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Shaw wins final battle versus Appleton in Open NineBall Pro Players Championship

Jayson Shaw

Nearly 2,000 entrants, with some event crossovers, compete in Amateur events

As of March 31, three weeks before the Super Billiards Expo opened its doors, the Diamond Open NineBall Professional Players Championship was designated as an Official Nineball World Ranking event, and while it did not literally draw its entrance field from everywhere, there was a very evident sense of international competition. The final 16 featured representation from the US (five) and 11 competitors from seven foreign countries – Austria, Germany (2), Russia, the UK (2), Canada (2), the Philippines and Hong Kong (2). The international ‘feel’ of the event was most evident in what was easily among (if not “the”) most anticipated matchup of the four-day event, between the UK’s Jayson Shaw and Russia’s Fedor Gorst. The matchup, which occurred in the single-elimination quarterfinals, lived up to its billing, as the two battled to double hill before Shaw advanced. More on this later, along with the final matchup between Shaw and Darren Appleton, which waited until the 17th of its potential 21 games before Shaw pulled away to win the next two and claim the title. 

There were quite a few “wish I coulda been there” matches throughout the event’s four days, up to and including matches among the final 16, which were, for obvious reasons, witnessed by the SBE’s largest crowds in the Pro arena. Pre-single-elimination, there was the double hill battle between Shaw and Billy Thorpe, which moved Shaw into the final 16, the Fedor Gorst and Ralf Souquet (new school/old school) match that sent Gorst to the final 16, and Appleton’s two straight double hill matches; one win (Jeff Beckley) and one loss (Mhet Vergara), which sent “Dynamite” to the loss side, where a single win, over Bucky Souvanthong, sent him (Appleton) to the final 16. And, as always, any match featuring Earl Strickland as a competitor is always entertaining, whether because of exuberant antics or just plain rock-solid shooting.

The Shaw/Gorst match followed a Shaw “Sweet 16” victory over John Morra 11-6 and a Gorst win over Thorsten Hohmann 11-8. Gorst opened with two straight racks and kept that as a minimum lead until rack #17. By the 12th rack, Gorst was leading by four. Two straight racks that featured Shaw dropping a combination shot that dropped the 9-ball cut that lead in half. Gorst went three-up at 9-6, but Shaw came right back with a break and run that reduced it to two again.

Off a Gorst break, Shaw narrowed the lead to one until that 17th rack, when Shaw came within one. Shaw broke the 18th, but turned the table over briefly, before, with a second chance, he dropped a 3-9 combination that yielded the match’s first tie. Gorst dropped two balls on his break, but Shaw came through to get on the hill with his first lead of the match. Gorst, with a scratch-on-the-break assist from Shaw, made it interesting by winning the 20th, double hill rack.

Gorst broke dry in the deciding rack, but Shaw turned the table back over to Gorst, who promptly scratched shooting at the 2-ball. Shaw ran to the 8-ball and Gorst conceded the game and match. 

Moving into the semifinals, Shaw drew Mario He, who’d earlier defeated Jonathan Pinegar 11-7 and Oscar Dominguez 11-9. Appleton’s path to the finals from the final 16 started out against Earl Strickland. He got by him 11-6 and then downed Joseph Spence 11-3. In the semifinals, Appleton drew Billy Thorpe, who’d recently eliminated Robbie Capito 11-9 and Souquet 11-8. 

Shaw downed He 11-7, as Appleton was busy dispatching Thorpe 11-4. The all-UK battle was on.

In the early going of the finals, it appeared as though neither of them was going to win a rack off their own break. Appleton won the lag, broke dry and Shaw ran the table to take a 1-0 lead. Shaw broke, dropping two balls and scratching. Appleton set up a 1-9 combination to tie it up. They went back and forth like this, winning the other’s break to a single game lead for Shaw at 4-3.

Shaw broke the 8th rack, dropped one, and after giving the table back to Appleton briefly, won the rack, his first off his own break, to take the game’s first two-game lead. He made it a three-game lead (his first of two), before Appleton chalked up two in a row to make it 6-5. Shaw used a terrific jump shot at the 2-ball to maintain his run of rack #12. On Appleton’s break of rack #13, he dropped one ball, but almost immediately gave the table to Shaw, who missed hitting the 1-ball, completely. Shaw saw an obvious 1-9 combination awaiting Appleton’s arrival at the table, so, gentleman that he was, he picked up the cue ball and placed it in the position it needed to be for Appleton to make the combination. He did so without handling the cue ball Shaw had set for him.

Shaw dropped two balls on the break of rack #14 and used another terrific jump shot to jumpstart his third win off his own break and then, off Darren’s break, established his second three-rack lead at 9-6. Appleton fought right back, winning the next two and including his own terrific jump shot at the 1-ball that started his 8th game win.

Ahead by a single rack at 9-8, Shaw broke and ran the 18th (his fourth win off his own break) to reach the hill first. Darren broke the 19th rack, sinking one ball, but couldn’t see the 1-ball. He pushed (the one and only time that happened all match) and Shaw finished the game to claim the event title. 

Amateur events draw 35 shy of 2,000 entrants

Not including the two junior events for ages 17/Under and 12/under, the total entrants for which were not recorded, the nine amateur events of the 2022 SBE drew a total of 1,965 entrants (with some crossover between events). This brought the total number of participating pool players to 2,101. The two Pro events (73 Open and 63 Women) thus represented just 6% of the total number of players who competed this year. Trying to detail 9 events, especially the 996-entrant Open Amateur would be unwieldy, so we offer some information about and congratulations to the 94% percent who were the largest participating contingent of pool players at the 2022 SBE.

6-Ball Amateur Players Championship (200) – 1st Danny Mastermaker, 2nd Fred Goodman III, 3rd Jared Demalia/Daniel Dagotdot

Early Bird Super Seniors (58) – 1st Ike Runnels, 2nd Martin Ciccia, 3rd Al Muccilli/Flaco Rodriguez

Open Amateur (996) – 1st Chris Bruner, 2nd Pat McNally, 3rd Jomax Garcia/Derick Daya

Senior Amateur (364) – 1st Raymond McNamara, 2nd Chris Sutzer, 3rd Javier Perez/Efrain Morales

Super Seniors (149) – 1st Gene Rossi, 2nd Ed Matushonek, 3rd Frank Sorriento/Ace Aughty

Women’s Amateur (166) – 1st Tina Malm, 2nd Ashley Benoit, 3rd Nicole Nester/Bethany Tate

Junior (12 & Under) – 1st Jim Powell, 2nd D’Angelo (“Jaws”) Spain, 3rd Noah Majersky, 4th Evan Demelo

Junior (18 & Under) – 1st Brent Worth, 2nd Payne McBride, 3rd Landon Hollingsworth, 4th Yan Pena

ProAm BarBox (32) – 1st Joe Dupuis, 2nd Alan Rolan Rosado, 3rd Bart Czapla/Joey Tate

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Francisco Salas Wins 11th Annual Snookers Amateur 9-Ball Classic

Francisco Salas and Bob Madenjian (Mike DeMarco – Ship The Cash)

The highly anticipated 11th Annual Snookers Amateur 9 Ball Classic returned in 2021 with a bang, boasting it’s notable $5000 guaranteed first place prize! After 7 weeks and 21 qualifying tournaments in total, the stage was set for the New England Pool community to explode with excitement! Both qualifiers and the main event were hosted by Ship The Cash’s Mike DeMarco, dictating the brackets and delivering a professional live broadcast.

This year’s returning champion from 2019 was Brian Chase of New Bedford, Massachusetts. In addition to Chase, the event had three other past champions competing for another title. Ray McNamara (2011 & 2015), Francisco ‘5K’ Cabral (2016), and Jared DeMalia (2017). With all of these previous winners, the odds were looking to their favor. Standing in their way were some new talented players and familiar top amateur competitors.

Saturday’s day one brought remarkable entertainment to arrive at the final 12 players. The action would come to a halt though, as a potential direct hit from a hurricane caused many local businesses including Snookers to close on Sunday, August 22, 2021. The event would eventually continue on Saturday, September 11, to finalize the competition and declare a champion.

2019 Runner-up Robert Piersa representing Wallingford Connecticut’s Yale Billiards was a promising contender for the title. He came out strong, but after a day one loss to this year’s second place finisher Bob “Doctor Bob” Madenjian (10-9) and a day two loss from Massachusetts’ Derek Cunningham (9-8), Piersa would end in 7/8th and take home $350. The local scene also had their eyes on another top competitor from Lynn Massachusetts, Francisco Salas. Salas had been pummeling opponents this year cashing and even winning numerous times at events like Snookers’ WNA Tournament, his home room Amazin Billiards’ 10 Ball events, and even a runner-up finish in the prestigious Ocean State 9-ball Championship.

The final 4 undefeated players brought us two great opening matches to kick things off. On table one, Jared DeMalia (MA) took his first loss of the event (10-8) from Bob Madenjian (CT). On table two we saw Snookersë own Ray McNamara (RI) take his first loss (10-8) from the soon to be crowned Francisco Salas (MA).

Madenjian would lose to Salas in the hot seat match (10-8), but Doctor Bob wasn’t finished fighting! Madenjian would eliminate Ray McNamara (10-6) in the semi finals for another swing at the hot shooting Salas. With the pressure building and the cash and title hanging in the balance, Salas would show some humility. As the finals continued, Salas would clearly struggle with the break and miss some routine run-outs leaving the door open for Madenjian to surge ahead and win the set (10-8).

Fortunately for Salas, the true double elimination format of the event would give him one more chance to close the deal. The second set of the finals began in a similar tone as the previous round with Doctor Bob leading until 5-4 up. That’s when it all changed.

Madenjian took a swing at a difficult 1 ball shot after a dry break from Salas, and would allow the match to tie at 5-5. It was at this point in the match where Salas would seem to say “that’s it”! and the momentum would swing in his favor and never return to the Doc. Salas would win all of the remaining games ending the match 10-5, claiming the $5000 prize and the title. “El Rey” is crowned.

Dabreo Over Salas For Ocean State 9-Ball Win

Mike Zuglan, Raphael Dabreo, Francisco Salas and Snookers owner Steve Goulding. Photo courtesy of Sheikvision Photography.

After a break of 454 days, the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour kicked things off (post Covid) at the same place where it left off, Snookers in Providence, Rhode Island. The occasion was the 32nd Ocean State 9-Ball Championship, and the players showed how ready they were to get back to action, as a field of 112 players came out to try to earn a banner hanging in the rafters of Snookers with their name on it. 

Through the matches on Saturday and early Sunday, Francisco Salas set himself as the man to beat, with dominating wins in his matches. His Saturday matches consisted of wins over Chris Leal 9-4, Jerry Guitard 9-1 and Ray Lee 9-2. He then started his Sunday off with the same domination he showed on Saturday, with a 9-4 win over John Francisco and then a 9-2 win over Pat Fleming. 

By comparison, Salas’s next opponent, Raphael Dabreo, didn’t have things as stress-free. Dabreo had wins over Max Watanabe, Jason Noble and Brian Chase on Saturday, followed by a 9-3 win over Joey Dupuis and then a 9-7 nail biter against Levy Lampaan. Their final four match was another one-sided win for Salas and he moved on to the hot-seat match with a 9-2 win. 

The hot-seat match also went to Salas, with a more competitive 9-6 win over Jared Demalia. 

After the loss to Salas, Dabreo won a tough one on the left side of the board over Mike Yednak 7-5, and then he appeared to get settled into his game. “I felt like I struggled quite a bit on Sunday dealing with my own emotions. The weight I placed on myself going into the tournament, wanting the win and my name placed on that legendary snooker banner, played a major part in that.” said Dabreo after the event. 

After the win over Yednak, Dabreo rolled over Lanna 7-2 and then Demalia 7-3 to earn another shot at Salas in the double elimination finals. Beating Salas twice in the finals would be a tough goal to accomplish for Dabreo, but he did have recent experience in matches like that to rely on. Dabreo had recently played Shane Van Boening in the finals of the Dynaspheres Cup 10-Ball Championship back in May. “After coming back home placing second to SVB In Maryland, I felt I could have performed better. To win that would of been great, but I appreciated the lessons learned losing to him. To share the table with greatness such as him is addictive for me.” said Dabreo.

In the end, it was Dabreo who scored a 9-2 win over Salas in the first set of the finals, and then a 7-2 win in the second set, for the tournament win. It was Dabreo’s second career Joss NE 9-Ball Tour win and it will certainly lead to more confidence from Dabreo in the future. It will also help Dabreo as he continues to display the game he knows he is capable of. “Becoming aware of my potential and staying honest with myself helps me target areas I need improvement. “ said Dabreo. 

Sunday’s second chance event saw 31 players come back to Snookers to compete for the $500 in added prize money. Chad Bazinet bounced back from a final eight loss to Francisco Cabral and double dipped Jim Prather in the finals 3-0 and 3-2 for first place. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be at Brick House Billiards in N. Syracuse, NY for their next event on June 26th – 27th. 

2021 Ocean State 9-Ball Championship – Jared Demalia v Raphael Dabreo

2021 Ocean State 9-Ball Championship Hot Seat – Jared Demalia vs Francisco Salas

 

2021 Ocean State 9-Ball – Jared Demalia vs Dev Bhattacharya

 

Sossei over Fleming for Joss Tour Fourpeat

Jeremy Sossei, Pat Fleming and Snookers Owner Steve Goulding

While Jeremy Sossei has won the last three Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stops, he has had to win the last two with one loss. That was what he did again at Snookers Billiards in Providence, RI on June 1st – 2nd for the final regular season stop on the tour. 
 
Sossei cruised through Saturday’s matches undefeated with wins over Lida Mullendore, Jim Prather, Ranulf Tamba and Dev Bhattacharya. The closest any opponent got to Sossei on Saturday was Tamba at 9-4. Sossei’s undefeated run came to an end on Sunday morning, as he dropped his first match of the day to Pat Fleming 9-6. After that match, Fleming went on to defeat Tom D’Alfonso 9-5 for the hot-seat. 
 
Sossei got by Francisco Cabral 7-4 and Jared Demalia 7-2, to earn the match against D’Alfonso in the semi-finals. That match would go hill-hill before Sossei pocketed the final nine ball. The time in the hot-seat might have proved to be a negative for Fleming, as Sossei proceeded to win the first set of the finals 9-4 and then the second set 7-3. The win was Sossei’s 6th of the season and his 4th in a row. 
 
Sunday’s “Second Chance” tournament saw Bob Madenjian with a 3-1 win over Ray Buthe for the hot-seat and then facing Nick Coppola in the finals. Coppola won the first set of the finals 3-2, but Madenjian came back to take the second set 3-2 for the win. 
 
The stop at Snookers was the final regular season tour stop and players will now prepare for the Turning Stone Classic XXXII on August 22nd – 25th at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY. That event is full, but fans are invited to watch the action in person with free admission on all four days of the event. 

Friedberg Credits Road Partner Chin for First Joss NE 9-Ball Tour Win

Mike Zuglan, Josh Friedberg , Bucky Souvanthong and Snookers Owner Steve Goulding

Road partners Josh Friedberg and Holden Chin teamed up for first place finishes in the open and second chance event at the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour’s final regular season stop June 2nd – 3rd at Snookers Billiards in Providence, RI. 
 
Friedberg survived hill-hill matches against Ben Savoie and Kerry McAuliffe in his first two matches and didn’t really have any non-stressful wins as his 9-5 win over Alex Morin on Sunday morning was his largest margin of victory. It was another close one for the hot-seat, where he defeated Bill Cote 9-7. 
 
On the one loss side, Bucky Souvanthong was making up for his early loss to Joe Darigis. Souvanthong won nine straight matches, including a 7-2 victory over Darigis in the final four. Souvanthong then went on to defeat Cote 7-3 in the semi-final match. 
 
The finals would go one set with Friedberg scoring a 9-6 win over Souvanthong for his first Joss Tour win. 
 
After back to back hill-hill losses for Holden Chin in the main event, he was one of the fourteen players who came back on Sunday to compete in the second chance tournament. After an opening round win over Andrew Griffin, Chin dropped a hill-hill match to Jared Demalia. That would be the last time Chin would taste defeat in this event though, as he won five straight on the left side and then double dipped Francisco Cabral in the finals. 
 
While it was Friedberg with the win in the main event, he gave all the credit to Chin. “When it comes to this game, Holden is the absolute greatest teacher. I would never ever have even come close to winning without his help.” he said. “ I think there were players there that were better than me. That had more skill and more experience than I did. (…) I just kept my head down and tried to remember all the things that Holden had taught me along the way.”
 
This event was the final regular season stop on the 2017 – 2018 season. Next up for the tour is the Turning Stone Classic XXX on August 23th – 26th at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY.