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Gareth Steele Goes Undefeated Claiming his First Maine State 9 Ball Championship for 2012

A perfect 32 player turnout this year for the Maine State 2012, 9 Ball Championship. Hosted By Steve and Tammy Reynolds at Tj’s Classic Billiards, in Waterville. The event attracted most of Maine’s finest players.

Gareth Steele battled his way through a tough bracket on the winners side, taking out Bob Bourgoin, then playing multiple state championship winner, TJ LaFlamme. Steele lost his focus to Greg Murray going down 7-1. Steele thought it was all over and was set to head West when he pulled it back from the edge, grinded it out and Defeated Murray 9-8. Gareth went on and confronted Cody Francis after taking 2nd in last years Championship. Francis seemed to loose focus early on as Steele gianed on him, making Francis know that he was not being sent to the dark side this year. Steele defeated Francis 9-4, making his mark on the winners side with his eye on the hot seat. Greg Libby gave Steele a hard time, going up 3 racks in a bid for the hot seat. Steele got stuck in and showed Libby who’s boss and defeated him 9-6 for the hot seat where he would wait for his final showdown with Francis.

Francis, knowing that he had some serious work to do to get his chance at Steele again, took TJ LaFlamme head on with a focused fury, crushing LaFlamme 9-0. Francis wasn’t leaving one man standing and continued on his war path,taking no prisoners. Mike Levitt didn’t stand a chance, and made a brave bid before being sent home by Francis with 4th place. Greg Libby was the player that absorbed the shock from Francis, slowing him down on his way to the final. Francis’s focus was unweavering and eventually took Libby out 9-6, for 3rd place.

The final couln’t be more exciting with the Superbowl starting in the background and Francis vs Steele for the second year running. Francis having to defeat Steele twice for the Championship went of to a flying start leaving Steele’s head spinning. Before Steele could get his bearings he had lost the first set 9-1. Francis charged into the second set with the same fervour going 3-0 up on Steele. The road to victory seemed to be opening up before Francis when Steele seemed to wake up out of his stupor and fought back for the next six racks taking it to 6-3. The race was definitely on when Francis and Steele went head to head. Francis picked up the ball and shot Steele out for the next five racks, determined to take the Championship Double. Steele ran out the next rack to even up the score, hill-hill. Steele broke the last rack and left Francis a tricky one ball. With Madonna singing in the background the tension couldn’t be higher when Francis missed his chance and rattled the 1 ball, leaving the final opening for Steele who manuvuered his way around the table with surgeon-like precision to claim his first Maine State 9 Ball Championship.

There was some pretty amazing pool seen at this year’s Championship, one highlight match being TJ Laflamme’s 7-rack come back from 8-2 down vs up and comer Josh Rupard. It was a tough lesson in loss for Rupard that he won’t soon forget.

Now we wait with baited breath for the Maine State 8 Ball Championships on March 3rd & 4th at Schemengees in Auburn, Maine. Will Francis and Steele meet again for a repeat performance of last years 8 Ball Championship? It’s anyone’s guess. But we are certain to be in for a great weekend of pool.