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Bennett goes undefeated to take Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball stop

Keith Bennett

Two ‘old hands’ battled for the hot seat. Had it not been for a decision to split the top two prizes, one of those ‘old hands’ would have battled a (borderline) junior player in the finals. It was Keith Bennett and BJ Ussery who squared off in the winners’ side final of the Sept. 1-2 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. It was Bennett and 19-year-old Justin Martin, recently chosen as a member of the USA’s Atlantic Cup Challenge team, who would have met in the finals. Martin will be the oldest member of the team and the only one not to have claimed a BEF Junior Nationals title. When the decision to split the top two prizes was made, the undefeated Bennett was declared the official winner of the $500-added event that drew 46 entrants to Speakeazy Billiards in Sanford, NC.
All three of them competed in the winners’ side semifinal; Bennett against Martin, and Ussery versus Josh Shultz. Both matches went double hill before advancing Bennett and Ussery to the hot seat match; Bennett 11-9 over Martin, racing to 10, and Ussery 11-5 over Shultz, racing to 6. Bennett won what proved to be his final match 11-7 over Ussery to claim the hot seat.
On the loss side, Martin picked up Scott Roberts, who’d eliminated Chad Weachter 8-1 and Mike Mullins 8-3 to reach him. Shultz drew another ‘old hand,’ Larry Faulk, who’d advanced with a forfeit by Rashad Brooks and downed Zac Leonard 7-2.
Martin defeated Roberts 10-5 and in the quarterfinals, faced Shultz, who’d defeated Faulk 6-1. Martin then dominated that quarterfinal match, defeating Shultz 10-2. Ussery put up more of a fight in the semifinals, but Martin defeated him, as well, 10-7, to earn himself a re-match against Bennett, which, of course, never happened.
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Speakeazy Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, 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 (Sept. 8-9) will be Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

Pope, Young and Nielsen split top three prizes on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

As is often the case, tournaments that end up chasing dawn, lead to an agreed-upon split in the event's top prizes. The last matches, scheduled long after everybody but the players and tour administrators have gone home, are generally only of interest to the players involved, who are more often than not, bone tired and unlikely to be at a performance level commensurate with their skills. Splits among an event's finalists are common. Three-way splits, avoiding both the semifinals and finals (sometimes double elimination finals) are rare, but, as in the case of the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour stop on Saturday, March 18 (moving into Sunday morning), they happen.
In this case, it allowed one veteran member of the tour, Solomon Pope, to become the official winner and take home some cash for the first time since joining the tour a few years ago. By the same token, the decision to split the top three prizes denied Jeff Young the opportunity to chalk up his second win on the tour in a little over a week (he won the March 11-12 stop). When the decision was made, Young, having been defeated by Pope in the hot seat match, was scheduled for a re-match against Denmark's Peter Nielsen, whom he'd defeated in a double hill winners' side semifinal (4-8, with Nielsen racing to 9). It's anyone's guess how the next two, potentially three matches (double elimination final) would have turned out, but as with all prize splits at the end of a tournament, the players were content with not finding out. The event drew 38 entrants to Breaktime Billiards in Cary, NC.
As Young was locked up in the double hill fight that sent Nielsen to the loss side, Pope was working against Christy Norris in the other winners' side semifinal. He defeated her 7-5, and then downed Young in the hot seat match 7-1.
Lurking on the loss side as all this was going on, was pro-player Mike Davis, Jr., who was racing to 13 against all of his opponents. He got by Bryan Pate 13-4 in the 9/12 matches, but was denied entrance to the money rounds by Alan Shaw, who, like Pope, was a veteran member of the tour looking to cash for the first time.  Shaw, who'd defeated Jason Rogers previously 5-2, made it to the money rounds with a 5-7 win over Davis, and drew Nielsen. Norris picked up Chris Gentile, who'd defeated Mike Mullins 8-4 and Mike Rowe 8-1 to reach her.
Gentile downed Norris 8-2, as Nielsen sent Shaw home 9-2 (with his first cash winnings of $50). For those who were still around, the final match of the evening – the quarterfinals – saw Nielsen and Gentile lock up in a double hill fight, eventually won by Nielsen 9-7. And it was over, with Pope, sitting in the hot seat, as the official undefeated winner and Young and Nielsen in a single-loss tie.
Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Breaktime Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (March 25-26), will be hosted by a new venue for the tour, Peninsula Billiards featuring bar box tables in Newport News, VA.

By default, Best, with dawn approaching, wins warm-up to NC State 8-Ball Championships

It was probably one of those things that looked good in the window, but terrible when you got it home. The Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour made a stop at the Brass Tap in Raleigh on the weekend of October 29-30 and 39 entrants showed up to participate in a rare 8-ball event that proceeded the NC State 8-Ball Championships the following week in Cary, NC. They made a decision to finish it in one day, instead of asking people (some of whom traveled a good distance) to return on Sunday. Somewhere in the vicinity of around 3 a.m., the players left were probably wondering whether the one-day idea was such a good one. As it turned out, when it got down to three players, the semifinalists (J.T. Ringgold and Travis Guerra) opted out of their match, and left the hot seat occupant, Blade Best, to claim the event title, unopposed in a final match.
Ringgold may have been the most affected by the shortened event. He lost his first match on Saturday to Peter Abatangelo and then won eight on the loss side to advance to the semifinals, at which point he and Travis Guerra opted out of the match. Assuming a 50-50 split, Ringgold went home with $300 (half the 2nd – $400 – and 3rd – $200 – payouts), instead of a potential $600, which might have come his way had he a) defeated Guerra, and b) went on to face and defeat Best in the hot seat. We and they will never know if they made a "good deal."
It was Guerra and Best who battled for the hot seat in this one. Guerra had sent Justin Clark to the loss side, double hill, in one winners' side semifinal, while Best sent Mike Mullins west 5-3. Best claimed the hot seat 5-1 over Guerra and for all intents and purposes, his night was over.
On the loss side, Ringgold was halfway through his eight-match, loss-side run, when he downed Glenn Smith 9-4 and Al Boone, double hill (9-3) to pick up Clark. Mullins drew Rich Anderson, who'd recently shut out Matt Lucas, and downed Clay Davis 7-3. Ringgold advanced to the quarterfinals 9-3 over Clark, and was joined by Mullins, who, in a straight-up race to 7, had defeated Anderson, double hill.
Ringgold ended the tournament with a 9-3 win over Mullins. He and Guerra opted out of their semifinal match, and Best went into the books as the event winner.
Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at the Brass Tap, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta-13 racks and Ruthless Billiards. The next stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of November 5-6 will be the North Carolina State 8-Ball Championships, to be hosted by Breaktime Billiards in Cary, NC. In attendance will be defending champion, Mike Davis

Padron takes two of three against Crain to win Q City 9-Ball stop

Josh Padron claimed the hot seat over Scott Crain during the November 21 stop on the Q City 9-Ball Tour, but gave up the opening set of a true double elimination final to force a third match between them. Padron prevailed in the deciding match to claim the title. The event drew 36 entrants to Buck's Billiards in Raleigh, NC.
Their first match, battling for the hot seat, came after Padron had sent Richard Anderson to the loss side 6-4, and Crain had defeated Anthony Mabe 4-4 (Mabe racing to 7). Padron claimed the hot seat decisively 6-1 and waited on Crain's return.
On the loss side, Mabe ran into Steve Page, who'd defeated Corey Sykes 10-1, and Jody Musselman 10-5 to reach him. Anderson drew Mike Mullins, who'd gotten by James Blackburn 7-2 and Andy Bowden 7-4. Page handed Mabe his second straight loss 10-4, as Anderson was busy shutting out Mullins 7-0.
Anderson then downed Page 7-5 in the quarterfinals, before having his short, loss-side trip ended 4-3 by Crain in the semifinals. Crain gave up only a single rack in the opening set of the true double elimination against Padron to force a second set. They battled to double hill in that second set, until Padron prevailed to claim the title.
The next stop on the Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this coming weekend, November 27-28, brings the Turkey Bowl to Statesville, NC. Chandley's Chalk and Cue will host the 8-Ball event.