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Skeens and Hollingsworth split top prizes at 3rd Annual Brian James Memorial in Bristol, TN

Mike Skeens

Prior to this past weekend, Saturday, June 4, the last time Mike Skeens had cashed in an official event of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, was eight days shy of a year ago (June 12, 2021), when he was defeated twice, in a winners’ side semifinal and eventually, the loss-side semifinal by Janet Atwell, owner of the host room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. Back at the same room a year later, last Saturday, Skeens went undefeated to the hot seat, downing DJ Brads to claim it, and later, after the semifinals, he and junior competitor Landon Hollingsworth opted out of a final match, leaving Skeens as the official winner of the 3rd Annual Brian James Memorial. It was Skeens’ first recorded tour victory, albeit with a no-final-match asterisk. The event drew 52 entrants to Borderline Billiards.

Skeens was no doubt relieved to hear that however his tournament run was to proceed, it would not entail running into Janet Atwell, who didn’t compete in the event, although a run-in versus Clevinger was possible. Skeens advanced through the field to draw Hollingsworth in one of the winners’ side semifinals, while Brads squared off against Ricky Bingham in the other one.

With Hollingsworth racing to 9, Skeens defeated him 5-5 and in the hot seat match, faced Brads, who’d sent Bingham to the loss side 6-4. In a straight-up race to 6, Skeens and Brads battled to double hill in what would prove to be the defining match of the event. Skeens prevailed and Brads headed off to the semifinals.

On the loss side, Hollingsworth drew James Brown, who’d rendered a Clevinger/Skeens final matchup impossible when he downed Clevinger 5-2 and then, Doug Schulz 5-5 (Schulz racing to 8) to face Hollingsworth. Bingham picked up Thomas Sansone, who’d defeated Eric Roberts 7-6 (Roberts racing to 9) and Adam Pendley 6-5 (Pendley racing to 9) to reach him.

In the first money round, Bingham eliminated Sansone, double hill, and in the quarterfinals, faced Hollingsworth, who’d also survived a double hill match (9-5), versus Brown. Hollingsworth stopped Bingham’s loss-side run 9-3 in those quarterfinals.

Hollingsworth then spoiled Brads’ bid for a rematch against Skeens by defeating him 9-4 in the semifinals. The decision to split the top two prizes was made and Skeens went into the record books as the official winner of the 3rd Annual Brian James Memorial.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend, June 11-12, will be a Scotch Doubles event, hosted by Corner Pocket in Fayetteville, NC. 

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Clevinger and Atwell split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Mike Skeens, Janet Atwell and Mike Clevinger

Tour raises $1,650 for Michael Putnam and family, owners of Papertown Billiards, Asheville

Mike Clevinger and room owner/professional competitor Janet Atwell opted out of a final match at this past weekend’s (June 12-13) stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, hosted by Atwell’s room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time, Clevinger claimed the official event title. The event drew 39 entrants.

In addition to the event itself, the tour organized a fund raiser to benefit Michael Putnam and his family. Michael, co-owner with his wife, Alicia, of Papertown Billiards in Asheville, NC, is currently on a ventilator, coping with complications related to COVID. The tour was able to raise $1,650 to donate to his family. Members of the pool community wishing to contribute to the ongoing campaign should reach out to Janet Atwell, a personal friend of the Putnams, who competes in a regularly scheduled Papertown Ladies Tour, run by Alicia Putnam. Atwell can be reached via the Borderline Billiards page on Facebook.

Of particular note at this most recent event was the performance of junior competitor, Hayleigh Marion, 14, who is the #7-ranked player in the 18-and-under Girls division of the ongoing series of Junior International Championships being held regularly under the auspices of On the Wire Creative Media. Marion, who is mentored and taught by Janet Atwell, signed on to compete in this event, won two matches on the winners’ side and then, five on the loss side, advancing to the quarterfinals, when she met and was defeated by Atwell. A familiar face on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, Marion and Yoshiaki Kanamura competed as a doubles team on the tour last March and claimed the event title. In June 2020, Marion and Atwell played as a doubles team on the tour and finished in the tie for 5th place. 

Eventual, official winner this past weekend, Mike Clevinger advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Chris Cowan, while Mike Skeens squared off against Janet Atwell. Clevinger sent Cowan to the loss side 6-3, while Skeens downed Atwell 5-4 (Atwell racing to 7). Clevinger claimed the hot seat in what proved to be his last match with a 6-1 victory over Skeens.

On the loss side, Cowan was the one who drew Hayleigh Marion, four matches into her loss-side streak, having most recently eliminated David Hopkins 5-3 and Reid Vance (racing to 7), 4-2. Prior to being defeated by Marion, Vance had defeated her former doubles partner, Yoshiaki Kanamura. Atwell picked up Ricky Chitwood, who’d shut out Joe Blackburn (responsible for sending Marion to the loss side) and downed Amanda Mann 6-1.

Atwell ended Chitwood’s run 7-2, as her pupil was busy eliminating Chris Cowan 4-2. Atwell then defeated her student 7-0 in the quarterfinals.

In what proved to be the last match of the event, Atwell downed Mike Skeens in the semifinals. She and Clevinger agreed to the split and Clevinger claimed the official title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., AZBilliards, Federal Savings Bank mortgage division and Diamond Brat.

The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend, June 19-20, will feature two events, a 9-ball tournament and a limited-entry (16; $100 entry fee) One Pocket tournament. The events will be hosted by Railbird Billiards in Hickory, NC.

Moore double dips Hurst to take first Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title

Daniel Moore

Event Directors note growing field for Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open in June
 
In his first appearance and win on the Viking Cues’ Q-City 9-Ball Tour, Daniel Moore came back from a winners’ side quarterfinal loss against Mark Hurst to meet and defeat him twice in a double elimination final during the May 5-6 stop on the tour. The event drew 53 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.
 
Once Hurst downed Moore 6-5 in their first of three matches (Moore racing to 7), he advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Ryan Fossum. Steve Dye, in the meantime, squared off against Brady Brazell. Hurst got into the hot seat match with a 6-3 win over Fossum. Dye joined him after downing Brazell 5-4 (Brazell racing to 7). Hurst claimed the hot seat 6-3 over Dye and waited in it for the return of Moore.
 
Moore opened his loss side trip with a 7-1 victory over Justin Clark, and followed it with a double hill win (7-5) over Brandon Stiltner. This set him up to face Brazell. Fossum drew John Hoge, who’d defeated Shawn Martin, double hill (5-5), and shut out Mike Skeens to reach him.
 
Both matches for advancement to the quarterfinals went double hill; Fossum over Hoge and Moore over Brazell. Moore took the next two, 7-3, downing Fossum in the quarterfinals and Dye in the semifinals.
 
Moore also took the opening set of the true double elimination final against Hurst 7-3. Hurst got an extra rack in during the second set, but Moore claimed his first Q-City 9-Ball title with a 7-4 win in that second set.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her staff at Borderline Billiards (which will host the Tour Championships later this year), 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 the weekend of May 12-13 will be hosted by Corner Pockets in Fayetteville, NC.
 
$10,000-added Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open, set for June, is filling up
 
With a little over a month to go, the Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open (formerly, the Don Coates Memorial) has already attracted some of the sport’s top names. Scheduled for the weekend of June 13-17 (commencing on a Wednesday) at Brass Tap & Billiards in Raleigh, NC, the $10,000-added (guaranteed) event has already signed up Johnny Archer, Sky Woodward, Rodney Morris, Brandon Shuff, and from the Philippines, Zoren James Aranas (Warren Kiamco is expected to join, but hasn’t done so, as yet). Also competing will be young, Albanian sensation Eklent (“Klenti”) Kaci, who finished as runner-up to Jayson Shaw in last October’s US Open 9-Ball Championships and chalked up two wins on the 2017 Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour.
 
Event directors Herman and Angela Parker are advising those who want to compete in this event to get in touch as soon as possible, as the event will be capped at 128 entrants. Anyone interested should call them at 336-686-5360.