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Lumston goes undefeated on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour to win his first event

Matt Lumston

To the best of our knowledge, Matt Lumston’s undefeated victory on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour this past weekend (Aug. 27-28) was his first tour victory anywhere. It will, as he enters the AZBilliards database, be the last time that will be said of his ongoing career at the tables. Runner-up Josh Miller entered the database for the first time two and half years ago, when he finished 9th at Q City 9-Ball stop in Spartansburg, SC and later that year (July), finished 4th at a tour stop in Bristol, TN at Janet Atwell’s Borderline Billiards. Borderline Billiards hosted this most recent, $250-added stop, which drew 27 entrants.

This was not some one-off ‘luck of the day kind of thing,’ where an unknown works his way through a mediocre field or, by bracket draw, manages to bypass competition against much stronger opponents. Lumston and Miller both had to contend with Cory Morphew, who’s in the middle of his best earnings year to date, in a career that dates back (as far as we know) to 2011. He finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd on the Q City 9-Ball Tour, this year alone. Lumston took him down 7-3 in the first round and Miller fought him to double hill before leaving him in the 3rd place dust. Lumston also defeated one of the country’s top-ranked junior competitors, Landon Hollingsworth (#2 in the 2022 season rankings of the Junior International Championships’ 18U and ProAm divisions). Were it not for Cory Morphew’s work in the event quarterfinals, Miller would have had to face him in the semifinals.

Lumston met up with Hollingsworth in one of this event’s winners’ side semifinals, while Miller squared off against Reid Vance (yet another Q City 9-Ball veteran with a win on this tour in 2020). Lumston sent Hollingsworth to the loss side 7-5 and was joined in the hot seat match Miller, who’d battled to double hill before sending Vance over to the loss-side 5th/6th matches. Lumston took command and claimed his first hot seat 7-2 over Miller.

In a pair of loss-side, tour-veteran battles, Hollingsworth drew room owner, Janet Atwell, while Vance picked up Morphew. Atwell had recently eliminated Donnie Lester 7-1 and Scott Howard 7-4 to reach Hollingsworth. Morphew, working on a seven-match, loss side winning streak, had chalked up wins #4 and #5 against Ricky Bingham 9-4 and James Brown 9-3.

Morphew and Hollingsworth advanced to the first money round, the quarterfinals; Morphew 9-4 over Vance and Hollingsworth 9-1 over Atwell. Morphew and Hollingsworth battled to double hill in those quarterfinals before Morphew finished his seventh and what proved to be his last match win of the day (as the Saturday was becoming an early Sunday).

A second double-hill battle was waged for a ticket to the finals. Josh Miller began the semifinals with four ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 9. He chalked up the five he needed before Morphew was able to record the nine he needed and advanced for a second shot against Lumston, waiting for him in the hot seat.

The final match was threatening to beat dawn on Sunday morning. Lumston, though, got out in front and claimed his first event title, 7-3 over Miller and beat dawn to the finish line at around 4 a.m.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for their hospitality, along with title sponsor Viking Cues, Breaktime Billiards (Winston-Salem, NC),, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat,, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour will bring a $500-added event to Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC on this Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3-4).

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Skeens and Hollingsworth split top prizes at 3rd Annual Brian James Memorial in Bristol, TN

Mike Skeens

Prior to this past weekend, Saturday, June 4, the last time Mike Skeens had cashed in an official event of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, was eight days shy of a year ago (June 12, 2021), when he was defeated twice, in a winners’ side semifinal and eventually, the loss-side semifinal by Janet Atwell, owner of the host room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. Back at the same room a year later, last Saturday, Skeens went undefeated to the hot seat, downing DJ Brads to claim it, and later, after the semifinals, he and junior competitor Landon Hollingsworth opted out of a final match, leaving Skeens as the official winner of the 3rd Annual Brian James Memorial. It was Skeens’ first recorded tour victory, albeit with a no-final-match asterisk. The event drew 52 entrants to Borderline Billiards.

Skeens was no doubt relieved to hear that however his tournament run was to proceed, it would not entail running into Janet Atwell, who didn’t compete in the event, although a run-in versus Clevinger was possible. Skeens advanced through the field to draw Hollingsworth in one of the winners’ side semifinals, while Brads squared off against Ricky Bingham in the other one.

With Hollingsworth racing to 9, Skeens defeated him 5-5 and in the hot seat match, faced Brads, who’d sent Bingham to the loss side 6-4. In a straight-up race to 6, Skeens and Brads battled to double hill in what would prove to be the defining match of the event. Skeens prevailed and Brads headed off to the semifinals.

On the loss side, Hollingsworth drew James Brown, who’d rendered a Clevinger/Skeens final matchup impossible when he downed Clevinger 5-2 and then, Doug Schulz 5-5 (Schulz racing to 8) to face Hollingsworth. Bingham picked up Thomas Sansone, who’d defeated Eric Roberts 7-6 (Roberts racing to 9) and Adam Pendley 6-5 (Pendley racing to 9) to reach him.

In the first money round, Bingham eliminated Sansone, double hill, and in the quarterfinals, faced Hollingsworth, who’d also survived a double hill match (9-5), versus Brown. Hollingsworth stopped Bingham’s loss-side run 9-3 in those quarterfinals.

Hollingsworth then spoiled Brads’ bid for a rematch against Skeens by defeating him 9-4 in the semifinals. The decision to split the top two prizes was made and Skeens went into the record books as the official winner of the 3rd Annual Brian James Memorial.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues,, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat,, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend, June 11-12, will be a Scotch Doubles event, hosted by Corner Pocket in Fayetteville, NC. 

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