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Journeyman Belliveau wins last NE 9-Ball series stop before Tour Championship

Joe Callaluca, Daren Belliveau, and Mike Selig

Daren Belliveau is what is often referred to as a ‘journeyman.’ The word originated centuries ago, when a ‘journey’ was something you accomplished in a day. Craft guilds, growing in the development of independent cities, identified three classes in their rank and file; the apprentice (still learning a craft/skill), the journeyman (practicing the craft/skill) and the master (the head of a craft guild, with a number of apprentices and travelling journeymen under his wing). The assumption was that a journeyman would travel for a day, practice his craft (masonry, woodworking, blacksmith, etc.) and be gone the next day. On to a new village where he’d use those skills there as part of a select group, under the ‘banner’ of a Master.

The pool world is organized (loosely) in much the same way, with a vaguely-defined path for an apprentice to become a journeyman and only through many years of dedicated service to the craft (pool), a Master. In pool, you could think of the top-ranked professional players as the Masters, those playing in smaller regional tours as the apprentices, and players like Daren Belliveau as the journeymen, who, in old-school craft guild language, were fully-qualified, competent and authorized to work in the field.

Until this past weekend, at the 19th stop on the 2021 New England 9-Ball Series (Sat., Nov. 20), the only entries in Daren Belliveau’s AZBilliards’ profile page were from appearances, dating back to the turn of the century, on the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour. In his 13 cash finishes on that tour (that we know about), he finished outside of the top 10 only once. As a result of his undefeated run at this most recent NE 9-Ball series event, he now has a regional tour win on his journeyman resume. The $500-added NE 9-Ball Series event drew 20 entrants to Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.

As befitting his journeyman status, Belliveau emerged from the upper bracket of the tour stop’s separated (upper and lower) brackets at the start. He benefited from two straight forfeits at the start of his winning campaign and as a result, advanced without effort to a winners’ side semifinal against Roy Morgridge. Belliveau would eventually win the event, having played only three matches. Emerging from the lower bracket were Michael Selig and Joe Callaluca, who faced each other in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Belliveau downed Morgridge 5-2, as Selig was surviving a double hill battle against Callaluca. Selig began the hot seat match with three ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 6. He added only one more ‘bead,’ as Belliveau claimed the first of two against him 6-1 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Morgridge picked up Daren’s Belliveau’s father, Everett, who was working on the possibility of a father/son final. He’d recently defeated John Askew 4-1 and shut out Dan Simoneau in his ongoing attempt to make that happen. Joe Callaluca drew Rebecca Welch, who’d recently eliminated Jeffrey Sheehan and Michelle Haddock, both double hill, to reach him.

Between them, Morgridge and Callaluca gave up only a single rack to Belliveau (1) and Welch (0). Callaluca then gave up none at all against Morgridge in the quarterfinals.

Selig put a stop to Callaluca’s brief but dominating two-match, loss-side winning streak 4-2 in the semifinals for a second shot at Daren Belliveau, waiting for him in the hot seat. Belliveau downed Selig a second time in the finals, rounding out the event’s final six matches, in which the winners outscored their opponents by an aggregate score of 21-4. In the final, Belliveau duplicated his hot seat effort against Selig (6-1) to claim the NE 9-Ball Series’ last 2021 event title.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Crow’s Nest for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Outsville, Salotto and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories.

The New England 9-Ball Series will return to Crow’s Nest for its next event. Scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 15-16, the venue will host the Series’ $5,000-added Tour Championship.

Souza stops loss-side bid by Kazalski to go undefeated on New England 9-Ball Series stop #14

(l to r): Paul Kazalski, Dominick Souza & Joe Callaluca

Dominick Souza came into the February 29 stop on the New England 9-Ball Series looking for his second win on the tour since he went undefeated at a stop in Tyngsboro, MA (Maxamilian’s Billiards) in April, 2018. His opponent in the hot seat match at this most recent event, Joe Callaluca, finished fourth at that 2018 stop, and settled for 3rd place this past weekend, when he was defeated by Paul Kazalski in the semifinals. Souza went on to defeat Kazalski in the finals to claim title to the $500-added event that drew 30 entrants to Strokers Bar and Billiards in Pelham, NH.

Working in the upper bracket with a FargoRate of 640, Souza got by Jose Concepcion 5-3, David Ty 6-3 and survived a double hill fight against Mark Morgan to draw TK Marshall in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Callaluca, in the meantime, sporting a FargoRate of 500 and working in the lower bracket, defeated Owen Gomez 3-1, and chalked up two straight shutouts, over Mike Felix and Doug Walker to draw Eli Davenport (502) in the other winners’ side semifinal. Davenport was fresh off a winners’ side quarterfinal victory over Kazalski (421).

Souza and Marshall battled to double hill before Souza advanced to the hot seat match. Callaluca recorded his third straight shutout, downing Davenport 3-0. With Callaluca racing to 4, Souza claimed the hot seat 6-2 and waited on what turned out to be the return of Kazalski.

Kazalski opened his loss-side campaign with two straight 3-1 victories, over John Mills and Tiffany Vuong and picked up a rematch versus Davenport. Marshall drew David Ty, who, following his defeat at the hands of Souza on the winners’ side, had won three straight on the loss side, downing Brian Tierney and Xhuljano Kamxhiu, both 4-2 and surviving a double hill battle against Roger Vivier to reach Marshall.

Ty and Kazalksi eliminated Marshall and Davenport; Ty shutting Marshall out and Kazalski successfully navigating his rematch against Davenport 3-1. Kazalski then took the quarterfinal match over Ty 4-3 (Ty racing to 6).

With Fargo Rates separated by 79 points (Callaluca, 500 and Kazalski, 421), the semifinal was a straight up race to 4 for both of them. They battled to double hill before Kazalski prevailed to earn a shot against Souza in the hot seat and a chance to chalk up his first regional tour victory.

Souza put a stop to that chance by giving up only a single rack in the only set necessary in a true double elimination final. Souza sealed the victory 8-1 and claimed the title.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Strokers, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell with Lease Fundings, Master Billiards, OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America and Piku Tips. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#15), scheduled for Saturday, March 7, will be the $500-added Joe Brown Memorial, to be hosted by Buster’s Billiards in Somersworth, NH.

Souza goes undefeated on New England 9-Ball Series

(l to r): Keith Musto, Jodie Thompson, Dominic Souza

In the New England 9-Ball Series tournament on Saturday, April 28, eight of the event’s final 14 matches, and six of its last eight went double hill. Dominic Souza, who played in three of the event’s final 14 matches, avoided the double hill dramas to go undefeated, downing Jodie “JT” Thompson twice; hot seat and finals. The event (tour stop #24) drew 25 entrants to Maxamillian’s Billiards in Tyngsboro, MA.
 
Moving into the winners’ side semifinal stage of the proceedings, Souza was paired against Keith Musto (both from the upper-rank bracket), while Thompson met up with Joe Kaulenas (both from the lower-rank bracket). Souza gave up only a single rack to Musto and advanced to the hot seat match. Thompson joined him with a double hill win over Kaulenas. Souza went on to claim the hot seat 8-2 over Thompson.
 
On the loss side, Musto picked up Ben Savoie, who’d survived two straight double hill matches, against Craig LaCrosse and Frank Porto, to reach him. Kaulenas drew Joe Callaluca, who’d defeated Richard Comeau 6-2, and Eli Davenport, double hill. From this point on, all matches, except the finals, went double hill.
 
In a straight-up race to 6, Musto got into the quarterfinals, double hill, over Savoie. In a 6-5 race, Callaluca (racing to 6) downed Kaulenas (racing to 5) 6-4. The quarterfinal was the third straight double hill match for Callaluca, and the second for Musto. Musto won it and advanced to his third straight double hill match, against Thompson in the semifinals.
 
With Musto (B), racing to 6 and Thompson (C+) racing to 5, the two knotted things at 5-5, a win for Thompson, allowing him a second shot at Souza in the finals. One more game win for Thompson would have made for a double hill final (and forced a second set), but Souza (racing to 8) finished things at 8-3 to claim the event title.
 
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Maxamillian’s Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q Ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series tour (#25), scheduled for Saturday, May 19, will be hosted by Buster’s Billiards in Somersworth, NH.
 

Idrais wins two out of three against Gatta to win New England 9-Ball Series stop in Tyngsboro

(l to r): Rick Gatta, Mourad Idrais & Joe Callaluca

During the New England 9-Ball Series stop (#7) on Sunday, November 26, Mourad Idrais and Rick Gatta played 20 games of 9-ball over three matches. While none of the individual matches went double hill, the aggregate score did. With Gatta (a B player) racing to 6 and Idrais (C+) racing to 5 in those matches, they split the games evenly at 10-10, which would translate into a win for Idrais were they to have played a single race-to-11 match. Idrais backed up the aggregate score win by winning two out of the three matches, including the final one that broke their 1-1 match tie and earned him the event title. The $500-added event drew 34 entrants to Maxamillian’s Billiards in Tyngsboro, MA.
 
Idrais and Joe Callaluca (both C+) emerged from the event’s lower bracket to appear in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Gatta and Lozar Gurevich (both B) from the upper bracket appeared in the other one. Idrais sent Gallaluca to the loss side 5-1 and was joined in the hot seat match by Gatta, who’d defeated Gurevich 6-1. Idrais sent Gatta to the semifinals 5-3 in their first of three and waited on his return.
 
On the loss side Callaluca picked up fellow C+ player Bill Phillips, who’d defeated two other C+ players, George Morgan, double hill, and Eli Davenport 5-3. Gurevich drew A-player Mark Morgan, who’d eliminated Ryan Stevens 7-4 and Mike Nicoloro 7-3.
 
In a straight-up race to 5, Callaluca advanced to the quarterfinals, double hill, over Phillips. Gurevich joined him with a 5-2 win over the higher handicapped Morgan. Callaluca went on to win the quarterfinal match 5-2 over the higher handicapped Gurevich.
 
The semifinal match between two players (Gatta & Gallaluca) who’d already lost to Idrais once went double hill, with Gatta eventually earning the right to face Idrais a second, and, as it turned out, a third time. Gatta came into the opening set of the finals with proverbial ‘guns a-blazing’ and promptly shut him out. Idrais almost returned the favor. He allowed Gatta only a single rack in a 5-1, second set win that earned him the event title.
 
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Maxamillians Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America. Stop #8, scheduled for Saturday, December 2, will be a $500-added event, hosted by World Championship Billiards in Manchester, CT.