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Bryant goes undefeated to take WPBA title at Janet Atwell’s Borderline Billiards

Brittany Bryant, Janet Atwell and Mary Rakin (Photo courtesy of Barbara Lee)

It’s hard to know just how exactly the proverbial ‘luck of the draw’ can impact a tournament field. Is there ever an easy path through a strong field? Does early ‘luck of the draw’ influence a player’s ability to face increasingly difficult competition? With ‘no’ as the answer to the ‘easy path’ question, one would think that getting a few relatively ‘easy’ matches under your belt before facing any heavy hitters would have to be of benefit. On the weekend of October 18-21, Canada’s Brittany Bryant went undefeated through a field of strong opponents to win the WPBA BLU-EMU Southern Open Signature Tour Stop.
With a Fargo Rate of 663, Bryant opened the tournament with matches against opponents whose ratings were in the 500 range, slowly graduating to matches against higher ranked opponents, and then, in the finals, squaring off against Mary Rakin with exactly the same rating of 663. The $10,000-added event drew 64 entrants to Janet Atwell’s Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.
That said, it didn’t take Bryant long to get into the thick of things. Following victories over Autumn Duncan (Fargo Rating 585) 7-2 and Bonnie Arnold (553) 7-3, Bryant faced the Texas Tornado, Vivian Villarreal, sporting a higher Fargo rate of 685 (the top Fargo-rated female in the US). They locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Bryant against Jia Li (654) and a second double hill fight, which Bryant won, advancing to a winners’ side semifinal match against Karen Corr (722; as an Irish competitor, Corr is not on the US Top 10 list, and doesn’t appear among the top 10 World List, dominated by seven Chinese women, whose ratings range from 782 to 744).
Meanwhile, Line Kjorsvik (675) was running her own gauntlet of top-notch talent. She defeated Ji-Hyun Park, Jeannette Lee, Ashley Rice and Helena Thornfeldt to draw (out of the frying pan into the fire, so to speak) Allison Fisher (724). Fisher had sent Bryant’s eventual finals opponent, Mary Rakin, to the loss side in the second round.
Bryant downed Corr 7-3, and in the hot seat match, faced Kjorsvik, who’d survived a somewhat predictable double hill match against Fisher. Bryant claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Kjorsvik and waited for Rakin to complete her nine-match, loss-side winning streak that would bring her into the final match.
Six matches had put Bryant in the hot seat, and while they included those back-to-back wins over Villareal, Li, Corr and Kjorsvik, the run paled (somewhat) in the face of what Rakin accomplished to meet her in the finals. Wins over Kaylin Wykoff and Maureen Seto put Rakin into the first money round (17th-24th) against Gerda (Hofstatter) Gregerson. A subsequent win over Dawn Hopkins led to five straight wins over Thornfeldt, Jennifer Baretta, Corr, Fisher and Kjorsvik.
She defeated Thornfeldt 7-4 and Baretta 7-3 to pick up Corr, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Fisher drew Jia Li, who’d defeated LoreeJon Hasson 7-5 and Melissa Little 7-4 to reach her.
Rakin defeated Corr 7-5 and in the quarterfinals, faced Fisher, who’d eliminated Li 7-2. Rakin and Fisher locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Rakin to the semifinals against Kjorsvik. A second straight double hill fight, won by Rakin, gave Rakin her shot at Bryant in the finals.
The finals, according to FargoRate, was a 50/50 proposition. Rakin had the intangible of momentum and recent wins over higher ranked competitors going for her, though two straight double hill wins over quality opponents might have taken a little out of her. Bryant had the wait, which can sometimes work for you with a little rest or against you, in terms of going a little cold at the table. By the same token, her own list of recently defeated quality opponents suggested that either way, it was going to be a good match between two quality opponents who had more than earned their way into the finals. Bryant won it 7-4 to claim the event title.

Li wins second straight on JPNEWT

Jia Li picked up her second straight and third overall win on the 2014 J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour with an undefeated run on the weekend of November 1-2. For the second time in a row, Li faced tour director Linda Shea in the finals. In October, Li lost her opening match and won eight on the loss side (one by forfeit) before meeting and defeating Shea in the finals. At the most recent $1,000-added event that drew 18 entrants to Proshot Billiards (formerly Cosmo's) in Dickson City, PA, it was Shea who lost her opening match (to Li), and then defeated seven on the loss side to face Li in the finals. 
There were only two matches in the event's opening round of play – Li vs. Shea and Ji-Hyun Park against Judie Wilson (who'd defeated Li in the opening round of play in October). Li downed Shea 7-2 and Wilson sent Park to the one loss side 7-3. Li advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Alex Calabrese, while Dawn Fox and Colleen Shoop squared off in the other. Li sent Calabrese to the loss side 7-2, and in the hot seat match, faced Fox, who'd defeated Shoop 7-3. Li sent Fox to the semifinals 7-5, and waited in the hot seat for her second straight finals matchup versus Shea.
Shea opened her loss-side campaign with victories over Kia Sidbury and Kayla Maciejewski, and then downed Denise Reeve and Melissa Jenkins, both 7-4, to pick up Shoop. Calabrese drew Meredith Lynch, who'd gotten by Sharon O'Hanlon 7-1 and Judie Wilson 7-3. Shoop forfeited, advancing Shea to the quarterfinals against Calabrese, who'd eliminated Lynch 7-4.
Over the next 16 games, Shea gave up only two racks; one each, to Calabrese in the quarterfinals, and Fox in the semifinals. Jia Li failed to get the momentum memo, and completed her undefeated run with a 7-5 victory over Shea in the finals. 
Shea's second place finish, her fifth of the season, allowed her to stay atop the tour's rankings, because she's appeared in three more events than Karen Corr (# 2 in the rankings) and two more than Jia Li (# 3). Corr has the tour's top winning percentage (97%), with Li in second place (83%) and Shea in third (72%). Dawn Fox, who's missed only a single stop on the tour is in fourth place with a 59% win percentage. The top three are way ahead in the tour winnings department, as well, ranked the same as their percentages.

Li comes from the loss side to defeat Shea in finals of JPNEWT stop

Since the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour began its 2014 season back in March, there have only been five players involved in the finals of the tour's seven stops. Five of those seven finals have been won by Karen Corr. Jia Li won the other two, including the most recent; a $1,000-added event that drew 21 entrants to the Top Hat Cue Club in Parkville, MD, on the weekend of October 10-11. Tour director Linda Shea has been in four of those seven finals, including the most recent. Asia Cycak was the runner-up to Corr in the opening stop in March. Dawn Fox was runner-up to Corr in July and Jia Li was defeated by Corr in the August finals. This most recent stop marked the first time since July that Corr was not involved in the event finals.

Jia Li played eight matches during the most recent stop. She was awarded a bye in the opening round and was then narrowly defeated by Judie Wilson (7-6) in the only match she played on the winners' side of the bracket. She went on to win six on the loss side, was awarded a forfeit victory, and then, defeated tour director, and at the time, hot seat occupant, Linda Shea, in the finals. In their June finals match-up, it was Shea who entered the finals from the loss side, having been defeated by Li in the hot seat match.
As Li was at work on the loss side, Shea advanced among the winners' side final four, for a match against Joey Stearns. Ji-Hyun Park met up with Dawn Fox in the other winners' side semifinal. Shea defeated Stearns 7-5, and in the hot seat match, met up with Park, who'd defeated Fox 7-2. Shea claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Park and for the fourth time this year, entered the finals.
It was Stearns, who moved over and met up with Li, who, by that time, had chalked up four, loss-side wins, including a 7-4 win over Pauline Mattes, and a 7-2 victory over Sharon O'Hanlon.
Fox picked up Nicole Nester, who'd gotten by Borana Andoni 7-5 and then shut out Judie Wilson. It was at this juncture that Li won a forfeit victory over Stearns, and advanced to the quarterfinals against Nester, who'd eliminated Fox 7-1.
Li defeated Nester 7-4, and entered her second JPNEWT final against Shea, with a 7-2 win over Ji-Hyun Park in the semifinals. Li chalked up her second JPNEWT victory of the year with a 9-5 victory over Shea.

Corr chalks up third straight, undefeated win on JPNEWT

Karen Corr

Karen Corr and Linda Shea sit atop the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour rankings and they've met in three out of the four stops on the tour. Corr has won three of the tour's four stops, including the most recent, on the weekend of July 26-27. Shea has finished second twice (meeting Corr in the finals, once), fifth once (in the tour opener back in March) and this past weekend, she finished in third place. Corr's run through a field of 18, on-hand for the $1,000-added event this weekend($500 from Coins of the Realm and $500 from host First Break Cafe, in Sterling, VA) was her third straight undefeated showing on the tour.
Corr and Shea met up again, this time in a winners' side semifinal, as Dawn Fox and Nicole Fleming met in the other. Corr and Fox advanced to the hot seat match with identical 7-3 wins over Shea and Fleming, respectively. Corr got into the hot seat 7-4 over Fox and waited in the hot seat for her return.
Shea moved to the loss side where she met up with Kia Sidbury, who'd defeated Melissa Jenkins 7-3, and Ji-Hyun Park 7-4, to reach her. Fleming picked up Kathy Friend, who'd defeated Kelly Mitchell 7-4 and just did survive a double hill match against Shanna Lewis
Shea gave up only a single rack against Sidbury and advanced to the quarterfinals against Fleming, who'd eliminated Friend 7-2. Shea won the quarterfinal match 7-4, over Fleming, but was eliminated 7-4 by Fox in the semifinals. Corr completed her third straight undefeated stop on the JPNEWT with a 7-2 win over Fox in the finals.

Jia Li downs Shea twice to take third stop on JPNEWT

Jia Li and the tour director of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour (JPNEWT), Linda Shea, got together for a little reunion on the weekend of June 21-22. Last year (October in Dickson City, PA), they'd met in the finals of a JPNEWT stop, with Li coming out on top, winning her second straight stop on the tour, on her way to three in a row. Li started 2014 with a WPBA Regional Tour Championship victory in January, finished 25th in the WPBA Masters, and fifth in the Super Billiards Expo Women's Championship before running into Shea at Stop # 2 on the JPNEWT in May. Li, who'd been sent to the losers' bracket early in that event, won seven on the loss side before meeting up with Shea in the semifinals. Shea came out on the top in that one, before falling to Karen Corr in the finals (Corr won 42 of 44 games she played in that event). At this most recent event, Li and Shea met twice; once in the hot seat and again, in the finals. Li won both matches to claim the $1,000-added event title that drew 22 entrants to First Break Cafe in Sterling, VA.
Li and Shea advanced to meet in the hot seat match after scoring identical 7-3 victories over Cheryl Sporleder (Shea) and Meredith Lynch (Li). In their first of two, Li gave up only a single rack and sat in the hot seat waiting for Shea to get back from the semifinals.
On the loss side, Sporleder moved over to pick up Kathy Friend, who'd defeated Tina Scott 7-5 and Ji-Hyun Park 7-2, to reach her. Lynch drew Sueyen Rhee, who'd gotten by Nicole Nester 7-2 and Lai Li 7-1. Lynch got right back to winning work with a 7-5 victory over Rhee, as Friend was handing Sporleder her second straight loss 7-2. 
Lynch defeated Friend in a grueling, hill-hill quarterfinal match, only to be defeated by Shea 7-5 in the semifinals. Jia Li completed her undefeated run through the field with a second victory over Shea in the finals 7-3.

Li Trifecta at JPNEWT Season Finale

Jia Li and Dawn Fox

The season finale of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour was held at Triple Nines Bar and Billiards in Elkridge, Maryland on the weekend of November 30, 2013.  It was a great turnout of 23 ladies for a chance at $1,000.  This event was also the last opportunity for the ladies to earn ranking points in hopes of qualifying for the upcoming regional tour championships.
Jia (Zhao) Li ripped through JPNEWT a third time consecutively.  Li sent the following players west to take her to the hot seat match:  Teresa Thomas 7-1, went hill-hill with Linda Shea, Nicole Nester 7-3 and Dawn Fox 7-1.  Meanwhile, Dawn Fox currently ranked #3 took down Denise Reeve 7-4, Ji-Hyun Park 7-5, Jennifer Nhek 7-4 (JPNEWT amateur champ).  
In the hot seat match, Jia practically swept Dawn, leaving Dawn a chance to fight back from the semifinal round.  In the semifinals, Fox had to face the #2 ranked player Nicole Nester.  Early on, Nester defeated Briana Miller in a hill-hill battle.  She also defeated Colleen Shoop 7-5, Kathy Friend 7-4.  After being sent west by Jia 7-3, Nicole took down Sharon O’Hanlon 7-2 and knocked out Friend in a rematch 7-4.  Now the second and third ranked ladies went at it with Fox finishing on top.
With a chance at a rematch against Li, Fox did not allow Ji to sweep her.  Fox caused the race to extend to 9 by winning 5 games over Li, but that wasn’t enough.  Li kept Fox at 5 game in and took the win 9-5.
The JPNEWT thanks the following for supporting our tour this year:
J. Pechauer Custon Cues (Tour Sponsor)
Coins of the Realm (Pete Boyer)
Black Heart Tips (merchandise)
Hosting Pool/Billiard Rooms
Triple Nines Bar & Billiards, Elkridge, MD
Raxx Pool Room Bar & Grill, West Hempstead, NY
First Break Café, Sterling, VA
Top Hat Cue Club, Parkville, MD
Cosmo's Billiards, Dickson City, PA