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House Champions Justin Espinosa and Kim Sanders Takes 3rd Stop 2022 Arcadia Centex Pool Tour

Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, Texas was a buzz on the weekend of April 30th 2022 as the Predator Arcadia CenTex Pool Tour made its debut in the Austin-Round Rock area with its third stop at the wildly popular venue featuring 18 9-foot Diamond tables.

In the Open Division, 67 local and traveling players competed in the $1500 added 9-ball tournament with a $40 entry. The double-elimination event featured the Predator Arcos II ball set and Accu-Rack template racks with races to 7/5, alternative breaks, and 3-foul and 3-point rules in effect.  This event attracted Diveney-sponsored touring professional, Chip Compton, Predator professionals Ruben Bautista from Mexico and Daniel Schneider, and Predator Junior Pro, Lazaro ‘Lil Laz’ Martinez III. A handful of local Austin heavy hitters joined in their ranks: pro Justin Espinosa, up-and-coming Noah Contreras and the seasoned champs Kevin Guimond and James Davis Jr. Several favorites from across Texas also made their way for this stop: Albert Luna, Matthew Shoemaker and Jon Giles from San Antonio, Andy Jethwa from Houston, Robert Perez from Corpus Christi and Sky Massingill and Curtis Tidmore from Odessa.

The opening rounds proved safe for the higher ranked competitors with exceptions for Kevin Guimond, who lost his first match to Lil Laz 4-7, and for James Davis Jr, who also suffered a first-round 4-7 loss by local player, John Wright. Sky Massingill from Odessa, Texas squared off against the formidable Chip Compton in his second match and was sent to the one-loss side after a 4-7 defeat.  Jon Giles also found his way to the one-loss side in his second round by local player Kenney Nguyen 2-7.

In the concluding rounds, Chip Compton, fresh from his victory against Sky, secured his position on the winner’s bracket by defeating Daniel Schneider 7-3 on the streaming table. Albert Luna and Andy Jethwa also squared off in the fourth round where Albert capitalized on Andy’s shortcomings, sending Andy to the one-loss side with a 7-4 victory.  Justin Espinosa overcame Matthew Shoemaker with a dominating 7-2 win. As the day drew to a close, Laz Martinez, Curtis Tidmore, Noah Contreras and John Wright completed their rounds unscathed to move onto the next day’s proceedings.

Meanwhile, in the one-loss side, Jon Giles prevailed into the second day by edging Kevin Guimond and Daniel Schneider in back-to-back hill-hill battles. Andy Jethwa, after his loss to Albert Luna, eliminated James Davis Jr.5-0 and Patrick Perez, after his loss to Ruben Bautista, defeated Michael Taylor 5-1.  Sky Massingill barely skated by Robert Sopha 5-4 in the third round and proceeded to conclude his day by eliminating Robert Perez 5-2 and Bill Regalis 5-1.

16 players returned for second day in the Open Division with 8 players scheduled to face-off in the winner’s bracket: Albert Luna vs Curtis Tidmore, Noah Contreras vs John Wright, Chip Compton vs Ruben Bautista and Justin Espinosa vs Lazaro Martinez, and another 8 players in the one-loss side: Jon Giles vs Patrick Perez, Matthew Shoemaker vs Cody Simko, Andy Jethwa vs Joe Cannata and Eduardo Ramirez vs Sky Massingill.  Jon Giles, Cody Simko, Joe Cannata and Eduardo Ramirez’s run drew to a close in the 7th round of the one-loss side by the hands of their opponents and placing 13th- 16th.  The remaining top 12 players were guaranteed a payout.

Albert Luna advanced into the 6th round of the winner’s bracket against Noah Contreras when Curtis Tidmore’s attempt to take the match to hill-hill with Albert was unsuccessful.  However, Noah swiftly encapsulated his victory over Albert 7-1 to earn Noah his place in the hotseat match. Fresh to the one-loss side and in the 8th and 9th round, Curtis eliminated Patrick Perez 5-0  and Matthew Shoemaker 5-3.

Chip Compton and Ruben Bautista’s match quickly drew to a close as Chip overwhelmed Ruben with a 7-3 victory, allowing Chip to observe his next opponent between Justin Espinosa vs Laz Martinez. In Justin and Laz’s hill-hill match, attendants watched Laz Martinez execute a beautiful close-proximity jump shot, only to overcut the 6-ball and enable Justin to claim victory and advance to the next match against Chip.  Laz Martinez was unrecoverable and was swiftly eliminated by Sky Massingill in a stunning 0-5 loss, placing Laz 9th-12th.  Ruben also unceremoniously ended his run for the top, placing 9th-12th, when he was eliminated by Andy Jethwa.  Meanwhile, Justin and Chip’s exciting battle for the hotseat match took a surprising turn as streaming viewers witnessed Justin, down 3-6 with Chip on the hill, fought his way to victory.  Good friends, Noah and Justin fought a friendly but fierce match for the hotseat with Justin claiming the spot 7-4.

In the 10th round of the one-loss side for 5th-6th place, both remaining Odessa players were eliminated from competition as Chip briskly defeated Curtis Tidmore 5-0 while Albert Luna edged by in a hill-hill win against Sky Massingill 5-4.  In a swift match for 4th place, San Antonio’s ‘GOAT’ Albert Luna escaped a hill-hill match against Chip 5-3 to face Noah once more.  Afterward and in a tighter match between Albert and Noah for 3rd, Noah overcame Albert on the hill 5-4, and the Open Division tournament concluded with Noah and Justin splitting top place.

In the Women’s Division, seventeen bright and talented ladies competed in the 2-day double-elimination 9-ball event at the third stop of Predator Arcadia CenTex Tour that ran concurrently with the Open Division.  The event was played on Skinny Bob’s Billiards’s 9-foot Diamond tables using Predator Arcos II ball set and Accu-Rack template racks. Rules consisted of races 5/4, alternative breaks and 3-foul rule in effect with a 100% payout to the top 6 players accumulated from the $25 player entries and additional $500 added to the event.

12 of the 17 competitors were first-time attendants to the Predator Arcadia CenTex Pool Tour, including formidable Skinny Bob co-owner, Kim Sanders, alongside her fellow local Austin frontrunners: Jennifer Kraber, Michelle Cortez, Nicole Mcdaniel and Kim Pierce. Travelling contenders included Houston favorite, Natalie Rocha, and challengers Crystal Jones and Jamie Wilson from Odessa, Texas and Mary Mikita from Corpus Christi.

In the beginning rounds, Nicole Mcdaniel suffered an early loss from the redoubtable Michelle Cortez 1-5 and fought her way into the second day by eliminating  Kim Pierce 4-0, Zoe Lozano 4-0 and Michelle Abernathy 4-2 from the one-loss side. Michelle Cortez, fresh from her win against Nicole in the first round, also sent accomplished Jennifer Kraber to the one-loss side with a 5-3 victory to conclude Michelle’s matches for the first day. Crystal Jones from Odessa, Texas impressively defeated Kim Pierce 5-0 and her traveling companion, Jamie Wilson 5-3 before being sent to the one-loss side herself from her defeat to Kim Sanders 3-5.  Angela Miles remained undefeated at the conclusion of the first day with her victories against Rachel Hurst 5-3 and Natalie Rocha 5-4. Joining Angela, Michelle and Kim in the winner’s side, Mary Mikita defeated San Antonians, Zoe Lisa Bailey 5-3 and Zoe Lozano 5-1. Jennifer Kraber successfully persisted through the first day by eliminating Makenna Sanders 4-1 and Houston’s Natalie Rocha 4-3 from the one-loss side.

Six competitors returned for the event’s second day with a guaranteed pay-out for all places. On the winner’s side: Kim Sanders battled Mary Mikita on the streaming table and on the table adjacent, Angela Miles faced off against Michelle Cortez while Nicole Mcdaniel and Jennifer Kraber waited in the one-loss side.  Skinny Bob’s Billiards’ locals Kim Sanders 5-1 and Michelle Cortez 5-3 defeated their out-of-town opponents to battle it out in the hotseat match.  In the proceeding matches in the one-loss side, Nicole eliminated Angela Miles 4-3 and Mary Mikita ended Jennifer Kraber’s run for the top 4-1, placing Angela and Jennifer in 5th/6th place.  In the 4th place match, Mary Mikita swiftly defeated Nicole Mcdaniel 4-0 to face-off against Michelle Cortez after Michelle’s hotseat match loss to Kim Sanders 2-5.  The strategic 3rd place match between Mary and Michelle reached hill-hill with numerous back-and-forth safety plays where Michelle Cortez edged for the win and ended Mary’s first participation in the CenTex tours in 3rd place.  Good friends Michelle Cortez and Kim Sanders fought an intense battle in the finale where, for the second time, Kim proclaimed victory over Michelle with an outstanding 5-3 win and was crowned winner of the Women’s Division 3rd stop and Michelle as runner-up.

The next stop for Predator Arcadia CenTex Pool Tour 2022 is scheduled for the weekend of June 11th-12th, 2022 as a $2000-added Jack-and-Jill Scotch Doubles 9-ball Tournament hosted by Banana’s Billiards in San Antonio, Texas.

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Fields comes from the loss side to double dip Ng in finals of OTB Ladies Tour

Ming Ng and Chris Fields

Chris Fields, no stranger to the felt since she first started recording payouts on Florida’s Flamingo and Bay Area Amateur tours 12 years ago, chalked up her first win in just over two years when she came from the loss side to meet and defeat Ming Ng in the finals of a stop on the Texas-based (as is Fields) On The Ball Ladies Tour this past weekend (March 12-13). Her last (recorded) win came on the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s Women’s Finale in October, 2020, when, through six matches, she chalked up an aggregate score of 36-6. At this recent event, Fields had that many racks, plus one, scored against her in her second round of play, which sent her to the loss side for more; more ‘for’ than ‘against’ as it turned out on that side of the bracket. The $2,000-added event drew 34 entrants to Betsy’s Billiards in Austin, TX.

Fields got by her opening match okay, shutting out Leigh Constant, but ran into Kim Sanders in the second round, who fought her to double hill, before she (Sanders) prevailed, launching Fields into a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that eventually led her back to hot seat occupant Ming Ng.

Ng, part of a hot-seat-match pair of what might be aptly described as ‘heavy hitters’ on the Texas Ladies Pool scene, had opened her bid for the title with a double hill win over Angie Payne and went on to defeat Cheyenne Valdez and Natalie Rocha before facing Kim Pierce in one of the winners’ side semifinals. The other member of the ‘heavy hitters’ pair was Jennifer Kraber, who’d gotten by Margaret Fox, Nicole McDaniel, and shut out Michelle Cortez in a winners’ side quarterfinal to face Michelle Yim in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kraber downed Yim 7-2 and in the hot seat match, faced Ng, who’d sent Pierce to the loss side 7-5. Ng sent Kraber off to what would prove to be a fateful matchup in the semifinals, claiming the hot seat 7-4.

On the loss side, Yim drew Kim Sanders, who, following her loss to Pierce had defeated Angie Payne and Natalie Rocha, both 7-5. Pierce picked up Fields, four matches into her loss-side streak, which had recently eliminated Carmel Luttrell and Stephanie Reyes, both 7-1.

Fields advanced to the quarterfinals 7-5 over Pierce and was met by Yim, who’d survived a double hill fight versus Sanders, and was thus able to avoid a rematch against Fields. Fields eliminated Yim 7-4 in those quarterfinals and then, Kraber in the semifinals 7-3.

It was a true double elimination final, forcing Fields to win twice to claim the title. A predictable double hill battle characterized the opening set, won by Fields. Fields chalked up the second set 7-4 and claimed the event title.

A $100-added Best of the Rest event drew 10 entrants. Angie Payne took home the top prize, with Zoe Lozano as runner-up. 

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Betsy’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor On the Ball Co., which also provided streaming services for the event. The next stop (#3) of the On the Ball Ladies Tour, scheduled for the weekend of May 14-15, will be a $2,000-added event, hosted by Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX. 

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Peters goes undefeated to take season opener of On the Ball Ladies Tour

Courtney Peters

The winner and runner-up at the On the Ball Ladies Tour’s season opener brought almost 30 years of combined (recorded) experience to the tables. Courtney Peters, who went undefeated in the $2,000-added event that drew 32 entrants to Big Tyme Billiards in Spring, TX this past weekend (Jan. 29-30), has data going back as far as 2005. Runner-up and tour representative Teresa Garland’s profile on our site identifies 2010 as the first year in which she brought home a cash payout. The same records that tell us about Peters’ progress through the years, also tells us that 2021 was a breakout year for her. She reportedly took home more cash last year than in all of the previous 17 years combined. 

Peters and Garland met first in the hot seat match. Peters began her journey to the winners’ circle with a 7-2 win over another Texas tours and WPBA veteran, Ming Ng, who brought 24 years of experience to the tables and also had herself a lucrative 2021, cashing in a total of 10 events that included a win at the very first stop of the On the Ball Ladies Tour in October. Peters continued her advance through a gallery of tour, Texas and WPBA veterans, including Kim Pierce (22 recorded years at the tables), and Natalie Rocha to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus another 22-year veteran, Jennifer Kraber. Kraber had won the last stop on the tour, double-dipping Peters in the finals. 

Garland opened her bid with a 7-3 win over Terry Petrosino, who was not only Garland’s first win, but as it turned out, her last, as well. Garland then sent Yvonne Asher and Yvette Cox to the loss side to pick up Michelle Cortez in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Garland and Cortez battled to double hill, before Garland advanced to the hot seat match. Peters joined her after sending Kraber over 7-2. Peters and Garland came within a game of double hill, but Peters pulled out in front at the end to claim the hot seat 7-5.

Terry Petrosino, Courtney Peters, Teresa Garland and Michelle Cortez

On the loss side, Cortez drew Angie Payne, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Kraber and then defeated two Natalies in a row; first, Natalie Mans 7-5 (Mans had just eliminated Ming Ng) and then, Natalie Rocha 7-4. Kraber ran into a determined Terry Petrosino, who’d followed her loss to Garland in the opening round with five straight wins, the most recent of which had eliminated Carmel Luttrell 7-3 and Shayla Neris 7-5.

Petrosino chalked up her sixth loss-side win 7-3 over Kraber, as Cortez defeated Payne 7-3. Petrosino dropped Cortez 7-5 in the subsequent quarterfinals before her loss-side streak came to an end the way it had begun, with a loss to Teresa Garland 7-4 in the semifinals.

Though one might have anticipated a tight, potentially double hill fight in the finals rematch that followed, it didn’t happen. Peters took command of the final match, allowing Garland only two racks and claimed the title 7-2.

A $100-added Best of the Rest tournament was won by Yvette Cox, who defeated Kim Pierce in the finals.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Big Tyme Billiards, as well as title sponsor On the Ball Co., and Draw Nation Streaming for providing the live stream. The next stop (#2) of the On the Ball Ladies Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 12-13, will be hosted by Betsy’s Billiards in Austin, TX.

Ng goes undefeated to claim Stop #2 on Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour

Ming Ng

Having won the season opener of the Gulf Coast Regional Tour in early January and a week later, finished as runner-up at the season opener of the 2020 Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour (JOLT), Ming Ng signed on to compete in Stop #2 of the JOLT and went undefeated to claim the title. She faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of this Feb. 29-March 1, $2,000-added  event that drew 27 entrants to Skinny Bob’s in Round Rock, TX.

Ng opened her campaign with victories over Sandra Melo and Tam Trinh before running into Angie Payne, who put up a double hill fight that almost sidetracked Ng’s march to the hot seat. Ng advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Michelle Cortez, whom she’d face twice, before this was over. Natalie Rocha, in the meantime, who’d battled Ng twice (hot seat and finals) in that Gulf Coast Regional Tour season opener, worked her way through Rachel Hurst, Rosa Cantu and Jennifer Kraber to draw Teresa Garland in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Ng got into the hot seat match with a 7-5 victory over Cortez in their first of two. Rocha joined Ng following a 7-4 victory over Garland. Ng claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Rocha and waited on what turned out to be the return of Cortez.

On the loss side, Garland picked up Angie Payne, who, following her double hill loss to Ng on the winners’ side, downed Yvonne Asher 7-2 and Brittany Williams 7-4. Cortez drew a rematch against Kim Pierce, whom she’d defeated in the second winners’ side round. Pierce was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had recently included victories over Jennifer Kraber 7-5 and Tam Trinh 7-3.

Garland eliminated Payne 7-4, as Cortez downed Pierce a second time, 7-5. Cortez and Garland battled to double hill in the quarterfinals before Cortez prevailed for a shot at Rocha in the semifinals.

Cortez completed her brief, successful loss-side run with a 7-4 win over Rocha in those semifinals. Momentum did not appear to be on Cortez’ side in the finals that followed. She’d battled to within a game of double hill in the earlier hot seat match, but could only manage a single rack in the finals. Ng completed her second undefeated 2020 run 7-1 to claim the event title.

A $100-added Best of the Rest Tournament was won by Jennifer Kraber. Yvonne Asher finished as runner-up.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Skinny Bob’s, as well as title sponsor Jerry Olivier Cues. The next stop on the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour, scheduled for the weekend of April 4-5 will be hosted by Diamond Sports Bar in Port Arthur, TX.

Williams comes from the loss side to down Ng in JO Ladies Tour season opener

(l to r): Ming Ng & Tara Williams

It is a reflection of a widely varied women’s tour field that Tara Williams, winner of the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour season opener this past weekend (January 11-12), earned more in 2019, finishing in the money twice (4th in both the SBE Women’s Championship and the NAPT’s Desert Challenge) than the event’s runner-up, Ming Ng made last year, winning two events – the 46th Texas Open, Ladies division & a stop on the Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Tour – and finishing 4th at the 5th Texas 10-Ball Championships/Ladies. Williams and Ng advanced in the  JO Ladies Tour season opener to a winners’ side semifinal, where Williams was defeated. She won three on the loss side and double dipped Ng in the double eliminaton final to claim the event title. The $2,000-added event drew 43 entrants to Big Tyme Billiards in Spring, TX.
 
As Tara Williams faced Kim Sanders in one of the winners’ side semifinals, Ng squared off against Angie Payne in the other one. Sanders downed Williams 7-5 and was joined in the hot seat match by Ng, who’d defeated Payne 7-4. Ng claimed the hot seat 7-2.
 
On the loss side, Williams and Payne ran into competitors who’d been sent to the loss side by Ng and Williams in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Williams drew Jennifer Kraber, who, following her defeat at the hands of Ng 7-3, defeated Yvonne Asher 7-4 and survived a double hill battle versus Teresa Garland. Payne drew Michelle Cortez, who’d been defeated by Williams 7-4 and after picking up a forfeit win in the first money round (9/12), had defeated Terry Petrosino 7-1.
 
Williams downed Kraber 7-3, as Cortez completed her side of the quarterfinal re-match equation with a 7-5 win over Payne. Williams downed Cortez a second time, this time 7-2, to earn a second straight rematch; this time against Sanders in the semifinal.
 
Their meeting in one of the winners’ side semifinals had come within a game of double hill (7-5). Their meeting in the overall semifinal wasn’t as close. Williams eliminated Sanders 7-3 for a shot at Ng in the hot seat.
 
Williams’ three-match work on the loss side of the bracket had been consistent; giving up three or less racks in each of the three matches. She maintained that pace and downed Ng in the finals by giving up three in the opening set, but only two in the second set that gave her the event title.
 
A $100-added Best of the Rest tournament drew eight entrants. Sandra Melo took home the top prize, with Monica Anderson finishing as runner-up.
 
Tour representatives thanked Billy and Debbie Sharp and their Big Tyme Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Jerry Olivier Cues, Roger Allen (for providing cue repair), and Art Politte with QXtender for attending. The next stop on the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour, scheduled for the Leap Year weekend (February 29-March 1), will be hosted by Skinny Bob’s in Round Rock, TX.

Bishoff takes two out of three versus Kraber to win Jerry Olivier Ladies’ Tour season finale

(l to r): Winner Jenna Bishoff & Tour Champion Kim Pierce

Looking for her second 2019 tour victory, her first having come on the North Central Pool Tour in Illinois (August), Jenna Bishoff shifted south a bit to join the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour in League City, TX for its 7th tour stop and season finale, where she met up with Jennifer Kraber three times. The last two meetings were in the finals where Bishoff double-dipped Kraber to claim the event title. The $3,000-added event drew 45 entrants to Legends Billiards in League City.
 
Following victories over Natalie Rocha, Yvonne Asher, Ming Ng and Michelle Yim, Bishoff advanced to her first meeting with Kraber in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Kraber had gotten by Regina Gomez, Gail Roles, Aryana Lynch, and Calaia Jackson to draw Bishoff. Kim Sanders, in the meantime, faced off against tour director Teresa Garland in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Kraber won the first of three versus Bishoff 7-5 and in the hot seat match, faced Sanders who’d sent Garland west 7-4. Kraber gave up only a single rack to Sanders in the match that followed, winning what proved to be her last match and claiming the hot seat.
 
Over on the loss side, Bishoff picked up Autumn Duncan, who’d been sent to the loss side in the second round by Michelle Cortez in a double hill fight and was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that included recent victories over Belinda Lee 7-1 and Kim Pierce 7-2, and was about to come to an end. Garland drew Janeen Lee, who’d recently eliminated Calaia Jackson and Michelle Cortez, both 7-5.
 
Bishoff’s bid for a rematch against Kraber in the hot seat was almost stopped by Duncan, who battled her to double hill before giving way and settling for the two-way tie for 5th place. Lee, in the meantime, defeated Garland 7-5 to join Bishoff in the quarterfinals.
 
Bishoff then chalked up three straight 7-2 wins; against Lee in the quarterfinals, Sanders in the semifinals and Kraber in the opening set of the true double elimination finals. Bishoff punctuated her run with a shutout over Kraber in the second set of the finals to claim the tour’s season finale title.
 
In what was described as a “battle to the (tour) finish line,” Kim Pierce was announced as the 2019 Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour Champion. Kelly Jones was identified as the tour’s Most Improved Player, while Calaia Jackson picked up the Best Sportsmanship Award; all were awarded trophies for the accomplishment. Pierce and Jones received free entries for 2020. Jackson will receive one free entry. Jennifer Kraber received a $50 scratch-off ticket at the tour’s player with the most break-and-runs. Jackson was identified as the competitor with the season’s most 9-on-the-breaks.
 
Tour representatives thanked Mindy and Craig Cohen and their Legends staff, as well as title sponsor Jerry Olivier Custom Cues and tour affiliates Mz Tam and Strokin’ Billiards.

Kraber records her first 2019 victory, going undefeated on Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour

Jennifer Kraber

It was her first (recorded) victory on the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour since its debut in March of last year, when she went undefeated to claim the inaugural tour title. On the weekend of October 19-20, Jennifer Kraber joined 21 competitors for the 6th stop on the 2019 tour and went undefeated through the field, downing Michelle Cortez twice to claim the event title. The $2,000-added event was hosted by Fast Eddie’s Billiards in Embassy Oaks, TX.
 
Following an opening round bye, Kraber chalked up wins over Michelle Yim 7-4 and Angie Payne 7-2 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Kelly Jones. Cortez, in the meantime, after her opening round bye, got by Ellen Robinson and Teresa Garland, both 7-5, to draw Rachel Hurst in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Kraber moved into the hot seat match with a 7-4 win over Jones and was joined by Cortez, who’d sent Hurst to the loss side 7-3. Kraber and Cortez battled to double hill in their struggle for the hot seat before Kraber prevailed and Cortez moved over to the semifinals.
 
Jones and Hurst arrived on the loss side of the bracket and immediately picked up their second straight loss; Jones, falling 7-5 to Kim Pierce, who’d defeated Gail Roles 7-1 and Michelle Yim 7-3 to reach her and Hurst, defeated by Ellen Robinson, who’d eliminated Angie Payne 7-4 and Tam Trinh 7-2.
 
Robinson won the quarterfinal match that followed 7-3, but had her six-match, loss-side winning streak ended by Cortez 7-4 in the semifinals. By the same score, Cortez had her single-match, loss-side winning streak ended by Kraber in the finals, who claimed the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Fast Eddie’s as well as title sponsor Jerry Olivier Custom Cues and MZTam.com. The next stop on the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour (#7), scheduled for the weekend of November 16-17, will be the tour’s Season Finale, hosted by Legends Billiards in League City, TX. 

Jones goes undefeated second straight time to take Stop #4 on the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour

(l to r): Kim Pierce, Kelly Jones & Tara Williams

Shades of Yogi Berra and his musing about ‘Déjà vu all over again.’ On the weekend of June 8-9 at JR Pockets Sports Bar and Grill in Denton, TX, Kelly Jones and Kim Pierce faced each other twice to claim an event title (Stop #4) on the Jerry Olivier Custom Cues Ladies Tour, just as they had on the weekend of April 13-14 (Stop #3) at the Diamond Sports Bar and Grill in Port Arthur, TX. With the same result – Kelly Jones claiming the title, Kim Pierce finishing as runner-up. At this most recent event, however, their first meeting came in the hot seat match (it was in a winners’ side semifinal back in April), while for the second straight time on the tour, they were the event finalists. The $2,000-added event drew 48 entrants to JR Pockets.
 
Jones’ path to the hot seat match was almost derailed at the outset. She was awarded an opening round bye before facing Michelle Cortez in the second round. Cortez battled her to double hill before giving way. Jones advanced to defeat Rachel Hurst and Belinda Lee, to face Angie Payne in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Pierce, in the meantime, without an opening round bye, defeated Ellen Robinson, Glynda Fuller, Tam Trinh, and Orietta Strickland to draw Ashley Nandrasy in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Jones got into the hot seat match with a 7-2 win over Payne and was joined by Pierce, who’d survived a double hill match against Nandrasy. Jones claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited for the second straight time on the tour for the return of Pierce.
 
On the loss side, Payne picked up Tara Williams, who’d been defeated by Belinda Lee in the third winners’ side round and defeated Stacie Putnam 7-2, Rachel Hurst 7-4, picked up a forfeit win from Ricki Lee Casper and downed Kim Sanders 7-5. Nandrasy drew Aryana Lynch, who’d been sent to the loss side by Payne in a winners’ side quarterfinal and downed Michelle Yim 7-3 and Ellen Robinson 7-4 to reach Nandrasy.
 
Nandrasy advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-4 victory over Lynch and was joined by Williams, who’d eliminated Payne 7-2. Williams made it six in a row on the loss side with a 7-2 victory over Nandrasy in those quarterfinals.
 
Pierce stopped Williams’ loss-side run with a 7-4 victory in the semifinals for a second shot (a second time) at Jones in the hot seat. Second verse, same as the first, as they say. Jones took the semifinal match 7-4 to claim her second Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour title.
 
A Best of the Rest event with 11 entrants saw Rachel Hurst take the top prize, with Nicole McDaniel in 2nd place. McDaniel was in the hot seat, but left to get home to her family. Corina Campbell finished 3rd and Melissa Smith came in 4th.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at JR Pockets, as well as title sponsor Jerry Olivier Custom Cues, MzTam.com and a “huge shout out” to Rackem TV for providing a live stream. The next stop (#5) on the Jerry Olivier Custom Cues Ladies Tour, scheduled for the weekend of September 14-15, will be hosted by Slick Willie’s Family Pool Hall in Austin, TX.

Sanders wins battle of the ‘Kims,’ goes undefeated to claim Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour stop #2

(l to r): Kim Sanders, Kim Pierce, Jennifer Kraber & Alicia Stanley

Fresh from their battles at the NAPT Div. II Championships in Phoenix, AZ last month (Feb. 21-24), Kims Sanders and Pierce signed on to stop #2 of the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour (JOLT). Pierce was runner-up to Bethany Sykes in the NAPT event and Sanders finished in the tie for 17th. They met twice on the recent JOLT event, and Sanders won both times to claim the title. The $2,000-added event drew 42 entrants to Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX.
 
They met first in a winners’ side semifinal, while Alicia Stanley and Audrey Araceli squared off in the other one. Sanders sent Pierce to the loss side 7-2 and in the hot seat match, faced Stanley, who’d sent Araceli over 7-1. Sanders claimed the hot seat in a double hill fight and waited on what turned out to be the return of Pierce.
 
On the loss side, Pierce picked up Angie Payne, who’d defeated Nicole McDaniel, double hill, and Michelle Cortez 7-5 to reach her. Araceli drew Jennifer Kraber, who’d eliminated Natalie Mans 7-6 and defeated Belinda Lee 7-2.
 
Pierce and Payne locked up in a double hill fight, eventually won by Pierce. She was joined in the quarterfinals by Kraber, who’d eliminated Araceli 7-3.
 
Pierce took the quarterfinal match 7-2 over Kraber, thereby spoiling a potential re-match nearly nine years in the making. In November 2010, Kraber (who won the inaugural JOLT event last March) and Kim Sanders battled in the finals of a stop on the Lone Star Billiards Tour, which became Sanders’ first and as far as we know, only victory on a regional tour (it should be noted that ‘as far as we know’ is not a definitive statement; our records are of events about which we have received information over the years. There are regrettably gaps in that information, but we do know they met at that event and Sanders did secure that event title).
 
Pierce moved on and secured her own rematch against Sanders with a 7-4 victory over Stanley in the semifinals. It was a true double elimination final, but Sanders kept it simple, winning the first and only set she needed 7-2 to claim what, according to our records, is only her second event title. The victory also qualified Sanders for an upcoming NAPT Div. II event in Sacramento, CA this coming June.
 
The Tour’s directing committee thanked the ownership and staff at Skinny Bob’s for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Jerry Olivier Custom Cues and MZTam.com. The next stop on the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour (#3), scheduled for the weekend of April 13-14, will be a $2,000-added event, hosted by Diamonds Sports Bar in Port Arthur, TX. 

Sykes from the JPNEWT wins first major at NAPT Division II Championships in Phoenix

Bethany Sykes (photo courtesy of NAPT – Playnapt.com)

Prior to her start and victory at the $5,000-added North American Pool Tour’s 3rd Annual Division II Championships, held from February 21-24 at Bullshooters in Phoenix, AZ, Bethany Sykes had only one major victory on her brief, two-year, four-event, cash payout resume; two of those payouts were earned on the J. Pechauer Northeast Womens’ Tour (JPNEWT) and two, including the only victory, came on the Action Pool Tour (APT), where, this past November, she won the Virginia State Ladies 8-Ball Championships. It should be noted that the Ladies’ VA State 8-Ball event featured a field of only five entrants, although as they say, a win is a win is a win. For Sykes, though, the NAPT Div. II Championships were her “first big tournament” and the win was like gravy on a main meal of just being thrilled to be there and the four-day joy of participation.
 
“It was an incredible feeling,” she said of her first impressions, “just to be there with that many women in the room (64 entrants).”
 
“It was an awesome experience,” she went on to say, noting that it was her first time playing in a round robin event, and the first time she’d ever had to deal with a shot clock. “I found that the 30 seconds gave me no time for indecision about what could go wrong. There was no thinking about anything but the shot.”
 
As her resume indicates, she’s only been playing the sport competitively for the past couple of years, although she says she’s been in love with the game since she was about nine years old. She got her first cue when she was 16 and now, at 31, she’s crossed a big threshold and won her first major tournament. Her appearances on the JPNEWT and APT over the last year or two helped her to identify and improve some of the basics to which she had not been exposed previously.
 
“I never knew where to put my feet,” she said of her early attempts to develop a stance. “I got a lesson from Karen Corr about five months ago, and she told me where to put my feet.”
 
With her feet sorted out, Sykes joined 63 other women from seven regional ladies pool tours at these Division II Championships; six from the United States and four women from a ladies tour out of Quebec. The most heavily represented tour among the seven was the Texas-based Jerry Olivier Pool Tour (JO), with 14 entrants, about 22% of the field. The Northwest Women’s Pool Association (NWPA) was next with 12, followed by the ‘hometown’ Arizona Women’s Billiards Tour (AWBT), which had 11. The West Coast Women’s Tour (WCWT) sent 9. The JPNEWT contributed 8 (including Sykes), the North Central Pool Tour (NCPT) checked in with 6, while  four women represented the ‘Circuit de Billard Feminine du Quebec.’
 
They broke up into eight round robin flights of eight players each, beginning on Thursday, February 21. Sykes, in Group Two, representing the JPNEWT, was paired with a primarily West Coast field; Cassie Francois and Elaine Eberly from the NWPA, Ginger Bowen from the WCWT, Jaye Succo and Leandra Gaff from the AWBT, Tam Trinh from the JO and Marilou Therrien from the Canadian league.
 
Sykes opened her campaign at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday morning with a 5-2 win over Francois. In round two, she got by Eberly 4-2 and then, in the final match of the opening day, she survived a double hill fight (4-3) against Trinh, which would prove to be highly significant later. As measured by total games won, she was the ‘flight’ leader at the end of that first day, with 13 games won. Gaff, Trinh and Therrien were second with 12 each.
 
Day two didn’t start out as well. Succo defeated her 5-2. Though Gaff and Therrien had been defeated, as well in the fourth round, Trinh downed Bowen 5-2, putting her out in front (by game points) 17-15.
 
“In that morning match (on the second day),” said Sykes, “(Succo) came out on fire. And from being ahead by one, I was all of a sudden behind by two games.”
 
Sykes survived a double hill (4-3) battle against Therrien in round 5, as Trinh lengthened her game lead by one more, with a 5-2 defeat of Eberly. With the game score between them now at 22-19, in favor of Trinh, they both chalked up 5-2 wins; Sykes over Bowen and Trinh over Succo. The game score between Sykes and Trinh was now at 27-24, with a single match to play.
 
Since the top four in each flight would advance to a 32-player, double elimination bracket, Sykes’ advancement at that point, short of being shut out or winning only a single game in the final match, was pretty much assured. Sykes sealed the deal with a 6-1 victory over Gaff that left her with 30 total wins. When Trinh fell to Francois 5-2 in that final round, she ended up with 29 total wins, allowing Sykes, by a single win (reflected in their earlier match), to enter the double elimination phase as the winner of her individual flight.
 
Heather Cortez, from the AWBT, with 37 total wins in her round robin flight was the top winner in her flight as well as the overall winner of the round robin phase of the event. Other top winners from the individual round robin flights were Michelle Cortez, from the Jerry Olivier Tour, in second place overall with 36 total wins. Susan Williams, with 35, from the AWBT was third. Suzanne Smith, from the NWPA, was fourth with 34, Natalie Chabot (from Canada) and Sykes’ eventual opponent in the hot seat and finals, Kim Pierce from the JO, were tied for fifth with 33 wins each. Yang Liu from the West Coast Women’s Tour was sixth with 31 total wins. Though she’d enter the double elimination phase of the event as the winner of her flight, Sykes was last among the individual flight winners advancing to the final two days of the event. Advancement to the double elimination rounds guaranteed all 32 participants at least of the share of the total $11,400 prize package.
 
“The Round Robin was so scary,” she said. “Every single game mattered. I grew from the experience, though. That Round Robin hardened me.”
 
Seven down, seven to go.
 
Over the next two days, Sykes played seven more matches; four on the winners’ side, one on the loss side, and two in the double elimination final. None were against the opponents she’d faced in her own round robin flight, one was against the overall winner of the round robin phase of the event (Heather Cortez) and three were against Pierce.
 
To get into their first match together, Sykes and Pierce would eventually, in the two winners’ side semifinals, have to get by two AWBT opponents. Sykes opened her winners’ side campaign on Saturday morning, February 23, against Gigi Callejas from the West Coast Women’s Tour, downing her 7-3. She followed that with victories over Jennifer Kraber (JO) 7-3 and then, defeated the overall round robin winner, AWBT’s Heather Cortez 7-4, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against a formidably more experienced opponent, another AWBT entrant, Bernie Store. Pierce, in the meantime, had defeated Nicole Donisi from the NWPA 7-3, both Janna Nelson (7-5) and Khanh Ngo (7-3) from the West Coast Women’s Tour and arrived at her winners’ side semifinal match against yet another AWBT entrant, Susan Williams.
 
Sykes and Pierce got into the hot seat match with identical 7-5 wins over Store and Williams. In their first of three, Pierce claimed the hot seat in a double hill match.
 
“I got on the hill and things just fell apart,” said Sykes of that hot seat match, “and I couldn’t get it back together.”
 
On the loss side, Store picked up Ngo, who, following her defeat at the hands of Pierce, had defeated Stephanie Hefner 7-2, and survived a double hill match against Michelle Cortez. Williams drew Heather Cortez, who, following her defeat at the hands of Sykes, had shut out Kelly Jones and eliminated Tam Trinh 7-5.
 
Heather Cortez and Williams locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Cortez to the quarterfinals. She was joined by Ngo, who’d defeated Store 7-4. Cortez and Ngo had faced each other on the opening day of the round robin matches, with Cortez winning that battle 5-2. This time, in the quarterfinals, it was Ngo who came out on top, winning it 7-5.
 
Sykes, though, having so unexpectedly, but joyfully arrived at this spot in her “first big tournament” was in no mood to let it go. She downed Ngo 7-2 in those semifinals and turned for a second and, necessary in a double elimination format, third shot at Pierce in the hot seat. They locked up in their second straight double hill battle in the opening set, but this time, it was Sykes coming out of it with the win. She completed her 12-2 run with a decisive 7-2 win over Pierce in the second set.
 
“People tell me I have no sense of tension,” said Sykes. “I always feel as though I’m in the right place at the right time. That was what made the whole thing exciting.”
 
“I went out there to get into the top four,” she added. “That was my goal as soon as I read about the tour. This was my first opportunity to get to that level and I spent the week before, imagining what it would be like; thinking of how I’d be telling my Dad about it afterwards.”
 
Exactly one week later, on the first weekend in March, Sykes rejoined her JPNEWT comrades, competing on the tour’s season opener at Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD. In a field of 22, Sykes had the misfortune of running into tour director Linda Shea, who defeated her in the opening round. She’d win two on the loss side before finishing in the tie for 9th place when she was defeated by Sharon O’Hanlon.
 
And so it goes, in the world of the emerging amateur into the world of the best in pool. Up one day, down the next. She remains somewhat in awe of her “first big tournament” win and is looking ahead at better things to come. She expects, looking ahead to competing at the Super Billiards Expo’s Women’s Pro 9-Ball event, her first shot at the Pro level, to continue improving. She is also keenly aware that pool careers, like the tournaments along the way, can be a relentless series of hills and valleys.
 
“My goal,” she said, “is to make the gaps between them smaller and smaller.”
 
“I expect to be playing with the best of them,” she said of her hopes for the next five years. “I have no aspirations of anything in particular, just to be playing at that level.”