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Two tour veterans, each seeking first Joss NE 9-Ball title, battle it out in finals of season finale

Pete Bowman, Mike Zuglan, Snookers manager Paul Troxell and Ray McNamara

Oldest player to win on tour,’ Bob Darigis, wins Second Chance event

He’d be the first to tell you that it’d been a long time coming. But it did show up. This past weekend (June 4-5), after 20 years of attempts, Ray McNamara (generally known on the tour as ‘Ray Mac’) claimed his first Joss NE 9-Ball Tour title, using the last regular season event of the tour’s 2021-2022 season to do so. In an effort that began (as far as we know) with a 7th place finish at a stop in Bristol, CT in October of 2002, McNamara went on to compete regularly on the Joss and other tours, and more recently, won the 364-entrant Amateur Senior event of the Super Billiards Expo this past April. The $1,500-added, 15th stop on the 2021-2022 Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour drew 53 entrants to Snooker’s in Providence, RI.

In addition to crowning a first-time champion, the event played host to another event champion, whom tour director Mike Zuglan described as “the oldest person (he could) think of who won any of (their) events.”  A $500-added Second Chance tournament that drew 14 entrants was won by 71-year-old Bob Darigis.

“Ray Mac and Bob were both around in the days when me, Larry Lisciotti and Joe Tucker were still playing around,” said Zuglan.

Ray Mac’s trip to the winners’ circle had to go through another Joss NE 9-Ball veteran, also looking for his first (recorded with us) win on the tour, Pete Bowman. They met twice; hot seat match and finals. Mac had gotten by Nick Coppola, Lida Mullendore, Clyde Matta and Ryan Cullen to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Bob Madenjian, who, it should be noted, finished in the four-way tie for 5th place behind McNamara in the SBE’s Amateur Senior tournament in April and would end up in the same position at this event. Peter Bowman sent Aro Majumber and Brandon Coley to the loss side before encountering the later-to-be winner of the Second Chance event, Bob Darigis, who battled him tooth and nail to double hill before he sent him over, as well. Bowman then downed Darren Jevons to pick up Kerry McAuliffe in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Mac sent Madenjian west 9-2, while Bowman was defeating McAuliffe 9-3. McNamara claimed the hot seat 9-5, which was, as far as we know, his first.

On the loss side, McAuliffe picked up Steve Mack, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Madenjian and jumped onto the loss-side wagon with victories over Rich Kravetz 7-5 and Dan Sharlow 7-3. Madenjian picked up Francisco Salas, who’d also lost to Madenjian on the winners’ side (3rd round) and was working on a seven-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the semifinals and include the double-hill elimination of Jeremy Sossei, followed by wins over Darren Jevons 7-2 and Frankie Hernandez 7-3.

Mack did his part to secure a rematch versus Madenjian with a 7-4 win over McAuliffe, but Salas took Madenjian out 7-5 and then eliminated Mack 7-3 in the quarterfinals. 

Bowman closed out Salas’ run with a 7-3 win in the semifinals to earn his second shot at Ray Mac, waiting for him in the hot seat. Though Salas would chalk up three more racks against Ray Mac in the finals than he had in the hot seat, Ray Mac prevailed 9-5 to claim his first Joss Northeast 9-Ball title, closing the ‘long time coming’ door behind him.

The final standings in tour points were headed up by Bucky Souvanthong, who appeared in nine of the season’s 15 events, winning five of them. Ron Casanzio finished in 2nd place, based on 10 appearances, with a single win. Jeremy Sossei was in 3rd place, having won three of his five appearances. Len Gianfrate placed fourth, just ahead of Aaron Greenwood. Rounding out the top 10 on the 2021-2022 tour were Jamie Garrett, Dan Sharlow, Frank Hernandez, Mhet Vergara and Bruce Carroll. 

Tour director Mike Zuglan thanked Regina and Steve Goulding and their Snookers’ staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Joss Cues, Turning Stone Resort Casino, Simonis Cloth, Poolonthenet.com, AZBilliards, Aramith, Billiards Press and World Class Cue Care. The next event, the tour’s season finale, scheduled for Sept. 1-4, will be the $25,000-added Turning Stone Classic XXXV 9-Ball Open, hosted by the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY

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Souvanthong over Casanzio for fifth Joss Tour Win

Ron Casanzio, Mike Zuglan and Bucky Souvanthong

While the main storyline all year on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour has been the performance of Bucky Souvanthong, winning four tour stops and competing in the finals of two others, one other storyline has been the rivalry between Souvanthong and Ron Casanzio. Casanzio won the first stop on the tour this season at East Ridge Billiards, defeating Souvanthong in the finals. Souvanthong returned the favor, defeating Casanzio in the finals of stop 4 at Diamond Billiards in Rochester. These two competitors renewed their rivalry, facing off against each other three times at the Brickhouse Billiards tour stop on March 19th and 20th.

Souvanthong and Casanzio made it through the field of 50 players undefeated on Saturday. Casanzio had wins over Ryan Smith, Mike Armstrong, Geoff Montgomery, and Sean Zeng, while Souvanthong had wins over Dennis Gaetano, Bill Goodman, Aaron Greenwood, and Len Gianfrate. Casanzio’s day one performance was notable for the dominating fashion in which he put away his opponents. Two of Casanzio’s four wins were 9-0 shutouts, and the three racks he gave up to Zeng was the most anyone got against him on day one.

Sunday kicked off with Souvanthong and Casanzio facing off in their first matches of the day. It was another battle between these two players, won by Souvanthong this time, 9-7. Souvanthong then defeated Mark Creamer for the hot-seat 9-6.

On the one-loss side, Casanzio ran into familiar opponents as he handed Greenwood and then Zeng their second losses of the day. He went on to send Creamer home in 3rd place with a 7-3 semifinal loss.

If Souvanthong thought the finals would be easy, he received a quick reminder that Casanzio had other plans, as Casanzio crushed Souvanthong 9-1 in the first set of the double-elimination finals. The second set was a different matter though, with Souvanthong scoring a quick 7-2 win for his fifth win on the Joss Tour season.

Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Bill Goodman turn in an undefeated run through the field of 13 players. Goodman had wins over John Reardon, Dave Copperwheat, Nick Coppola, Ron Ince, and then Josh Welsh in the finals. In addition to the $300 first prize that Goodman won in the second chance tournament, he also won the cue raffle for the weekend, winning a custom engraved Joss Cue.

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard for the next stop on April 2nd and 3rd.

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Sossei Wins Seventh Straight and Then Drops Final Match to Souvanthong

Jeremy Sossei, Sharpshooters Manager Kayla and Bucky Souvanthong

Jeremy Sossei didn’t compete in the October 5th / 6th Joss NE 9-Ball Tour Stop, but he was back in action the last two weekends where he earned his seventh straight title and then finally lost in a final match.
 
The tour stop at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard on October 12th & 13th saw Sossei run through the field undefeated, beating Ron Casanzio for the hot-seat 9-7 and then Brad Guthrie in the finals. Sossei had defeated Guthrie in the final four on the winner’s side Sunday 9-4 and then did so again 9-2 in the finals. 
 
The next stop, October 19th & 20th at Sharpshooters Billiards and Sports Pub, was looking like yet another Sossei victory as he went through Saturday matches against Bob Nerkert, Chris Braiman and Bruce Carroll undefeated. Sunday was more of the same, with Sossei defeating Danny Hewitt 9-5 and then Qais Kolee for the hot-seat 9-4. 
 
Bucky Souvanthong had dropped a late Saturday match to Kolee, but ran through the one loss side with a Saturday night win over Ben Werblow and then Sunday wins over Ron Casanzio, Hewitt and Kolee to earn his place against Sossei in the finals. 
 
Souvanthong is the only man to have won a Joss Tour Stop this season, aside from Sossei, and he won that stop on the one weekend that Sossei was not in attendance. He proved that he was more than capable of a tour stop win, with or without Sossei in the field, as he double dipped Sossei 9-3 and 7-5 in the finals for first place. 
 
The October 13th second chance tournament saw Fred Gokey drop the hot-seat match to Nick Coppola and then come back to defeat Coppola twice in the finals for first place. The October 20th second chance tournament saw Bruce Carroll with an undefeated run that included 3-1 wins over Norm Vernon for the hot-seat and again in the finals. 
 
The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be back in action this weekend at Brickhouse Billiards in Syracuse, NY for another $1,500 added main event and $500 added second chance event. 

Sossei over Fleming for Joss Tour Fourpeat

Jeremy Sossei, Pat Fleming and Snookers Owner Steve Goulding

While Jeremy Sossei has won the last three Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stops, he has had to win the last two with one loss. That was what he did again at Snookers Billiards in Providence, RI on June 1st – 2nd for the final regular season stop on the tour. 
 
Sossei cruised through Saturday’s matches undefeated with wins over Lida Mullendore, Jim Prather, Ranulf Tamba and Dev Bhattacharya. The closest any opponent got to Sossei on Saturday was Tamba at 9-4. Sossei’s undefeated run came to an end on Sunday morning, as he dropped his first match of the day to Pat Fleming 9-6. After that match, Fleming went on to defeat Tom D’Alfonso 9-5 for the hot-seat. 
 
Sossei got by Francisco Cabral 7-4 and Jared Demalia 7-2, to earn the match against D’Alfonso in the semi-finals. That match would go hill-hill before Sossei pocketed the final nine ball. The time in the hot-seat might have proved to be a negative for Fleming, as Sossei proceeded to win the first set of the finals 9-4 and then the second set 7-3. The win was Sossei’s 6th of the season and his 4th in a row. 
 
Sunday’s “Second Chance” tournament saw Bob Madenjian with a 3-1 win over Ray Buthe for the hot-seat and then facing Nick Coppola in the finals. Coppola won the first set of the finals 3-2, but Madenjian came back to take the second set 3-2 for the win. 
 
The stop at Snookers was the final regular season tour stop and players will now prepare for the Turning Stone Classic XXXII on August 22nd – 25th at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY. That event is full, but fans are invited to watch the action in person with free admission on all four days of the event. 

Sossei Wins at Brickhouse Billiards

Brickhouse Billiards Owner Brad Rees, Jeremy Sossei and Hendrik Drost

Jeremy Sossei earned his third Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop win of the year (and second in as many stops) on April 27th – 28th at Brickhouse Billiards in North Syracuse, NY. While he would eventually get to the finals and pull off the win, it wasn’t smooth sailing like it has been for at earlier event this season. 
 
Sossei started out the event with wins over Len Gianfrate, Tony Antone and Jesse Docalavich, but had his Saturday spoiled late by Nate Marshall, who scored a hill-hill win to send Sossei to the one loss side. Sossei bounced back from that loss in style and beat Steve Lamontagne 7-1 to close out the day. 
 
Sunday play saw Marshall drop his first match of the day to Hendrick Drost 9-5, while Geoff Montgomery was sending Dwight Dixon to the one loss side 9-4. Drost would then go on to take the hot-seat over Montgomery 9-2.
 
Sossei scored wins over Bruce Carroll (7-0) and Dixon (7-5) to reach the final four on the one loss side. Sossei would not get a chance to avenge his loss to Marshall as Len Gianfrate eliminated Marshall 7-4 in 5th place. The opponent didn’t matter to Sossei though, as he then eliminated Gianfrate 7-5. The only person left standing between Sossei and the finals was Montgomery, and Sossei ended that opposition quickly with a 7-2 win. 
 
The final match between Drost and Sossei was true double elimination, where Sossei scored a 9-4 win in the first set and then a 7-3 win in the second (and deciding) set for first place. 
 
Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Aaron Greenwood lose his first match of the day, but come back with seven straight match wins (including both sets of the finals against Nick Coppola) for first place. 
 
The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour is back in action this weekend (May 4th – 5th) at Raxx Pool Room in West Hempstead, NY. 

Souvanthong Over Kolee for Joss Tour Win

Qays Kolee, Room Owner Andrea Duvall and Bucky Souvanthong

Bucky Souvanthong came through a field of 46 players to win his first Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop of the new season at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard on October 27th – 28th. 
 
Souvanthong had Saturday wins over Ray Carey, Paul Rozonewski, Alvin Thomas and Ron Casanzio. A Sunday morning win over Jorge Teixeira set Souvanthong up to face Qays Kolee for the hot-seat. 
 
Kolee’s final three matches before the hot-seat match couldn’t have been much closer as he defeated Nick Brucato 9-8, Hendrick Drost 9-7 and Spencer Auigelle 9-8. 
 
Souvanthong took the hot-seat with a fairly routine 9-5 win. Kolee scored a more convincing 7-4 win over Auigbelle on the one loss side, but dropped the first set of the finals against Souvanthong 9-3.
 
Twenty one players came back to Billiards on the Boulevard on Sunday for the $500 added second chance tournament. Fred Gokey defeated Mike Sykes for the hot-seat 3-2, and then defeated Nick Coppola in the second set of the finals (after a 3-0 loss in the first set) 3-2 for the win.
 
Joss NE 9-Ball Tour Director Mike Zuglan is urging players interested in playing in the Turning Stone Classic XXXI to contact him as soon as possible. He has “a handful of spots left”, and the event will certainly fill up. 
 

Joey Cicero Undefeated for Kevin Ketz Memorial Win

Bruce Nagle, Trick Shots Owner Julie Berlin and Joey Cicero

Joey Cicero went undefeated and beat Bruce Nagle twice to win the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour’s “Kevin Ketz Memorial Open” over the March 10th-11th weekend at Trick Shot Billiards in Clifton Park, NY.
 
Cicero’s path to the final four on the winner’s side included wins over Bruce Carroll, Nick Coppola and Dave Grau. Cicero was joined on the winner’s side Sunday morning by Jorge Teixeira, Matt Tetreault and Bruce Nagle. Cicero then defeated Teixeira while Nagle sent Tetreault to the one loss side. 
 
On the one loss side, both Teixeira and Tetreault kept their tournament hopes alive with wins over Yesid Garibello and Bucky Souvanthong respectively. They then met up to determine 4th place, with Teixeira scoring the hill-hill win. Teixeira quickly joined Tetreault in the seats after a 7-4 loss to Nagle in the semi-final match. 
 
The finals only went one set, and although Nagle gave Cicero his toughest test of the weekend, he still lost 9-7 to finish in second place. 
 
The 19 player second chance tournament on Sunday saw Tom Acciavatti recover from his hot-seat loss to Mark Creamer, only to come back and defeat Creamer twice in the finals. 
 
Tour players are reminded that the March 17th – 18th event that was originally scheduled at King Smiley Billiards is now being held at Hippo’s House of Billiards in Utica, NY.
 
Players are also reminded that the Turning Stone Classic XXX on August 23rd – 26th is over halfway full. This event always fills up, with a waiting list of players who missed out on signing up. Contact Mike Zuglan to assure your spot in the event. 

Dwight Dixon Earns First Joss Tour Win

Matt Tetreault, Brick House Billiards Owner Brian Holmes and Dwight Dixon

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour kicked off the second half of their 2017-2018 season on January 13th – 14th with a field of 30 players at Brick House Billiards in Syracuse, NY, where Dwight Dixon earned his first tour win. 
 
Although Dixon went undefeated to win the event, he didn’t have it easy. His first four matches (Nick Coppola, Dave Sunday, Bucky Souvanthong and Bruce Carroll) were won by progressively smaller margins each match, starting with a 9-5 win over Coppola and ending with a 9-8 win over Carroll. Dixon had a little more breathing room in the hot-seat match, where he defeated Bruce Nagle 9-7.
 
Nagle had defeated Matt Tetreault 9-7 in the final eight on the winner’s side, but Tetreault rode the left side of the board through four match wins and then made it five with a hill-hill win over Nagle. 
 
With Nagle’s winning streak through the left side of the board, and the narrow margins of Dixon’s wins, fans in attendance were expecting a close match in the finals. Dixon would have none of that though, and trounced Tetreault 9-3 in the first and only set of the finals. 
 
Sunday’s second chance tournament was James Chemaly run through a field of 12 players undefeated for first place. Chemaly beat Willie Oney 3-0 for the hot-seat and then beat Oney again 3-2 in the first set of the finals. 
 
The next stop on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be February 17th – 18th at the NE 9-Ball Open XXX at Sharpshooters in Amsterdam, NY. That event will be another $1500 added main event with a $500 added second chance tournament on Sunday. 
 
Tour director Mike Zuglan is already taking signup for the Turning Stone Classic XXX, to be held August 23rd – 26th at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY. Players are urged to get their entry fees to Zuglan as soon as possible, to avoid being shut-out. 

Sossei and Nagle earn Joss Tour Wins

Ron Casanzio, Chris Braiman and Jeremy Sossei

Jeremy Sossei went undefeated – and untested – through a field of 40 players to win the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour's second stop of the season at Eastridge Billiards in Rochester, NY on October 1st & 2nd. 

 

It was smooth sailing for Sossei all weekend, as he took the hot-seat with a 9-4 win over Ron Casanzio. That 9-4 scoreline was the closest an opponent got to defeating Sossei up to that point in the event. Casanzio earned the right for another swing at Sossei, by defeating Nelson Oliveira 9-5 in the semi-fiinal match. Casanzio was able to make the finals a little closer, but still dropped the first set of the finals to Sossei 9-5. 

 

The second chance event, on Sunday, saw Bruce Nagle turn in an undefeated performance of his own. Nagle defeated Nick Coppola 3-0 for the hot-seat, and then defeated Nick Brucato 3-1 in the first set of the finals for first place.

 

Steve Zajac, a young player from Buffalo, was the lucky winner of the $1500 Custom engraved Joss Cue raffle. 

 

The Joss NE 9-Ball tour will be at Sharpshooter Billiards in Amsterdam, NY on October 8th – 9th for their next tour stop. Players who wish to compete in the upcoming Turning Stone Classic XXVII should contact Zuglan at 518-356-7163 to lock up their place in the event. 

Souvanthong holds off Casanzio for Joss Tour Win

Bucky Souvanthong (Courtesy Erwin Dionisio)

Bucky Souvanthong held off a late charge from Ron Casanzio to win the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop at East Ridge Billiards in Rochester NY over the October 5th – 6th weekend.
 
Souvanthong’s Saturday consisted of three wins, 9-4 over Dan Sharlow and then back to back 9-3 wins over Sean Zeng and Dave Mills
 
Joining Souvanthong on the winner’s side on Sunday were Lyn Wechsler, Casanzio and Sourith Thammavong. Casanzio made quick work of Wechsler 9-1, while Souvanthong had a slightly closer 9-4 win over Thammavong. That left Souvanthong and Casanzio to battle for the hot-seat, which Souvanthong took 9-6.
 
Thammavong had two tough 7-5 wins on the left side of the board (Brad Guthrie and Sharlow), but wasn’t ready for Casanzio as Casanzio ended Thammavong’s day in third place 7-2. 
 
The first set of the double elimination finals went to Casanzio 9-7 in another close match, but Souvanthong took control of the second set and cruised to a 7-2 win for first place. 
 
Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Mark Creamer come back from a first round loss to Marco Kam and win seven straight matches to take first. Creamer got his revenge over Kam 3-2 on the one loss side, and that match would contain the last rack he would lose in this event. He defeated Nick Coppola 3-0 and then proceeded to double dip Steve Winter 3-0 twice to take first place. 
 
The next stop on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be this weekend (October 12th – 13th) at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard in Utica, NY. Tour director Mike Zuglan is busy taking entries for January’s Turning Stone Classic XXIII and players are urged to contact him to get their entries fees paid asap.