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Fisher stays atop WPBA rankings with come-from-the-loss-side win at Sledgehammer Open

Kelly Fisher, Janet Atwell and Kristina Tkach

The late Helena Thornfeldt remembered in heartfelt 1st Annual event named in her honor

She was nicknamed the Sledgehammer because of her powerful break. Whenever conversations about Helena Thornfeldt broke out among friends and competitors at the 1st Annual WPBA Cherokee Sledgehammer Open, named in her honor this past weekend (Wed., Oct. 19 – Sun., Oct. 23), more than just a few of the gathered women had cause to remember it; the loud whack of initial contact and the way the balls spread out as though desperate for space beyond the rails to dissipate the energy of it. It had taken over two years for the pool community’s widespread respect and admiration for the late Helena Thornfeldt to arrive at a gathering in her honor. The WPBA Hall of Famer died in August of 2019 and though Janet Atwell, in an attempt to organize a 2020 event, began work on it almost immediately, COVID had other ideas, that persisted.

This past weekend, Atwell’s room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN had one of Thornfeldt’s favorite things, sunflowers, on prominent display. A table was set aside to hold a variety of individual and collections of photos. The trophies that were handed to the winner, Kelly Fisher and runner-up Kristina Tkach were accompanied by two actual sledgehammers, made by Robert Ingold of Team SuperShaft. Atwell is working on the creation of a permanent wall plaque at Borderline Billiards with engraving space for the event’s present and future winners, along with a pair of crossed sledgehammers. The event began on Wednesday with words from Janet Atwell and a video made by Bonnie Arnold that featured, among other things, Thornfeldt singing a karaoke version of Born to be Wild. The event officially opened with the National Anthem sung by Christina Druen.

“I think it was an emotional event for everyone,” said Atwell. “Some went through some struggles with it.”

“Absolutely,” agreed Kelly Fisher. “A very emotional event, that first night. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.”

Kelly Fisher

“We all missed her really,” she added, “and we hadn’t had a chance to show that or feel that, as a family, together. I know that for myself, during that final and a during a few other close matches as well, I could just imagine Helena saying things to me. I went outside at one point to get a breath of air and Monica (Webb) said something to me that Helena would have said and I got kind of fired up there. So for me, personally, she was definitely a presence in my heart and mind.”

Among those in attendance, including Fisher, Tkach and Atwell of course, was Jeannette Lee, who had, in a 2017 interview, called Thornfeldt “the best female straight pool player in the world.” Lee joined Atwell as a member of a ProAm team (one of many) that played a social tournament on opening night, full of blatant sharking and fun. Monica Webb, who ran a restaurant business with Thornfeldt for a number of years, was there, as well. So, too, was the WPBA’s Peg Ledman, a personal friend of Thornfeldt. Not present, though there in spirit, was Allison Fisher, who was in England being awarded an MBE title (a Member of the British Empire) for her “contributions to sport,” many of those, from Britain’s point of view, earned as a snooker player there. The event also featured a strong contingent of (now) relatively well-known junior competitors like Hayleigh Marion (for whom Borderline Billiards is a home room), Sofia Mast, Skylar Hess and recipient of a great deal of attention, 12-year-old Savannah Easton.

The $10,000-added Sledgehammer Open drew a total of 80 entrants to Borderline Billiards, 32 of them drawing byes exempting them from Stage One competition. The 48 others, 16 of whom drew opening round byes in Stage One, played in a double-elimination bracket until there were eight on each side of it. Stage Two awarded byes to the top 16 in the WPBA standings, as the double-elimination bracket got underway, and . . . they were off. 

Headlining the eight competitors who advanced to Stage Two from the winners’ side of the Stage One bracket was Sofia Mast, one of the 16 who’d been awarded opening round byes in Stage One. Her first opponent was Savannah Easton, setting up an early junior marquee matchup. Mast advanced on the winners’ side 7-2, while Easton would move to the loss side, winning three by an aggregate score of 21-5 and advancing to Stage Two. Also advancing on the winners’ side of the Stage One bracket were Kathy Friend, Jaye Succo, Nathalie Chabot, Christy Norris and the Callado sisters, Eleanor and Emilyn. Along with Easton, loss-side competitors advancing to Stage Two were junior competitors Skylar Hess and Precilia Kinsley, along with Nicole Albergaria, Dawn Oldag, Kim Housman, Lisa Cossette and Casey Cork.

Kristina Tkach

The opening round of Stage Two, with Kelly Fisher (among others) idle with opening round byes. Kristina Tkach played and won her opening round against Casey Cork 8-3 and then downed Stephanie Mitchell 8-3 in a match that set her up to face Fisher. Savannah Easton opened the Stage Two part of her title bid with a successful, double-hill match versus J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) veteran Kia Burwell. Easton advanced to face another JPNEWT veteran and the #1-ranked American player in the WPBA rankings, Caroline Pao, where she (Easton), as they say, met her match; Pao winning the contest 8-5. Mast lost her opening Stage Two match to Meng-Hsia (Bean) Hung 8-2, and moved west for an eventual rematch against Easton. 

Fisher, in the second round, downed Eleanor Callado 8-3 and then, in a late match, fell to Tkach 8-6. Tkach advanced to the other winners’ side semifinal against Pao.

“She obviously had worked very hard and perfected that cut break and I just wasn’t getting my break going,” said Fisher. “She obviously played very well to beat me. I knew she was in good shape and thought “Oh, my!”

At the other end of the bracket, Margaret Fefilova, with relative ease, was working her way through the winners’ side for an eventual matchup against Jennifer Baretta in the other winners’ side semifinal. Fefilova got by Lisa Cossette 8-3 before running into what turned out to be her toughest opponent (as gauged by racks-against), Janet Atwell, who chalked up five against her. Fefilova moved on to down Ashley Rice 8-2 and record a shutout over the #3 competitor in the WPBA rankings, Brittany Bryant, which set her up against Baretta.

Fefilova got into the hot seat match with an 8-3 win over Baretta and was joined by Tkach, who’d sent Pao to the loss side 8-4. On Saturday night, Tkach claimed the hot seat 8-2 over Fefilova and would wait until Sunday afternoon to see who came back from the semifinals.

It was Kelly Fisher. But she wouldn’t play that semifinal until Sunday. In the meantime, Pao and Baretta had business to attend to on what was left of Saturday night. Baretta picked up Savannah Easton, whose improbable and impressive run among this roomful of professional female pool players was still happening as the bracket whittled down to its final six. Easton had followed her loss to Pao with a loss-side, double-hill win over Beth Fondell and then, looking to advance into the first money round (17th/24th), she had the opportunity to avenge her Stage One loss to Sofia Mast. She did so, in a match that appropriately came within a game of going double hill. Easton then eliminated Laura Smith and won a double-hill battle against Emily Duddy. She then downed Monica Webb 8-6 and Dawn Hopkins 8-3.

Larry Easton, Savannah’s father, no stranger to his daughter’s talent, turned to Atwell as he was watching this, as amazed as many of the spectators at how far his daughter had come, in a lot of ways.

“I don’t even know what to say,” he told Atwell.

“She’s got great cue ball control, thinks ahead and plays very smart for her age,” Atwell would comment later. “She’s very strategic and plays great safeties. She plays like an adult and (her career) is off to a great start.”

Pao, in the meantime, drew Fisher, who’d started what she called a “grueling Saturday,” playing five matches in a row from noon to 8:30. She played and eliminated Meng-Hsia Hung (at noon), Janet Atwell (2 p.m.), Susan Williams (4:30) and the WPBA’s #2-ranked competitor, Brittany Bryant (6:30), all 8-4. Fisher defeated Pao 8-3 (8:30), as Baretta elicited a variety of mixed emotions from all assembled by ending Savannah Easton’s run 8-1. There was a lot of spectator applause in the moment, some of it for both of them, but a lot of it for the talented junior.

“People were excited to see her play,” said Atwell, “and happy with her finish.”

In a quarterfinal battle appropriate to the circumstances, played the following morning, Fisher and Baretta went double hill before Fisher prevailed. In the semifinals, Fisher went back to the loss-side pattern she’d established and punching her ticket to the finals, defeated Fefilova 8-4. Fisher might have played six matches to be in the finals, but thanks to Tkach, it required eight, including a loss. The rematch came within a game of double hill, but not before Fisher found herself down 2-5 and later, 5-8; Tkach a rack away from the hill.

“I was spurred on by pure determination really and the will to win it,” she said of her comeback. “I told Helena, I looked at her picture and like that, ‘Come on, do this for you’ kind of thing and whether you believe in that kind of thing or not, it’s not about who or what it takes to spur you on, but doing whatever it takes.” 

“Whatever it was,” she added, “things turned around. I dug in my heels, hit a gear and took charge of the match.”

From 2-5 down, Fisher won eight of the last 11 games, including the last five in a row. Quite the gear, all things considered. Whether it was herself, Helena, or just the adrenaline of a final push to the finish line, Fisher brought it all to bear and claimed title to her close friend’s first and likely not the last memorial.

Helena Thornfeldt

The 1st Annual WPBA Cherokee Sledgehammer Open came about through the efforts of any number of people, all of whom host Janet Atwell thanked, from the players and spectators to the members of her staff. She also thanked event sponsors the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Brad Hendricks Law Firm (Little Rock, ARK), Patty and Walter Harper of Knoxville and the streaming services of DigitalPool with Upstate Al, Zach Goldsmith and a number of competitors who joined them in the booth.

Editor’s note: Helena Thornfeldt died on August 20, 2019 at the age of 52. Originally from Borlange, Sweden, she was living in Villa Rica, about 35 miles west of Atlanta, when she died. She had opened a new restaurant, Pizza Mania, 15 days before she passed. The “Sledgehammer” turned professional in 1994, was a three-time European straight pool champion and won the 2002 US Open Championship in New Mexico, downing Allison Fisher in the finals. In the year she was inducted into the WPBA Hall of Fame in 2017, she was ranked 9th among American pool players. We here at AZBilliards join with members of the ever-expanding pool community in mourning her loss and in the years to come, celebrating the life of such a vibrant, widely-admired and respected member of our community at an annual Sledgehammer Open.

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Miller wins her 5th on the JPNEWT; qualifier for WPBA “Sledgehammer Open” in October

Briana Miller and Nicole Albergaria

Corr returns, Albergaria wins qualifying spot

One can only imagine that while the entrants on this past weekend’s (Aug. 13-14) stop on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour were happy to see Ireland’s Karen Corr back at the tables, and in spite of the pool mantra of ‘playing the table, not the opponent,’ there had to be an underlying sense of trepidation. Some, arguably many, remembered that the last time Corr had lost a JPNEWT event in which she had appeared had been seven years ago. As it happened, it was also the year (2015) that she was the tour champion, winning the first eight stops of 11 that year and for reasons lost to the mists of time, finishing 9th at that year’s season finale.

The assumed ‘trepidation’ didn’t affect the JPNEWT’s current, #1-ranked player, Briana Miller, at all. In fact, she opened what turned out to be an undefeated run to her fifth win of the 2022 season by defeating Corr in the opening round. Corr fought back, winning four on the loss side before she became ill and had to withdraw from the event quarterfinals, which would have put her up against Kia Burwell. 

The event was a qualifier for the WPBA “Sledgehammer” Open, a memorial event for the late Helena Thornfeldt, scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 19-23 at Janet Atwell’s room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. Though won by Miller, she deferred the qualifying spot to runner-up, Nicole Albergaria. The $750-added event drew 13 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD, the same site where Corr had last lost an event on the JPNEWT. Triple Nines added the $500 to the general money-added coffers and $250 more for the entry fee to the “Sledgehammer” Open. A raffle cue netted $160 to supplement Albergaria’s travel expenses to that event.  

Following her opening-round victory over Corr, Miller advanced through Kia Burwell 7-5 (the tour’s current #3) to draw Char Dzambo in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Albergaria, in the meantime, got by Kathy Friend 7-3 and Lynn Richard 7-1 to pick up Judie Wilson.

Miller defeated Dzambo 7-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Albergaria, who’d sent Wilson to the loss side 7-3. Miller claimed the hot seat 7-1.

On the loss side, Dzambo drew Karen Corr, who’d previously eliminated Carol V. Clark, Lynn Richard and tour director, Linda Shea (#2). Wilson picked up Burwell, who’d defeated Kathy Friend 7-4 and Calala Jackson 7-1 to reach her.

Corr advanced to the quarterfinals 7-3 over Dzambo and would have been joined by Burwell, who’d eliminated Wilson 7-2. But Corr withdrew from those quarterfinals, sending Burwell to the semifinals, where she was defeated by Albergaria 7-2.

In their second of two, Albergaria, playing in her first event of the JPNEWT season, downed Burwell 7-2 for a second shot at Miller. Albergaria improved on her 7-1 hot seat performance and came within a game of forcing a 13th deciding game. Miller, though, claimed the event title 7-5.

Current and soon-to-be tour directors Linda Shea and Briana Miller thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues and stream commentator, George Hammerbacher. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of September 17-18, has been cancelled. The tour will return to the tables on the weekend of October 8-9 at Eagle Billiards in Dickson City, PA.

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Pettruzzelli and Zingarella go undefeated to win NE 9- Ball Series Partners Tournament

Anthony Petruzzelli, Mike Zingarella, Jay Aliomer and Beau Powers

When you look at the way that the team of Anthony Petruzelli and Mike Zingarella began their quest for an event title at Stop #4 on the New England 9-Ball Series, it comes as no surprise that they finished undefeated to claim the Partners Tournament title. The $500-added event drew 24 teams of two to Snooker’s in Providence, RI.

Working, initially, in a separate, lower (Fargo Rate) bracket, Petruzzelli and Zingarella won 90% of their games (18-2; three matches) to get to the hot seat match. Their opponents in the hot seat match and later, in the finals, Beau Powers and Jay Aliomer, working in an upper bracket, won 20 of their first 24 games (83%) to face Petruzzelli and Zingarella the first time.

Here’s how it happened. In the lower bracket, Petruzzelli/Zingarella were awarded an opening round bye, before (in a straight-up race to 5) shutting out Eric Burgess and Kyle Lima. They gave up a single rack to Roarke Dickson and Jake Rickell in another race to 5, which set them up against Stephanie Ricket and Steve Miner in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Ricket/Miner began that match with four ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 8. Petruzzelli/Zingarella allowed them only one more than the ‘beads’ they’d started with and advanced to the hot seat match.

Powers and Aliomer, in the meantime, played four matches to get to the hot seat, giving up three racks in a straight-up race to 5 in their first match, versus Kurt Matheson and George Petway. In their next two races to 5, they gave up none at all to the teams of Chuck Sampson/Jarrod Clowery and Jimmy Nou/Joe Callaluca. Powers/Aliomer advanced to the hot seat match with a 5-1 victory over Nicole Albergaria and Steve Edmiston.

Petruzzelli/Zingarella began the hot seat match and later, the finals, with four ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 6. They took the first of their two against Powers/Aliomer 4-3.

Coming to the loss side, Edmiston/Albergaria faced Scott Tavernier and Fred Soulliere, while team Rickett/Miner squared off against Jean Minyety and Francisco Salas. Edmiston/Albergaria advanced to the quarterfinals 5-1 over Tavernier/Soulliere and were joined by Minyety/Salas, who’d shutout Rickett/Miner. 

Edmiston/Albergaria then gave Minyety/Salas a taste of their own medicine, as it were, shutting them out in the quarterfinals. In a straight-up race to 5, team Powers/Aliomer eliminated Edmiston/Albergaria 5-3.

The hot seat match had lowered the game-winning averages of both teams as they girded for battle in the finals. The 4-3 loss had dropped Petruzzelli/Zingarella down from 90% to 81%. Petruzelli was still at 81% when the finals started, but having given up three racks against Edmiston/Albergaria in the semifinals, team Powers/Aliomer had dropped down to a 72% game-winning average (overall total of 28 racks-for versus 11 racks-against).

Though it had a way (one would think) of putting Petruzzelli/Zingarella in the driver’s seat for the finals, it didn’t alter the outcome. The two teams recorded the same score in the finals as they had in the hot seat match, with Petruzzelli/Zingarella on top 4-3 and claiming the event title.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Snooker’s for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Outsville, Salotto and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories. The New England 9-Ball Series will return to Snooker’s on Sunday, May 1 for Stop #5 on the tour.

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Albergaria comes from the loss side to chalk up her second 2016 win on the JPNEWT

Nicole Albergaria has won both stops on the 2016 J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour (JPNEWT) in which she has appeared. She went undefeated to win the tour's sixth stop back in July at Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY and on the weekend of October 22-23, she won five on the loss side to meet and defeat hot seat occupant Emily Duddy in the finals of the tour's most recent stop. The $1,100-added event (which included a donation by Billy Bunn, made in memory of Florence Fuller), drew 20 entrants to a new venue for the JPNEWT – Eagle Billiards in Dickson City, PA.
 
 
The recipient of an opening round bye, Albergaria advanced to a double hill struggle she eventually won against Jenn Keeney, and then fell 7-4 to tour director, Linda Shea, who entered and finished the tournament as the tour's top-ranked competitor. Duddy, in the meantime, appearing in her first stop on the 2016 tour, got by some heavy hitters, like Kia Sidbury (#3 on the tour) and Borana Andoni, who, though making her first appearance on the 2016 JPNEWT,  stepped to the table with an established reputation (10th on the tour in 2015, which included a victory in the season finale last year). Duddy downed them both and her 7-5 win over Andoni put her into the hot seat match against Dawn Fox (winner of the last JPNEWT stop), who'd sent Shea to the loss side 7-5 in the other winners' side semifinal. Duddy claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Fox and waited on Albergaria's return.
 
 
Albergaria started her loss-side campaign with a bang, shutting out Suzanne Sellet. She then downed Kathleen Lawless 7-3 to draw Andoni. Shea picked up Kidbury, who, following her defeat at the hands of Duddy, got by Melissa Jenkins 7-3 and Jenn Keeney 7-1.
 
 
Albergaria defeated Andoni 7-5, and was joined in the quarterfinal match by Shea, who'd eliminated Sidbury 7-1. The rematch went Albergaria's way 7-3, and by the same score, she eliminated Fox in the semifinals.
 
 
The modified race-to-9 format of the finals required Albergaria to reach seven games ahead of Duddy in the hot seat to extend the match to nine games. Early on, it didn't look as though that was going to happen, as Duddy took a moderately significant 4-0 lead right out of the gate. Albergaria, though, responded by first, making a very good bank shot on the 9-ball to win game five, and then winning six more to reach her 'seven' goal and the hill. 
 
 
But it wasn't over yet. Duddy rallied to pull within one at 8-7. In rack #16, Duddy was at the table, shooting at the 6-ball; looking down table at it, where it rested closer to the lower right corner than it was to the lower left. Intervening balls, however, precluded a shot into the lower right corner, and she opted for the deep, right-side cut to put it in the lower left. The 6-ball dropped quickly, but the cue ball, moving to the lower right corner, did a double hit off two rails, angled up to the long rail, then bounced off the short rail and with speed to spare, dropped into the side pocket. Albergaria picked up the cue ball, connected the dots, and sunk the remaining three balls to claim the event title.
 
 
Regardless of the outcome of the tour's season finale, scheduled for November 12-13 at Triple Nines Bar & Billiards in Elkridge, MD, the 2016 top competitor award will go to tour director Linda Shea, who has appeared in all 12 stops on the tour, to date. She won the season opener, back in March and has won 70% of her matches, finishing, on average, in fourth place.
 
 
Tour representatives had high praise for the tour's new venue, Eagle Billiards. Newly renovated, it features 10 Brunswick, two bar box and three Diamond tables. Tour director Linda Shea thanked owner Chris Wilson for his hospitality, while players articulated their anticipation of a return to the venue in the season to come.

Albergaria takes two against O’Hanlon to go undefeated in short-field event on the JPNEWT

Sharon O’Hanlon and Nicole Albergaria

National and local competitions had a decided impact on the field of players in attendance for the sixth stop on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour, held on the weekend of July 30-31. The BCA Pool League Championships, which had just wrapped up in Las Vegas as the event began, combined with a few tournaments in the tri-state New York area, led to a field of 12 in the $750-added JPNEWT event, hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. The event was won by Nicole Albergaria, who went undefeated, facing Sharon O'Hanlon in both the hot seat match and finals.
 
It took five matches for Albergaria to claim the title; two double hill wins, a shutout and in the end, two 7-2 victories. Gail Robles was Albergaria's first double hill victim, which Albergaria followed with a shutout over Elaine Wilson. This set her up to face tour director Linda Shea in a winners' side semifinal, as O'Hanlon, winner over Karen Brooks and Nicole King, faced Melissa Jenkins in the other one.
 
Albergaria downed Shea, double hill, while O'Hanlon sent Jenkins to the loss side 7-4. Albergaria chalked up the first of two 7-2 wins, claiming the hot seat over O'Hanlon.
 
On the loss side, Jenkins picked up Kia Sidbury, who entered the tournament in the tour's third ranking spot behind Karen Corr and Shea. Sent to the loss side by Shea in her opening round (after a bye), Sidbury gave up three racks over two matches, against Karen Brooks (1) and Carol Clark (2) to face Jenkins. Shea drew Gail Robles, who, after her defeat at the hands of Albergaria on the winners' side, bested Suzette Santos-Wade 7-2, and Judie Wilson 7-4.
 
The #2 and #3-ranked players on the tour (Shea and Sidbury) advanced to the quarterfinals; Shea, 7-3 over Robles and Sidbury 7-5 over Jenkins. Shea defeated Sidbury 7-4 to face O'Hanlon in the semifinals. O'Hanlon thwarted Shea's shot at a re-match against Albergaria with a double hill win in that semifinal match. 
 
Having entered the tournament in the eleventh ranking spot, O'Hanlon's presence in the finals, win or lose, assured her elevation to the fourth spot on the tour rankings, behind Sidbury. Albergaria duplicated her hot seat effort against O'Hanlon in the finals (7-2) to claim the event title. In addition to her cash prize, Albergaria was awarded qualification to an upcoming North American Pool Tour (NAPT) event.
 
Stop #7 on the JPNEWT, a $500-added event, scheduled for this coming weekend (Aug. 6-7), will be hosted by Level-2 Billiards in Somerdale, NJ, a new venue for the JPNEWT.

Jia Li wins third straight WPBA Regional Tour Championship

In 2014, in Phoenix, AZ, China's Jia Li defeated Janet Atwell to become the WPBA's Regional Tour Champion for the first time. In 2015, in Herndon, VA, it was Betty Lea who played runner-up to Li's second championship. On the weekend of January 7-10, 2016 at Zingale's in Tallahassee, FL, it was Christy Dickerson, who, though she would defeat Li to claim the hot seat, fell in the finals to hand Li her third straight RTC title.
 
The $11,000 prize fund drew a full field of 64 entrants, drawn from 13 regional tours around the country; roughly, five from each region, with some over-under exceptions.  Eight round robin brackets, yielding four winners per bracket, cut the field in half, into a double elimination bracket of 32.
 
Through 25 winners' side games in the opening three rounds, Jia Li gave up only four racks, and three of those to her opening round opponent, Kim Pierce. Dickerson came to the winners' side semifinals, having carved a somewhat more arduous path – 35 games, with an aggregate score of 21-14. The two faced each other, while teenager Taylor Hansen (31 games, 21-10, including a 7-2 win over Belinda Calhoun) and Gail Eaton (32 games, 21-11) met up in the other winners' side semifinal.
 
Eaton sent the youngster Hansen to the loss side 7-3, as Li and Dickerson, in their first meeting, fought to double hill. Dickerson prevailed, claiming the hot seat as Eaton headed for the semifinals.
 
Over on the loss side, Stephanie Mitchell, who hadn't competed in an RTC since she bought Corner Pockets in Largo, FL in 2010, was working on a modest loss-side streak that began when Dickerson had defeated her 7-3 in a winners' side quarterfinal. Mitchell's opening loss-side victory over Nicole Albergaria was her toughest, coming down to a single game. She then downed Michell Monk 7-1 to pick up Hanson. Jia Li, in the meantime, was hooking up with Jeannie Seaver, who'd eliminated Calhoun 7-5 and given up only a single rack to Roe Guanero.
 
Hansen ended Mitchell's weekend 7-2, as Li was busy with a double hill match that she eventually won over Seaver. Li then downed Hansen 7-3 in the quarterfinals, and spoiled Eaton's chances at a re-match against Dickerson, with a 7-3 victory in the semifinals.
 
Li chalked up her third straight RTC title with a single set 9-3 win in the finals. 

Erica Testa bests the field at Snookers to take First Place

Erica Testa and Samantha Barrett

The third stop of the Northern Lights Women’s Pool Tour took place at Snookers in Providence, Rhode Island on Sunday, June 28th 2015. The Northern Lights tour is a WPBA sanctioned qualifying tour for women of the New England region. Snookers is a fantastic venue with well­maintained tables, top­notch food, and a lively environment. Snookers is one of the best pool halls in New England, housing top pro player, Mike Dechaine! They graciously offered $400 added to entice women from around New England to compete! This was a double­elimination tournament with races to seven on the winner’s side and races to five on the loser’s side. The final championship match was a modified race to nine.
 
The play began on this rainy Sunday with Nicole Albergaria over Dianne Masters, Mandi Capps overtaking tournament director Pauline McGrath, Erica Testa over Jenn Sylvester, and Amanda Judkins over Samantha Barrett. The winner’s and loser’s brackets were set at this point and exciting play continued. On the winner’s side, Nicole bested Mandi to send her to the loser’s bracket. Erica then took down Amanda (7­4) and Nicole (7­2), sending both to the loser’s bracket and putting Erica in the hot seat, awaiting the results of the one­loss side. On that side, Samantha fought back to beat Connecticut players Aaron Haefele and the up and coming Jenn Sylvester. Pauline was sent packing by Dianne who then lost to Amanda. Samantha finished off the one­loss bracket by beating Mandi, Amanda, and Nicole (5­3) to meet up with Erica in the finals. Samantha fought hard and played solid pool all day, but there was no one who could take down the 2014 Tour Champion Erica Testa, who played lights out pool, won 9­6, and went undefeated for the day.

Li (JPNEWT) goes undefeated, besting Lea (Sport 9 Tour) on WPBA RTC

Jia Li, who entered the WPBA's Regional Tour Championship on the weekend of January 8-11, having won three stops on the 2014 J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour, went undefeated through the event's field of 64 to claim the WPBA's 2015 Regional Tour Championship title. Her opponent in the finals of the RTC, Betty Lea from Atlanta, GA was a single event winner and Leader of the Year from the 2014 Sport 9 Ladies Tour. Together, they had survived two round robin stages of the RTC; Li, going undefeated through 10 matches in two stages, while Lea won seven of her 10 matches. The two advanced into a 16-player single elimination phase, which culminated when they faced each other, early Sunday evening. Li added four victories to her undefeated list to take the final match over Lea. 
 
In all, 64 players, representing 14 regional women's tours gathered at Breakers Sky Bar Lounge in Herndon, VA to compete for the 2015 Regional Tour Champion title. It was the first combined RTC since 2008. Half of the entrants shared over $11,000 in prize money, including Li's first place prize of $2,500 and Lea's $1,400 as runner up. 
 
In Stage One of the event, which divided the 64 entrants into eight groups and began on Thursday, January 8, Jia Li, Bernie Store, and Gail Eaton were the only competitors to emerge from the seven-match phase, undefeated. April Larson, Dawn Fox, Belinda Calhoun, Rebecca Wagner, Linda Shea, Nicole Albergaria, and Natalie Mans had each given up one match in the phase. They, along with 22 others, entered a Stage Two, three-match round robin phase, which featured eight groups of four players. The top two from each of the eight groups in Stage Two advanced to the 16-player, single elimination and final phase of the tournament.
 
Stage Two featured five undefeated performances (Li, Lea, Shea, Wagner and Meredith Lynch), while Samantha Barrett, Belinda Calhoun, Michele West, Suzanne Smith, Gail Eaton, Kawania Watson, Tara Williams, Kim Benson, Nicole Albergaria, and Jennifer Kraber won two out of three of their matches in the phase. Kelly Jones, who won just a single match of her three in the phase was also advanced to the final 16.
 
Emerging from the opening round of the single elimination phase (and combined with their second round opponent) were Watson and Lea, Smith and Albergaria, Benson and Li, and Shea and Williams. Lea advanced to the semifinals with a 7-3 win over Watson. Albergaria downed Smith 7-2. Li was tested, but survived a double hill battle against Benson, while Shea advanced with a 7-5 win over Williams.
 
Lea defeated Albergaria 7-5, as two of the JPNEWT representatives – Li and Shea – squared off in the other semifinal. The two had met three times in the finals on the JPNEWT tour, with Li winning all three. She defeated Shea in this match, as well; 7-4, to advance to the finals against Lea.
 
Li got out in front in the single race-to-9 final and stayed there. She completed her undefeated run with a 9-4 win over Lea and claimed the 2015 Regional Tour Championship title.

Samantha Barrett wins American Rotation title

Samantha Barrett and Stacie Bourbeau

The 15 Ball American Rotation Women’s Division held its second New England Women’s American Rotation Championships on December 21, 2014 at Snookers in Providence, RI. Thirty-eight women from all over New England competed this session. The top 16 players cashed, and the top 8 qualified to play in our Second New England Women’s American Rotation Championships. Players that advanced represented Stix and Stones (Abington, MA), Ivory Billiards (Holyoke, MA), Grand China Restaurant & Billiards (Salem, NH), and Snookers in Providence, RI.
 
Matches were streamed all day and we were fortunate to have Joe Tucker and Thomas Bertrand in the booth commentating the matches for us. Each and every player that has participated in 15 Ball American Rotation not only have shown a lot of heart and desire to improve, but these players have also shown admiration and respect towards those players that challenge them. We all are learning from each other and it’s wonderful to see each player enjoying the journey.
 
As for the purse, no outside sponsors were approached for this event, all money collected were given back to the prize fund, and it was an impressive payday. 1st $1500, 2nd $1000, 3rd/4th $575, 5th-8th $300, and for those players that won one match in the playoffs but didn’t advance to the championships placed 9th-16th, making $50 each! As for the event, We had two round robin groups, racing to 60 points, semi final rounds racing to 80 points, and our finals a race to 100. This session we had 3 players finish their matches undefeated going into the championship rounds. Congratulations to Lida Mullendore from Stix and Stones, Erica Testa from Grand China, and Stacie Bourbeau from Ivory Billiards for all their success and for representing their host rooms professionally.
 
After our 3 rounds in the Round Robin, the top 2 players in each advance to the Semi finals. In Group 1 Nicole Albergaria finished 1st with a 3-0 record and Samantha Barrett finished 2nd with a 2-1 record. In Group 2 we had a 3 way tie with 2-1 records. Going head to head, and then by ball counts, Erica Testa finished 1st and Stacie finished 2nd. Nelia Abrantes from Snookers RI missed the cut by 2 balls. Congratulations to Nelia for a great session.
 
Our first semi final match was with our last session championship finalists Nicole vs Stacie. Stacie advanced with an 80-44 win over Nicole. Our second semi final match was with both players that were representing Grand China, Erica vs Samantha. Samantha lost to Erica in the regular session giving her her only loss. This time Samantha won. She advanced with an 80-59 win over Erica.
 
Finals: Defending Champion Stacie Bourbeau against last sessions semifinalist Samantha Barrett. This final match was a race to 100 battle for the title. Stacie takes the lead at 44-36 and then next rack Sam ties it up 50-50. Sam takes the lead 66-54 and then next rack Stacie ties it up 70-70. Sam then takes the lead once again 81-79 and then eventually stops Stacie's momentum with a 100-86 win beating the defending champion. Stacie was the winner of our first RI Championship and our first New England Championship. Great Play Stacie and as always, your professionalism and poise at the table is enjoyable to watch.
 
As for our “New” Women's New England American Rotation Champion, this is her First time as a Title Holder at any venue. Way to go Samantha Barrett! It needs to be noted that Sam was invited to the NY 10 ball international womens event that week. She drove home Friday night from NY and went straight to her home pool room Grand China in Salem NH that night around10:30pm to play in her final playoff match to qualify and advance to the amro championships on Sunday. Sam sends me a text at 2 am stating that she just won and if off to get some sleep before work. Next day, Saturday she has to work a double at her job, which takes us to Championship Sunday at Snookers RI, where she play 12 hours straight of 15 ball American Rotation matches. Impressive drive and determination shown by Samantha Barrett. Great Job. Samantha won the Title and $1500 for 1st and Stacie won $1000 for 2nd. Below is the Top finishers and payouts. Congratulations to Everyone. 
 
 
 
Those players that missed advancing by one match also received $50 each placing 9th-16th. Congratulations to Lori Fitlin & Becky Ellsworth-Tucker from Snookers, Cameo Moy & Karen Dorr from Stix and Stones, Linda Estes & Debby Cauley from Ivory Billiards and Kristy Marr & Dawn Luz from Grand China for winning one match in the playoffs and placing 9th-16th. Thank you players and room owners for all your support, professionalism and enthusiasm for 15 Ball American Rotation. Because of you, we are growing, players are improving and we are one step closer towards mission success. For those interesting in participating in our next session please go to www.americanbilliardclub.com.
 
American Rotation is a game of 15 ball Rotation. Call shot, Call safe, Rack your own, alternate breaks, ball in hand after every break ( even if you scratch ). Balls 1-10 are worth 1 point each and Balls 11-15 are worth 2 points each ( 20 points per rack). Our Women’s Division matches will be racing to 100 points per match. Each room will have 10 women playing in a round robin format, minimum one match per week. American Rotation is here to raise the level of play in our country, 15 ball Supports and Compliments other tours not replace. AmRo 15 ball is the perfect addition to your training routine to help prepare for current tours and/or events. We are determined to step up our game in this country ( &Canada ) Our industry needs a boost in the right direction, and the time is now..