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Conway, Jr. wins 10 on the loss-side, double dips Mitchelltree to win GSBT

Mike Conway Jr, Shannon Daulton and John Mitchelltree

Pool players will tell you that it’s often better to be lucky than good. In the wake of his recent victory on the Great Southern Billiard Tour, Mike Conway, Jr. might tell you that you’d better be both. Luck played a role in Conway’s semifinal victory, while ‘good’ took the stage in 10 straight loss-side matches and the second set of the double elimination finals against John Mitchelltree, that earned him the event victory. The $1,500-added amateur 9-ball tournament drew 60 entrants to QMaster Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA on the weekend of February 4-5.

Conway was working from the loss-side from the conclusion of his opening match; a 9-4 victory for Dwight Cherry, who would advance to the winners’ side final four, and then meet up with Conway again in his first loss-side match. Chris Futrell sent Cherry west 11-7, and in the battle for the hot seat, met up with Mitchelltree, who’d just sent Cheryl Pritchard to the loss side 9-5. Mitchelltree survived a double hill contest against Futrell and sat in the hot seat, waiting for Conway.

With five down and five to go on the loss-side, Conway defeated Tim Colvin 9-2, and Dave Bollman 9-4 to earn a re-match against Cherry. Pritchard drew Justin Squires, who’d eliminated John Hernandez 7-7 (Hernandez needing to reach 9), and Jimmy Byrd 7-4. In a straight-up race to 9, Conway wreaked his vengeance on Cherry 9-7 as Pritchard (a C player) survived a double hill battle against the B-rated Squires 6-6. Conway chalked up loss-side victory # 9 with a 9-7 win over Pritchard in the quarterfinals. 

“A stellar performance,” said co-tour director Marge Daulton of Pritchard’s fourth place finish; the highest for a woman in the five year history of the Great Southern Billiard Tour.  “She was down in a few and battled back, winning some key double hill matches.”

“We’re proud to see her accomplish this,” Daulton added. “She earned it.”

Conway, in the meantime, was on his way to the semifinals and his date with Lady Luck. His opponent, Futrell, needed to reach 11 games before he reached 9. Futrell was on the hill, at 10 games, when Conway (at seven games) shot at the 9-ball that would bring the match to double hill. Conway missed, and watched as the 9-ball kept traveling. . .one rail, two, three. . and then dropped into a hole. He even apologized, before settling in to take the final game and finish his 10-match streak on the loss-side.

With some ‘good’ and some ‘luck’ behind him, Conway added momentum to his repertoire and took the opening set of the straight-up race to 9, true double elimination finals handily 9-2. In the second set, he found himself down 4-0, and then after chalking up his first, gave up two more, giving Mitchelltree a 6-1lead. Conway called on some ‘good’ to catch up, winning eight of the next nine games to secure the event victory.

Tour directors Shannon and Marge Daulton thanked Barry Behrmann and his staff at QMaster Billiards for their hospitality on Super Bowl weekend, as well as sponsors Andy Gilbert Custom Cues, Nick Varner Cues and Cases, Mike Davis Exterminating, Tiger Products and Delta-13 racks. The GSBT shifts to Michael’s Billiards in Fairfield, OH on the weekend of February 18-19, for a $2,000-added 9-ball/8-ball tournament, with a 9-ball bank tournament, scheduled for Friday night at 7 p.m.