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Burwell downs Shea in JPNEWT season finale at Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD

Kia Burwell and Linda Haywood Shea

We noted last month that you couldn’t ask much more of a regional tour than to have the top two players in the tour standings meeting up in the finals of an event, as Linda Shea and Kia Burwell did in Front Royal, VA on the weekend of Nov. 6-7. Shea and Burwell did it five times on the 2021 tour, including the season finale this past weekend (Dec. 4-5), and though Burwell ended the 2021 season having won four of those ‘final’ encounters, it was Shea who ended the season at the top of the tour standings. Shea stayed atop the tour standings because in one event that she won, Burwell finished fourth and in the events that neither of them won, Shea finished ahead of Burwell. Each had competed in all 10 of the tour’s 10 stops in 2021. The tour finale this past weekend drew 15 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.

They met first in the second round of this one, which meant that one of them was going to compete in two more matches than the other. Shea had shut out Cecilia Strain in the opening round, as Burwell was busy sending Kelly Daniel to the loss side 7-3. To no one’s surprise the second-round match between them went double hill before it was decided. Burwell prevailed and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Mary Watkins. Judie Wilson, in the meantime, who entered the event in 5th place in the tour standings and would finish in 3rd, got by Teri Thomas 7-4, and Shelah Joner 7-3 to draw Ada Lio in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Burwell and Wilson advanced to the hot seat match with identical 7-5 wins over Watkins and Lio, respectively. Burwell claimed the hot seat with a 7-2 win over Wilson and waited for Shea to complete her loss-side run.

On the loss side, it was Lio who picked up Shea, who’d followed her defeat at the hands of Burwell with wins over April Hatcher 7-4 and a shutout over Teri Thomas. Watkins drew Carol V. Clark, who came in at #7 in the standings and would finish at #5. Clark had been shut out by Lio in a winners’ side quarterfinal and had survived a double hill battle against Kelly Daniel and eliminated Jane Im 7-3.

Clark advanced to the quarterfinals 7-4 over Watkins. Shea, in the meantime, spoiled a potential Clark/Lio rematch by outlasting Lio in a double hill fight that advanced her to meet Clark in the quarterfinals.

Shea defeated Clark 7-2 and then, by the same score, Wilson in the semifinals. Shea advanced to a season-ending, second shot at Burwell, waiting for her in the hot seat. Burwell finished the 2021 JPNEWT season with her fourth tour victory in her last six attempts, downing Shea 7-4 to claim the event title.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality and ongoing support for the tour. She also thanked title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Bitzel and Associates PTPA Physical Therapy, George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor, Baltimore) and angle aim Art (Britanya E Rapp) for the live stream.

Shea maintains top position on JPNEWT rankings, downing Burwell in finals of Stop #9

Linda Shea, Melissa Jenkins and Kia Burwell

You can’t ask much more of a regional tour stop than to have its top two competitors going at it in an event final. Especially when the event in question is second-to-last on the tour’s schedule. So it was this past weekend in Front Royal, VA, where nine of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour competitors gathered to do battle. Tour director Linda Shea came into and out of the event as the tour’s top player, securing the spot with an undefeated run and downing the #2 (in and out) woman on the tour, Kia Burwell, twice. The event was hosted by On Cue Sports Bar and Grill in Front Royal.

This year, Shea and Burwell have locked horns, so to speak, as winner and runner-up, four times; June, August, September and this past weekend. Burwell leads that head-to-head, event-finals matchup 3-1. They competed twice in a July event that saw Shea defeat her in an opening round and later, the quarterfinals. They’ve both competed in all nine of the tour stops and the reason that Shea is ahead in ranking points is that she has finished better in events that neither of them has won.

This past weekend, they met first in a winners’ side semifinal. Shea arrived following a 7-3 win over Sharita Pernell. Burwell got there after a 7-2 win over Carol V. Clark. On the other end of the short, double elimination bracket, Melissa Jenkins, who’d come into the event as #7 and finished as #4, drew Judie Wilson (maintaining her position at #5) in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Shea took the first of her two versus Burwell 7-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Jenkins, who’d downed Wilson 7-4. Shea claimed the hot seat 7-4 and waited on the final rematch.

On the loss side, Wilson picked up Carol V. Clark, who’d followed her loss to Burwell with a double hill win over Shelah Joner. Burwell drew Lynn Richard, who’d defeated Kelly Daniel 7-1 to reach her.

Wilson downed Clark 7-2 and in the quarterfinals, faced Burwell, who’d eliminated Richard 7-3. Burwell took the quarterfinal match in a shutout over Wilson and then moved on to defeat Jenkins in the semifinals 7-2.

Burwell got a rack closer in the finals than she had in their winners’ side semifinal match, but Shea won the match and claimed the event title 7-4. It was her second tour win in a year in which she has never finished lower than 5th.

Shea thanked the ownership and staff at On Cue Sports Bar and Grill for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Bitzel and Associates PTPA Physical Therapy, stream commentator George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor), AZBilliards and, for the live stream of matches, Britanya E Rapp (angle aim Art). The next stop (#10) on the JPNEWT, scheduled for Dec. 4-5, will be the tour’s Season Finale and will be hosted by Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.

Burwell wins the last of two battles versus Shea to claim JPNEWT event title

Kia Burwell and Linda Haywood Shea

They sit atop the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour standings; tour director Linda Shea and Kia Burwell. They both overtook the tour’s first-half leader, Caroline Pao, at a stop in Elkridge, MD on the weekend of August 15-16, when Burwell went undefeated for a second time on the 2021 tour to claim the title and Shea finished as runner-up. As they did last month, they battled twice on the tour’s 8th stop this past weekend (Saturday, Sept. 25), and finished, for the second time in a row, as winner and runner-up. The event drew 10 entrants to First Break Sports Bar in Sterling, VA.

In the previous meeting, Burwell downed Shea in a winners’ side semifinal and defeated her a second time in the finals. This past weekend, they split their two matches, with Burwell coming back from the semifinals to claim the title.

Burwell was awarded an opening round bye and was immediately threatened in her first match by Ada Lio, who forced a 13th and deciding game. Burwell prevailed to face Judie Wilson in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Shea, in the meantime, also awarded an opening round bye, had an easier first match, shutting Kankan Yu out to draw Nicole Christ in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Burwell got into the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Wilson. Shea shut out Christ to enter the hot seat match, having yet to give up a single rack. Shea claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Burwell and waited on her return.

On the loss side, Wilson picked up Melissa Jenkins, who’d lost to Christ on the winners’ side and defeated Kankan Yu 7-5 to reach her. Christ drew Terri Stovall, who’d lost to Wilson, then shut out Calaia Jackson and defeated Ada Lio 7-2. 

Wilson advanced to the quarterfinals on the heels of a 7-5 win over Jenkins. Terri Stovall earned her rematch versus Wilson with a 7-4 win over Christ. Given that the subsequent quarterfinals would determine who would advance to the event’s first money round in the semifinals, it was no surprise that Wilson and Stovall battled to double hill. Wilson was up 5-2 when Stovall made a 3-9 carom to draw within two. Wilson responded to make it 6-3, before Stovall dropped a second, early 9-ball combination to draw within two again. Stovall won another to make it 6-5 and a scratch by Wilson in rack #12 allowed Stovall to tie it up at six games apiece. A safety battle in the final rack was broken to give Wilson a three-ball out, and though she dropped the 7-ball, she missed her shot at the 8-ball and Stovall finished it. 

Burwell downed Stovall 7-3 in the semifinals to earn her rematch against Shea. She completed her second straight win on the tour, her third overall, with a 9-6 win in the finals.

Tour director Shea thanked the ownership and staff at First Break Sports Bar, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Bitzel and Associates PTPA Physical Therapy, stream commentator George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor) AZBilliards and, for the live stream of matches, Britanya E Rapp (angle aim Art). The next stop on the JPNEWT (#9), scheduled for October 9-10, will be hosted by Eagle Billiards in Dickson City, PA.

Burwell goes undefeated for second time on JPNEWT, downs Shea twice to claim title

Kia Burwell, Kelly Wyatt, Judie Wilson, Eugenia Gyftopoulos, Nicole King and Linda Shea

In the first event of the second half of the 2021 J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour season, tour director Linda Shea and Kia Burwell moved into first and second place in the tour standings. Burwell went undefeated in the event and defeated Shea twice, but as runner-up, Shea added enough ‘standings’ points to get ahead of the tour’s first-half leader, Caroline Pao. Burwell’s undefeated run, her second on the tour this year, put her ahead of Pao, as well, and firmly into second place in the standings, ahead of Pao and Nicole Nester, who entered the event in third place in the tour standings, finished in the event tie for 7th/8th and ended up in fourth place in the standings, just behind Pao. The 7th event of the 12-event 2021 JPNEWT season drew 16 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD. 

Burwell’s path to the winners’ circle went through Taylor Perkins 7-3 and Judie Wilson before running into Shea in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Kelly Wyatt, in the meantime, downed Melissa Jenkins 7-5 and Eugenia Gyftopoulos 7-3 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match versus Nicole King. 

Burwell took the first of two versus Shea 7-2 to punch her ticket to the hot seat match. Wyatt joined her after downing King 7-2. Burwell claimed the hot seat in a double hill battle versus Wyatt and waited on Shea’s return.

Shea opened her loss-side trip back to a rematch against Burwell versus Gyftopoulos, who’d followed her defeat at the hands of Wyatt with loss-side victories over two Nicoles; Christ, 7-4 and Nester, 7-3. King picked up Judie Wilson, who’d followed her loss to Burwell with wins over Terri Thomas 7-4 and Kelly Daniel 7-3.

Shea eliminated Gyftopoulos 7-3, as King shut Wilson out. Shea then defeated King 7-3 in the quarterfinals and Wyatt 7-1 in the semifinals to earn a second shot at Burwell, waiting for her in the hot seat.

In the extended race-to-9 format, Shea had to reach ‘7’ first, to extend the race to 9. Burwell reached 7 first, ahead by four, to claim the event title. 

Tour director Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Bitzel and Associates PTPA Physical Therapy, George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor) and, for the live stream of matches, Britanya E Rapp (angle aim Art). The next stop on the JPNEWT (#8), scheduled for September 18-19, will be hosted by First Break Sports Bar in Sterling, VA.

Shea wins seven on the loss side, downs Clark in finals to claim her first 2021 title

Carol V. Clark, Nicole Nester, Kia Burwell, April Hatcher, Melissa Jenkins and Linda Haywood Shea

It wasn’t quite enough to catch and overtake Caroline Pao, who’s been sitting atop the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour standings for months, but she came close. Tour director Linda Shea came into the weekend’s tour stop (July 17-18) nestled into third place behind Pao and Nicole Nester and just ahead of Kia Burwell. Pao didn’t compete on the tour’s 6th stop, which drew 19 entrants to Champion Billiards in Frederick, MD. Shea, though, got by both Nester and Burwell (Burwell, twice), won seven on the loss side and downed Carol V. Clark in the finals to claim her first 2021 event title.

The win put Shea about 15 points behind Pao, who retained her top spot. Nester slipped into third place, with Burwell in fourth place. Carol V. Clark, in the meantime, who came into the event in 8th place, made it to the hot seat and finished as runner-up to Shea, jumped three places to 5th, just behind Burwell. April Hatcher, who battled Clark in the hot seat match and finished in third place, jumped from her entrance spot at #25 to just outside the top 10.

Things started out on the right foot for Shea, but that didn’t last long. She won an opening round, double hill battle versus Burwell, only to be relegated to loss-side competition by ending up on the wrong side of her second straight double hill fight, this one against Nicole Nester. Nester went on to defeat Teri Thomas 7-4 to draw April Hatcher in one of the winners’ side semifinals. After being awarded an opening round bye, Carol V. Clark, in the meantime, downed Lynn Richard and Colleen Shoop, both 7-3, to pick up Melissa Jenkins in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Hatcher guaranteed herself a minimum, third place finish by defeating Nester 7-3 and advancing to the hot seat match. Clark and Jenkins battled to double hill before Clark was able to join Hatcher. Then she and Hatcher engaged in a double hill fight for that hot seat. Clark won it and watched, likely with some sense of foreboding, as Shea kept chalking up loss-side wins that would eventually put her into the finals.

On the loss side, Nester drew a rematch versus Shea, who was four matches into her loss-side streak with an aggregate (loss-side) score of 28-6, that had recently included victories over Shoop 7-2 and Kelly Wyatt 7-1. Jenkins picked up Burwell, who, following her opening round loss to Shea, had begun her own loss-side winning streak. Like Shea, she reached the 5/6 matches with four behind her, including wins over Billie Billing 7-4 and Teri Thomas 7-5.

Shea downed Nester 7-4, while Burwell secured the quarterfinal rematch against her with a double hill win over Jenkins. The quarterfinal rematch between Shea and Burwell shaped up as a nail-biter at the outset, but in the end, Shea pulled out in front by two to win it 7-5. Shea then downed Hatcher 7-3 for a shot at Clark, waiting for her in the hot seat.

It was clear from the outset that neither Shea nor Clark was going to give up easily in their quest to chalk up a first 2021 tour win. Shea jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, but from that point on, through to the 9th rack, every time Shea tried to extend the lead, Clark came back to narrow that lead to one; 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, 4-2, 4-3, 5-3. Shea broke the pattern in the 9th rack to take her first three-game lead, which she quickly extended to four and then, reaching the hill, to five at 8-3. Clark rallied to win the 12th and then, the 13th rack to make it 8-5, but Shea closed it out in rack #14 to claim the event title.

Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Championship Billiards, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Bitzel and Associates PTPA (Physical Therapy), George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor) and (for the live stream) Britanya E Rapp of angle aim Art. The next stop on the JPNEWT (#7) August 14-15, will be hosted by Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.

Burwell goes undefeated for the first time to claim her first JPNEWT title since 2018

Nicole Nester, Linda Shea, Melissa Jenkins, Kia Burwell and Naoko Dabreo

Kia Burwell has been a consistent performer on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) and other professional and semiprofessional tours and events since about 2015. An oddity of our AZB Money Leaderboard had her climbing to her highest number on that leaderboard (141) last year, even though her best earnings year, to date, has been 2018, when she came from the loss side to win her first JPNEWT stop in March of that year. This past weekend (June 26-27), Burwell won her second JPNEWT stop and went undefeated for the first time.

The tour returned to New Jersey for the first time since August, 2016 and welcomed a new venue. The event drew 21 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

As the JPNEWT approaches the midway point of its 2021 season (with stop #6 of 12, scheduled for July 17-18), the tour standings experienced a bit of a shuffle among its top players. Caroline Pao, who continues to look for her 8th win on the tour since 2019, finished out of the money in this one, though her previous two victories, runner-up and 3rd place finish in the first four events put her far enough ahead that she still sits atop the tour standings. In the absence of Liz Taylor at this event, Nicole Nester moved up a spot to be 2nd behind Pao. Tour director Linda Shea moved up a spot, too, to #3. Burwell, who came into the event in 7th place in the standings, moved up three slots to take over 4th place. Taylor moved down three to end up in 5th place, while Judie Wilson maintained her position in 6th place.

Burwell’s path to the winners’ circle took her past Jennifer Tully 7-3, Ashley Burrows 7-5 and Alison Davis 7-1 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Linda Shea. Nicole Nester, in the meantime, downed Kris Consalvo-Kemp 7-3, Naoko Dabreo 7-5 and Ada Lio in a shutout to draw Melissa Jenkins in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Burwell downed Shea 7-4 and moved into the hot seat match. Nester joined her after dispatching Jenkins 7-5. Burwell claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Nester.

On the loss side, Shea picked up Ashley Burrows, who was working on a four-match, loss-side streak that had begun with her loss to Burwell and recently eliminated Ashima Butler 7-4 and Ada Lio 7-2. Jenkins drew Dabreo, who was also working on a four-match, loss-side streak and had most recently defeated Joanne Corbett 7-2 and Jay Pass 7-5. 

Jenkins put a stop to Dabreo’s loss-side run 7-5 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Shea leap-frogged over Burrows, who ran into transportation issues associated with her return on Sunday and was unable to compete.

Shea gave up only a single rack to Jenkins in the quarterfinals. She then defeated Nester in the semifinals 7-3. Burwell completed her first undefeated run on the tour with a 7-4 victory over Shea in the finals.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked Kris Consalvo-Kemp and her staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Bitzel and Associates PTPA Physical Therapy, George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor) and Britanya E Rapp (angle aim Art) for the event’s live stream. Stop #6 on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of July 17-18, will be hosted by Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD. 

Fresh from VA State Championship, Taylor goes undefeated on JPNEWT Season Finale

Liz Taylor and Kia Burwell

The last two times that Liz Taylor played on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour, finishing as winner, and later, 9th place in the spring of 2010, Barack Obama was President of the United States. Now, 10 years later, as the world waits to see who will be the 46th President, Liz Taylor made a somewhat triumphant return and went undefeated on the tour’s 2020 season finale. The victory came a week after she had successfully defended her title in the 2020 VA State 8-Ball Championships. The tour’s season finale drew 18 entrants to On Cue Sports Bar & Grill in Front Royal, VA.

After being awarded an opening round bye, Taylor advanced to defeat Tiffany Lear and Lynn Richard, both 7-3, to draw the tour’s second highest ranked player, Kia Burwell in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Playing in the other one was the tour’s #1-ranked player, tour director Linda Shea, who had also been awarded an opening round bye, and then shut out Dawn Takacs and defeated Christie Hurdel 7-2 to draw 4th-ranked Lai Li.

Taylor and Shea advanced to the hot seat match with identical 7-4 wins over Burwell and Li, respectively. In what would prove to be one of the more entertaining matches of the event, Shea and Taylor traded the opening two racks, before Shea began edging out to what appeared to be a commanding 5-1 lead. Taylor, though, won the next rack to make it 5-2, before Shea reached the hill at 6-2. Taylor won the next four to force a 13th and deciding game.

With three balls left in the deciding rack (6, 8, & 9), Taylor took a long, two-rail kick shot in an attempt to hit the 6-ball and it sent both the 6-ball and the cue ball, down table, where Shea had herself a bit of a connect-the-dots pattern to finish the rack and the match. The 6-ball went down smoothly, Shea had positioned herself well for the 8-ball and it went down, too. The cue ball fell either a little short or a little long, depending on your perspective. Shorter, and Shea would have had a credible shot to put the 9-ball in a corner pocket. Longer, and she could have put it straight into a side pocket. Where it lay, she had an oblique angle shot at putting it in a side pocket, and she came within half a ball of doing just that. But the half that didn’t make it, bounced the 9-ball out into the center of the table, as the cue ball meandered into place for a fairly straight-in shot for Taylor. She made it and claimed the hot seat, as Shea moved to the semifinals. 

On the loss side, Burwell began her three-match march back to the finals against Christie Hurdel, who’d followed her defeat at the hands of Shea with victories over Kelly Costello 7-3 and Shelah Joner 7-4. Li drew Shanna Lewis, who’d lost a winners’ side, double hill battle versus Burwell and then, defeated Sharita Green 7-3 and Misti Zamora 7-2.

Li advanced to the quarterfinals 7-3 over Lewis, as Burwell downed Hurdel 7-5. Burwell then eliminated Li 7-3 in those quarterfinals. In the semifinal battle between the tour’s top two ranked players, #2 (Burwell) downed #1 (Shea) 7-1 for a shot at Taylor waiting in the hot seat. 

It was Burwell’s third appearance in a 2020 JPNEWT final and she was still looking for a win. She’d been runner-up to Shea in July and to Caroline Pao in October. The wait, for Taylor, which included the quarterfinal and semifinal matches, did not appear to affect her game at all.

She broke out to a 4-0 lead, before Burwell got on the board with a rack; the only one she would record. Taylor came back and won three straight to complete her undefeated run.

Based on their number of appearances and how they finished throughout the year, Shea and Burwell will finish the JPNEWT season as the top two players on the tour. Lai Li’s 4th place finish edged her ahead of Kathy Friend into third place. Friend and Caroline Pao round out the tour’s 2020 top five.

Shea thanked the ownership and staff at On Cue Sports Bar & Grill for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, angle aim Art (Britanya E Rapp) and Turtle Rack. She also added her gratitude for the “girls” on the tour, who consistently lend a hand when needed, like Sharon O’Hanlon and Judie Wilson.

Though like most pool tours, the JPNEWT was affected by the pandemic, it had to cancel only tthree of its events; one each in April, May and June. At the same time, according to Shea, the tour attracted new players at almost every event.

“I’m feeling grateful,” said Shea, the day after the season finale and three days ahead of Thanksgiving. “It was a good year, everybody (in a broad circle of family, friends and members of the pool community) is healthy.”

Shea said that the 2021 JPNEWT schedule is in the works and that the tour will be improving on location and numbers.

“We have a lot of league pool players in the area, who generally play on bar boxes,” she said, “so this coming year, we’ll be at a total of 12 locations and two of them will have bar box tables to bridge to the area’s league players.”

“Overall,” she added, embracing activities beyond her direction of the pool tour, “I don’t think I have a thing to complain about.”

Pao goes undefeated, downing Burrows twice to win second straight JPNEWT stop

Caroline Pao and Ashley Burrows

It’s rare that a pool player sneaks by the usual pattern of first appearing in a number of events, then cashing in one or two, then finishing among an event’s top five and after years (sometimes, many), chalks up an event victory on a tour somewhere. Caroline Pao’s second straight victory on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour this past weekend (Nov. 7-8) was not a surprise from the WPBA-ranked player (#12). To a certain extent, though, her competitor in the hot seat and finals of the event was a bit of a surprise. Ashley Burrows, who turned Pro in 2018, and is currently ranked as #30 with the WPBA, has four recorded cash finishes in the AZBilliards’ database. All but one of those was recorded last year; two 17th place finishes in WPBA events (the Masters in February/March of 2019 and the Aramith/Dr. Pool Classic, almost exactly a year ago; Nov. 21-24) and until this past weekend, only one recorded victory, a shared one on the Tri-State Tour in June of 2019. 

In her first (that we know of) appearance on the JPNEWT, Burrows got by the tour’s #12, #11, #3 and #4 players to arrive at the hot seat battle versus Pao. They played the last two matches of the $1,200-added event that drew 25 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD. Triple Nines added $500 of that money, while Coins of the Realm contributed $700, $200 of which was added in memory of a recently-deceased area player, Danny Green. Pao went undefeated through the field to claim the event title.

Pao was awarded an opening round bye, after which she shut out Lynn Richard (#18 in tour rankings) and sent Melissa Jenkins (#5) to the loss side 7-1 to draw tour director Linda Shea (#1) in a winners’ side semifinal. Burrows, in the meantime, shut out Melissa Mason (#12), survived a double hill battle versus Carol V. Clark (#11) and sent Kathy Friend (#3) to the loss side 7-5, to draw Lai Li (#3) in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Pao moved into the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Shea, as Burrows got by Li 7-4 to join her. Pao gave up only a single rack in the hot seat match to be a single step away from winning her second straight stop on the tour.

On the loss side, Shea picked up Kathy Friend, who, after her defeat at the hands of Burrows, had survived a double hill battle against April Hatcher and eliminated Sharita Green 7-5. Li drew Kia Burwell, who was runner-up to Pao in her last JPNEWT win last month. Burwell had been sent to the loss side by Friend in the second round and was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would end in the semifinals against Burrows. She’d most recently eliminated Melissa Jenkins 7-2 and Noel Rima 7-4.

Friend chalked up a 7-3 win versus Shea, who hadn’t finished that far back (5th/6th) since the JPNEWT season opened in March, when she finished in the tie for 7th. Burwell and Li locked up in a somewhat predictable double hill fight that eventually advanced Burwell to join Friend in the quarterfinals.

In what would prove to be her final victory, Burwell defeated Friend in the quarterfinal match that came within a game of double hill (7-5). Burrows ended Burwell’s loss-side winning streak at six with a 7-4 win in the semifinals.

In the finals that followed, Burrows was looking to reach 7 racks first, in which case the race would extend to 9. If Pao reached 7 first, it would be over. Though they were far from pretty or straight-forward runs, Pao opened the extended-race-to-9 finals with four straight racks. She almost made it five, but her shot at the 9-ball in that rack rattled in a corner pocket and Burrows got on the board at 4-1.

Pao rattled the 8-ball in the same corner pocket that she’d attempted with the 9-ball in the previous rack and Burrows finished the rack to double her production from the hot seat match and cut Pao’s lead in half. Then, it was Burrows’ turn. She rattled a ball in a corner pocket in rack #7 that allowed Pao to finish the rack and make it 5-2.

Pao chalked up the eighth rack to reach the hill. Burrows won what proved to be her last rack to make it 6-3 and after dropping two balls on the final rack, Pao used a subsequent, fortuitous cue-ball bounce off the tip of a side pocket, to close it all out 7-3.

Adjustments to the tour rankings after this event resulted in a single adjustment to the top five players. Pao’s second straight win in only her second appearance on the 2020 tour, allowed her to move in between Lai Li in 4th place and Melissa Jenkins in 5th place. Shea retained her spot at the top of the rankings, ahead of Kia Burwell, Kathy Friend and Lai Li 

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, angle aim Art (Britanya E Rapp) and Turtle Rack. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of November 21-22, will be hosted by Cue Sports Bar & Grill in Front Royal, VA.  

Pao goes undefeated to win her 4th JPNEWT stop in as many tries

Final Eight Players

A few days shy of a year ago (Oct. 14, 2019), Caroline Pao and Linda Shea battled it out for an event title at Stop #7 of the 2019 J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour, hosted by Eagle Billiards in Dickson City, PA. They were also competing for the top spot in the tour rankings at the time. It was a short field of 12 entrants that day and they met, first, in a winners’ side semifinal and then later in the finals. Pao won both matches to claim the event title, her third of the season, but it wasn’t enough to move her into the tour’s top spot over Shea, who’d competed in all seven of the tour’s stops to that point.

This year (Oct. 10-11), things were a little different for the two frequent competitors on Shea’s tour. Though it was, this time, Stop #8 on the (2020) tour at the same location, and Shea was once again at the top of the tour rankings, there’d been a lot of proverbial water under the bridge of pool since that earlier matchup. It was Pao’s first cash payout since she’d finished 9th at the WPBA’s Ashton Twins Classic in January. Shea, on the other hand, was looking for her third win on this year’s interrupted tour, which had been forced to cancel stops #2 through #4. Shea won the first stop back (#5), was runner-up to Kathy Friend in #6 and then beat Friend in the finals of #7. 

Enter Caroline Pao with her first appearance on the tour since that win a year ago and Kia Burwell, who, like Shea, had competed in all four of the tour’s 2020 stops and arrived in Dickson City as the tour’s #3 competitor behind Shea and Friend.

It was Burwell who met up with Shea, twice, and eventually eliminated her in the event semifinals. She met Pao, twice, as well, but was defeated both times, as Pao went undefeated to pick up her fourth JPNEWT win in four tries. The event drew 29 entrants to Eagle Billiards.

Pao showed little sign of any prolonged absence from the tables and marched to a winners’ side semifinal against Ada Lio, having given up only three racks in 24 games; none to Carol V. Clark, one to April Hatcher and two to Chari Slater. Burwell, in the meantime, got by Linda Cheung, survived a double hill battle versus Shanna Lewis and defeated Karen Carter 7-2 to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal against Shea.

Shea and Burwell got into something of a predictable double hill match at which Burwell prevailed to earn her spot in the hot seat match. Pao sent Lio to the loss side 7-1, giving her a winners’ side aggregate score, going into the hot seat match, of 32-4. Though Burwell put up a better fight than any of Pao’s previous opponents, Pao took the hot seat 7-3 and waited on Burwell’s return.

On the loss side, Shea picked up Shanna Lewis, who was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently sent Christie Hurdel (7-2) and Chari Slater (double hill) home. Lio drew Kassandra Bein, who was also working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had sent Karen Carter (7-3) and Suzzie Wong (7-4) to the proverbial showers.

Shea advanced to the quarterfinals 7-2 over Lewis and was joined by Bein, who’d extended her loss-side winning streak by ending Lio’s 7-2. Shea then put a stop to Bein’s winning streak 7-3 in those quarterfinals. Burwell, in turn, put a stop to Shea’s modest two-match, loss-side winning streak with a 7-3 win in the semifinals.

Pao showed no sign that waiting for the finals had affected her play. In fact, she gave up one less rack in the finals against Burwell than she had in their earlier hot seat match. Pao completed her undefeated run with the 7-2 win and in her first appearance on the 2020 tour, moved among the top 10 competitors on the tour. Burwell, in the absence of the tour’s #2-ranked player (Kathy Friend), moved into second place behind Shea.

Pao, who noted after the event, that she doesn’t play in as many tournaments as she used to, as a result of work commitments, did enjoy being back.

“It was actually fun competing again,” she said, “especially since I don’t get to compete as much.”

“Kia (Burwell) has been working on her game,” she added. “She’s always been a tough competitor, but is much tougher now. I really enjoy sparring with her.”

Though she and Shea did not meet in a match this time out, Pao remembers their past quite well. She’s aware, as well, that her own inability to compete as often has a way of keeping her out of contention for any of the top spots on the tour.

“Linda is a great player,” she said, “and I enjoy competing with her because she is such a strong competitor. I’d never be able to catch up to her in (tour) points since I would not be able to attend all of the events.”

“I only got lucky to be ranked as high (last year) because I was able to play in three events,” she said, “and was fortunate enough to win the three events I played in.”

She added her first in 2020 to make it four events.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Eagle Billiards, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, angle aim Art (Britanya E. Rapp) and the Turtle Rack. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for Nov. 7-8, will be hosted by Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.

Shea wins small-field, first JPNEWT stop since early March

Linda Haywood Shea

The J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour started up again this past weekend (Saturday, July 25). Adhering to protocols established by the venue, players wore masks and were advised of the need to maintain recommended social distancing. It was the first event for the tour since March 7 and with $500-added to the purse by Coins of the Realm, drew a small field of only nine players to Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD. Tour director Linda Shea went undefeated through four opponents to win what will go into the tour books as Stop #5, although it was only the second event of the year.

Shea faced Kia Burwell (formerly Kia Sidbury) twice in this event. First, in a winners’ side semifinal and later, in the finals. Shea took the first of those two 7-5, as Melissa Jenkins defeated Eugenia Gyftopoulos 7-5 in the other winners’ side semifinal. Shea claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Jenkins and waited on Burwell’s return.

On the loss side, Burwell picked up Nicole King, who’d been defeated by Gyftopoulos in an opening winners’ side round and then, eliminated Melissa Mason to face Burwell. Gyftopoulos drew Kelly Wyatt, who’d been sent over by Shea in their opening round and then, on the loss side, had downed Patti Jakusz.

Gyftopoulos advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-3 win over Wyatt. Burwell joined her after eliminating King, double hill. Burwell chalked up a second straight double hill win in those quarterfinals versus Gyftopoulos and then, got herself a second shot at Shea with a 7-3 win over Jenkins in the semifinals.

There were, including the finals, nine matches played on the winners’ side of the bracket. Five of those matches resulted in 7-5 scores, including the final. Shea claimed the event title and rocketed up to the #1 position on her tour’s rankings. She was previously in the #7 spot, tied with Gyftopoulos after the first (and only) event. Burwell moved from her first week position (#5) into the #2 spot. Gyftopoulos moved up to #3, just ahead of Lai Li.

Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Champion Billiards for their hospitality, especially under such trying conditions. It was not the sort of field the tour likes to see in terms of numbers, but as one tour member, Judie Wilson, put it, “It’s a start, coming back.” Shea also thanked title sponsor J. Pechauer Cues, Coins of the Realm, angle aim Art (Britanya E Rapp) and The Turtle Rack. The next stop on the JPNEWT (#6), scheduled for August 15-16, will be hosted by Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.