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BJ Ussery goes undefeated to win Invasion of the Triangle event in Raleigh, NC

Mike Davis, TD Xzavia Boykin and BJ Ussery

The headlined ‘Triangle’ actually refers to a trio of cities (Raleigh, Durham and the town of Chapel Hill) in the Piedmont area of North Carolina, encompassing three major research universities (North Carolina State, Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Sometimes referred to as the Research Triangle, the area played host to a $2,500-added event, held under the auspices of Player Madness Tournaments, that led 53 competitors to ‘invade’ Brass Tap & Billiards in Raleigh, NC this past weekend (Jan. 1-2).

BJ Ussery led the ‘invasion’ with an undefeated run through that field of 53, downing multiple North-Carolina-state champion, Mike Davis, Jr., twice; hot seat and finals. It also featured the JIC’s 18 & Under boys’ champion, Landon Hollingsworth (who finished third) and Venezuela’s Jesus Atencio, who chalked up 2021 wins on the Lone Star Billiards Tour, the Ronny Park Memorial and the New City (NY) Heritage Super Tournament. Atencio opened his 2022 campaign in the Triangle with a 5th place finish, launched when Hollingsworth defeated him in the second winners’ side round and concluded after four wins on the loss side.  

Ussery and Davis advanced through the winners’ side to meet up with (respectively), Barry Mashburn and Hollingsworth in the winners’ side semifinals. Ussery dispatched Mashburn to the loss side 8-2, as Davis downed Hollingsworth (in their first of two meetings) 8-5. Ussery and Davis battled to double hill in their first of two, but it was Ussery who claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Mashburn picked up Atencio, who was three matches into his loss-side journey, which had recently eliminated Joey Tate (runner-up to Hollingsworth in the JIC’s 18 and Under Boys championship) 6-1 and Graham Swinson 6-4. Hollingsworth drew Mark Bolton, who’d followed his winners’ side quarterfinal defeat versus Mashburn with shutout over Jeffrey Underwood and a 6-2 win over Dylan Letchworth.

Mashburn downed Atencio 6-2, as Hollingsworth was shutting out Bolton. Hollingsworth and Mashburn battled to double hill in the quarterfinals that followed, before Hollingsworth prevailed for a second shot at Davis in the semifinals.

Though Hollingsworth took an early lead in the rematch, Davis fought back to win it, earning himself a second shot versus Ussery, waiting for him in the hot seat. In the extended race-to-11 finals, Davis never quite got his ‘game’ going, falling to Ussery a second time, 11-4.

Tour director Xzavia (X-Man) Boykin thanked the ownership and staff at Brass Tap & Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsor Classic Home Billiards. Further information about future Player Madness events can be found on the Player Madness Billiards Tournaments Facebook page.

Davis and Taylor win Open/Ladies events at VA State 8-Ball Championships

Brother/sister Wolford junior duo are runners-up in the two events

It had been nine months since the Action Pool Tour had held a 2020 stop. In February, at Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA, BJ Ussery downed Reymart Lim (winner of the season opener) to claim the VA State 10-Ball Championship title, while Liz Taylor snatched the title from Janet Atwell, who’d defeated her in the finals of the event in 2019. The pandemic led to the cancellation of the next eight stops on the tour and just hours ahead of new pandemic guidelines, which seemed likely to prohibit similar gatherings anytime soon, the APT returned to Diamond Billiards this past weekend (Nov. 14-15), where the 2020 VA State 8-Ball Championships were held. The pandemic restrictions, announced the day before the event, were to take effect at midnight on Sunday.

Mike Davis, as he’d done in the earlier 10-Ball event, came from the loss side in the Open event of the 2020 VA State 8-Ball Championships to down the competitor who’d sent him there, junior player/young gun Shane Wolford (21). Liz Taylor successfully defended the title she’d won last October, and defeated Shane Wolford’s younger sister, Savanna Wolford twice – hot seat and finals to claim the Ladies title. The Open drew 29 entrants and the Ladies drew a very short field of eight entrants to Diamond Billiards.

Savanna Wolford and Liz Taylor (Tim McClure)

Ladies first . . .

Taylor downed four opponents in five matches to claim the Ladies title. She won a play-in preliminary match over Soo Emmett, before downing Jordyn Worley and advancing to a winners’ side semifinal against Reene Driskill. Savanna Wolford, in the meantime, got by Lisa White to draw Sheila Layne in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Taylor advanced to the hot seat match with a shutout over Driskill, bringing her aggregate score going into the hot seat match to 18-4. Wolford downed Layne 6-2 to join her.

Taylor took the first of their two matches 6-1 and waited in the hot seat for Wolford to return.

On the loss side, Driskill drew Kelly Wyatt, who’d defeated Soo Emmett 5-3 to reach her. Layne picked up Jordyn Worley, who’d eliminated Dorothy Strater 5-1.

Driskill advanced to the quarterfinals with a shutout over Wyatt. Worley defeated Layne 5-2 to join her. Driskill took another step and downed Worley 5-3, before being defeated by Wolford 5-2 in the semifinals.

A little bit of momentum helped Wolford chalk up two more racks in the finals than she’d done in the hot seat match, but it wasn’t enough as Taylor completed her defense of the 8-Ball title 7-3.

Mike Davis and Shane Wolford

Davis plays two junior players, wins two out of three matches against them to claim Open title

Though the 2020 field did not contain the 2019 VA State 8-Ball Champion, Chris Bruner, it did feature a number of competitors from that event and long-time veterans of the Action Pool Tour, including Shaun Wilkie, Eric Moore, Scott Roberts and of course, this year’s winner, Mike Davis. Conspicuous in their absence were such APT regulars as Reymart Lim, JT Ringgold, RJ Carmona and Steve Fleming (among others), who were part of the 37-entrant field last year.

Davis began what would prove to be his winning campaign with wins over Paul Shank 7-2, Kelly Farrar 7-3 and then ran into two straight junior players. The first, teenager Nathan Childress, battled him to double hill before he (Davis) prevailed and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against the second junior player (albeit, now turned 21), Shane Wolford. Meanwhile, it was Matt Clatterbuck advancing past the aforementioned Eric Moore, double hill and then, defeating Jesse Rice 7-3, and winning a second double hill fight versus BJ Ussery to draw Brian Bryant in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Clatterbuck sent Bryant to the loss side 7-4 and was joined in the hot seat match by Wolford, who downed Davis 7-2. Wolford claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Clatterbuck in what proved to be his last win of the event.

On the loss side, Bryant ran into the junior player, Nathan Childress, who’d followed his defeat at the hands of Davis with loss-side victories over Heath Thomas 6-1 and Scott Roberts 6-4. Davis drew BJ Ussery, who’d followed up his loss to Clatterbuck by eliminating Christopher Wilburn 6-3 and Shaun Wilkie 6-4.

Davis and Ussery fought a somewhat predictable double hill fight for advancement to the quarterfinals, eventually won by Davis. Childress had a much easier time against Brian Bryant, allowing him only a single rack, and advancing to a quarterfinal re-match against Davis.

Davis won the re-match 6-2 and then, by the same score, spoiled Clatterbuck’s semifinal bid for a second shot at Wolford in the hot seat. Davis moved on and claimed the event title with an 8-4 victory in the finals.

Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards, as well as event sponsor Haselman & Hunt, D.D.S., PC Family Dentistry. The Action Pool Tour’s December year-end event, scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 12-13 at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA, is still on that schedule. However, due to the public gathering restrictions that went into effect a matter of hours after this recent tour stop ended, Wylie and Baker will be working with the folks at Q Master Billiards to assure that the event will be compliant and will update the status of the event as soon as the information is available.

Davis, Jr. comes from loss side & behind in finals to win Sunshine State Pro Am One Pocket

Montas wins concurrently-run, 600-and-under Fargo Rate 9-ball event 

(l to r): Mike Davis, Mike Delawder, Anthony Meglino & Pedro Botta

Fresh off his fourth victory at the 7th Annual NC State Open 9-Ball Championships (March 1-2) in Hickory, NC, Mike Davis, Jr. traveled about 555 miles southwest, to sign on to the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour’s second 2020 stop; the $500-added One Pocket part of it, that drew 16 entrants to Racks Billiards in Sanford, FL. Sent to the loss side in a winners’ side semifinal, Davis returned to meet the man who’d sent him over (Mike Delawder) and defeat him in an exciting, double hill final match.

In a concurrently-run, $1,000-added ($500 from Racks Billiards & $500 from Predator Cues) event for Fargo Rates of 600 and below that drew 56 entrants, Manuel Montas went undefeated to claim that title.

It was a four-match march to the One Pocket hot seat for Delawder and a seven-match march to the title for Davis. Delawder got by Justin Gilsinan and Pedro Botta, before sending Davis to the loss side 3-1 in a winners’ side semifinal. Anthony Meglino, in the meantime, downed George Saunders and Adam Wheeler to face Kyle Bova in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Delawder beat Davis 3-1 and in the hot seat match, faced Meglino, who’d shut Bova out. Delawder claimed the hot seat by shutout and waited for Davis to finish his three-match, loss-side trip.

Davis began his trip back to the finals with a shutout over James Sandaler, who’d eliminated Bobby Garza and Adam Wheeler to reach him. Bova was defeated double hill by Pedro Botta, who’d previously eliminated George Saunders and Nathan Rose.

Davis dropped Botta into 4th place with a 3-1 quarterfinal victory and got his second shot at Delawder, following a shutout over Meglino in the semifinals.

The race was extended to 4 in the finals and early on, things weren’t looking to good for Davis, Jr. Delawder reached the hill at 3-0 before Davis was able to respond, but when he did, he came back strong, winning four in a row to claim game, set and match.

Montas and Kukadia split top prizes, with undefeated Montas claiming 9-ball title 

Ameet Kukadia, Manuel Montas and Cody Ingle

With a Fargo Rate differential of two points, Manuel Montas (596) and Ameet Kukadia (598) played against each other once in a straight-up race to 7 in the 9-ball tournament. Montas won that single matchup and as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat claimed the event title, when he and Kukudia agreed to a split of the top two prizes.

Montas’ path to the hot seat went through Muhammand Ali, Jeffrey McDonald, Francisco Gika and Brent Mireles to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus Guy Skehan Jackson; a 596 (Montas)/531 (Jackson) matchup. Three of the four matches that Kukudia (598) played to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Cody Ingle (546) went double hill and the fourth one was an ‘almost.’ He won his second round match against Lenny Reid 7-5, but he had to play a 13th deciding match against Evan Huynh, Katie Bowse and Kristian Dimitrov to reach Ingle.

Montas and Jackson battled to double hill before Montas advanced to the hot seat match. Kukadia gave up only a single rack to Ingle and joined Montas in what would prove to be the title match, battling for the hot seat. Montas won it 7-3.

On the loss side, Jackson picked up Stan Delonjay, who was working on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had included recent wins over Kristian Dimitrov 5-1 and Vernet Lasrado 5-3. Ingle drew Evan Huynh, who, after his double hill defeat at the hands of Kukadia, was working on a six-match, loss-side streak that was also about to end and had recently included victories over Larry English 5-2 and Brent Mireles 5-1.

Jackson and Ingle ended the loss-side streaks of their respective opponents by the same 5-2 score; Jackson over Delonjay and Ingle over Huynh. Jackson and Ingle then battled to double hill in the quarterfinals. Ingle prevailed and had his modest, loss-side streak ended by Kukadia 5-2 in the semifinals.

The decision to split the cash involved with the top two prizes was negotiated and reached. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Montas became the official winner.

Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked the ownership and staff at Racks Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Diamond Products, Kamui, Central Florida USA Pool League, Stitch it To Me Embroidery, AZBilliards, and the live streaming of the events by Xtreme Pool. The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for April 25-26, will be hosted by Brewlands in Tampa, FL.

Davis comes from the loss side, and returns to NC State Open 9-Ball winners’ circle

Mike Davis, Jr.

Mike Davis, Jr. won the first three NC State Open 9-Ball championships from 2014 to 2016. After relinquishing the title for three years, to (in order) Shannon Fitch (‘17), Reymart Lim (’18) and Keith Bennett (’19), Davis returned to compete in the 7th Annual NC State Open 9-Ball tournament and in spite of having his path to victory re-routed through the loss side of the event’s bracket, returned to meet and defeat Justin Martin in the finals and reclaim the title. The $500-added event drew 43 entrants to Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC.

Davis advanced through the field to draw Justin Martin in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Barry Mashburn faced Brian Capps in the other one. Martin sent Davis to the loss side 7-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Mashburn, who’d defeated Capps 7-5. Martin claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Mashburn and waited on Davis’ return.

On the loss side, in the first money rounds, Davis picked up Josh Heeter, who’d shut out Kirk Overcash and eliminated Jeff Abernathy 7-3 to reach him. Capps drew Mackie Lowery, who’d eliminated Hank Powell, double hill, and Edwin Delacueva 7-3.

Capps sent Mackie Lowery home with some cash in a 7-5 win. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Davis, who’d survived a double hill battle versus Heeter. Davis then denied Capps a second shot at Mashburn by downing Capps in those quarterfinals 7-2.

Davis moved on to deny Mashburn a second shot at Martin with a 7-3 win in the semifinals. In the finals that followed, Davis was looking to regain a title he’d last held in 2016. His opponent, Justin Martin, was looking to break a three-year streak of being the NC State Open 9-Ball tournament’s runner-up.

Davis won his fourth NC State Open 9-Ball title and handEd Martin his 4th runner-up finish. Davis completed his run with a 9-4 win in the finals.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Randolph Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for March 7-8, will be a $500-added event ($1,000-added with 64+ entrants), hosted by Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.

Ussery comes from the loss side to win win VA State 10-Ball Championships

(l to r): Reymart Lim, TD Tiger Baker & BJ Ussery

Taylor becomes only 4th woman since 2013 to win VA State Women’s 10-Ball title
 
It’s a little early to start making predictions or get too much of a ‘read’ on a tour’s point standings (at least those that run on a calendar year schedule), but the Action Pool Tour’s second stop provided some intriguing information. It wasn’t so much about who’s in the top spots at this point, but who, among last year’s top players are apparently starting out a little slow. Stop #2 on the Action Pool Tour – the 2020 VA State 10-Ball Open Championships – drew 73 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA on the weekend of February 15-16. Six of last year’s top 10 players in the tour’s final standings competed in this event. Two finished out of the money, including the event’s defending champion, RJ Carmona. Three, including last year’s tour champion, Chris Bruner, finished in the first money round. Reymart Lim, who finished in 4th place overall last year and won this year’s season opener was this event’s runner-up. In his first appearance on the tour in seven years, BJ Ussery came from the loss side to earn a finals rematch against Lim, which he won to claim the event title.
 
Meanwhile, the 2020 VA State Women’s 10-Ball Championships drew 16 women to the same location. As they did last year, Liz Taylor and Janet Atwell battled twice to claim this title. The results of those two battles were a reverse of last year’s; Atwell, winning the first and Taylor, winning the final (more on this a bit later).
 
Ussery’s appearance on the Action Pool Tour is a reflection of his desire to play generally stronger opponents than those he tends to face on regional handicapped tours. The last time he’d appeared on the APT, he’d finished 7th in the inaugural (2013) VA State 10-Ball Championships.
 
“I’m hoping to play in more of these (APT events) this year,” said Ussery. “I want to play against better players and compete in the some of the bigger events, like the US Open or the Super Billiards Expo.”
 
Any time at table, ultimately, is good time at table, but playing in a handicap system, no matter which one it is, carries a downside. According to Ussery, it’s less about the game and more about human nature.
 
“I get so used to giving up a handicap,” Ussery explained, “that when I get into a non-handicap game, it’s hard for me to bear down.”
 
His opening matches tended to demonstrate this. Ussery opened with an 8-6 win over Reggie Jackson, had a strong 8-1 victory over Jonathan Syphanthavong, and then gave up five against Shorty Davis. He had to win a deciding, 15th game in his fourth match, against Justin Martin. Nathan Childress chalked up six against him next, but Ussery prevailed and advanced to his first meeting against Reymart Lim, in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Lim had downed Barry Mashburn, RJ Carmona, Larry Kressel and shut out Greg Sabins (last year’s #12 in the point standings) to reach Ussery. Shane Wolford and Eric Moore (the APT’s 2016 Tour Champion) squared off in the other one.
 
By identical 8-1 scores, Lim and Wolford advanced to the hot seat match over Ussery and Moore. Lim and Wolford then locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Wolford to the semifinals and left Lim in the hot seat.
 
Ussery opened up on the loss side against Mike Davis, who was working on a five-match winning streak that was about to end and had included recent wins over Kelly Farrar 7-3 and Justin Martin 7-2. Moore picked up Scott Roberts, who’d been shut out by Greg Sabins in the second round and was working on his own seven-match, loss-side streak that included a successful 7-5 rematch against Sabins and a 7-5 victory over Nathan Childress, which led to Moore.
 
Ussery ended Davis’ streak 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Roberts, who’d defeated Moore 7-4. Ussery ended Roberts’ streak and Wolford’s short visit to the loss side in the semifinals, both 7-5.
 
Going into the final match, Ussery was mindful not only of the earlier matchup, in which Lim had allowed him only a single rack, but previous matchups, as well. They’d faced each other on a number of occasions over the years, and playing against him, Ussery knew what the difference was.
 
“I knew he was a good player when we’d met before,” said Ussery, “but I knew then, that part of the reason he was beating me was that he’d been putting in the time.”
 
“These days,” Ussery added, “I’m as prepared as anybody.”
 
Ussery spoiled Lim’s bid for a second straight win on the APT. He defeated him 10-8 to claim his first APT title.
 
Taylor spoils Atwell’s bid for a third straight, sixth overall VA State 10-Ball Woman’s title.
 
[photo id=51605|align=right]Since 2013, there have been four women who’ve claimed the VA State Women’s 10-Ball title. Tracie Majors won it in 2014 and Meredith Lynch captured the title in 2017. Janet Atwell has claimed the title five times; once in its inaugural year (2013) and then, back-to-back, twice (’15,’16, ’18, ’19). Last year, Atwell was defeated by Liz Taylor, double hill, in the hot seat match and came back to down Taylor 8-2 in the finals to claim her second straight and fifth overall title.  This year, at the event that drew 16 entrants (one more than last year), they reversed things. Taylor was defeated in the hot seat match and came back to defeat Atwell in the finals and claim the 2020 women’s title.
 
It took them each three matches to meet for the first time in the hot seat match. Atwell got by Nicole King, Tina Nash and, in a winners’ side semifinal, shut out Hayleigh Marion. Taylor defeated Soo Emmett, Christy Norris and, in her winners’ side semifinal, survived a double hill match against Lisa Cossette. Atwell claimed the hot seat 6-1.
 
Taylor’s return faced a stiff challenge from Deeqa Nur, who’d been defeated in the opening round of play by Cheryl Sporleder and came back through five opponents to draw Taylor in the semifinals. Nur battled to double hill against two of those opponents. She picked up Hayleigh Marion, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal and defeated her, just ahead of downing Lisa Cossette in a double hill quarterfinal. Taylor spoiled the strong, loss-side bid 5-3 in the semifinals.
 
And so it was, that for the second year in a row, Liz Taylor and Janet Atwell battled for the State of Virginia’s Women’s 10-Ball title. In a reversal of fortunes, Taylor gave up only one rack to Atwell in claiming the event title 8-1.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Full Stroke Billiards Apparel and Haselman & Hunt, D.D.S., P.C. Family Dentistry. The next stop on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for March 28-29, will be a Double Points event – The East Coast Landscaping Bar Box Bash – to be hosted by Peninsula Billiards in Newport News, VA.

Bruner goes undefeated to win Action Pool Tour season finale and finish as Tour Champion

Chris Bruner 2019 Action Pool Tour Champion

Chris Bruner competed in all but one of the 12 Action Pool Tour stops in 2019. He won four of them – June, July, October (VA State 8-Ball Championship) and the tour’s season finale this past weekend (December 7-8). He was runner-up in two others; to Mike Davis in May and Kristina Tkach in August. He tripled the number of appearances he made on the tour this year, which, factored into tournament results as the APT’s season concluded, gave Bruner the 2019 Tour Champion title. Last year’s champion, Steve Fleming competed in all but two of this year’s tour stops and finished as runner-up.
 
Bruner went undefeated through a field of 19 pre-qualified entrants, who signed on for the season finale – The Pineapple Morris Memorial Shootout on Saturday, December 7 at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA. Named after Craig “Pineapple” Morris, a fixture as a teacher at Q Master Billiards and doorman at the annual US Open 9-Ball Championships for many years, the event was limited to the Top 16 men and three women in the tour’s point standings. Thanks to primary tour sponsors Predator Cues, Aramith and Simonis, every player who competed was paid.
 
Fleming was on-hand as well, with the opportunity to defend his tour championship title there for the taking. Fleming was one of six entrants who played a preliminary round for entrance into the event’s official 16-player, double elimination bracket. He and Larry Kressel locked up in a double hill fight that advanced Kressel and sent Fleming to the loss side, where he lasted three rounds.
 
Bruner’s path to the winners’ circle climbed a straight-up ladder that went through #12 Greg Sabins and #8 Bill Duggan, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against #4 Reymart Lim. Scott Roberts (#6), working in a pressure cooker of his own making, won two straight double hill matches against David Hunt (#5) and Jimmy Byrd (#18) to draw his winners’ side semifinal opponent, none other than the aforementioned Larry Kressel (#11).
 
Roberts won his third straight double hill match, downing Kressel to earn a spot in the hot seat match. Bruner joined him with a double hill win over Lim. Roberts recorded his first double hill loss, as Bruner chalked up his second straight double hill win to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Kressel picked up #3 RJ Carmona, who’d lost to #7 Scott Haas in the event’s first full opening round and was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end. He’d recently eliminated Bill Duggan 9-6 and David Hunt 9-5. Lim picked up Haas, who’d been sent over by Kressel in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then defeated Greg Sabins 9-5 and Jimmy Bird, double hill.
 
The possible Carmona/Haas rematch didn’t happen, as Kressel moved into the quarterfinals 9-7 over Carmona. Haas downed Lim 9-3, but in those quarterfinals, fell to Kressel 9-2.
 
The Roberts/Kressel semifinal came within a game of being the 5th double hill match among the event’s final 13 matches. Roberts prevailed 9-7 for a second shot at Bruner in the hot seat.
 
Bruner got out in front and claimed the event title and title of tour champion with an 11-7 victory over Roberts.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Q Master Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Aramith Balls, Simonis Cloth. Viking Cues, Brown’s Mechanical LLC, Kamui, Diamond Billiard Products, Ozone Billiards, CSI, Grant Wylie Photography and George Hammerbacher, Advanced Pool Instructor.

Roberts downs Davis twice to claim NC State 10-Ball Open title

One of the more persistent regrets of the pool industry is the absence of detailed history.  Major League Baseball could probably tell you what Babe Ruth had for breakfast on the day he set the home run record. There is no Major League Pool, of course, and the varied entities which comprise the governing bodies of the sport couldn’t, for example, provide its fan base with a definitive answer as to how many times Johnny Archer and Tommy Kennedy have faced each other over the years, and which of the two has the greater number of victories in those head to head matches.
 
They had a chance to meet again this past weekend (November 23-24) at the North Carolina State 10-Ball Open, held under the auspices of the Q City 9-Ball Tour and event sponsor Beasley Custom Cues. It didn’t happen. There was a chance that they could have met in the hot seat match, and when that didn’t happen, a second chance developed moving into the event’s quarterfinals. That didn’t happen either.
 
According to Kennedy, although their most memorable two matchups occurred in the hot seat and finals of the 1992 US Open 9-Ball Championships, when Kennedy claimed the hot seat over Archer and then defeated him a second time in the finals to claim his first, and as it’s turned out, only US Open title. Both matches were broadcast on ESPN.
 
“I beat him 13-1 in the hot seat match,” Kennedy recalled of that event 27 years ago, “and 9-1 in the finals. I think he’s ahead in overall matches, though, but not by too, too much. Probably 60-40.”
 
That same absence of detailed history holds, as well, for the winner and runner-up of this year’s NC State 10-Ball Open. Josh Roberts went undefeated at the $2,000-added event ($500 from the room owner and $1,500 from Beasley Custom Cues) that drew 42 entrants to SpeakEazy Billiards in Sanford NC. Roberts had to get by Mike Davis twice – hot seat and finals – to claim the event title and chalk up the two most recent events in the lengthy, though not specifically detailed history of their meetups in any number of events over the years.
 
Those four were the winners’ side final four at this North Carolina State 10-Ball Open. Roberts advanced to meet Kennedy in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Davis advanced to pick up Archer in the other one. The possible hot seat match loomed, but Roberts sent Kennedy to the loss side 7-4, while Davis and Archer (another pair with a history) locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Archer over and allowed Davis to join Roberts in the hot seat match. Roberts claimed his second hot seat in as many weeks (he claimed it last week – Nov. 15-17 – at the NC State Open One Pocket Championships), downing Davis 7-4 this week and waiting on his return.
 
Over on the loss side, a number of potential winners of the event continued to lurk, including (among others) Tony Chohan, BJ Ussery, Jonathan (Hennessee from Tennessee) Pinegar and Barry Mashburn. Archer and Kennedy picked up two of them. Chohan downed Wayne Miller 6-1 and shut out Mashburn to meet up with Archer. Pinegar eliminated Michael Yingling and Ussery, both 6-3, to draw Kennedy (Ussery and Pinegar, being yet another matchup with some history).
 
The possible Archer/Kennedy matchup loomed yet again. Kennedy got off to a bad start and was down 5-1 to Pinegar, before he rallied to tie and then win it 6-5, doing his part. Chohan, though, eliminated Archer 6-2 and then dropped Kennedy 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
 
Davis put a stop to Chohan’s run 6-2 in the semifinals for a second shot at Roberts in the hot seat. According to tour director Herman Parker, in a single set, race-to-9, employing alternate break, Roberts “missed one ball, the entire set.” He gave up only a single game to Davis and claimed the NC State 10-Ball Open title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Speakeazy owners, Jimmy and Wendy Bullis, and their staff for hosting the event, as well as Beasley Custom Cues and its owner, Doug Beasley, for his ongoing support of the games. The next stop on the Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 1, will be a $500-added, 9-Ball Scotch Doubles event, to be hosted by Break ‘N Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.

“Jaybird” comes back from hot seat loss to down Roberts and claim NC State One Pocket crown

(l to r): Josh Roberts, TD Herman Parker, Speakeazy owner Jimmy Bullis & Josh Roberts

Jason “Jaybird” Brown and Josh Roberts have been battling at the game of One Pocket since, for sure, as far back as 2008, when they met in Lexington, SC at a Grady Matthews’ Legends of One Pocket event. “Jaybird” won and Roberts finished 4th. Roberts has been generally more active in One Pocket since then, cashing in (as far as we know) 27 events, winning six of them and placing 5th in one of them, playing one-handed; the Derby City Classic's One-Handed, One Pocket Mini in 2010. Our records indicate that Brown has cashed in 12 One Pocket events in that same time frame, though he’s won a slightly larger percentage; three out of that 12, including the 2008 win, one on the Lone Star Billiards Tour in 2011 and most recently, claiming the Super Billiards Expo’s 2015 One Pocket Player’s Championship, after defeating Corey Deuel twice, including in the finals.
 
So these two established ‘legends of One Pocket’ met again on the long weekend of November 15-17 to battle for the North Carolina State Open One Pocket title on the Q City 9-Ball Tour, sponsored by Beasley Custom Cues. Not surprisingly, they met twice – hot seat and finals – with Roberts winning the former and “Jaybird” winning the latter to claim the event title. The $2,000-added event ($500 from the room, $1,500 from Beasley Custom Cues) drew 30 entrants to Speakeazy Billiards in Sanford, NC, which, by the way, will host the coming weekend’s NC State 10-Ball Open (Nov. 23-24).
 
Roberts and Brown advanced to their respective winners’ side semifinal matches with Roberts facing Ron Frank and Brown squaring off against Hunter White. Roberts sent Frank over to the loss side 3-1. Brown joined him in the hot seat match after dispatching White, double hill. Roberts took the first of two against Brown 3-1 and sat in the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, two other strong contenders in the general One Pocket sweepstakes were still in business. One had defeated the other on the winners’ side and both were there when Frank and White joined them after the winners’ side semifinals. White picked up Tony Chohan, who’d sent Mike Davis to the loss side and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him to the semifinals and included recent wins over Derek Leonard and Redgie Cutler, both 3-1. Frank picked up Davis, who’d most recently chalked up two straight shutouts over Christian Stevens and Norris Brady.
 
By identical 3-1 scores, Chohan and Davis eliminated White and Frank and squared off for their quarterfinal rematch. A somewhat predictable, double hill battle ensued; one of only two in the tournament’s final 14 matches. Chohan prevailed in what proved to be his last win.
 
“Jaybird” defeated Chohan 3-1 in the semifinals that followed to earn his rematch against Roberts in the hot seat. What the table giveth, the table can also taketh away. With the intangible, though indisputable advantage of momentum (especially given the average length of One Pocket matches), the “Jaybird” defeated Chohan in the finals 4-2 to claim the NC State One Pocket Open title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Speakeazy owners, Jimmy and Wendy Bullis, and their staff for hosting the event, as well as Beasley Custom Cues and its owner, Doug Beasley, for his ongoing support of the games. As noted above, the Q City 9-Ball Tour will return to Speakeazy Billiards this coming weekend to host the $2,000-added NC State 10-Ball Open.

Bruner still on top of Action Pool Tour standings, claims VA State 8-Ball Championships

(l to r): Chris Bruner & RJ Carmona

Liz Taylor goes undefeated through Ladies field
 
Chris Bruner came into the October 12-13 VA State 8-Ball Championships as the Action Pool Tour’s top player. He went undefeated through a field of 37 at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA to claim the event title and maintain his position as #1 on the tour’s player standings list. Eight of the players on the tour’s Top Ten list competed in this year’s event, but so did, among others, Shaun Wilkie (#14) and last year’s runner-up, Mike Davis (#30). Defending champion, Warren Kiamco, did not compete this year. Bruner sent #2, Steve Fleming, to the loss side, and faced #3, RJ Carmona, twice to claim the title.
 
The Ladies event drew a short field of 13 and was won by Liz Taylor, who, along with Jacki Duggan, who finished in 4th place, are the only women among the tour’s Top 20 in player standings. Like Bruner, Taylor went undefeated through the field and had to face the same opponent (Cheryl Pritchard) in both the hot seat and finals.
 
Bruner’s seven-match march to the finish line went through Jose Vega-Hernandez, Travis Southard, Jamie Bess and Fleming to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Eric Moore, who would normally be among the tour’s top players, but was making here only his second appearance on the 2019 tour. Bruner arrived at the winners’ side semifinal, having given up only five total racks (two to Southard and three to Fleming).
 
Carmona got by Kenny Miller (#11), Jason Trigo (#17) and survived a double hill bout versus JT Ringgold (#21) to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Reymart Lim (#5). Three of the four competitors in the winners’ side semifinals had won previous stops on the 2019 tour; Bruner and Lim with two each and Carmona with one.
 
Moore chalked up more racks against Bruner than all of his previous opponents combined. They fought to double hill before Bruner prevailed and advanced to the hot seat match. He was joined by Carmona, who’d sent Lim west 7-3. In their first of two, Bruner claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Carmona.
 
On the loss side, Lim picked up Scott Haas, who’d been defeated by Eric Moore 7-5 in a winners’ side quarterfinal match and gone on to defeat Shaun Wilkie 6-4 and Steve Fleming 6-2. Moore drew Ringgold, who, following his double hill loss to Bruner in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had defeated Tony Montalvo 6-2 and Kenny Miller 6-1.
 
Ringgold downed Moore 6-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Lim, who’d defeated Haas 6-2. Lim took the quarterfinal match 6-3 over Ringgold.
 
In the semifinals that followed, Carmona gave up only a single rack to Lim and earned himself a second shot against Bruner. In their second meeting, the Bruner and Carmona battled to double hill before Bruner prevailed to deny Carmona his second 2019 tour victory and chalk up his own third win.
 
Taylor downs Pritchard twice to capture Ladies 8-Ball Title
 
Last year’s Ladies’ winner – Bethany Sykes – was ‘in the house’ for this event, though she was sent to the loss side 6-4 in the second round by the eventual winner, Liz Taylor. Sykes then won four on the loss side, before falling to the event’s runner-up, Cheryl Pritchard, in the semifinals.
 
It took Liz Taylor five matches to claim the title. She got by Maria Beckner 6-1 before sending the event’s defending champion, Bethany Sykes to the loss side 6-4. This set Taylor up in a winners’ side semifinal versus Kim Whitman. Awarded a preliminary round bye, Pritchard defeated Kelly Cox 6-3 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Lisa Uilani Vita.
 
Taylor and Whitman fought to double hill before Taylor prevailed 6-5 and sent Whitman west. Pritchard gave up only a single rack to Vita and joined Taylor in what would be their first of two, battling for the hot seat. Taylor took that first of two 6-3 and waited in the hot seat for Pritchard’s return.
 
On the loss side, Whitman drew Jacki Duggan, who’d lost an earlier battle to Vita and on the loss side, had eliminated Soo Emmett 5-1 and Maria Beckner 5-3. Vita picked up Sykes, who, following her defeat at the hands of Taylor, had defeated Kelly Wyatt 5-3 and Kim McKenna 5-1.
 
Duggan and Sykes advanced to the quarterfinals with 5-3 victories over Whitman and Vita. Sykes followed that with another 5-3 victory, over Duggan, in the quarterfinals.
 
Pritchard ended Sykes’ bid for a second year in the 8-Ball Championship finals with a 5-2 win in the semifinals. Taylor then ended Pritchard’s bid for the event title by shutting her out in the finals.
 
A Second Chance tournament drew 12 entrants and saw Steve Fleming come from the loss side to down hot seat occupant Justin Clark 6-1 in the finals. James Blackburn finished third, with Jimmy Bird in fourth place.
 
Tour directors Kim Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Q Master Billiards, as well as sponsors as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Viking Cues, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Balls, Brown’s Mechanical LLC, Kamui, Diamond Billiard Products, Ozone Billiards, CSI, Grant Wylie Photography and George Hammerbacher, Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for the weekend of November 16-17, will be hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.

Ussery dethrones defending champ Davis at 4th NC State 8-Ball Open

(l to r): Mike Davis & BJ Ussery

Mike Davis had won three straight North Carolina State 8-Ball Open titles and arrived in Hickory, NC on the weekend of September 14-15 to chalk up his fourth. His path to the event victory went off-course early as he was sent to the loss side in the event’s second round. He would win seven matches on the loss side, but in the end, it was BJ Ussery, completing an undefeated run, who would unseat him from his 8-Ball Open throne and wear the crown for the first time. The $500-added event drew 28 entrants to Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory.
 
Davis was defeated in the second round by Jason Evans, who followed him to the loss side later. In the meantime, Ussery and Shannon Fitch advanced to winners’ side semifinals versus Mike Bumgarner and Justin Martin, respectively.
 
Fitch and Martin locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Martin to the loss side. Ussery punctuated his advance to the hot seat match with a shutout over Bumgarner. He then downed Fitch 7-4 to claim the hot seat and wait for the event’s defending champion to finish his loss-side run.
 
After chalking up his first two loss-side wins, Davis eliminated Chuck Ritchie 6-4 and survived a double hill fight against Daniel Gambill to draw Martin in the first money round. Bumgarner picked up Jason Evans, who’d shut out Travis Worden and then, in spite of being down 5-0 to Hank Powell, came back to defeat him 6-5 and face Bumgarner.
 
Davis and Evans advanced to their quarterfinal rematch; Evans over Bumgarner 6-2 and Davis over Martin 6-4. As Ussery had punctuated his advance to the hot seat match, Davis punctuated his advance to the semifinals with a rematch shutout over Evans. He then earned the right to defend his 8-Ball Open title with a 6-3 over Fitch in those semifinals.
 
The final match was a straight race to 9. Ussery won it 9-7 to claim his first NC State 8-Ball Open title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Randolph’s Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (September 21-22) will be a $500-added ($1,000-added with 64 entrants) event, hosted by Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.