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Kevin Guimond Scores First Career Joss Tour Win

Kevin Guimond

With two events in the books for the 2022/2023 Joss NE 9-Ball Tour season, the tour has now crowned two first time event winners. Kevin Guimond avenged a hot-seat match loss to local young gun Lukas Fracasso-Verner to set him up for the double dip win in the finals of the September 24-25 tour stop at Yale Billiards.

Guimond went undefeated on Saturday with comfortable wins over Joe Raccio, Mike Toohig, Marc Dionne and Rick Matarazzo. Coming back on the winners side on Sunday were Guimond, Ray McNamara, Aaron Greenwood and Fracasso-Verner. Guimond scored a 9-5 win over McNamara and Fracasso-Verner scored a 9-2 win over Greenwood. The hot-seat match went to Fracasso-Verner by the score of 9-4.

Alex Bausch was waiting for Guimond on the left side of the board. Bausch had lost to Fracasso-Verner in the last round of matches on Saturday, but put together a three match winning streak to get to the semi-final matchup with Guimond. This match would be the end of the run for Bausch, with Guimond scoring a 7-3 win. 

Guimond won the first set of the double elimination finals by the same 9-4 scores from his earlier match with Fracasso-Verner and then finished off the double dip with a 7-5 win in the second set to earn his first career Joss NE 9-Ball Tour win.

Sundays second chance tournament also saw a double dip in the finals, with Steve Mack coming back from a second round loss to Mike Renshaw to score a total of seven straight wins, including back to back 3-2 wins over Steve Sutton in the finals. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour is back this coming October 1 – 2 weekend at Raxx Pool Room in West Hempstead, New York. 

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Barrette and Cabral split top two prizes at NE 9-Ball Series’ Summer Sizzler

Francisco Cabral, Richard Barrett and Richardson Fuertes

After a three-month hiatus, the New England 9-Ball Series returned to mount its annual Summer Sizzler at Snookers in Providence, RI this past weekend, August 13-14. Though Francisco Cabral, working at the outset, from an upper bracket (higher ranked competitors), would end up winning seven on the loss side for the chance to face Richard Barrette in the final, the two opted out of playing that final, splitting the top two prizes and allowing Barrette, as the hot seat occupant, to become the event’s official winner. The $1,000-added event drew 39 entrants to Snookers.

Working from the lower bracket, Barrette got by Albert Michaud, William Aley, Jeffrey Sheehan and Robert Lucas to meet up with Joey Arruda in one of the winners’ side semifinals. In the upper bracket, Richardson Fuertes advanced through Jim Prather, Van Sy, and Beau Powers (who’d previously sent Cabral to the loss side in the third round) to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Jimmy Nou. 

Barrette defeated Arruda 5-1, as Fuertes downed Nou 5-3. In a straight-up race to 6, the ensuing hot seat match went double hill before Barrette claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, it was Nou who picked up Cabral, four matches into his loss-side winning streak that had included a shutout win over Fred Soulliere and a re-match win over Beau Powers 5-2. Arruda drew Robert Lucas, who’d defeated William Kuhn 5-3 and Jake Rickel, double hill, to meet him.

Cabral and Nou battled to double hill before Cabral advanced to the quarterfinals against Lucas, who’d eliminated Arruda 4-2. Cabral shut Lucas out 8-0 and then spoiled Fuertes’ bid for a rematch against Barrette by defeating him in the semifinals 6-1. 

Though their respective Fargo ratings were 120 points apart (Cabral, 657 and Barrette, 537), the odds-on-winning (64.1% to 35.9%) were not too heavily in Cabral’s favor, although he would have had to win twice to claim the Summer Sizzler title. The two opted out of a final and split the top two prizes.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Snooker’s for their hospitality, along with sponsors 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 next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#7), scheduled for the weekend of October 8-10, will be the Joe Brown Memorial, to be hosted by Buster’s Billiards in Somersworth, NH.

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Lucas and Nou split top prizes on New England 9-Ball Classic

Jimmy Nou, Robert Lucas, and Ricardo Diaz

Robert Lucas and Jimmy Nou were to have played each other twice at Stop #5 of the New England 9-Ball Series this past weekend (Sunday, May 1). They played their first, battling for the hot seat, with Lucas winning. They opted out of the second, which would have been the finals,  and split the top two prizes, leaving Lucas as the official winner. The $2,000-added New England 9-Ball Classic drew 48 entrants to Snooker’s in Providence, RI.

Lucas worked his way through progressively tough opponents in the lower bracket, shutting out Sandra Kostant, for starters, then allowing Joey Arruda to chalk up two racks against him. William Aley battled him to double hill, before Lucas advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Fred Soulliere. Nou, on the other hand, opened with a double hill win over Francisco Cabral, before downing his next three opponents 6-2 (Dave Morganelli), 6-3 (Mark Ruzzano), 6-3 (Mark Tringali). Nou turned to face Ricardo Diaz in the other winners’ side semifinal.

In the two, straight-up races to 6, Lucas defeated Soulliere 6-4 and Nou sent Diaz west 6-2. In what would prove to be the official title-winning matchup, Fargo Rate gave Lucas a 40-60 chance of defeating Nou in the battle for the hot seat. Playing with three ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 7, Lucas claimed the hot seat by adding the four he needed, while giving up only one to Nou.

On the loss side, Diaz picked up a rematch against Russell Bellisle, whom he’d sent to the loss side in the third winners’ side round. Bellisle won four on the loss side, including two straight double hill wins over Dave Morganelli and Steve Sutton, before eliminating Mark Tringali 5-1 and Mark Ruzzano 5-3 to earn the rematch. Soulliere drew Rob Simonetti, who’d lost a double hill match to Joey Arruda on the winners’ side before mounting a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated William Aley 4-2 and Dalica Shatee 4-1 (whom he’d sent to the loss side in the opening round of play).

Diaz got back into the swing of things with a second win over Bellisle 5-2. Simonetti, though he only had a Fargo-calculated, slightly better than one-in-four chance of defeating Soulliere (27-73), he did just that. With Soulliere racing to 8, Simonette moved on to the quarterfinals against Diaz 4-3.

Diaz put a stop to that right off in the quarterfinals, downing Simonetti 9-1 and then, in what proved to be the final match of the New England 9-Ball Classic, Nou gave up only one rack to Diaz. The split was negotiated and the New England 9-Ball Classic was in the books.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Snooker’s for their hospitality along with 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 next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#6), a $500-added event, originally scheduled for Sunday, June 12, has been postponed until a to-be-determined date, sometime before Stop #7 in August.

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Pettruzzelli and Zingarella go undefeated to win NE 9- Ball Series Partners Tournament

Anthony Petruzzelli, Mike Zingarella, Jay Aliomer and Beau Powers

When you look at the way that the team of Anthony Petruzelli and Mike Zingarella began their quest for an event title at Stop #4 on the New England 9-Ball Series, it comes as no surprise that they finished undefeated to claim the Partners Tournament title. The $500-added event drew 24 teams of two to Snooker’s in Providence, RI.

Working, initially, in a separate, lower (Fargo Rate) bracket, Petruzzelli and Zingarella won 90% of their games (18-2; three matches) to get to the hot seat match. Their opponents in the hot seat match and later, in the finals, Beau Powers and Jay Aliomer, working in an upper bracket, won 20 of their first 24 games (83%) to face Petruzzelli and Zingarella the first time.

Here’s how it happened. In the lower bracket, Petruzzelli/Zingarella were awarded an opening round bye, before (in a straight-up race to 5) shutting out Eric Burgess and Kyle Lima. They gave up a single rack to Roarke Dickson and Jake Rickell in another race to 5, which set them up against Stephanie Ricket and Steve Miner in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Ricket/Miner began that match with four ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 8. Petruzzelli/Zingarella allowed them only one more than the ‘beads’ they’d started with and advanced to the hot seat match.

Powers and Aliomer, in the meantime, played four matches to get to the hot seat, giving up three racks in a straight-up race to 5 in their first match, versus Kurt Matheson and George Petway. In their next two races to 5, they gave up none at all to the teams of Chuck Sampson/Jarrod Clowery and Jimmy Nou/Joe Callaluca. Powers/Aliomer advanced to the hot seat match with a 5-1 victory over Nicole Albergaria and Steve Edmiston.

Petruzzelli/Zingarella began the hot seat match and later, the finals, with four ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 6. They took the first of their two against Powers/Aliomer 4-3.

Coming to the loss side, Edmiston/Albergaria faced Scott Tavernier and Fred Soulliere, while team Rickett/Miner squared off against Jean Minyety and Francisco Salas. Edmiston/Albergaria advanced to the quarterfinals 5-1 over Tavernier/Soulliere and were joined by Minyety/Salas, who’d shutout Rickett/Miner. 

Edmiston/Albergaria then gave Minyety/Salas a taste of their own medicine, as it were, shutting them out in the quarterfinals. In a straight-up race to 5, team Powers/Aliomer eliminated Edmiston/Albergaria 5-3.

The hot seat match had lowered the game-winning averages of both teams as they girded for battle in the finals. The 4-3 loss had dropped Petruzzelli/Zingarella down from 90% to 81%. Petruzelli was still at 81% when the finals started, but having given up three racks against Edmiston/Albergaria in the semifinals, team Powers/Aliomer had dropped down to a 72% game-winning average (overall total of 28 racks-for versus 11 racks-against).

Though it had a way (one would think) of putting Petruzzelli/Zingarella in the driver’s seat for the finals, it didn’t alter the outcome. The two teams recorded the same score in the finals as they had in the hot seat match, with Petruzzelli/Zingarella on top 4-3 and claiming the event title.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Snooker’s 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 Snooker’s on Sunday, May 1 for Stop #5 on the tour.

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Vollhardt claims official Stop #3 NE 9-Ball Series title, as Gravel gets by Fracasso-Verner twice

Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Jim Gravel and Jim Vollhardt

When you’re the top-FargoRated competitor at a given tournament, by 73 points, you might be forgiven for stepping up to the tables fairly confident of your ability to get to the finish line ahead of any opponent on the entrant list. But like the “Any Given Sunday” rule in professional football, dictating that on any given Sunday, one professional football team can beat any other professional football team, regardless of how low one of those teams might be rated, pool is subject to the same vagaries of fortune and the accumulated rolls of a differently-shaped ball. Or two.

So it was, that on Saturday, March 12, Lukas Fracasso-Verner (706) was downed twice by Jim Gravel (562) and never got a shot at Jim Vollhardt, who, after the semifinals had eliminated Fracasso-Verner, negotiated a split of the top two cash prizes with Gravel (passing on the opportunity to face him a second time) and became the official winner of Stop #3 on the 2022 New England 9-Ball Series. The $500-added event drew 24 entrants to Branford Cue & Brew in Branford, CT.

Gravel and Fracasso-Verner both emerged from the same upper bracket, working their way through the field from different ends to arrive at the hot seat match of the upper bracket, which is one of the winners’ side semifinal matches of the combined bracket(s). Gravel had opened with a double hill win over Daniel Cecchetto and came within a game of double hill in sending Dennis Brewer to the loss side. This set up his first meeting with Fracasso-Verner in the upper bracket’s entries into the winners’ side semifinals. From the lower bracket, Jim Vollhardt and William Aley (dead even in FargoRate at 515, squared off in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Fracasso-Verner and Gravel fought to double hill in their first meeting, with Gravel prevailing 4-7 (Fracasso-Verner racing to 8) and turning to a hot seat match against Vollhardt, who’d sent Aley to the loss side 5-1. In a straight-up race to 6, Vollhardt claimed the hot seat over Gravel 6-3.

On the loss side, Fracasso-Verner and Aley got right back into the swing of things, meeting up with competitors who’d been sent to the loss side of their respective brackets by the eventual hot seat occupants. Fracasso-Verner drew Dennis Brewer, who’d been defeated by Gravel in a winners’ side quarterfinal and gone on to defeat Ramon Vazquez 5-2 and Pedro Oquendo, double hill. Aley picked up Anthony Petruzzelli, who’d lost to Vollhardt in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then, eliminated Mike Zingarella 4-2 and Stephen Rowe, double hill.

Fracasso-Verner had to contend with a double hill fight against Brewer before moving on to the quarterfinals. Aley downed Petruzzelli 4-1. Fracasso-Verner gave up just one rack to Aley in those quarterfinals and drew his rematch against Gravel.

With Gravel racing to 4, he was the one who was stingy in the racks-given-up department. He allowed Fracasso-Verner (racing to 7) only one in advancing to the finals-that-didn’t happen  against Vollhardt.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Branford Cue & Brew, 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 next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series, will be the Annual Robert & Catherine Dionne Memorial, a partners tournament, scheduled for this Saturday, March 19, 

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Father and son, Everett and Daren Belliveau, split top prizes at Stop # 2 on NE 9-Ball Series

Everett Belliveau, Darren Belliveau & Ben Savoie

Some folks might attach some measure of cosmic influence, probably associated with numerology, to the fact that Stop #2 on the New England 9-Ball Series was held on 02/20/22 and that the top 2 prizes were split by 2 members of the same family, Everett (the father) and Daren (the son) Belliveau. Here at AZBilliards, we’ll just let that go and move on to explain that the $500-added, Open event (no handicaps), for maximum Fargo rates of 680, drew six less than 22 entrants to Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.

While the #2 is known in numerology as a “cooperative” number and represents partnerships, it is also known as a “supremely feminine force,” so we’ll skip that part, too, and note that instead of 2 brackets, normally utilized in NE 9-Ball Series’ stops to separate higher and lower-ranked players at the start of a given stop, this Open event had only 1 (one).

Daren went undefeated to the hot seat of the event, making him the official winner. Dad, Everett, lost his opening match to Ben Savoie, and chalked up six on the loss side, including a semifinal rematch against Savoie, for the right to negotiate with his son on the dispensation of their winnings. Might have been fun to watch father and son battle for the right not to pay their next dinner bill, but it didn’t happen.   

Daren got by Mike Nicoloro and Daniel Simoneau to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus tour director Marc Dionne. Following his victory over Everett, Savoie went on to send Xhuljano Kamxhiu to the loss side and advance to the other winners’ side semifinal, against Rick Gatta.

Daren downed Dionne 7-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Savoie, who’d defeated Gatta 7-3. Daren claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Savoie.

On the loss side, Dad worked his way through Stacy Hamel, Josh Turansky and Jeff Furness, giving up 2 racks to each of them, to pick up Gatta, coming off his winners’ side semifinal gig. Dionne drew Kamxhiu, who, after falling to Savoie on the winners’ side, downed Jacqueline Loving 6-1 and Andy Downs 6-3.

Dad eliminated Gatta, you guessed it, 6-2 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Dionne and Kamxhiu struggled to double hill, before Kamxhiu prevailed to join Dad and then, be defeated by him 6-3. We’re not sure whether, by the time the semifinals began, father and son had already made the decision about a potential matchup (whether early in the proceedings or only after the semifinals), but what we do know is that Dad made a father/son matchup in the finals possible with a rematch victory over Savoie 6-4.

As noted at the outset, Father and son opted out of the final and split the equivalent of 4 times $220. No word on who bought dinner.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Crow’s Nest, along with 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 next stop on the NE 9-Ball Series (#3, which is a more masculine number), scheduled for March 12, will be a $500-added event, hosted by Branford Cue & Brew in Branford, CT.

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Prather and Blair spilt top prizes on NE 9-Ball Series’ season opener

Adam Blair, David Melancon and Jim Prather

Jim Prather and Adam Blair have been competing on the New England 9-Ball Series (and to a lesser extent, the area’s Rack ‘Em Up Tour) for a combined total of 26 years; Prather since 2007 and Blair since 2011. As far as we know, though they’ve cashed in lots of events on the tour, they’ve never met in a final and neither of them has won a stop on either tour. Until this weekend, at the first stop on the NE 9-Ball Series’ 2022 season; a $600-added event that drew 24 entrants to Straight Shooters Family Billiards in Fall River, MA. Prather went undefeated to the hot seat in the event and though Blair returned from a victory in the semifinals to win the opening set of a true double elimination final, they opted out of a second set and negotiated a split of the top two prizes.

Prather came into the tournament’s Upper Bracket with what turned out to be the event’s highest Fargo Rate (624). Another competitor, Robert Lewis, with a higher Fargo Rate (635), forfeited out of his opening match, as well as his first scheduled match on the loss side. Prather started his trek to the winners’ circle with a double hill win over Steve Nelson and apparently not happy with that means of advancing, followed up with a shutout over Mike Cote. He then went back to the double hill route, surviving his match against Eric Burgess to draw David Melancon in a winners’ side semifinal. 

Blair, at work in the Lower Bracket, was awarded an opening round bye and also won his first match, double hill, over Ryan McCrum. He followed that with a 4-2 win over William Aley to pick up Sandra Kostant in the other winners’ side semifinal.

In a straight-up race to 5, Prather got into the hot seat match with a 5-3 win over Melancon. Blair joined him after shutting out Kostant. In their first of what would turn out to be two matches, Prather claimed the hot seat 6-2 (Blair racing to 4).

Moving to the loss side, Melancon drew Eric Burgess, who, after his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Prather, had downed Roarke Dickson 4-2 and Van Sy, double hill. Kostant picked up a rematch against Steven Mantineo, who’d lost his winners’ side quarterfinal to her and then, defeated Ryan McCrum 5-2 and Kenneth Duclos 6-2.

Melancon and Mantineo advanced to the quarterfinals; Melancon 5-3 over Burgess and Mantineo 5-2 over Kostant. Melancon put a bit of a punctuation mark on his quarterfinal match by shutting Mantineo out.

Blair and Melancon battled to double hill in the semifinals that followed. Blair, with the lower Fargo Rate, began the match with a single bead on the wire in a race to 5, so when they were tied in total racks at 4-each, Blair was the winner.

Blair started the true double elimination finals against Prather with two beads on the wire in a race to 6. For the second straight time, Blair battled to double hill and won; this time, starting with two beads on the wire in a race to 6. It was at this point that they opted out of a second set and decided to split the top two prizes. Having not been defeated twice in the double elimination format, Prather was the event’s official winner.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Straight Shooters Family Billiards, 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. Stop # 2 on the NE 9-Ball Series, scheduled for the weekend of February 5-6, will be its Annual Winter Classic. The $2,000-added event, which will be limited to 128 players, will be hosted by Snooker’s Sports-Billiards Bar & Grill in Providence, RI. Players must pre-pay for this event by Thursday, Feb. 3 and can do so by registering on the tour Web site at http://www.newengland9ballseries.com.

New England Women’s Pool Alliance raises $32k for Jimmy Fund/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Suad Kantarevic & Beau Powers

In 1947, Dr. Sidney Farber, after almost 20 years as a Pathology instructor at Harvard Medical School, a year as Chairman of Staff at the affiliated (Boston) Children’s Hospital and a recent (at the time) appointment as Pathologist-in-Chief at the hospital, began raising funds for cancer research. Focused primarily on what had become his specialty, diseases in children and infants, Farber’s research into a broad variety of childhood diseases led to his being considered the founder of pediatric pathology.

In partnership with the Variety Club of New England at the time, the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation (CCRF) was created and became one of the first nationwide fundraising campaigns to take full advantage of what was then, modern media outlets, like radio and a little later, television.  In its first year of fund-raising on the radio broadcast of Truth or Consequences in 1948, one of the first patients of the Foundation appeared on the show. He was 12-year-old Einer Gustafson, but to protect his privacy, he was nicknamed “Jimmy.” The nickname triggered the re-naming of the foundation to The Jimmy Fund. 

Though he’d already established himself as an important medical researcher in the field of Pediatric medicine, Farber’s recognition of the importance of marketing in the scientific advancement of knowledge about diseases led him to become not just a clinician, but a public research advocate, as well. His marketing efforts brought cancer into the public spotlight and propelled funding and awareness for cancer research for the remainder of the century and beyond, to this day.

Long known as one of the first charitable affiliations of the Boston Braves (later, the Boston Red Sox) and the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association (among others), the Jimmy Fund continues the work it began almost 75 years ago. Thanks to the New England Women’s Pool Alliance (NEWPA), over $32,000 (and counting) has been added to the Jimmy Fund, through an event that began on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021 and will continue until the end of this month. 

The occasion for the initial donations was a “Pool for Jimmy” Scotch Doubles event, which drew 32 teams of two to the Crow’s Nest Pub & Grill in Plaistow, NH. Team donations, as well as donations from those who didn’t compete are ongoing at the event Web site – https://danafarber.jimmyfund.org/site/TR/EventPage/MyPage?pg=team&fr_id=1600&team_id=9425

Those who actually participated and those who made (and continue to make) a donation are “directly supporting the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s unique 50-50 balance between cutting-edge science and highly compassionate cancer care,” notes the Web site’s introduction to the fund-raising campaign. 

“Your support,” the Web site goes on to say, “allows Dana-Farber leaders to enhance programs and initiatives that serve pediatric and adult patients and their families.”

“Families” was the keyword in the Scotch Doubles event, as well, with the Minichiello brothers (Rich, Jr. and Mike), the father and son team of Everett and Daren Belliveau, the father and daughter team of Jeff and Jocelyn Bickford, the husband and wife team of Matt and Heidi Rezendes and the nephew/uncle team of Rick and Joe Matarazzo. The Minchello brothers’ father, Rich, died of cancer, as did Rick Matarrazo’s father and Joe Matarazzo’s brother.

Other family connections related to the fund-raising efforts included stream commentator, Mike DeMarco (a pancreatic cancer survivor), Jay Duffin (cancer survivor), Marc Dionne (tour director of the NE 9-Ball Series, whose father died of cancer), and Mark Morgan (whose father is currently undergoing cancer treatment). Katie Fiorilla, co-founder of the NEWPA, has spent the majority of her adult life in Oncology medical research, working toward developing treatments and cures for cancer. 

The team of Beau Powers and Suad Kantarevic ended up winning the event. Sent to the loss side by Team Minichiello in a double-hill, winners’ side semifinal, they returned after winning three matches on the loss side to down Team Minichiello 7-5 in the finals.

Each team in the event had a fundraising page, which has accounted for over $24,000 of the $32,678 raised, to date. An “Opportunity Drawing” and other donations have contributed to the cause. You can contribute to the fund-raising event, whose original goal was $20,000, by linking to the page noted above. 

Fracasso-Verner goes undefeated to claim NE 9-Ball Series ‘20/’21 Tour Championship (Finale)

Paul Kazalski, Robert Lewis, and Lukas Fracasso-Verner

The winner and runner-up of the New England 9-Ball Series’ Tour Championships, held this past weekend (Jan. 15-16), were returning to the tables after distinctly different amounts and kinds of time away. Lukas Fracasso-Verner, who went undefeated to claim the event title, has been working his way back up the ‘earnings’ ladder for the past couple of years, following what had been, to date, his best earnings year (2019), when he won two stops on the tour and was also that year’s Empire State 9-Ball champion. The following year, thanks to the pandemic, he cashed in only three (recorded) events, finishing as runner-up on the NE 9-Ball Series three times. In 2021, he cashed in nine events, including a victory at a 2nd Chance event on the Joss Tour, and an undefeated run to claim the MD State 10-Ball title; his first major win in almost two years. Fracasso-Verner has started 2022 with this most recent undefeated run on the $5,000-added Tour Championships, which drew 55 entrants to Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.

Coming from the loss-side, where he won five straight for the right to face Fracasso-Verner in the finals, was 68-year-old Robert Lewis, aka Chelsea Grinder and also aka Machine Gun Bobby, who reportedly “hasn’t been competing much lately.” He came back to the tables for this Tour Championship event, at which his runner-up finish has led to his first (recorded) cash finish in an event, anywhere.

Fracasso-Verner (704) and Lewis (629) both emerged from the event’s upper bracket, where they met for the first of two matches in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Lewis had benefited from a first-round forfeit, a 6-3 win over Daniel Simoneau and a shutout of Joe Meuse before running into Fracasso-Verner, who sent him to the loss side 7-1. Fracasso-Verner advanced to a winners’ side semifinal matchup versus Chad Bazinet. From the lower brackets, it was Paul Kazalski and Tiffany Vuong who advanced to their face-off in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Fracasso-Verner defeated Bazinet 6-3, and in the hot seat match, faced Kazalski, who’d sent Tiffany Vuong west 5-3. To his credit, Kazalski made the best of a (Fargo Rated) hot seat match that favored Fracasso-Verner by almost 70 percentage points (84.6 to 15.4). Kazalski battled Fracasso-Verner to double hill (9-3) before Fracasso-Verner closed it out to claim the hot seat. 

Meanwhile, “Chelsea Grinder” (Lewis) had opened his loss-side campaign with a double hill win over Steve Sutton and backed it up with a 6-3 win over John Vitale, to draw Bazinet, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Vuong drew Curtis Wright, who’d lost his opening match to David Ty and was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Adam Blair 5-2 and in a rematch, Ty 5-3.

Wright advanced one more step, downing Vuong 6-1, while Lewis was working on advancing to the quarterfinals with a 6-3 win over Bazinet. Lewis then ended Wright’s run 7-3 in those quarterfinals. 

Kazalski came into the semifinals versus Lewis with a similar handicap to the one he’d been able to employ against Fracasso-Verner in the hot seat match. In the semifinals, as Lewis was racing to 8, Kazalski was racing to 4. Kazalski came one rack short of forcing a second straight, double hill, deciding game for himself, but in the end, Lewis edged out in front to win it 8-2.

The second Fracasso-Verner/Lewis meeting proved to be an exact replica of their first meeting in a winners’ side quarterfinal. For the second time, Fracasso-Verner downed Lewis 7-1 to claim the 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 kick off their 2022 schedule at Straight Shooters in Fall River, Ma. this coming weekend (Sunday, Jan. 23) for the tour’s 2022, $600-added season opener.  

New England 9-Ball Series Cancels Remainder of Season

Greetings to all the members and fans of The New England 9 Ball Series. We hope you and your families are doing well and everyone is staying healthy.
 
Due to the uncertainty concerning when pool halls will be re-opening and in what form businesses will be allowed to operate in all the states in which the tour runs we will unfortunately be cancelling the remainder of the 2019-2020 season.
 
We currently plan to start the 2020-2021 season in September. However, this will be dependent on in what capacity businesses will be allowed to start resuming operations as well as how comfortable players feel about returning to pool halls for tournaments. We all love and miss pool and we are committed to resuming events as soon as it is feasible and relatively safe for the staff and players. Hopefully we will have more information later in the summer as states begin to re-open.
 
Anyone who has pre-paid for events this season will receive a credit for the 2020-2021 season. If a refund is preferred please contact Marc Dionne directly.
 
All prize money already collected for the Tour Championship ($5 per player per event) will be added the 2020-2021 Winter Classic and Tour Championship events.
 
We appreciate your continued support and hope to see everyone again soon. As always if there are any questions please contact:
 
Marc Dionne