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Couvrette comes from the loss side, claims first regional tour title on the Garden State Pool Tour

Michel Couvrette and Robert Calton

As Yogi Berra was famous for saying about the game of baseball, a pool match “ain’t over ‘til it’s over” either. Just ask Michael Couvrette, who, this past weekend (April 2-3), not only had to win five on the loss side, but in a two-set final, was a single game away from defeat, twice; down by nine racks in a race to 10, with his opponent (Marc Lamberti) on the hill. He fought back to win them both, claiming his first recorded regional tour title and his first recorded cash payout since he was runner-up to Borana Andoni at a stop on the Mezz Pro Am Tour, eight years ago.

Overall, it was a strongly competitive weekend at the Garden State Pool Tour’s $450-added, B/C/D Class 9-ball event that drew 53 entrants to Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ. One-third of the event’s 105 matches went double hill, three of them in a row recorded by Couvrette, on the loss side of the double elimination bracket.

Couvrette started out with three winners’ side victories over Tony Robles (not the pro) and Gary Barnish, both 7-4, and downed Paul Raval 7-2, before running into Joe Valania in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Knotted at 5 in that match, Valania chalked up three in a row to send Couvrette to the loss-side portion of his title-winning run. Valania moved on to face Robert Calton in a winners’ side semifinal, as Lamberti and Rich Cardillo squared off in the other one. 

Lamberti and Cardillo recorded one of the event’s 35 double hill matches, which eventually advanced Lamberti to the hot seat match. He was joined by Calton, who’d defeated Valania 7-4. Lamberti claimed the hot seat 8-4, blissfully unaware of the “victory from the jaws of defeat” battle he’d be fighting before the night was over.

On the loss side, Couvrette worked his way through two straight double hill matches against Nelson Tran and C.J. Chey, before drawing a rematch against Valania. Cardillo, in the meantime, in his first loss-side match, drew Jay Pass.

Pass downed Cardillo to advance to the quarterfinals, as Couvrette chalked up his third straight double hill win in a successful rematch against Valania to join him. Couvrette took down Pass 8-4 in those quarterfinals and then, eliminated Calton 7-5 in the semifinals.

At the start of the two-set finals, needing to win them both, Couvrette began with ‘five on the wire’ in a race to 10. Lamberti took Couvrette’s handicap advantage out of the equation when he jumped out in front 6-1. In the now-race-to-4, Lamberti won the next three to reach the hill. Couvrette went on his first serious run of the opening set, chalking up the next eight matches. With both of them on the hill, Lamberti opted out of playing safe to go for a risky combination that failed. Couvrette stepped to the table and completed the rack to force a second set. 

In the second set, Lamberti once again got out in front by eight racks and was on the hill, one game from claiming the title. Couvrette came back again, knotting things at 9-9 and finished with a flourish; breaking and running the final rack to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked room owners, Paul and Gary, and their Rockaway Billiards staff for hosting the tour. The next stop on the Garden City Tour, scheduled for Sunday, April 10, will be and A through D-class 9-ball event, hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

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Uzdejczyk wins fourth 2014 Tri-State stop; eighth since 2011

Bogie Uzdejczyk, Chris Peralta and Robert Jew

For the past three years, Bogie Uzdejczyk has won at least one stop on the Tri-State or Predator Tours. He won two Tri-State stops in 2011, two more in 2012, and picked up a Predator win in 2013. One week after winning the first Tri-State Tour stop of 2014, he finished fifth in an Open/Pro Predator event behind Tony Robles, Mike Dechaine, Zion Zvi and Frankie Hernandez.  On Saturday, October 4, he claimed his fourth, undefeated Tri-State title of 2014. The $750-added event drew 23 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
Uzdejczyk had to get by Chris Peralta twice to claim this most recent Tri-State title. Following wins against Duane Toney, Keith Adamik, and Hank Nguyen, Uzdejczyk faced Peralta for the first time in a winners' side semifinal, defeating him 7-4, as Robert Jew was busy defeating Teddy Lapadula 6-1. Uzdejczyk claimed the hot seat with a 9-6 win over Jew and waited on Peralta.
Peralta moved over and started his trek back to the finals against Nelson Tran, who'd defeated Dave Ascolese 7-1 and Harry Guevarez 7-4. LaPadula picked up Larry Chandler, who'd gotten by Ada Lio 7-3 and Roger Duronio 6-4. Peralta eliminated Tran 7-2 and in the quarterfinals, faced LaPadula, who'd finished Chandler's day 6-5.
Peralta, looking for his first Tri-State win, defeated LaPadula 7-5, and earned his first shot in a Tri-State final with a 7-3 win over Jew in the semifinals. He took the opening two racks in the finals, and after giving up one, re-established the two-rack lead at 3-1. Uzdejczyk took the next two to tie it up at 3-3, before Peralta regained the lead for the last time at 4-3. Over the next six, they traded racks, with Uzdejczyk maintaining the single-rack initiative. At 6-6, he did so for the last time, claiming the event title, as Peralta recorded his best finish on the Tri-State tour.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Qpod, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Bartron, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for October 11, will be hosted by Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.