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Wilkie goes undefeated to claim inaugural B & L 2022 Open 10-Ball Championship

Brian Kilgore, Shaun Wilkie and Lai Li

Inaugural events in the pool world, can be fraught with any number of issues. It takes a clear idea of what needs to be done and an extraordinary amount of perseverance and assistance to assure that it does. It requires the patience of a saint and the temperament of a seasoned psychiatrist, especially when the inaugural event draws a long list of Atlantic coast pool veterans, as the inaugural $5,000-added B & L Open 10-Ball Championships did this past weekend (Feb. 19-20), drawing 106 entrants to Center Pocket Café and Billiards in Bowie, MD.

“I think they did a great job,” said the event’s winner, Shaun Wilkie, who went undefeated to claim the title, downing runner-up, Raphael DaBreo twice; in the fourth round and again, in the finals.

Wilkie noted that while the inaugural B & L Open 10-Ball Championships weren’t Kilgore and Li’s ‘first rodeo,’ from his perspective, their previous tournament experience tended towards smaller venues and decidedly smaller crowds. The Center Pocket Café and Billiards venue helped, too, in that with 29 tables, they were able to keep matches moving throughout the two-day event.

“Those extra tables can get you more players, moving through the bracket,” said Wilkie. “Speeds it up.”

“Sometimes, too, you get pool rooms wanting their tables back (for use by the general public),” he added, “but the room made sure that all of the tables were available. We had tables available for the whole first day.”

Runner-up Raphael DaBreo, who has, as he put it, “dabbled’ in the experience of running tournaments himself, noted that the B & L organization was “very punctual and professional the way they ran it.”  

“From the player meetings right on through getting everyone playing by noon,” he said. “They were super transparent, too, and if they keep going in the direction of their inaugural event, they have a bright future ahead of them, in my opinion.”

DaBreo also noted that the ongoing proliferation of tournaments and operators is likely a reaction to what players in these tournaments perceive about them; that they’re not done well, and that they, personally, could do a better job.

“I’ve always felt that you wouldn’t have so many tournaments and operators, if someone was doing it right,” he said. “But sometimes you run into situations where it’s not being done well; funds are disappearing or there are discrepancies with skill levels or with local tournaments, maybe someone hasn’t paid. There always seems to be something that comes up.”

“They did it right,” he added of B & L’s inaugural efforts at a much larger event.

They join a wealth of tournament organizations, promoters and tournament directors who get it right, as well, more often than not. Once established, though, the good ones rarely get the credit they deserve. Their efforts can be taken for granted in tournament narratives that focus on the players, so here and now, at B & L’s inaugural ‘big’ event, credit where credit’s due. 

Wilkie and DaBreo ran through a gauntlet of the aforementioned Atlantic coast’s best to reach the finals. The five competitors Wilkie defeated on his journey to the hot seat match could have been the final five in any number of Atlantic coast tournaments over the past decade. Wilkie opened against Brian Dietzenbach and Joey Mastermaker, defeating them both 7-2, before running into DaBreo, whom he sent to the loss side 7-4. And as if that wasn’t enough, he drew BJ Ussery in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Ussery got to within a game of double hill, but Wilkie finished it at 7-5 to draw Thomas Haas in one of the winners’ side semifinals. 

Kang Lee, in the meantime, got off to a shaky start, with Josh Thiele battling him to double hill. Lee prevailed to send Coen Bell, Henry Cha and John Moody, Sr. to the loss side and face Thomas Zippler in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Wilkie downed Haas 7-4, as Lee dispatched Zippler 7-5. Wilkie gave up just a single rack in the battle for the hot seat and waited in it for DaBreo’s return.

On the loss side, the two Thomases (Haas and Zippler) ran right into their second straight loss. Haas had the relative misfortune of running into DaBreo, who was four matches into his loss-side streak, that had most recently included the elimination of John Moody, Sr. 6-2 and Derek Benavides. 6-3. Zippler picked up a re-match against Paul Krimes, who’d sent him to the loss side in a match that kept Krimes out of the winners’ side quarterfinals. Krimes won five straight to get to the rematch, including victories over Justin Muller 6-4 and to the surprise of many (likely, his opponent among them), BJ Ussery 6-4.

DaBreo downed Haas 6-1, while Krimes was wreaking his 6-1 vengeance on Zippler for the earlier defeat. Krimes’ satisfaction with the results of his rematch was short-lived, as DaBreo didn’t grant him a rack in the quarterfinals that followed.

The semifinals weren’t really the ‘pre-party’ to the finals that DaBreo was hoping for. Lee battled tooth and nail to double hill before DaBreo prevailed for his second shot against Wilkie, waiting for him in the hot seat. 

The finals weren’t too much of a ‘party’ for DaBreo, either. Wilkie completed his undefeated run with a 7- 2 win over DaBreo to claim the inaugural B + L 10-Ball Championship title.

It was Wilkie’s first win since he won the MD State Bar Table 10-Ball Championship this past November. A tumultuous couple of months followed that saw him place 25th in Turning Stone XXXIV last month (Jan. 6-9). On January 25, the man who’d started him playing pool, his grandfather, passed away. He’d been spending a lot of time, before and especially after, with his grandmother, and in a way, brought his grandfather with him to the tournament.

“I had him in my heart the whole time,” he said, “and I was really happy to pull it off, for me and him.”

Brian Kilgore and Lai Li thanked the ownership and staff at Center Pocket for their hospitality, as well as all of the players who signed on to make their inaugural B & L 10-Ball Championship a success. 

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Earl Strickland Claims His Second Maryland State Bar Table Championship

Rick Scarlato Jr., Earl Strickland, RJ Carmona, Tony Long and Shaun Wilkie (Photo by Erwin Dionisio)

Maryland State events are quickly becoming the premiere event and the Maryland State 9 Ball Bar Table Championship March 17th – 18th was no exception. With another full field event of 128 players, $1000 added by McDermott cues, first place paying over $5900, and a stacked field with every big name you can possibly imagine, it’s no wonder there’s a buzz about the On the Hill Productions tournament. The home room of these tournaments, Bank Shot Bar and Grill in Laurel, MD, was brimming with green-clad players gunning for the top spot this St. Patrick’s Day weekend, everyone hoping for a bit of luck. Earl Strickland was more than lucky, winning the “pot o’ gold” and claiming his second MD State victory. 
Strickland was the star of the show as usual, entertaining fans between matches with endless stories and replayed layouts. He was like a Shakespearean actor with a skull in his hands, retelling dramatic matches with famous opponents, waving and illustrating the drama to captivated listeners. On the table, Earl simply dominated, going undefeated with only one opponent getting to the hill before the finals (Adam Kielar). 
Of crowd favorites, Earl was of course the largest, then Jason Kirkwood, a bar table champion whose reputation preceded him. The luck of the Irish was not with Kirkwood though, as he was brought down unexpectedly by Leeroy Taylor (7-6), and only won one more on the B-side before his run was ended by Eddie Abraham (7-6), leaving Kirkwood in the top 32 but out of the money. Leeroy went on to finish 9-12, surely leaving some green with envy as he wasn’t an anticipated challenger.
The spectators kept hope with their next favorite in line to win, Shaun Wilkie, a professional player who consistently places in the top of any field he enters. True to this expectation, Wilkie immediately downed Danny Basavich, otherwise known as Kid Delicious (7-4). Wilkie could not get past Strickland (7-4) later in the bracket, however, and went to the B-side Sunday to knock down Reymart Lim (7-5), before falling to Tony Long (7-2), taking 4th in this strong event.
By Sunday, only monsters remained. The green shirts had dissipated, leaving more of a quiet intensity to the play rather than festivity. Reymart finished 5th/6th after the mentioned loss to Wilkie, but not before taking down Zippler (7-5), Brett Stottlemeyer (7-3), and Pat McNally (7-5) among others. Kenny Ruttmann (Russian Kenny) went on a tear on the B-side which was ended by Paul Cogle Sunday, and Tom Zippler ended Cogle’s run a few rounds later. An exhausting tournament for those making it to this point, but all were in the money and were hungry for their shot. 
Speaking of exhaustion, Tony Long may have had the longest (pun intended) journey to get to his 3rd place finish but on the way he ended more runs than a pulled hamstring. Long lost 2nd round to Joe Chester (7-4) and then won an incredible 9 matches in a row. Among those Long knocked out were Greg Sabins (7-1), Chris Wilburn (7-5), Adam Kielar (7-5), Joe Wright (7-4), and Steve Fleming (7-5), before RJ Carmona put a stop to Long in a hill-hill semifinal. 
On the way there, Carmona RJ cleared the top of the A-side brackets, with no opponent getting to the hill until his hotseat match with Strickland. He downed Steve Fleming (7-4), Leeroy Taylor (7-5), Joey Mastermaker (7-1), Paul Oh (7-3), Stosh Sheldon (7-2), and in the first round, Kenny Ruttmann (7-5). His first matchup with Strickland did not go smoothly though. Carmona lost a quick 7-2 in the hotseat match before recovering on the B-side. 
The Philippine native travelled from Virginia Beach with the Greg’s Not So Pro Shop crew to put up an impressive hill-hill set in the finals against the Hall of Fame legend, even though the true double-elimination format meant that RJ would’ve also had to win a second set to claim the title. The odds were against Carmona, facing a five-time US Open and two-time world champion, but it didn’t seem to phase him.  
The final match got off to a funky start, with RJ scratching on the break, leaving a guaranteed 2-9 combination shot, but ball in hand on a 1-8 combo up table. In an effort to control the 1ball, Earl failed to pocket the 8-ball, and conceded the game. RJ then tacked on another game after a fluke scratch by Earl. Another scratch on the break swung things towards Strickland, who took that game and the next, making 3 balls on his break. Score 2-2, RJ broke dry, leading to a safety game and ultimately a miscue. Earl took that game and the next, taking the lead 4-2. The scratches were a large factor in this matchup at this point.
RJ answered next rack with a much-needed break and run, clearing the air of mistakes. He then also took advantage of a dry break by Earl, running that out. 4-4, RJ broke, made the 1-ball and got hooked getting to the 2. After a messy back and forth, RJ stroked a beautiful 7-ball to get to the 9, score 5-4 RJ. Earl then broke and ran to even things up, 5-5, then closed the next one after RJ accidentally hooked himself mid-rack.
Earl, now on the hill, tried to play safe off the 2-ball, but scratched. RJ seized the opportunity and ran out. Now hill-hill, RJ broke, made the one, and bumped the 2 into a difficult position against the side of the pocket behind a ball. Knowing he couldn’t afford a mistake, RJ decided to play safe by just rolling the cueball against the 2, executing beautifully. Earl somehow not only made a good hit but made the 2. From there, he ran down to the 8, where RJ threw in the towel (literally), conceding the match. 
Earl Strickland now owns two Maryland State titles, with Klenti Kaci and Dennis Orcullo each owning one also. Strickland, a North Carolina native who currently resides in the Philadelphia area, is revered as one of the greatest pool players to have ever played. Congratulations go out to him and RJ Carmona for their thoroughly entertaining play. 
On the Hill Productions would like to thank Bank Shot Bar and Grill, McDermott Cues, Simonis Cloth, Navigator Tips, Phillippi Custom Cues, Aramith Pool Balls, CBR TAP Leagues, and all the players and spectators that made this event successful. A special acknowledgement to Lights Out Billiards Apparel in addition to sponsoring, but also for donating 10% of their proceeds from this event to a fundraiser run by Greg’s Not So Pro Shop, benefitting a young child in the Philippines that needs a heart operation. 
To watch the streamed matches from this event and more, find Ground Zero Scott (Adict2speed) on Youtube. Also follow On the Hill on Facebook, keeping your eye out for the next event at Champions Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, the first big table event for the crew. These events fill up fast, so jump at any chance if you can! 

Moore comes from the loss side to take down Wilkie in the Action Pool Tour hot seat

In the absence of Brandon Shuff, who sits atop the Action Pool Tour's leaderboard, the next three players on that board finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd on the tour's sixth stop, held on the weekend of June 18-19 (third-place finisher, Kenny Miller, advanced to that third spot as a result of his finish). Eric Moore, winner of the Virginia State 10-Ball Championships in February, chalked up his second victory on the 2016 tour, coming from the loss-side to defeat Shaun Wilkie, who'd sent him there. The event drew 46 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.
Moore and Wilkie clashed first in a winners' side semifinal. Moore had advanced through four opponents, allowing each of them an average of two racks against him; 1,1, 2 & 4, against Bill Duggan, Kia Sidbury, Bill Woods and Tuan Chau. Wilkie, after an opening round bye, had faced three opponents and allowed just a slightly higher, percentage point average; 1, 4, & 5, against Rob Gager, Nathan Childress, and Joey Mastermaker. As Moore and Wilkie battled, Kenny Miller and David Stanley squared off in the other winners' side semifinal.
Wilkie took the first of his two against Moore 9-5, and in the hot seat match, faced Miller, who'd sent Stanley to the loss side 9-2. Miller proved to be Wilkie's toughest challenge (to that point), chalking up six racks against him, but when the dust settled, Wilkie was in the hot seat, and Miller was on his way to the semifinals.
On the loss side, David Stanley ran into a formidable opponent in Taylor Burleson, who'd been defeated in the opening round of play, and then won six on the loss side, including a double hill win over Joey Mastermaker, and a 7-1 victory over Tuan Chau. Moore drew Chris Bruner, who'd been defeated by Miller in a winners' side quarterfinal, and then, on the loss side, eliminated Paul Oh 7-3 and Doug Hornsby 7-2.
Moore and Burleson gave up one rack between them versus Bruner and Stanley (Bruner chalked up the one against Moore). Moore then ended Burleson's strong, loss-side campaign at seven wins, with a 7-1 victory in the quarterfinals. 
In the semifinals, Moore chalked up a second straight 7-1 victory that denied Miller a second shot at Wilkie in the hot seat. Moore, though, got his second chance against Wilkie, and took full advantage. He became Wilkie's toughest opponent in the tournament, defeating him 11-9 in the finals to claim the event title. 

Deska comes from deep on the loss side to down Shuff in APT stop #3

Brian Deska, Shanna Lewis, Raymond Walters and Brandon Shuff

Brandon Shuff, looking to capitalize on his position as the 2015 Action Pool Tour champion, opened the tour's season with a victory in January, though not before being shuttled to the loss side in a winners' side semifinal, winning three and then defeating Rafael Reyes, twice, double hill in the finals. A month later, looking to win the VA State 10-Ball Championships, Shuff had to win four double hill matches to reach a winners' side semifinal, where once again, this time by Eric Moore, double hill, he moved to the loss side. He played his sixth double hill match on that side, and then faced Moore in the finals. Moore defeated him in his seventh double hill match (of eight played) to claim that title.
On the weekend of March 19-20, Shuff was back at it, looking for his second tour win, at APT's stop #3. This time, for the first time this season, he advanced to the hot seat. Trouble, though, was brewing on the horizon. In his opening round, Shuff had sent long-time rival, Brian Deska to the loss side, 7-4, in the opening round of play. Deska embarked on a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that included two shutouts, a 6-4 win over Shaun Wilkie, and a double hill win over the VA State 10-Ball Champion Eric Moore, who battled him to double hill in the quarterfinals. He went on to defeat Matt Krah in the semifinals, and then deny Shuff his second APT win, 9-7 in the finals. The event drew 56 entrants Breakers Sky Lounge in Herndon, VA.
Shuff's path to the hot seat went (after the opener over Deska) through Brad Moore, Thomas Park, and Greg Sabins, prior to a winners' side semifinal match against Wilkie. At this point, Shuff was shooting almost dead even with Deska's work on the loss side at about 71%. In the other winners' side semifinal, Matt Krah was facing Alan Duty. Shuff got into the hot seat match 7-5 over Wilkie, as Krah was busy downing Duty 7-3. Shuff then claimed his first APT hot seat 7-3 over Krah, and watched the Deska storm cloud gathering.
It was Wilkie who drew Deska on the loss side. Deska had picked up loss-side wins # 5 and # 6 against Tom Zippler (6-3) and Loye Bolyard (double hill) to reach him. Duty picked up Eric Moore, fresh off two straight double hill wins over Joey Mastermaker and Eric Varias. Deska advanced to the quarterfinals, downing Wilkie 6-4. Moore joined him, eliminating Duty 6-1.
Moore put up a fight in those quarterfinals, looking for his second APT win, but Deska prevailed, double hill for a shot at Krah in the semifinals. He gave up only a single rack to Krah and after nine long matches on the loss side, got a shot at his first 2016 APT title, against the man who'd sent him there, Shuff. When it was over, the two of them had played a combined total of 153 games; Shuff, 61 and Deska, 92. Shuff had finished with a slight winning edge, percentage-wise (.6885 % –  .6847%). They came within a game of double hill, but in the end, Deska pulled out in front to claim the title, 9-7.

Shuff goes undefeated to capture APT’s Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament

Brandon Shuff

While a list of the 'usual suspects' competed for the 9th Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament title on the weekend of October 10-11, the meta-game of tour rankings on the Action Pool Tour continued. Brandon Shuff went undefeated through a field of 52 , on-hand at the First Break Cafe in Sterling, VA to claim the 2015 title,  defeating defending champion Shaun Wilkie on the way. The tour rankings remained the same, with Wilkie on top and Shuff in second place. The Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament was instituted by First Break Cafe in 2006, and since 2011, has been held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour.
Following an opening round bye and victories over Steve Ball, Wilkie, and Rick Glasscock, Shuff moved into a winners' side semifinal versus another perennial Action Pool Tour competitor, Brian Deska, currently at #17 on the tour rankings. Dannys Green and Mastermaker competed in the other winners' side semifinal. Shuff and Mastermaker sent Deska and Green to the loss side, both by 8-4 scores, and met in the hot seat match, won by Shuff  8-5.
On the loss side, Wilkie loomed; loss-side campaigns not being unheard of in his itinerary. After a double hill win over Paul Oh, a 7-4 victory over Steve Fleming, another double hill win over Rafael Reyes, and another 7-4 win over Joey Mastermaker, Wilkie met up with Deska, coming over from the winners' side semifinal. Green, also coming over, met up with Jimmy Varias, who'd defeated Kenny Miller 7-3 and shut out Glasscock.
Green won a double hill battle versus Varias to advance to the quarterfinals. Deska joined him after completing a double hill win over Wilkie. Deska then downed Green 7-2, before being eliminated by Mastermaker in the semifinals 7-3.
While Wilkie's finish in the tie for 5th place assured him that his top spot in the rankings would remain, Shuff was looking to edge closer. He did so with a 10-5 victory in the finals over Mastermaker, securing the Bob Stocks Memorial title, and a firm grip on the tour's # 2 position.

Airfield gets by Kressel twice to take stop on Q City 9-Ball Tour

David Airfield may have chalked up his victory on the Q City 9-Ball Tour by taking advantage of a short, handicapped field (15), but he had to get by a wily veteran, Larry Kressel, twice, to do it. The August 8th event was hosted by Diamonds Billiards in Midlothian, VA.
They met first in a winners' side semifinal, while James Hicks and Doug Carter met in the other one. Kressel, who's been chalking up victories and cashing on tours for over a decade now, was racing to 11, while Airfield needed six games. He got his six, as Kressel's five moved him to the loss side. Battling for the hot seat, Airfield faced Hicks, who'd defeated Carter 8-4. Airfield claimed the hot seat with a shutout and waited on Kressel's return.
On the loss side, Kressel picked up Collin Hall, winner of the previous week's stop on the tour. Hall had defeated Joey Mastermaker 6-4 and Lauren Kauffman 6-2 to reach Kressel. Carter faced Mat Lemire, who'd eliminated Wayne Richards and Ricky Dickson, both 7-3.
Over the next three games, propelling him back to the finals, Kressel gave up only a single rack more (7) than he'd given up to Airfield in the winners' side semifinal (6). He gave up two of them to Hall, as Lemire defeated Carter 7-5. He gave up two more to Lemire in the quarterfinals, and three to Hicks in the semifinals.
Kressel chalked up one more rack in the finals (6) than he had against Airfield in the hot seat match (5). Airfield, though, completed his undefeated day 6-6 to claim the event title.
The next stop on the Q-City 9-Ball Tour, to be hosted by Grady's in Lexington, SC, is scheduled for Saturday, August 15.

Hall double dips Mazon to win Q City 9-Ball stop in Herndon, VA

Collin Hall chalked up a win on the Q City 9-Ball Tour on the weekend of August 1-2, and double dipped world-class pool player Jundel Mazon from the Philippines. Mazon, winner of the Guiness World Series of Pool tournament in Indonesia five years ago and more recently (February) shared the tie for 17th place at the WPA World 10-Ball Championship with the likes of Darren Appleton,  had to win 13 games in his matches versus Hall, who raced to 5. The tour stop drew 25 entrants to Breaker's Sky Lounge in Herndon, VA.
To no one's surprise, Mazon advanced to the hot seat in this one. He defeated Shanna Lewis (owner of Breaker's Sky Lounge) 13-2 in a winners' side semifinal (the first time in four matches that he'd given up a single rack), while Hall sent Brian Thacker to the loss side 5-4 in the other (Thacker, racing to 7). Mazon took the hot seat match 13-2 over Hall, and spectators might have been forgiven if they thought, for all intents and purposes, that it was over. Until it wasn't.
Lewis and Thacker moved to the loss side, picking up Joey Mastermaker and Daniel "Papa John" Adams, respectively. Mastermaker had gotten by Ethan Carson and Shane Goodrich, both 8-3, to reach Lewis. Adams had downed Rafael Reyes 7-5 and Asia Cycak 8-4 to draw Thacker. Lewis and Thacker picked up their second straight loss; Lewis falling Mastermaker 8-3, Thacker, to Adams 8-4.
Mastermaker took the quarterfinal match against Adams 8-4 and then had his run ended by Hall 5-3 in the semifinals. Mazon got close in the opening set of the true double elimination finals, winning 11 of the 13 games he needed to win. Hall, though, chalked up his five to force a second set. Hall claimed the event title with a 5-3 win in the second set.

Deska wins second straight, downing APT points leader Wilkie twice

First it was Brandon Shuff, and now, it's Brian Deska. Action Pool Tour ranking leader, Shaun Wilkie can't get a break. After winning the final four stops on the 2014 tour schedule, Wilkie won the opening two stops in 2015. His seven-peat was stopped by Brandon Shuff, who won two straight, and then, joining the tour for the first time in 2015, Brian Deska defeated both Shuff and Wilkie, back to back, in May. He went on to defeat Shuff a second time in the finals. On the weekend of June 13-14, at Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, Virginia, Deska (again) went undefeated through a field of 44, this time defeating Wilkie twice.
In the opening four rounds of play, each of Deska's opponents did just a little better than his predecessor. Deska defeated Joshua Watson 8-2, Mike Davis (third place in the tour rankings) 8-3, Kenny Miller 8-5, and had to survive a double hill fight against Steve Fleming to advance to a winners' side semifinal against John Wright. Wilkie, in the meantime, gave up only five racks, total, in his four rounds against Luther Pickeral, Cheryl Pritchard, Cary Dunn (2), and Trevor Dentz, advancing to the other winners' side semifinal against Shuff. Deska made short work of Wright, dispatching him to the loss side 8-1, while Wilkie and Shuff battled to double hill, before Wilkie prevailed to join Deska in the hot seat match. Deska claimed his second straight APT hot seat 8-5, and waited for one of the tour's two top-ranked players to return from the semifinals.
On the loss side, Mike Davis, following his defeat at the hands of Deska in the second winners' side round, was on a six-match winning streak, that included two shutouts. He defeated Garrett Waechter 6-1 and Cary Dunn 6-3, to draw Shuff. Wright picked up Joey Mastermaker, who'd gotten by Randy Thomas 6-4, and survived a double hill battle versus Kenny Miller to reach him.
The match between the tour's second and third-ranked player (Shuff and Davis) went Shuff's way 6-3, while Mastermaker eliminated Wright 6-4.
Shuff defeated Mastermaker 6-3 in the quarterfinals, creating a second matchup between the tour's first- and second-ranked player, Wilkie and Shuff. They'd had to compete in a 15th game to decide their winners' side match. They only played seven in the semifinals, with Wilkie giving up just a single rack to earn a second shot against Deska.
Deska, though, proved to be just as stingy. He gave up only three racks to Wilkie in the finals, completing his undefeated run 10-3 to claim his second straight APT title. Having only participated, so far, in two of the tour's six stops to date, Deska is currently at #19 on the tour's rankings, well behind Wilkie, Shuff and Davis. Wilkie has competed in all six stops, while Shuff and Davis have each competed four times. 

Wilkie wins record-setting fourth straight on Action Pool Tour to finish at top of tour rankings

Shaun Wilkie

In the Action Pool Tour's (APT) season finale, held on the weekend of December 6-7, Shaun Wilkie completed what tour director Ozzy Reynolds described as "a record that may very well never be broken," by winning his fourth straight stop on the tour. Wilkie's undefeated run through the field of 30 entrants at Long Shot Billiards in Chesapeake, VA left him at the top of the year-end APT rankings, which, in turn, earned him entry into all three divisions of the US Bar Table Championships in February, the airfare to get there, and hotel accommodations during his stay.
According to Reynolds, Wilkie started the year determined to win that first place prize. Then, he broke his foot.
"What would have sidelined most players, only made Wilkie more determined," said Reynolds, in announcing the victory and first place ranking prize. "For several events, he showed up and competed while hopping around the table on one foot."
Wilkie didn't win any of the events he spent hopping around on a broken foot, but he placed relatively high enough in all of them to stay competitive in the rankings with last year's tour champion, Brian Deska. Going into the season finale, the two were only separated by about 300 points, but Deska didn't compete, leaving the door open for Wilkie to march into the top spot on the tour, which he did.
Following victories over Chris Futrell, Kenny Miller, and Reymart Lim, during which he steadily reduced the number of racks being chalked up against him – from six to four to three – Wilkie moved into a winners' side semifinal against Joey Mastermaker. Joey's brother, Danny, in the meantime, squared off against Mike Davis in the other. Wilkie and Davis spoiled any hopes for a sibling hot seat match; Wilkie downing Joey 9-3, while Davis sent Danny loss-side packing 9-5. Wilkie completed his march to the hot seat with a 9-6 win over Davis and waited on his return.
On the loss side, things were shaping their way toward a sibling quarterfinal match. Joey drew Greg Sabins, who'd defeated Nick Turner 7-5 and survived a double hill fight against Kenny Miller. Danny picked up Reymart Lim, who, following his defeat at the hands of Wilkie in the third round, went on to victories over Shawn Carlson 7-3 and Chris Futrell 7-6.
The Mastermakers advanced. Joey survived a double hill struggle against Sabins, while Danny was busy eliminating Futrell 7-4. In a quarterfinal matchup that isn't likely to be the subject of a family conversation any time soon, or too often thereafter, Danny shut his brother out and turned to face Davis in the semifinal match. Davis gave up only two in the match and got his second shot at Wilkie in the hot seat. The two duplicated their hot seat scores 9-6, giving Wilkie his fourth straight, the tour ranking title, and tickets to Reno in February.

Wilkie wins nine on the loss side and finals against Futrell to stay atop APT Rankings

Shaun Wilkie

Shaun Wilkie started his November 8-9 weekend on the Action Pool Tour against two women. He did well against the first one, Kia Sidbury, giving up just a single rack in their race to seven. Then he ran into Karen Corr, who, in defeating him 7-5, sent him on a ten-match winning streak that culminated in a finals victory over Chris Futrell. Stop # on the Action Pool Tour drew 59 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.
With Wilkie, the tour's top-ranked player, at work on the loss side, some of the lower-ranked players, with fewer appearances on this year's tour, were able to advance. RJ Carmona (#72), Mike Davis (#140), Chris Futrell (#200) and Karen Corr (#100), for example, who advanced to to play in the winners' side semfinals; Carmona against Davis, Futrell against Corr. Davis defeated Carmona 7-3, while Futrell fought and prevailed in a double hill match over Corr, who hadn't given up more than three racks since defeating Wilkie in the second round. Futrell, no doubt feeling real good, sent Davis to the semifinals 7-4 and sat in the hot seat, waiting on Wilkie.
On the loss side, Wilkie started his nine-match trek to the finals with four wins in which he gave up only six racks (26 games). This put him into the first money round (9/12). He then defeated Joey Mastermaker 5-3 and Nilbert Lim 5-1 to pick up Carmona, coming over from the winners' side semifinal. Corr, in the meantime, was facing Danny Mastermaker, who'd gotten by Larry Kressel 5-2 and Dave Hunt 5-3.
Wilkie eliminated Carmona 5-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Corr, who'd defeated Mastermaker 5-1. It was not only a re-match with the woman who'd sent him to the loss side, it would also be Wilkie's fifth match, out of 10 total, against a female. He was taking no chances, apparently. He allowed Corr only a single rack and advanced to the semifinals against Davis, who put up more of a fight, a double hill fight, in fact, but to no avail. Wilkie prevailed, and got his shot against Futrell. Futrell put up a fight, too, and came within a game of forcing Wilkie into his second straight double hill match, but Wilkie finished it at 9-7 to claim the event title.