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Gabriel comes back from brink of a loss to claim Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title

Junior Gabriel

One game away from being double-dipped in the finals of the Saturday, July 9 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, Junior Gabriel rallied from 4-1 down to chalk up five racks in a row and claim his second tour title. It marked his 6th cash finish on the tour since he started showing up on its payout lists in 2018. He went undefeated last November on the tour to claim his first major title. The $500-added event drew 35 entrants to Overtime Billiards in Columbia, SC. 

Gabriel’s three-time nemesis at this event was PJ Stabler, who won the opening set of the true double elimination final and brought him to the brink in the second set. Stabler had defeated Larry McGee 5-3 in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Gabriel was busy sending Michael Thompson to the loss side in the other one 6-5 (Thompson racing to 7). Gabriel claimed the hot seat 6-3 over Stabler.

On the loss side, Thompson picked up Calvin Lee, who’d defeated Adam Springs 6-3 and Rocky Guell 6-2 to reach him. McGee drew a rematch against the player he’d sent to the loss side 6-2 in the third winners’ side round, Thomas Sansone. Sansone moved over to begin a six-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the semifinals. Before picking up McGee for the second time, he’d eliminated (loss-side wins #3 & #4) Brandon Powell and Russell Scott, both 6-4.

Sansone chalked up his fifth loss-side win, downing McGee 6-2. Thompson joined him in the quarterfinals after surviving a double hill bout against Lee. 

Sansone took the quarterfinal match 6-3 over Thompson, before locking up in a double hill, semifinal battle for a seat in the finals. Stabler came into the match with a single bead on the wire in a race to 6. He chalked up the five he needed to advance. 

With the same handicap (Stabler racing to 5, Gabriel to 6), Stabler took the opening set of the true double elimination final 5-2. On a bit of a figurative and literal roll, Stabler jumped out in front in the second set and reached the hill, ahead by three at 4-1. Gabriel won the next five racks to snatch victory from the proverbial jaws of defeat and claim the event title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Overtime Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues,, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat,, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend, July 16th, will be the $500-added Princeton Summer Classic, hosted by Sonny’s Billiards in Princeton, WV.

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Tate and Ringgold split top prizes on Q City 9-Ball Tour

Joey Tate

Stay tuned, but like a lot of pool tours staring at the spectre of empty-by-government-order bars and/or pool rooms, last weekend’s (March 14) Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop may have been its last for a while. The industry, nation-wide, functions on its ability to gather players together for tournaments big and small and with the numbers of what are being called allowable safe groups declining and currently hovering in the 10 or less area, pool tournaments are in serious jeopardy.

At this most recent tournament, junior player Joey Tate (15) and veteran competitor, JT Ringgold battled only once, in a winners’ side semifinal. Tate won that match and though Ringgold won three on the loss side to earn the right to a rematch, they opted out of it. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Tate claimed the event title. The event drew 23 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC.

As Ringgold and Tate battled what proved to be the title match in their winners’ side semifinals, Michael Thompson and Ron Sellers battled in the other one. Tate sent Ringgold to the loss side 7-8 (Ringgold racing to 11). Thompson joined Tate in the hot seat match after defeating Sellers 7-3. Tate claimed the hot seat and in effect, the event title 7-5 over Thompson.

On the loss side, Ringgold picked up Ricky Acevedo, who’d defeated Jack Whitfield and Joshua Shultz, both 5-2. Sellers drew Kelly Farrar, who’d recently eliminated Jason Futrell 7-2 and Reene Driskill 7-1.

Ringgold downed Acevedo 11-3 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Sellers, who’d defeated Farrar 5-4 (Farrar racing to 7). Ringgold, picking up some speed in this loss-side campaign shut Sellers out in those quarterfinals.

Thompson applied the brakes to Ringgold’s momentum with a double hill battle in the semifinals. Ringgold won it, though, 11-6 for a second shot against Tate in the hot seat; a shot he didn’t take. He and Tate opted out of the final, split the money and went home.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Mickey Milligan’s for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards, and Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour is, well . . . up in the air at this point. The Parkers maintain a presence on Facebook, which can be monitored for ongoing information.