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Sullivan comes from the loss side to double dip Cleland on Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour Stop #2

Jeff Sullivan, Robbie Cleland and Crispian Ng

The Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour dodged the winter storm/power outage ‘bullet’ or, as tour representative Monica Anderson put it, “a few icicles” last weekend (Feb. 20-21). The tour was able to successfully hold its $1,500-added second tour stop of the 2021 season at Snookered Billiards in Frisco, TX. 

“The thaw happened Friday afternoon,” said Anderson, “and nothing was stopping pool players from coming out.”

“We had to limit it to 80 players for Covid capacity rules,” she added, “and with the power outages, everyone wanted to play. We had a waiting list of 20+ that couldn’t play.”

Jeff Sullivan, who, at the last minute, made 2020 his best (recorded) year at the tables by winning the Royce Bunnell Memorial One Pocket Event and placing 7th in that same event’s 9-Ball Tournament in December, started 2021 off with a bang, wending his way through the 80-entrant field, recording five loss-side wins and double-dipping hot seat occupant Robbie Cleland to claim the event title. As it turned out Cleland’s runner-up finish put him and Sullivan in a tie for first place in the early tour standings with 200 points each. Sullivan did not compete in the season opener and Cleland finished in the tie for 13th. Cleland’s finish in this second event, added 160 points to the 40 he’d earned finishing in that tie.

Sullivan, after an opening round bye and victories over Juan Parra, Leo Washington and Greg Sandifer, moved west at the conclusion of one of the winners’ side quarterfinal matches in which he fell to Valon Gashi 7-5. Gashi moved on to face Crispian Ng in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Cleland, who’d gotten by Joshua Paredes, Fahad Alwari, and Sam Abusalem faced Tony Matthew in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Cleland and Matthew locked up in a double hill fight that eventually put Cleland into the hot seat match. Ng joined him after downing Gashi 8-5. Cleland defeated Ng 8-2, claiming the hot seat, and assuring himself at least a tie in the tour standings with whoever came back at him from the semifinals. 

Over on the loss side, Sullivan began his trek back to the finals with a 7-1 win over Clint Palaci and followed it with a 7-2 win over Blake Kamiab, to draw Matthew. Gashi picked up a rematch versus Daniel Herring, who’d begun his loss-side work with an 8-6 victory over Juan Parra, an 8-3 win over Sam Abusalem, and an 8-6 win over Donnie Gregory to pick up his rematch versus Gashi.

The two who’d been sent to the loss side by Gashi handed their opponents their second straight loss. Sullivan and Matthew fought to double hill, before Sullivan advanced to the quarterfinals. Herring wreaked his vengeance on Gashi, winning the rematch 8-3. Sullivan stopped Herring’s run in those quarterfinals 7-5.

Sullivan then defeated Ng 7-4 in the semifinals and turned to what would have to be two wins over Cleland, waiting for him in the hot seat. Sullivan took the opening set 7-6 (Cleland racing to 8) and used the momentum to help him to a 7-4, title-claiming victory in the second set.

A Second Chance event drew 13 entrants and saw James Davee down Monica Anderson in the finals. Curtis Caldwell finished in 3rd place.

Tour representatives thanked Craig and Jana Lucas and their staff at Snookered Billiards for just being open after one of the worst weeks in the state of Texas in remembered history, as well as their general hospitality. They also thanked title sponsor Cuetec, and associate sponsor Fort Worth Billiard Superstore. This coming weekend, Saturday, Feb. 27, the DFW 9-Ball Ladies Tour will hold an event at Rusty’s in Arlington, TX. Stop #3 on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 20-21, will be a $1,500-added event, hosted by Stixx and Stones in Lewisville, TX.  

Sullivan, Ryan & Freeman go undefeated at 5th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial Tournament

Roman Bayda, Clint Freeman andT.J. Davis

It was, to say the least, a long, busy weekend. Beginning on Thursday, Dec. 10 and culminating on Sunday, Dec. 13, the 5th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial Tournament played host to four separate events. The $2,000-added (total) event drew 16 players to a One Pocket tournament on Thursday, a 32-player 8-ball event and a 13-entrant Ring Game on Friday. By far the largest of the four events, a 58-player 9-ball event, began on Saturday and concluded on Sunday, Dec. 13.

The event was directed by David “Doc” Reyes, who, for nine years, worked for Royce Bunnell during his tenure as the CEO of OB Cues. Reyes has run this event since its inception in December, 2015, less than a month after Bunnell had died of a heart attack at the age of 49. Bunnell, in addition to his innovations and general advocacy of the pool industry was a friend to many and is missed by as many, to whom he was a mentor and friend. 

Jeff Sullivan went undefeated through four opponents to win the single-elimination One Pocket tournament on Thursday. Jim Ryan won six matches against five opponents to go undefeated in the 8-Ball event, while Clint Freeman won seven matches against seven opponents to claim the 9-Ball title. Gerardo Perez won Friday night’s Ring game.

In races to 3, Jeff Sullivan and Roman Bayda worked their way through two opponents to arrive at the two semifinal matches. Sullivan had defeated Tom Barnett and Walt Anderson to face Corey Flud in one semifinal. Bayda had downed Robert Kempf and Daniel Herring and faced Gerardo Perez in the other semifinal. Sullivan advanced to the finals 3-1 over Flud, as Bayda and Perez battled to a deciding 5th game, won by Bayda. Sullivan put a bit of an exclamation point on his winning of the One Pocket title by shutting Bayda out in the final.

In the double-elimination 8-ball event, which also featured races to 3 and commenced on Friday, Jim Ryan got by Tony Solis, Clinton Mayo and Moe Harbaji to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against TJ Davis. Daniel Herring had defeated Doug Winnet, Jason Judd, and Jamel Wordlaw to square off against Jason McKenzie in the other winners’ side semifinal. Ryan and Herring advanced to the hot seat match; Herring, 3-1 over McKenzie and Ryan, double hill over Davis. Ryan won a second straight double hill match, downing Herring to claim the hot seat. 

Davis would return from a three-match, loss-side trip to face Ryan a second time in the finals. It proved to be Ryan’s third straight double hill victory and it earned him the 8-ball title.

In the 58-player, 9-Ball event, Roman Bayda made a bid for his appearance in a second final. He failed, however, to make it back from the semifinals and had to settle for 3rd place in 9-ball. The runner-up in the 8-ball tourney, TJ Davis, did make a second appearance in a final. He had to win nine loss-side matches to get to the final before being relegated to his second runner-up finish by Clint Freeman.

Freeman got by Mohammed Alrawi, Mark Lawson, Tony Top, and Shan Iyer to draw Clint Palaci in his winners’ side semifinal. Bayda, in the meantime, who’d started his campaign off with a double hill win over Dario Gomez, went on to defeat Alberto Nieto, Travis Landsdowne, and Doug Winnet to draw Lance Schofield in his winners’ side semifinal. 

Bayda sent Schofield to the loss side 7-4. He was joined in the hot seat match by Freeman, who’d defeated Palaci 7-5. Freeman claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Bayda and waited for TJ Davis to complete his nine-match, loss-side streak. 

That loss side streak was going well (six down, three to go) when Davis, following 7-4 wins over Crispian Ng and Doug Winnet, ran into Palaci. Schofield drew Shan Iyer, who’d recently survived a double hill fight over Steve Lenz and then eliminated the One Pocket winner, Jeff Sullivan, 7-4. Iyer survived a second double hill fight, over Schofield, and advanced to the quarterfinals. Davis joined him after downing Palaci 7-2.

Davis used back-to-back 7-3 wins over Iyer in the quarterfinals and Bayda in the semifinals for his second shot at a title. Freeman denied him with a 7-4 win in the finals that gave him the 9-ball title.

“Doc” Reyes thanked the ownership and staff at the Billiards Den for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, Doc’s Billiards Office, JB Cases, Dallas 8-Ball, Outsville Accu-Rack, OB Cues, John Eagle Honda, and Action 903 for the live stream.

Editors Note: Consider this report to be preliminary, featuring specific highlights of the four events held over the past weekend. We’re continuing to talk to participants and organizers of this 5th Annual event, honoring the late Royce Bunnell and all of the influence and friendship he brought to bear on the pool industry during his tenure with OB Cues. A more comprehensive report, to include commentary from some of the individuals whose lives he touched, will be found in the first 2021 edition of THE BILLIARDS BUZZ, to be published the first week in January.