery claiming the official event title.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Randolph Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards, and 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 (June 27-28) will be hosted by Pal’s Billiards in Piedmont, SC.

Reymart Lim comes back from hot seat loss to claim Action Pool Tour season opener

(l to r): Reymart Lim & Nathan Childress

It marked the second year in a row that Reymart Lim had won the Action Pool Tour’s (APT) season opener at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA. Last year at this time, he went undefeated through a field of 49 to win his first of two APT events; the second came in March. This year, there was just a little hitch in his get-along, as he succumbed to Nathan Childress in the battle for the hot seat and had to come back from a semifinal versus 2019’s Tour Champion, Chris Bruner, for a second shot at Childress. He took that second shot and won the match to claim his first 2020 title. In the past four years, Lim has finished, in order, 29th, 13th, 5th and 4th in the APT’s final tour standings. If he’s looking to improve (and why wouldn’t he be?), this could be the year he secures that APT Tour Champion title. Winning this event that drew 53 entrants to Q Master Billiards on the weekend of January 18-19 was a good start.
 
Lim got a bye out of a preliminary round and started his march to the winners’ circle with an 8-1 victory over Graham Swinson. He then defeated Bill Duggan 8-4 and Johnathan Syphanthavong 8-3 to draw a winners’ side semifinal match against Scott Roberts, who finished two spots below him on last year’s tour standings list. Childress, in the meantime, who was the Billiards Education Foundation’s 14-and-under Junior National Champion two years in a row (’15 & ’16) and was looking to secure what would be (according to our records) his first major regional tour title, opened with an 8-5 victory over RJ Carmona, who finished one step above Lim last year. After Carmona, Childress sent Jason Trigo (double hill), Reggie Jackson (8-4) and another junior player, Shane Wolford (8-4) to the loss side to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Bruner.
 
Childress sent Bruner west 8-6 and in the hot seat match, faced Lim, who’d defeated Roberts, double hill. Childress claimed the hot seat 8-4 and waited in it for Lim to get back from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Bruner picked up Nilbert Lim (no relation to Reymart, although a close friend), who’d lost a double hill match to Scott Roberts in the second winners’ side round and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had most recently included two victories in which he’d allowed his opponents only a single rack, combined; none to Syphanthavong and one to Mac Harrell. Roberts drew David Hunt (5th in the 2019 standings), who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal match to Bruner and gone on to defeat David Givens, double hill and Shane Wolford 7-4.
 
Roberts moved on to the quarterfinals with a 7-2 win over Hunt. Bruner, flexing his muscles a bit, shut Nilbert Lim out to join him. Bruner then defeated Roberts 7-5 in those quarterfinals.
 
Reymart Lim stepped into the semifinal ‘frame,’ flexing a few muscles of his own. He gave up only a single rack to Bruner, to earn himself a second shot at Childress.
 
Childress didn’t give up his shot at his first major ‘pro’ title easily. He fought tooth and nail to double hill before Lim sealed his first 2020 victory 10-9.
 
A Second Chance event drew eight entrants. It was won by Graham Swinson, who came back from a 5-2 hot seat loss to shut Johnathan Syphanthavong out 6-0.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Q Master Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Aramith Balls, Simonis Cloth. Viking Cues, Brown’s Mechanical LLC, Kamui, Diamond Billiard Products, Ozone Billiards, CSI, Grant Wylie Photography and George Hammerbacher, Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the 2020 APT, scheduled for February 15-16, will be the VA State 10-Ball Championships, hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.

Bruner wins seven on the loss side to down Shuff and take Brown’s Mechanical 9-Ball Open

Chris Bruner

At the mid-point of the Action Pool Tour’s 2019 season on the weekend of June 15-16, there was a little shuffling among the tour’s top players, spearheaded by a strong, come-from-the-loss-side performance by Chris Bruner, who backed up his runner-up performance in Stop #5 with a victory over Brandon Shuff in the finals of Stop #6 – The Brown’s Mechanical 9-Ball Open, which drew 38 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.
 
A player’s position in the tour rankings is based on a formula which assigns specific points to a player’s finish in an event (20 points for 1st, 19 for 2nd, 18 for 3rd, etc.) times the number of entrants in a given tournament. In addition to the points assigned at an individual event, a player’s position on the list is also affected by the number of times he/she competes on the tour.
 
In the absence of three of the tour’s top five players at this most recent event (#1 RJ Carmona, #3 Reymart Lim and #4 Liz Taylor), Bruner, who entered the tournament in the fifth spot on the tour rankings advanced two spots to #3, while Steve Fleming, who entered the tournament as the #2-ranked player (having appeared in all six of the tour’s stops) was able to advance ahead of RJ Carmona to take the top spot. With only 1360 points separating 1st place from 5th place, these positions are likely to change in the second half of the 2019 APT season.
 
With Carmona, Lim and Taylor absent, the door was open for Fleming to advance to the top spot from the beginning, but he was sent to the loss side 8-6 in the second round by Brandon Shuff. Shuff advanced to shut out Jared Pitts and face Shorty Davis in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Two rounds earlier, Davis, appearing in his second event on the tour, was responsible for sending Bruner to the loss side 8-3, and then, sending perennial favorite and perennially competitive Shaun Wilkie over 8-6. James Blackburn, in the meantime, got by Hai Chi, Dave Hunt and David Hairfield to face Shane Buchanan in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Shuff downed Davis 8-2 and was joined in the hot seat match by Blackburn, who’d defeated Buchanan 8-5. Shuff, making his third appearance on this year’s tour, got into the hot seat and guaranteed himself a major jump in the tour rankings (from #24 to #9) with an 8-6 victory over Blackburn.
 
On the loss side, Shorty Davis ran into an immediate re-match against Bruner, who was four matches into his seven-match, loss-side winning streak, which had included, most recently, victories over Graham Swinson 7-1 and John Jordan 7-2. Buchanan picked up Larry Kressel, who was five matches into his own loss-side winning streak, which had begun with an opening round loss to Jared Pitts. He’d most recently eliminated Shaun Wilkie 7-5 and Dave Hunt 7-1. In the previous round, Hunt had spoiled a potential Kressel/Pitts re-match by defeating Pitts 7-1.
 
Bruner had a successful rematch against Davis, downing him 7-4. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Kressel, who’d eliminated Buchanan 7-2. With Bruner looking for his sixth straight loss-side win, and Kressel looking for his seventh, the quarterfinal was a somewhat predictable double hill match. Bruner ended Kressel’s run with the win and earned himself a shot at Shuff in the hot seat with a 7-2 victory over Blackburn in the semifinals.
 
As it turned out, Shuff was going to move into the 9th spot in the tour rankings, regardless of the result of the final match. Bruner, as well, would advance to 3rd place, regardless of the outcome. They battled to within a game of double hill, before Bruner edged out in front near the end of the final to win it 10-8.
 
A Second Chance event drew six entrants, which elicited more of a highly competitive tournament than one might normally expect from such a small field. Brian Sewell and Graham Swinson met in the second winners’ side round, with Swinson shutting Sewell out. Swinson moved on to occupy the hot seat. Sewell played and won two loss-side matches for a second shot at him and took full advantage, downing Swinson, double hill, to claim the Second Chance title.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards for their hospitality, as well as the event’s title sponsor Brown’s Mechanical LLC, CSI, Viking Cues, Predator Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Ozone Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Balls, Kamui, Chix Cabinets, and George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor). The next stop on the Action Pool Tour (#7), scheduled for the weekend of July 13-14, will be the APT Bar Box 10-Ball Open, hosted by Peninsula Billiards in Newport News, VA.

West comes from the loss side to win his second Bob Stocks Memorial title

Kevin West (Grant Wylie Photography)

The annual Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament, held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour, has developed something of a reputation for crowning new winners every year. Until this most recent, 13th annual tournament, only one competitor, Shaun Wilkie, had ever won it twice. On the weekend of April 13-14, Kevin West became the second. Having won this event in 2017, and after skipping the following year, which saw Zoren James Aranas and Dennis Orcollo battle in the finals, West returned to give it another shot. He was sent to the loss side by Brian Bryant in a winners’ side semifinal and came back after winning three to challenge and defeat Bryant in the finals. The event drew 31 entrants to First Break Café in Sterling, VA.
 
West was challenged early in this one; his first match, a double hill affair that eventually sent Paul Helms to the loss side. West moved on to defeat former Bob Stock Memorial Champion Brandon Shuff and Scott Roberts, both 9-5, to draw Bryant in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Bryant had defeated Alvin Thomas 9-6, Alex Parker, 9-3 and Paul Swinson 9-4 to meet West. Scott Haas, in the meantime, defeated Ali Gee 9-1, Andrew Manning 9-7 and Graham Swinson 9-3 to draw Chris Bruner in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Bryant sent West west 9-7 and in the hot seat match, faced Haas, who’d defeated Bruner 9-7. Bryant claimed the hot seat 9-5 Haas, and waited on the return of West.
 
On the loss side, West drew Steve Fleming, the tour’s #4-ranked player on the tour coming into the event, who, after being defeated by Chris Bruner 9-6 in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had defeated Bruce Choyce 7-1 and Brandon Shuff 7-5 to meet West. Bruner picked up Scott Roberts, who’d survived a double hill battle versus Mark Nanashee and eliminated Kirill Rutman to face Bruner.
 
West and Roberts advanced to the quarterfinals; West, 7-3 over Fleming and Roberts, 7-4 over Bruner, denying West a second shot at him. West took the quarterfinal match 7-5 over Roberts and then, downed Haas 7-4 in the semifinals.
 
The tightly contested final match between West and Bryant featured the maximum number of games possible in a race-to-11; 21, also known as double hill, but recognized, as well, as a lot of games to play to decide a winner. West dropped the final 9-Ball to claim his second Bob Stocks Memorial title.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at First Break Café, as well as sponsors East Coast Landscaping, Inc., Cue Sports International (CSI), Chix Cabinets Direct, Grant Wylie (professional photographer), Brown’s Mechanical, LLC, and George Hammerbacher Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the APT, will take players “Back to the Beach,” at an event scheduled for the weekend of May 18-19 at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA.

Aranas goes undefeated to defend his title at the 3rd Annual Barry Behrman Memorial

(l to r): James Aranas

As he did last year, the Philippines’ Zoren “James” Aranas took advantage of some geography to compete in a pair of events that he’s won over the past couple of weeks. Last year, he followed up on his victory at the Super Billiards Expo’s ProAm Bar Box Championships to compete and win the 2nd Annual Barry Behrman Memorial, downing its inaugural champion Brandon Shuff twice. This year, Aranas won the Super Billiards Expos’ Diamond Open 10-Ball Pro Players’ Championship on the last weekend in March, and this past weekend (April 6-7), went undefeated to defend his Barry Behrman Memorial title, downing separate opponents in the hot seat and finals. Already over halfway to earning what he made in 2018, his best earnings year to date, he’s on track to make 2019 another good year.
 
Aranas’ opponent in the finals, Reymart Lim, stepped to the tables at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA for the $1,500-added 3rd Annual Barry Behrman Memorial having already won two of the three events on the 2019 Action Pool Tour (APT). Lim lost his opening match (to Shaun Wilkie 9-7) in a preliminary round, designed to put 32 of the 37 registered players into a double elimination bracket. He then won nine on the loss side to meet Aranas in the finals. He didn’t get to meet Wilkie a second time, because as he was facing Tuan Chau in the first money round (9th/12th), the Behrman Memorial’s inaugural champion, Brandon Shuff, was busy meeting and defeating Wilkie 9-7.
 
Aranas’ path went through Liz Taylor 9-3, Shuff 9-6 and Chris Futrell 9-3 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against RJ Carmona. His future hot seat opponent, JT Ringgold, winner of the APT’s Season Finale, got by Gage Turner 9-4, Bruce Reed 9-3 and Wilkie 9-4 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against Nilbert Lim (no relation, but a close friend of Reymart Lim).
 
Aranas downed Carmona 9-2, while Ringgold and Lim locked up in a double hill fight that eventually allowed Ringgold to join Aranas for the hot seat match. Aranas claimed the hot seat 9-3 over Ringgold and waited on what turned out to be the return of Reymart Lim.
 
Meanwhile, over on the loss side, Reymart Lim was hard at work, advancing to a meetup with Nilbert Lim. Reymart opened his loss-side campaign with a 9-3 win over Rob Wilkins and followed it with victories over Paul Swinson 9-4, Gary Ornoff 9-6, Dave White, 9-1, Tuan Chau 9-3 and Chris Futrell 9-5 to draw Nilbert Lim. Carmona, in the meantime, picked up Brandon Shuff, who, following his defeat at the hands of Aranas, had shut out Mark Lacson and eliminated Alvin Thomas 9-2, Wilkie 9-7 and Greg Sabins 9-3.
 
Shuff and Reymart Lim advanced to the quarterfinals; Shuff 9-7 over Carmona and Reymart Lim 9-3 over Nilbert Lim. Reymart ended Shuff’s loss-side winning streak at five with a 9-7 victory in the quarterfinals and then ended JT Ringgold’s bid for a second shot at Aranas with a 9-2 win in the semifinals.
 
As it turned out, Reymart Lim got as close (in game count) to defeating Aranas as any of his previous opponents. Lim and Brandon Shuff both got as close as three games. Aranas completed his undefeated run 11-8 against Lim to capture his second straight Barry Behrman Memorial title.
 
In a Second Chance Tournament that drew eight entrants, Bernard Andico downed Jared Pitts twice 5-4 (hot seat) and 6-3 (finals). Graham Swinson finished third.

Wolford wins two of three events and is runner-up at a third on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

It was a busy weekend in Roanoke, VA. The Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball paid a visit to a new venue on their schedule – Wolf’s Den Billiards in Roanoke, owned by the Wolford family. In what brings a new degree of clarity to the phrase ‘home room,’ Shane Wolford won two out of the three events held over the weekend of March 9-10; the 53-entrant, handicapped Amateur event and a 10-entrant Open event. He was runner-up in the 17-entrant One Pocket event, which was held in the same location, but not specifically run by the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour.
 
The venue hadn’t just opened its doors when the tournament got underway. It was still plugging in the lights. According to tour director Herman Parker, when he arrived at the location on Saturday morning to begin registering players, the lights over the tables he was going to be using hadn’t even been hung. The situation was rectified by the time the registration process had been concluded and tournament play commenced.
 
In fact, Shane Wolford actually won only one of the three events, as defined by playing in an event final and winning that final match. He and Derek Leonard ended up splitting the top two payouts in the Amateur event, because when it came time for the finals of that event, Wolford was playing in the hot seat of the Open event, which he went on to win.
 
Former two-time junior champion Zach Hampton (14 and under, 2012/18 and under 2013) won the One Pocket tournament, downing fellow junior player Wolford 3-0 in the finals, both collecting the only cash prizes; $1050 for Hampton and $525 for Wolford. Wolford added $200 more for his actual victory in the Open event, downing James Blackburn 7-5 in the final (Wolford had defeated Blackburn earlier, double hill, in the hot seat match).
 
In the Amateur event, which played out over the two days of the pool room’s opening weekend, Wolford advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Ron Frank, as Derek Leonard faced Matt Siple. Leonard sent Siple to the loss side 9-3 and turned to face Wolford, who defeated Frank 9-4. Wolford claimed the hot seat 9-6 over Leonard in what proved to be Wolford’s last match of the Amateur event.
 
On the loss side, Siple drew Jason Evans, a recent winner on the tour (Feb.), who’d just eliminated two straight competitors, double hill – Graham Swinson and Trevor Stanley. Frank picked up Jonathan Caldwell, who, like Evans, had eliminated two straight opponents in double hill matches; Frank King and Jonathan Ailstock.
 
Siple and Frank ended Evans’ and Caldwell’s two-match, double hill winning streak and advanced to the quarterfinals; Siple 7-5 over Evans and Frank 9-3 over Caldwell. Siple ended Frank’s run 7-4 in those quarterfinals.
 
Leonard took the last match of the event, the semifinals, 9-5 over Siple and agreed with Wolford to split the top two prizes, while Wolford continued his winning run on the Open event.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the Wolford family and their Wolf’s Den Billiards' staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (March 16-17), will be hosted by Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

Carmona comes back from semifinals to win 7th Annual VA State 10-Ball Championships

(l to r): TD Tiger Baker, Scott Haas & RJ Carmona

Atwell comes back from semifinals to claim her 5th VA State 10-Ball title
 
In the seven-year history of the Virginia State 10-Ball Championships, there have been seven different winners in the event’s Open Division. The most recent winner at the 7th Annual event was RJ Carmona. In that same time frame, there have only been three women who have claimed the title – Tracie Majors (2014), Meredith Lynch (2017) and Janet Atwell, who won the inaugural event in 2013, and claimed the title in successive years, twice; 2015, 2016, 2018, and this past weekend, February 16-17, 2019. Both competitors at this year’s championships, held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour and hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA, made it to their respective hot seat matches, and lost. They both came back to meet and defeat their hot seat opponent and claim the event title.
 
The Open division of the annual event drew 48 entrants, and only one former champion (Eric Moore, 2016). The Women’s Championship drew 15 entrants, including four-time and defending champion, Atwell. The Open event drew 9 of the top 10 finishers from the APT season opener in January, including that event’s winner (Reymart Lim).
 
Carmona opened his bid for the 2019 title with a shutout over Christopher Wilburn and then, battled to double hill against Del Sim before advancing. He downed Reymart Lim 8-6 and met up with Scott Roberts in a winners’ side semifinal. Carmona’s hot seat and finals opponent, Scott Haas, got by Danny Mastermaker, double hill, in the opening round and went on to defeat Shane Buchanan 8-5, before getting locked up in a second double hill battle against David Hairfield. Haas won that one to advance to a winners’ side semifinal against Brian Bryant.
 
Haas got into the hot seat match with an 8-4 win over Bryant. Carmona joined him after sending Roberts to the loss side 8-2. Haas claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Carmona and waited on his return.
 
On the loss side, Bryant picked up APT veteran/pro player Brandon Shuff, who’d lost a second- round match to Reymart Lim (double hill) and was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He’d most recently eliminated Shorty Davis 7-3 and winner of the APT season opener, Reymart Lim 7-2. Scott Roberts drew Chris Bruner, who’d lost his second-round match to John Newton, and like Shuff, was on an extended loss-side streak (eight matches) that would take him to the seminfinals. He’d most recently defeated David Hairfield 7-5 and Danny Mastermaker 7-4.
 
Shuff and Bruner advanced to the quarterfinals with seven loss-side wins each, once Shuff had eliminated Bryant 7-5 and Bruner had defeated Roberts 7-3. Bruner broke the loss-side match tie with a 7-5 win over Shuff and with some momentum on his side, battled to double hill against Carmona in the semifinals. Carmona, though, finished it for a second shot at Haas in the hot seat.
 
Whatever happened in the Carmona/Haas finals, Reymart Lim was going to retain his top spot on the tour’s (two event) points-leader board, and RJ Carmona would hold on to his #2 spot. Haas, competing in his first 2019 APT stop, would enter the points-leader board at either #18, if he won, or #20, if he lost. Carmona completed his 2019 VA State 10-Ball Championship run with a 10-8 victory over Haas.
 
Atwell goes 3-1 to claim her fifth VA State 10-Ball Ladies title
 
It’s never easy, but short fields make for short runs to event titles. Janet Atwell played four matches and won three of them to claim her fifth VA State 10-Ball title. It was her first appearance on the APT in 2019 and her victory allowed her to enter the tour’s points-leader board at #83 (points are awarded based on a player’s finish and a formula related to the total number of entrants).
 
Atwell was awarded an opening round bye and then defeated Buffy Jolie 7-4 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Marianne Merrill. Liz Taylor, in the meantime, got by Cheryl Pritchard 7-2 and Tina Castillo 7-4 to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal match against Linda Shea (tour director of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour).
 
Atwell and Taylor advanced to the hot seat match with identical 7-4 victories over Merrill and Shea. Taylor claimed the hot seat in a double hill win.
 
On the loss side, Shea picked up Lisa Cossette, who’d defeated Kim McKenna and Nicole King, both 6-4, to reach her. Merrill drew Cheryl Sporleder, who’d defeated Dorothy Strater 6-1 and Bethany Sykes 6-4. Shea and Sporleder advanced to the quarterfinals, having given up only three racks between them in 15 games; Shea gave up two to Cossette and Sporleder gave up one to Merrill.
 
Shea gave up none at all to Sporleder in those quarterfinals, only to get locked up in what was most likely a predictable double hill fight between her and Atwell in the semifinals. Atwell prevailed and then in the finals rematch, downed Taylor 8-2 to claim the VA State 10-Ball Ladies title.
 
A Second Chance tournament drew 18 entrants. Greg Sabins and Robert Farmer worked their way through the field and battled in both the hot seat and finals. Farmer claimed the hot seat in a double hill fight, but Sabins came back from a shutout over Graham Swinson in the semifinals to shut Farmer out in the finals and claim the Second Chance top prize of $160. Farmer took home $100 as runner-up. Swinson finished third ($75), Cheryl Sporleder finished in fourth place ($50). Jamie Bess and Andrew Stephan each took home $30 for the 5th place tie.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards, as well as sponsors Diamond Billiard Products, Viking Cues, Predator, Tiger, Kamui Tips, Ozone Billiards, Simonis Cloth, and George Hammerbacher Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the 2019 Action Pool Tour, scheduled for March 23-24, will be the East Coast Landscaping Bar Box Bash and will be hosted by Peninsula Billiards in Newport News, VA.

Mabe, Swinson and Sykes split top three prizes on Viking Cues Q City 9-Ball Tour stop

Anthony Mabe

The Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour ran into another tournament during their visit to Brown’s Billiards in Raleigh, NC on Saturday, January 5. Table assignments for the two events in a single room messed with the timing of both, and at the conclusion of the Q City 9-Ball quarterfinal match, it was 5 a.m. on Sunday morning. The three remaining competitors – Anthony Mabe, Graham Swinson and Corey Sykes – opted out of playing the two remaining matches and split the top three cash prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Anthony Mabe claimed the official event title. The event drew 37 entrants to Brown’s Billiards.
 
The hot seat match proved to be the title match. Anthony Mabe had survived a double hill match against Brian Bryant in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Graham Swinson was working on his 6-6 victory over Barry Mashburn (Mashburn racing to 9). Mabe defeated Swinson 7-4 to claim the hot seat and presumably went looking for a cup of coffee.
 
On the loss side, Bryant and Mashburn ran right into their second straight loss. Bryant fell 10-3 to Corey Sykes, who’d defeated co-tour director Angela Parker and David Smooth, both 10-2, to reach him. Mashburn was eliminated by Randy Tate (father of Junior Champion and Atlantic Cup team member, Joey Tate) 6-5, who’d previously eliminated Josh Padron 6-5 (Padron racing to 7) and Billie Spatafora 6-3.
 
Sykes and Tate played the night’s, or more accurately, the morning’s last match, the quarterfinals. Sykes won it 10-2 to take his place in the how-to-split-up-the-last-three-cash-payouts discussion. He took third, Swinson was runner-up, and as the undefeated hot seat occupant, Mabe claimed the title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parked thanked the ownership and staff of Brown’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Jan. 12-13), will be a $1,000-added event ($1,500-added, if entrants exceed 80), hosted by Steakhorse Billiards in Spartanburg, SC.