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Matt Wilson downs Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour’s top-ranked Herring twice to claim event title

Daniel Herring, Paul Villanueva and Matt Wilson

He shot up from the ‘cellar’ of the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour’s standings, where he’d landed after the first tour stop back in January. He then finished in the tie for 5th/6th twice, in February and March; his highest (recorded) finish in any event, anywhere. This past weekend (April 23-24), Matt Wilson made a quantum leap, closer to the top of the tour standings, reaching the hot seat for the first (known) time and then, downing the tour’s current standings leader, Daniel Herring, twice in a true double elimination final. The $1,750-added event drew 93 entrants to Rusty’s Billiards in Fort Worth, TX.

In all three of his matches against Herring, Wilson started out with six ‘beads on the wire’ in races to 10. Even with that six-rack head start, FargoRate calculated his chances of victory at 35.8%. It’s likely that before very long, Wilson will be looking in the rearview at his current FargoRate of 517.

His FargoRate advantage came into play in almost every match Wilson played. He faced only one opponent with a lower rate, tour director Monica Anderson (454), giving her one ‘bead on the wire’ in a race to six and sending her to the loss side 6-3. He advanced through the field to face Paul Villanueva (606) in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Herring (689), in the meantime, was handing out racks to his opponents all day long. The closest FargoRate he faced was in his winners’ side quarterfinal against Robbie Cleland, to whom he gave a single rack in a race to 7. That match went double hill and advanced Herring to a winners’ side semifinal match against Jimmy Davis.

Wilson downed Villanueva 6-5 (Villanueva racing to 8) as Herring sent Davis to the loss side 8-1. In their first of three, Herring allowed Wilson only two of the four he needed, claiming the hot seat 10-2.

On the loss side, Villanueva picked up Cleland, who, after his double hill defeat at the hands of Herring, downed Roman Bayda 7-5 and Clint Palaci 7-1. Davis drew Jessie Moore, who’d lost his opening match to Steven Thorne and then won eight on the loss side, including recent victories over Nico Arriola and TJ Thetford, both 7-4.

Moore made it nine in a loss-side row, downing Davis 7-1. In a straight-up race to 7, Villanueva joined him in the quarterfinals after handing Cleland his second straight loss 7-5. In another straight-up race to 7, Villanueva stopped Moore’s loss side streak 7-4 in the quarterfinals, before having his two-match, loss-side run stopped by Wilson, who allowed him two less racks in the event semifinals than he’d given up in their winners’ side semifinal. 

Herring was looking for his third straight tour victory, having won stops #2 & #3 in February and March. Given his 64.2% chance of winning just a single match, even if he hadn’t known that specifically, one would assume that going into the finals, his confidence level would have been high. But so, apparently, was Wilson’s. Both of the true double elimination sets in the final went exactly the same way. With six on the wire, racing to 10, Wilson won each set, having given up only two racks to Herring, claiming the title 4-2, 4-2.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor Cuetec and the Fort Worth Billiards Superstore. The next stop on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for May 21-22, will be a $1,750-added event, hosted by Snookered in Frisco, TX. 

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Herring goes undefeated at Stop #2 on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour

Aloysius Yapp, Daniel Herring and Tony Top

As a competitor on a regional tour, when the runner-up of the 2021 US Open 9-Ball Championships, who also finished third at last year’s World 10-Ball Championships and won an event on the CSI Predator US Pro Billiards Series back in September, shows up on the tour’s entrant roster, you have a tendency to pay attention. Pool is all about being in the moment at the tables and avoiding distractions related to who you might or might not have to face somewhere down the line, but when such a competitor pops up on your radar, you do scan the brackets every once in a while. And when you discover that this formidable opponent has only given up five racks through his first 54 games (winning almost nine out of every 10), your focus on the tables may be all well and good, but you do start wondering whether you might be one of the players designated to stop him. 

That said, if you enter a tournament as one of three players at the top of a regional tour’s rankings, you might actually look forward to the challenge. It was Tony Top, who entered last weekend’s event as the number #2 competitor in the tour’s rankings, who met the challenge and stopped one Aloysius Yapp, from what might well have been an undefeated run to the title. Twice, in fact. It was, however, Daniel Herring, the tour’s 2021 Tour Champion, who entered the tournament ranked #5 (5th/6th in the season opener) and finished it in the #1 spot, ahead of Top by just two points. He did that by going undefeated through the field. He didn’t have to face Yapp, but he did down Top twice, in the hot seat and finals. The $1,750-added, Stop# 2 on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour drew 80 entrants to Stixx & Stones in Lewisville, TX.

Yapp’s ‘take no prisoners’ run through his first five opponents, as he was racing to 10, included two shutouts (Tina Soto and Miguel Hernandez), two matches in which he gave up two racks (his opening match vs. Jeffrey Cho and later, against Fahad Alrawi) and a single match that allowed Crispian Ng a single rack. All of which put him against Top for the first time, in a winners’ side semifinal. Top, with an opening round bye in his pocket, had gotten by his first four opponents – Jim Dixon, Robbie Cleland, Clint Palaci and Tony Loeper – by an aggregate score of 32-14 (70% game-winning average).

Herring, in the meantime, started his journey to the winners’ circle with wins over Chase Laferney (2), Darrell Smith (4), Matt Dixon (3), Sharik Sayed (5) and TJ Davis (4) and came to his winners’ side semifinal match against Juan Parra, sporting a game-winning average a single percentage point lower than Top’s at 69%. 

Top began his first match against Yapp with five ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 9 and came within a single game of chalking up as many (actual) racks against him in the single match than all five of his previous opponents combined. He sent Yapp to the loss side 4-7. Herring joined him in the hot seat match after downing Parra 7-2. In a straight-up race to 7, Herring claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Top.

On the loss side, Yapp and Parra picked up Matt Wilson and Sharik Sayed, respectively. Wilson was likely not thinking a lot about Aloysius Yapp when he began his eight-match, loss-side winning streak, initiated by Tony Loeper in the second winners’ side round. Like most people who lose an opening round in a large, double-elimination bracket, he was more likely to be focused on surviving the matches right in front of him. If he was bracket-watching at all, he might have noted that the guy who’d sent him to the loss side, Loeper, was progressing as well, and there was a chance, the way the bracket was working out, that he could get an opportunity for a rematch in the quarterfinal. That didn’t happen, because Loeper fell into the 7/8 slot. Wilson chalked up wins #7 & #8 against TJ Davis, double hill, and Denny Sneed 5-6 (Sneed racing to 9) before falling to Yapp 10-2.

Sayed was working on a modest, five-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Crispian Ng 8-4 and Loeper 9-3. He joined Yapp in the quarterfinals after eliminating Parra 8-4.

Yapp ended Sayed’s brief loss-side streak 8-4 in the quarterfinals to set up a rematch against Top in the semifinals. Top started this match, as well, with five ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 9. He added four for a second time to end Yapp’s prior-to-him romp through the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball field.

Top now had to turn his attention to winning two matches in a row over Herring, waiting for him in the hot seat. He failed to chalk up two racks against him in what proved to be the only set necessary.  Herring completed his undefeated run 7-1 to claim the event title.

Tour director Monica Anderson thanked the ownership and staff at Stixx & Stones for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Cuetec and associate sponsor Fort Worth Billiards Superstore. The next stop #3 on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 19-20, will be hosted by Snookered in Frisco, TX. 

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