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Van Boening Takes 8-Ball & All Around at 24th Annual U.S. Bar Table Championship

Shane Van Boening

Shane Van Boening double-dipped James Aranas of the Philippines to win the 8-Ball Division of the U.S. Bar Table Championship Saturday, locking up the All-Around title for the third time.
 
Van Boening won the 9-Ball Division and took second in the 10-Ball Division earlier this week. He also won the All-Around title in 2008 and 2010.
 
Van Boening came into the finals from the one-loss side of the bracket. He started the tournament with wins over: Ernesto Dominguez, 5-1; Dave Strachan, 5-0; Dennis Orcollo, 5-3; Max Eberle, 5-4; before losing to Jesse Engle, 4-5. On the B-Side of the bracket, he bested; Mitch Ellerman, 5-1; Skyler Woodward, 5-3; and Jesse Engel, 5-2 to make it to the finals. Van Boening met Aranas in the finals and beat him 5-1 in the first set, to force a second set in the true double-elimination tournament.
 
Aranas’ went into the finals undefeated, beating: Michael Tonsowny, 5-0; Andrew Wroblewski, 5-3; Marshall Hill, 5-2; Mitch Ellerman, 5-2; Skyler Woodward, 5-0; and Jesse Engel, 5-3. But he was unable to beat Van Boening in the finals.
 
Payouts:
1. Shane Van Boening           $4,000
2. James Aranas                      $2,300
3. Jesse Engel                           $1,500
4. Sky Woodward                                     $1,000
5. Mitch Ellerman                   $700
6. Max Eberle                           $700
7. Dennis Orcollo                     $450
8. Jason Klatt                            $450
9. Oscar Dominguez              $300
10. Shaun Wilkie                     $300
11. Demetrius Jelatis             $300
12. Jeremy Edwards              $300
13. Amar Kang                         $200
14. George Walters                $200
15. Matt Hill                              $200
16. Josh Smith                          $200
17. Vilmos Foldes                   $150
18. Mark Tademy                                    $150
19. Vinnie Calabrese              $150
20. Zhou Zhau                          $150
21. Sean Lewis                         $150
22. Marshall Hill                      $150
23. Ace Brown                          $150
24. James Blackburn              $150
 
[photo id=48388|align=right]In the Women’s Division, Arizona’s Bernie Store was undefeated to win the title of 2017 US Bar Table Women’s 8-Ball Champion.
 
Store’s path to the finals included wins over: Alicia Huff, 4-2; Jessica Frideres, 4-3; Rachel Lang, 4-3; and Tian Tian, 4-3.
 
Jessica Frideres, who won the 9-Ball Division, came through the one loss side to meet Store in the finals. Frideres won her first match of the tournament against Amanda Stevens, 4-0, before Store sent her to the losers bracket, 4-3. On the B-side, Frideres bested: Molly Oliver, 4-0; Karen Poitra, 4-2; Jennifer Shumaker, 4-1; Rachel Lang, 4-0; and Tian Tian, 4-2. But Frideres wouldn’t be able to overcome Store in the finals, where she lost 4-1.
 
Payouts: 1. Bernie Store, $850; Jessica Frideres, $500; Tian Tian, $300; and Rachel Lang, $200.
Frideres’ second place finish earned her enough to second the Women’s All-Around title and $500 bonus.
 
The 24th US Bar Table Championships concluded Saturday at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.

Van Boening Earns Fifth US Bar Table 9-Ball Champion title

Jessica Frideres and Shane Van Boening

Shane Van Boening of South Dakota added a fifth US Bar Table 9-Ball Championship to his resume Thursday at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, beating James Aranas of the Philippines in the finals, 9-2.
 
Van Boening went into the finals undefeated, posting wins over: Abrin Schaad, 9-6; Ernesto Dominguez, 9-3; Oscar Dominguez, 9-7; Billy Stephan, 9-1 and Mitch Ellerman, 9-4. Van Boening beat Aranas to earn the hot seat, 9-7.
 
Aranas’ path to the finals included beating: Donald Weatherby II, 9-3; Jeremy Edwards, 9-7; Jason Klatt, 9-6; Sky Woodward, 9-8; and Amar Kang, 9-7. After losing the hot seat match, Aranas beat Jesse Engle, 9-2, to earn a place in the finals.
 
Van Boening kept control in the final match from the start, jumping out to a 4-2 lead. In the seventh rack, the players traded safeties until a kick by Van Boening left the one ball open for Aranas, who then uncharacteristically missed a six ball to let Van Boening back to the table. They traded safeties again until Aranas made a good hit on the seven ball and then scratched, giving Van Boening the game. Van Boening then broke and ran, to go up 6-2. Aranas scratched again in the next rack, giving up another game. Van Boening broke and ran again, then ran out the final rack after Aranas broke dry.
 
Van Boening, player representative for the USA Pool League, previously won the 9-Ball Division at the US Bar Table Championships in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2010. On Tuesday, Van Boening earned second place in the 10-Ball Division.
 
Payouts:
1. Shane Van Boening           $3,500
2. James Aranas                      $2,100
3. Jesse Engel                           $1,400
4. Amar Kang                           $900
5. Mitch Ellerman                   $600
6. Shaun Wilkie                       $600
7. Josh Smith                            $400
8. Sky Woodward                                     $400
9. Ernesto Dominguez           $225
10. Billy Stephan                     $225
11. Demetrius Jelatis             $225
12. Abrin Schaad                     $225
13. Mark Wissman                $150
14. Vinnie Calabrese              $150
15. Oscar Dominguez            $150
16. Dave Strachan                  $150
 
In the Women’s Division, Jessica Frideres added the title of USBTC 9-Ball Division Champion to her resume, to complete a trifecta of USBTC titles. Frideres, of Fort Dodge, Iowa, won the USBTC 8-Ball Division in 2013, and the USBTC 10-Ball Division in 2016. Frideres’ went into the finals undefeated, having bested Molly Oliver, 7-3 and Rachel Lang, 7-5, before beating Heather Cortez for the hot seat.
 
Cortez’s path to the finals included wins over: Trinh Lu, 7-4; Amanda Stevens, 7-1; and Rhonda Moses, 7-1, before Frideres sent her to the B-side of the bracket. Cortez then beat Trinh Lu, 7-4, to earn her place in the finals.
 
But Cortez’s efforts in the finals weren’t enough to beat Frideres, who beat Cortez 7-3 to earn the title.
 
Payouts: 1. Jessica Frideres, $825; 2. Heather Cortez, $425; 3. Trinh Lu, $250
 
The 24th US Bar Table Championships kicked off Sunday at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. The 8-Ball began Thursday and continues through Saturday, Dec. 16.
 
For more information, contact Mary Coffman, CSI Marketing Manager, at 702-719-7665 or by email at mary@playcsipool.com. 

Woodward Becomes US Bar Table 10-Ball Champion

Skyler Woodward

After settling for runner-up of the US Bar Table Championships’ 10-Ball Division for the past two years, Skyler Woodward, of Paducah, KY, earned the title of 10-Ball Champion Tuesday.
 
Woodward went into the finals undefeated, posting wins over: Ian Costello, 7-3; BJ Fox, 7-1; Mark Wissman, 7-5; Mark Tademy, 7-2; and Vinnie Calabrese, 7-5. Woodward met Mosconi Cup teammate Shane Van Boening in the hot seat match Monday evening, and came back from a 6-4 deficit to win 7-6.
 
Van Boening cleared a clean path through the winner’s bracket as well, beating Donald Weathersby II, 7-2; Robert Doral, 7-2; Amar Kang, 7-6; Jesse Engel, 7-3; and Mitch Ellerman, 7-2; before losing the hot seat to Woodward. In the semifinals, Van Boening beat Vinnie Calabrese, a Australian player with a snooker background, 7-2.
 
In the first set of the finals, Woodward jumped out to a 3-2 lead before a few errors put Van Boening in control of the set. Woodward miscued on an eight ball, allowing Van Boening to tie the score at 3-3. Then Van Boening broke and ran out to take the lead at 4-3. On Woodward’s next break, he scratched, allowing Van Boening back to the table where he ran another rack, and followed that up with another break and run, putting him on the hill. Woodward broke dry and Van Boening ran the rack to win the set and force a second set in the true double-elimination format.
 
Woodward and Van Boening traded games in the second set tied at 4-4. When Van Boening played a safe on a 3 ball. Woodward called the nine, which was hanging in the side pocket, kicked the 3 ball and the cue ball caromed off to make the shot and allow Woodward a run out to gain a 5-4 lead in the match. Woodward broke and had a tough layout, but after making two tough bank shots, he was able to run the rack, putting himself on the hill. In the final game, Van Boening broke dry and Woodward was able to run out to become the 10-Ball Champion.
 
[photo id=48373|align=right]The women’s 10-Ball Division concluded on Monday, a day earlier than normal. First place went to Heather Cortez, $800; second, Rae Evans, $400; third, Trinh Lu, $250.
 
The 9-Ball Division, which started Tuesday, continues today. Still undefeated in the Open division are: Shane Van Boening, Mitch Ellerman, James Aranas and Amar Kang. Fighting through the one-loss side of the bracket are: Dave Stachan, Abrin Schaad, Demetrius Jelatis, Jesse Engel, Josh Smith, Billy Stephan, Ernesto Dominguez, Mark Wissman and Shaun Wilkie.
 
Live streaming of the US Bar Table Championships continues today at 1 p.m. PST. The schedule is as follows:
1 p.m.: Jesse Engel vs. Demetrius Jelatis
2:30 p.m.: Shaun Wilkie vs. Ernesto Dominguez or Mark Wissman
4 p.m. Shane Van Boening vs. Mitch Ellerman
5:30 p.m. James Aranas vs. Amar Kang
7 p.m. Shane Van Boening or Mitch Ellberman vs. James Aranas or Amar Kang (Hot Seat Match)
8:30 p.m. Fourth place match – players TBD
 
For streaming information, go to www.playcsipool/live-streaming.html
 
The 24th US Bar Table Championships kicked off Sunday at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. The 9-Ball Division concludes Thursday, Dec. 14 and the 8-Ball is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 16.

 

Woodward steals 10-Ball hot seat from Van Boening at 2017 US Bar Table Championships

Skyler Woodward – File photo courtesy of Karl Kantrowitz

Skyler Woodward came back from a 6-4 deficit to steal the hot seat by a score of 7-6 of the 10-Ball Division at the 2017 US Bar Table Championships from Mosconi Cup teammate Shane Van Boening Monday evening.
 
The 24th US Bar Table Championships kicked off Sunday at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. The 10-Ball Division wraps up today, as the 9-Ball Division begins. The 9-Ball Division concludes Thursday and the 8-Ball is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 16.
 
Woodward’s path to the hot seat match included wins over: Ian Costello, 7-3; BJ Fox, 7-1; Mark Wissman, 7-5; Mark Tademy, 7-2; and Vinnie Calabrese, 7-5.
 
Van Boening also had a solid day, beating: Donald Weathersby II, 7-2; Robert Doral, 7-2; Amar Kang, 7-6; Jesse Engel, 7-3; and Mitch Ellerman, 7-2; before losing the hot seat to Woodward.
 
At 1 p.m., Van Boening will face Calabrese, an Australian with a snooker background who has only been playing American-style pool for about a year.
 
Calabrese posted wins over: Shane Longest, forfeit; Gary Lutman, 7-6; Donny Branson, 7-4; and Jason Klatt, 7-5; before Woodward sent him to the loser’s side of the bracket, 5-7. Then Calabrese tossed Shaun Wilkie (7-5) and Klatt (7-3) out of the tournament, to secure himself a spot in the semi-finals.
 
The women’s 10-Ball Division concluded on Monday, a day earlier than normal. First place went to Heather Cortez, $800; second, Rae Evans, $400; third, Trinh Lu, $250.
 
Live streaming of the US Bar Table Championships continues today at 1 p.m. with Van Boening vs. Calabrese in the semifinals of the 10-Ball Division. The winner of that match will play Woodward at 2:30 p.m. in the finals. If the true double-elimination finals goes to a second match, that will be streamed at 4 p.m.
 
Selected matches from the 9-Ball Division will be streamed at approximately 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. PST. To access live streaming, visit www.playcsipool.com/watch-live.html.
 
For more information, contact Mary Coffman, CSI Marketing Manager, at 702-719-7665 or by email at mary@playcsipool.com. 

Bergman takes two out of three over Van Boening to win Upper Midwest Pro Am 8-Ball event

Justin Bergman

Styer comes from the loss side to capture 10-Ball title
 
Three competitors split $14,000 in prize money in the Upper Midwest Pro Am 8-Ball Tournament; a $6,000-added Pro event, restricted to eight players, each of whom paid a $1,000-entry fee. Played out on 7-ft. Diamond tables, the event, held under the auspices of the Midwest Poolplayers Association, and hosted by CR's Sports Bar in Coon Rapids, MN, ended up in a three-match contest between Justin Bergman and Shane Van Boening. Bergman took two out of the three to claim the event title, and first-place prize of $9,000.
 
In a concurrently-run, $2,000-added 10-ball event that drew 47 entrants to the same location, Tyler Styer took two out of three against Michael Perron, Jr. Styer came back from a shutout in the hot seat match to double dip Perron, Jr. in the finals.
 
The Pro event, in races to 15, saw Bergman and Van Boening advance through a single match to face opponents in a winners' side semifinal; Bergman versus Lee Heuwagen and Van Boening squaring off against Corey Deuel. Bergman got into the hot seat match 15-11 over Heuwagen, as Van Boening downed Deuel 15-13. Bergman took the first of three over Van Boening 15-12 and sat in the hot seat, awaiting his return.
 
On the short-list loss side, Heuwagen picked up Jesse Engel, who'd eliminated Brandon Shuff 15-7 to reach him. Deuel drew Larry Nevel, who'd defeated Ryan Solleveld 15-7. Engel ended Heuwagen's bid for a share of the event's $14,000 with a 15-9 win, as Deuel was busy eliminating Nevel 15-3.
 
Deuel then dropped Engel in the quarterfinals 15-11 and squared off against his former Mosconi Cup teammate, Van Boening, in the first money round ($1,000), the semifinals. Van Boening took the match against Deuel 15-12 to earn a second, and as it turned out, third shot against Bergman.
 
Down 7-1, and later, 11-3, Van Boening fought back in the opening set to tie and eventually pull off a double hill win that forced a second set. Bergman won the second set 15-10 to claim the event title.
 
Styer double dips Perron, Jr.
 
Tyler Styer returned from a loss in the hot seat match to Michael Perron, Jr. to double dip him in the finals and claim the top prize in the weekend's 10-ball event. Styer, after being awarded an opening round bye, advanced through three matches to face Mark Weaver in one of the winners' side semifinals. Perron, in the meantime, advanced through four matches, including an opening round double hill fight, to face T.J. Steinhaus in the other winners' side semifinal.
 
Styer downed Weaver 9-4, as Perron was sending Steinhaus to the loss side in his second double hill match. Perron claimed the hot seat 9-5 over Styer and waited for what proved to be his fateful return.
 
On the loss side, Steinhaus picked up Tony Zierman, who'd defeated Dustin Morris 7-5 and Tony Hilla 7-4 to reach him. Weaver drew Tim Tonjum, who'd defeated Dan Voller 7-1 and Rory Hendrickson 7-5. Zierman handed Steinhaus his second straight loss 7-3, and in the quarterfinals, faced Tonjum, who fought to double hill and then handed Weaver his second loss.
 
It would be hard to know who watched the quarterfinals with more interest; Perron in the hot seat, or Styer, waiting to play the winner in the semifinals. Both watched as Tonjum shut Zierman out. Styer was up first, and eliminated Tonjum 7-4 in those semifinals.
 
Styer and Perron battled in the opening set, with Styer pulling out in front to win it 9-5. In the second set, Styer took a page out of Tonjum's book, and shut Perron out to claim the event title.

WPBL Finals: Victory For The Outlaws

The Outlaws

The World Professional League played their first league championship at the WPBL Arena in Las Vegas, NV Friday February 13, 2014 which was broadcast live in the US via ESPN3. The final match-up had the #2 seed Minnesota Outlaws facing off against the league’s #12 seed the Atlanta Scorpions.
 
The inaugural season’s first championship was not without some pomp and circumstance. Opening ceremonies included the singing of the National Anthem and displaying of the championship trophy that the winning team would take home. Johnny Archers’ Atlanta Scorpions who are not without superb talent, were league underdogs going into the match facing one of the most consistent teams throughout the season Thorsten Hohmann’s Minnesota Outlaws.  In the end, the Outlaws proved too tough for the Scorpions as they held on to win the first WPBL Championship. The night capped off with the Championship trophy presentation and the Outlaws being presented with the $30,000 grand prize in cash.
 
Jesse Engel's regulation win over Shannon Daulton in the final singles game of the match gave the Minnesota Outlaws the first ever World Professional Billiard League Championship. Daulton needed a win in either regulation or a shoot-out to give Atlanta a chance to tie or win the match in the final game, but he committed a critical scratch with time winding down that would be his last shot of the match, as Engel ran his score to 30 a short while later.
 
But the most devastating scratch of the day came a game earlier, when Dennis Hatch was on the verge of a 30-0 shut-out of Ralf Souquet. However, after sinking the bonus ball shot that would have given him a 30-0 win, the cue ball glanced off the rack and straight into a corner pocket for a scratch that wiped away his shut-out bid. The shut-out would have made the score 6-5, instead Hatch only picked up a single point in a shoot-out to make the score 6-3, forcing Daulton to win the final singles game to keep Atlanta alive.
 
Minnesota jumped out to a 3-0 lead by opening the match in 3 on 3 with a shoot-out win, then Thorsten Hohmann and Souquet handily defeated Archer and Hatch 30-3 in the first doubles game. Atlanta won the final two doubles games in shoot-outs to pull within 3-2 at intermission, setting up Hohmann's shut-out of Archer to open singles play, giving Minnesota a 6-2 lead.
 
The Outlaws took home one fourth of the $120,000 awarded to the twelve teams in the league that participated in the WPBL post season playoffs, where the final 3 matches were seen live on ESPN3.
Follow the WPBL as we move into our offseason we will still continue to make additional announcements and updates. For a complete listing of standings, statistics, merchandise and more visit the WPBL website. 
 
Web:  http://wpbltv.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wpbltvcom
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WPBLtv

WPBL Semi-Finals: Outlaws Outlast The Poison

Ralf Souquet

The second World Professional League semi-final match was played at the WPBL Arena in Las Vegas, NV. On Thursday February 13, 2014. The match-up featured the #2 seed Minnesota Outlaws vs. the #9 seed Pittsburg Poison.    
 
The Poison's dramatic run in the WPBL Championship Playoffs ended with a heartbreaking 7-5 loss to the Outlaws Thursday February 13th, sending Minnesota to Saturday's WPBL Championship game to face the Atlanta Scorpions. Pittsburgh needed to win the final game in regulation to stay alive, but failed to score when given the opportunities down the stretch. That left the door open for Minnesota to run out the clock in regulation and clinch the match.  
 
Pittsburgh fell behind in the match 4-0 in the first three games before storming back to take a 5-4 lead when Shawn Putnam outlasted Ralf Souquet in a singles shoot-out 27-19. Adam Smith, who played the biggest role in Pittsburgh's comeback, tied the match a 4-4 in the previous game by defeating Jesse Engel 30-6.  
 
Smith was also key in helping the Poison pick up their first match points of the night, cutting a pair of tough scoring shots in along the way to a 30-6 win paired with Sylver Ochoa, as they defeated Engel and Thorsten Hohmann. But Hohmann would get the last laugh in singles, shutting out Ochoa 30-0 in the final singles game, putting the Outlaws up 7-5 before clinching the match for a spot in the finals.
 
The WPBL’s first Championship match can be seen Saturday February 15, 2014 at 1pm PT live to viewers in the United States on ESPN3, viewers outside the US able to see the live stream at www.wpbltv.com/subscribe.  This historic match will have Thorsten Hohmann’s Outlaws taking on Johnny Archer’s Scorpions to become the first ever WPBL Champions. Atlanta’s rise to the finals has been unexpected as they were seeded last in the league, but have continually gained momentum as a team landing them in season’s final match. On the other hand, the Outlaws have played consistent all season therefore securing a spot in the finals seemed inevitable.   
 
Friday February 14, 2014, the league will hold the All Star Charity Billiards Challenge match for Philippine typhoon relief as Filipino stars Dennis Orcullo and Carlo Biado join Warren Kiamco and face Hohmann, Darren Appleton, and John Morra. Proceeds will be donated to the Rising Asian Pacific Americans Coalition for Diversity (501c3) in Las Vegas. That match can be purchased at: www.wpbltv.com/subscription.
 
Follow the WPBL as we near the league championship, additional announcements and updates will be made frequently. For a complete listing of broadcast matches, standings, merchandise and more visit the WPBL website. 
 
Web:  http://wpbltv.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wpbltvcom
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WPBLtv

Second Round WPBL Playoffs: Outlaws Defeat Cruise

Thorsten Hohmann

The last match-up in the second round of the World Professional Billiard League’s Championship Playoffs were played at the WPBL Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The action took place on Tuesday February 11th when the #2 seed Minnesota Outlaws defeated the #11 seed Miami Cruise.
 
The Outlaws capitalized on some early miscues by the Cruise and jumped out to a 5-0 match lead, then held on for a 7-2 victory over the Miami team to advance to the semi-final round of the WPBL playoffs.
 
Thorsten Hohmann, Ralf Souquet, and Jesse Engel opened up play with a 30-3 win over Miami's Corey Deuel, Jose Parica, and Hunter Lombardo to take a 2-0 lead. Engel and Hohmann then paired up for a 30-18 win over Parica and Deuel, lifting Minnesota's lead to 4-0 before Minnesota picked up another shoot-out point when Hohmann and Souquet edged Deuel and Lombardo 25-24. 
 
Lombardo committed 3 scratch fouls in the first half, but did help Miami pick up a shoot-out point in the final doubles game of the match when he paired with Parica for a 25-15 win, to make the score 5-1 at the half-way point of the match.
 
The deficit remained 4 after the first singles game, as Engel and Parica each picked up a point in a thrilling 30-30 tie that saw Parica make two incredible shots on the bonus ball to reach the 30 point plateau. Twice faced with long banks from one end of the table to the other, he was good on both to help his team earn a point, keeping them alive in the match. 
 
Hohmann increased Minnesota's lead to 7-2 by knocking off Deuel 27-18 in singles with just two games left in the match. Souquet then clinched his singles match by sending the game with Lombardo to a shoot-out that left no way for Miami to earn enough points to match Minnesota's 7.
 
The Outlaws next face the Pittsburgh Poison on Thursday February 13th in the first match-up in the semi-final round of the tournament.  The winner of that match faces Wednesday's semi-final winner between Earl Strickland's New York Pride and Johnny Archer's Atlanta Scorpions. Both semi-final matches will be at 6:30 PST, with the WPBL Championship match scheduled for Saturday February 15th at 1 pm PST.
 
The tournament takes a break Friday night for the WPBL's All-Star Charity Challenge to raise money for typhoon relief effort in the Philippines.  Filipino stars Dennis Orcollo and Carlo Biado join the New York Pride’s Warren Kiamco and will face Hohmann, Darren Appleton, and John Morra in an exhibition match of Bonus Ball.  Pay-per-view proceeds from the match will be donated by the WPBL to the relief fund through the Rising Asian Pacific Americans Coalition for Diversity (501c3) in Las Vegas.
 
ESPN3 has live coverage of the remaining three playoff matches, however subscribers to the entire WPBL playoff package will still receive all archived matches from the tournament.
To purchase the WPBL All Star Charity Billiards Challenge or the entire Championship Package, please visit www.WPBLtv.com. Follow the WPBL as the playoffs continue, additional announcements and updates will be made frequently. For a complete listing of broadcast matches, standings, merchandise and more visit the WPBL website. 
 
Web:  http://wpbltv.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wpbltvcom
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WPBLtv

Action underway in Barnsley

Nick Ekonomopoulos (GRE)

Chris Melling (ENG) 8-3 Karol Skowerski (POL)

Nick Ekonomopoulos
(GRE) 8-2
 Ralf Souquet (GER)

Niels Feijen
(HOL) 8-6
 Karl Boyes (ENG)

The 21st annual running of the PartyPoker World Pool Masters got underway at the Metrodome in Barnsley, Yorkshire and there were first round wins for Chris Melling, Nick Ekonomopoulos and Niels Feijen.  The $66,000 tournament has been a staple on the pool calendar for over two decades and was making its first appearance in the UK since 2005.

In front of an excellent first night crowd at the popular Yorkshire venue, defending champion Karol Skowerski of Poland fell at the first hurdle as was beaten 8-3 by England’s Chris Melling who looked in fine form in front of his local fans.

Melling, whose smooth action is renowned the world over, flew into a 5-0 lead in front of his Yorkshire faithful as he took advantage of the winners’ break format. Skowerski, who enjoyed a magical three days in his home town of Kielce as he won the Masters last year, took the sixth rack to get his name on the board.

The Pole won the next after a quality safety battle and ran out the eighth game from the break to take the score to 5-3. Melling got lucky in the next when a he had a hit-and-hope attempt on the 3 ball which was parked next to the 9. The 8 ball got cannoned into the top pocket and the 3 ball rolled into the opposite corner. From there he cleared to go 6-3 in the race to eight match.

Melling won the next to get to the hill, and although Skowerski got to the table in the next it was the Englishman’s day as he ran out the winner and can look forward to a quarter final match against Ga Young Kim or Alex Pagulayan.

“I played really well. I twitched an easy eight ball but other than that I played really well. I had a good fluke to be fair when I was 5-3 up,” said Melling.

“I am cueing the ball nicely and I have the table speed down well so it is just a matter of getting your chances and taking them when they come.

“This is the first time I have played 9-ball in Yorkshire and I have a good following from Keighley. Come tomorrow I think it will be a packed house. It makes a big difference to have home advantage. It is like the guy in your corner in a boxing match. I have a lot of people behind me and a lot of good support.”

The second match of the evening saw six-time Masters champion Ralf Souquet exit the competition as he was defeated by a sharp shooting Nick Ekonomopoulus 8-2.

They shared the opening two racks but Nick, a Mosconi Cup winner on his debut last December, took the next two with a determined look on his face. A run out from the break made it 4-1 and the six times Masters champion looked in trouble with the winner breaks format.

Another meaty break from the Greek set up a run out for 5-1 and Souquet needed something to happen to give himself a chance. It didn’t come in the next as Ekonomopoulos ran out once again to take himself to 6-1.

An illegal break got Souquet back to the table and sensing that anything less than a run out would sound his death knell, cleared for 6-2. He got the 1 ball into the side pocket off the break in the ninth game but missed the 2 ball and the Greek took full advantage to clear and reach the hill. He ran out the next for an excellent win.

“I played very well although I was lucky in rack one. He played a very good safe and I played a safe but made the ball. After that I made three run outs and in a short format when it is race to eight you can quickly take a big lead,” said Ekonomopoulos.

“I have been playing well and practicing a lot with my friend Darren Appleton. I don’t play my quarter-final until Sunday so I will keep practicing.”

Souquet was a little disappointed at his lack of table time: “I don’t feel like I have been a part of this tournament. Apart from the two scratches he played so well and I wasn’t able to get a chance.”

The final match of the opening session saw two 2013 Mosconi Cup players face off as Niels Feijen of Holland met England’s Karl Boyes.

They shared the opening racks before Boyes fouled as he failed to reach a rail with a safety shot. Feijen ran out to take the lead but Boyes squared it in the next. Both had visits in the fifth rack but it was Feijen who dropped the 9 ball and he took the next for a 4-2 lead.

Boyes got the home crowds cheering in the next as he completed the run out to reduce the deficit.  Feijen was always in the lead but Boyes was never too far behind him but it was the Dutchman who reached the hill first at 7-4.

Boyes though got it back to 6-7 but lost the table as he tried a difficult cut on the 3 ball after a solid break. He got lucky though as he missed but left Feijen hooked. The Dutchman got out of it and when Boyes scratched it was all over as he ran out for the win.

“It was nip and tuck all the way and I feel I caught a couple of rolls in that match but also he was breaking really well, especially at the end,” said Feijen.

“I got a little worried there from 7-4; we had a long tactical game from that point. He made a nice bank on the 3 ball, runs out, breaks and runs out and it was getting close. Then he had a good break but scratched on the 3 ball in the side pocket. I knew if I got it straight on the six it would be over and I am glad I got through that one,” he added.

Boyes said, “It was one of those matches. We both played well, nobody missed anything, it was just the odd safety error. I was breaking well the whole match but I just couldn’t get a shot early in the match.”

This is the 21st annual running of the PartyPoker.com World Pool Masters following its inaugural event in 1993. Some of the greatest players in the modern era of pool have won this title including the likes of Souquet, Strickland, Orcollo and Appleton. With a field of 16 players there are 15 matches in total – all race to eight racks and culminating in the final on the Sunday evening.

The 2013 PARTYPOKER.COM World Pool Masters is sponsored by PartyPoker.com, the world's leading online poker site. Cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith. Diamond is the supplier of the Official Table and Predator is the Official Cue.

Wins for Mika, Alex and Chang

Mika Immonen (FIN)

Mika Immonen (FIN) 8-6 Efren Reyes (PHI)

Alex Pagulayan (CAN) 8-2 Ga Young Kim (KOR)

Chang Jung-lin (TPE) 8-6 Daryl Peach (ENG)

 

THREE MORE matches took place this afternoon at the Barnsley Metrodome as the opening round of the 2013 PartyPoker World Pool Masters continued. There were wins for Finland, Canada and Taiwan as Mika Immonen, Alex Pagulayan and Chang Jung-lin all enjoyed victories.

 

There are two more first round matches to take place this evening in the three day $66,000 event but the final match of the session saw an England v Taiwan clash as Blackpool’s Daryl Peach met Chang Jung-lin, the 2012 World 8 Ball Champion and it ended in a close victory for the Taiwanese after he clawed back a big deficit.

 

Peach, a winner of this event in 1995, recovered from a poor start to move into 5-2 lead before Chang took the next two to set up a close finish. The Taiwanese though made an illegal break and although Peach pocketed the lowest ball, he broke down and Chang levelled the score at 5-5.

 

There was a safety exchange in the next before Peach played a superb trickshot as he found the cue ball locked against the 5 on the rail. He jacked the cue up and played a proper masse that pocketed the orange 5 up table, screwed back to pocket the 8 and moved the 9 ball out and away from the rail.

 

He completed the table to take a 6-5 lead and gave himself a chance with his next break. He went through the balls but made a poor error as he scratched, moving the cue ball down table for the 8 and 9.

 

It was to prove a critical mistake as Chang made it 6-6 and he took the next to reach the hill with a clinical break and run. A decent break in the next wrapped it up for the Taiwanese as he completed an 8-6 victory.

 

“When I was 2-0 up, I thought it could be an easy match, but that soon changed,” said Chang.

 

“In the end I was sitting there thinking the match was over and I wouldn’t get another shot but I had a good slice of luck and thought that this was my chance.”

 

A disappointed Peach said, “At the start of the match I was playing well and things were going my way and Chang was struggling with the break a little bit as well. I felt confident but it only took a couple of silly shots and the match swung around. That is pool for you.”

 

In the first match of the Saturday afternoon session, Mika Immonen won an entertaining match against Efren Reyes, who proved a hit with the big Barnsley crowd. It was the Finn who got off to a good start as he took the opening two racks but Reyes took the third and fourth.

 

Reyes is a wily old campaigner who is still highly dangerous and he moved into a 4-2 lead, as he shook off any effects of jet lag, and came up with some creative shots which pleased the crowd. Immonen though got to the table in the next and ran out and then did the same in the next to square it up at 4-4.

 

They shared the next two before Reyes dropped two balls on the break but had no available pot on the 1 ball. He pushed out but Immonen put him back in but his safety attempt left the 1 ball on. The Finn cleared to take a 6-5 lead and took the next shortly after.

 

The Filipino got back to the table in the next but again left the 2 ball on as he started to look a little ragged. Immonen though couldn’t convert the chance and Reyes took advantage to get within one rack at 7-6. He scratched on the break in the next as the cue ball rolled into the side pocket and Immonen cleared the table for a deserved win.

 

Immonen said afterwards, “He is a legend and I was a little bit nervous at the beginning. You don’t want to get into a safety battle with him because he seems to get out of jail every time – it doesn’t matter where the cue ball lands, he seems to have a solution.

 

“My strategy was to break and run but I wasn’t really breaking well so it turned into a shooting contest a little bit, a back and forth battle. He is a legend and that is always in the back of your mind.”

 

In the clash of the sexes, Ga Young Kim of Korea, one of the most titled female players of recent times, faced off against popular favourite Alex Pagulayan and it was the Canadian who prevailed as Kim made too many errors to survive in such company.

 

The 30 year-old from Seoul though, got off to a flyer as she took the opening two racks and looked very stylish in the process. Pagulayan came back at her though as he took the next two and then kept Kim parked in her seat as he took the lead at 3-2.

 

That soon became 4-2 before the elegant Kim got back to the table but there was nothing on and Pagulayan ended up running out for 5-2. Kim looked cross with herself as she missed the pink 4 and then caught it on the way back to leave it out in the open. The Lion cleared for 6-2.

 

Another miss by Kim, on the 4 ball after a superb jump shot to pocket 3 ball, let Pagulayan back in but Kim jumped out of the safety to pocket the 4. Another poor miss on the 7, which looked like it was caused by a bad connection, got Pagulayan back and he cleared to get to 7-2.

 

Kim looked visibly upset as she slumped in her chair but recovered to give Pagulayan a big smile as he made an excellent 2/9 carom to clinch the match.

 

A delighted Pagulayan said, “It was a tough match. At the beginning it looked like she would go all the way through, the way she was breaking and playing. I have known her for a long time and I know she is a very good player and she can be any one of us. It looks like I am playing well so hopefully I keep playing like this.”

 

Play continues this evening with the final two first round matches and then first of the quarter-finals.

 

This is the 21st annual running of the PartyPoker.com World Pool Masters following its inaugural event in 1993. Some of the greatest players in the modern era of pool have won this title including the likes of Souquet, Strickland, Orcollo and Appleton. With a field of 16 players there are 15 matches in total – all race to eight racks and culminating in the final on the Sunday evening.

 

The 2013 PARTYPOKER.COM World Pool Masters is sponsored by PartyPoker.com, the world's leading online poker site. Cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith. Diamond is the supplier of the Official Table and Predator is the Official Cue.