Archive Page

Tina Malm goes undefeated to win 1st Annual Ladies DE State 9-Ball Championship

Tina Malm

Downs Linda Shea twice, hot seat and finals, to claim title

It was a very active weekend for ladies’ pool across the country. Over the Oct.15-16 weekend, Texas held two ladies events while Florida held a Cues for the Cure fundraiser for breast cancer research. Intent on not being left out of the ‘females on the felt’ fun, the state of Delaware held its 1st Annual Ladies 9-Ball Championships. It was replete with well-known and respected women who’ve been plying their trade in the regional and national tour fields for many years, including the woman who went undefeated to win it, Tina Malm, and runner-up, Linda Shea, who’s as, if not more well-known for being at the helm of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour for as long as a lot of female competitors can remember. The event drew 28 entrants to Milford Billiards in Milford, DE.

As Shea has begun a process of turning over the reins of the JPNEWT to Briana Miller, officially in 2023, she’s ‘getting out’ a bit more these days, appearing away from the JPNEWT tables and testing her mettle at other tour and independent events. In particular, she’d been noticing that there’s a lot of money being offered in barbox competition.

“In this (Mid-Atlantic) area, everything is going barbox,” she said recently. “I took 2nd in an 8-Ball, Jack & Jill tournament at Brews & Cues (Glen Burnie, MD) recently and won $4,000, so I decided that I was going to investigate these barboxes.”

She was runner-up in this past weekend’s 9-ball event, only her second time playing on a barbox table, and will be playing in another Jack & Jill barbox event this weekend. She “enjoyed it very much,” she said of her experience at Milford Billiards, while noting that since a great deal of her tournament experience has played out on 9-ft tables, she’s having to make adjustments to the smaller, 7-ft tables.

“It’s totally different,” she said, “like a completely different game. There are a few things that are different; bank shots are a little different, you can’t do three-rail shots the same way and you have to take some of the power out of your game, shorten your stroke.

“I’m having to learn how to dumb down my stroke,” she added, “and it’s renewed my interest in learning how to downplay my game to accommodate the smaller table. I haven’t gotten that touch yet. It’s slower, but I still stroke it.”

Like Shea, Malm has a spent a lot of her title-winning career playing on 9 ft. tables and finds herself engaged recently in more 7 ft. match play because there’s a lot more of it here on the East Coast.

“It seems like I’m playing a lot more barbox pool,” she said, “but I’ve been a big table player for most of my career.”

Originally from San Diego, Malm got her start on that side of the country, winning a lot of her early titles on that side of the country. She was 1995’s Women’s Western Regional 9-Ball Tour Champion, 1999’s California State Women’s 9-Ball Champion and 2005’s Arizona Women’s Billiards Tour Champion, to name just a few. She and Shea crossed paths during a time when she was here about midway through the second decade of the century to be (among other things) the 2017 Delaware State Women’s 8-Ball Champion and Pennsylvania’s Women’s 9-Ball Champion, as well. She won this past April’s Women’s Player Championship at the SBE, too.

Though she and Malm have similar longevity curves on the ladies tour/event circuit, neither of them has a clear recollection of ever having played against each other.

“I feel like I’ve played against her before, when I was here in 2017-2018,” she said, “but I couldn’t tell you what our record against each other was.”

“This may have been the first,” was Shea’s recollection. “She came out (on the JPNEWT) once or twice, but I don’t recall ever having played her.”

It’s likely to be the last time that Shea ever says that.

Set up on opposite ends of the bracket, if they were going to meet at all on the winners’ side of that bracket, it was going to happen in the hot seat match. And it did. Malm got by Lisa Haas Kerrigan, Danielle Denola and Rachel Walters to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Nicole Nester. Shea downed Belinda Parker, Sharon O’Hanlon (long-time assistant to Shea on the JPNEWT) and Jennifer Tully to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal match against Sandy MacDonald Labar.

Shea defeated Labar 6-4, as Malm was busy sending Nester over 6-4. In their first of two, battling for the hot seat Malm and Shea went double hill, but not before some early and late drama.  

“She had me down 4-1,” Shea recalled, “and I came back to 5-5. I broke the last rack, scratched and she ran out.”

She noted that overall, “some funky things happened” in their two matches. She wasn’t being critical or making excuses for her play in either match. Just noting one of the fundamental axioms of the games.

“She definitely got the balls down and won,” she said. “That’s the way it works.”

On the loss side, in the semifinals, Shea drew Nicole Nester, who, following her loss to Malm, had not given up a rack. Nester shut out Jennifer Tully in her first loss-side match and in the quarterfinals, shut out Rachel Walters, who’d chalked up her own shutout against Labar to reach her. Shea turned the tables on that 10-rack run for Nester, giving up only a single rack to her in the semifinals.

Malm didn’t lose a step in the delay between sending Shea to the loss side and her return. She completed her undefeated run with a 6-2, single set win over Shea in the finals and claimed the 1st Annual Ladies Delaware State Barbox 9-Ball Championship.

Tarek Elmalla, event organizer, thanked Leo and Sherrie Weigand and their Milford Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as Ray Netta with Tuff Cuts (for streaming the event), Alyssa Solt for commentating on the stream, Ran Ji, and the newly-married Ben and Andrea Thomas-Davis for “helping with everything.”

Go to thread

Shaw wins final battle versus Appleton in Open NineBall Pro Players Championship

Jayson Shaw

Nearly 2,000 entrants, with some event crossovers, compete in Amateur events

As of March 31, three weeks before the Super Billiards Expo opened its doors, the Diamond Open NineBall Professional Players Championship was designated as an Official Nineball World Ranking event, and while it did not literally draw its entrance field from everywhere, there was a very evident sense of international competition. The final 16 featured representation from the US (five) and 11 competitors from seven foreign countries – Austria, Germany (2), Russia, the UK (2), Canada (2), the Philippines and Hong Kong (2). The international ‘feel’ of the event was most evident in what was easily among (if not “the”) most anticipated matchup of the four-day event, between the UK’s Jayson Shaw and Russia’s Fedor Gorst. The matchup, which occurred in the single-elimination quarterfinals, lived up to its billing, as the two battled to double hill before Shaw advanced. More on this later, along with the final matchup between Shaw and Darren Appleton, which waited until the 17th of its potential 21 games before Shaw pulled away to win the next two and claim the title. 

There were quite a few “wish I coulda been there” matches throughout the event’s four days, up to and including matches among the final 16, which were, for obvious reasons, witnessed by the SBE’s largest crowds in the Pro arena. Pre-single-elimination, there was the double hill battle between Shaw and Billy Thorpe, which moved Shaw into the final 16, the Fedor Gorst and Ralf Souquet (new school/old school) match that sent Gorst to the final 16, and Appleton’s two straight double hill matches; one win (Jeff Beckley) and one loss (Mhet Vergara), which sent “Dynamite” to the loss side, where a single win, over Bucky Souvanthong, sent him (Appleton) to the final 16. And, as always, any match featuring Earl Strickland as a competitor is always entertaining, whether because of exuberant antics or just plain rock-solid shooting.

The Shaw/Gorst match followed a Shaw “Sweet 16” victory over John Morra 11-6 and a Gorst win over Thorsten Hohmann 11-8. Gorst opened with two straight racks and kept that as a minimum lead until rack #17. By the 12th rack, Gorst was leading by four. Two straight racks that featured Shaw dropping a combination shot that dropped the 9-ball cut that lead in half. Gorst went three-up at 9-6, but Shaw came right back with a break and run that reduced it to two again.

Off a Gorst break, Shaw narrowed the lead to one until that 17th rack, when Shaw came within one. Shaw broke the 18th, but turned the table over briefly, before, with a second chance, he dropped a 3-9 combination that yielded the match’s first tie. Gorst dropped two balls on his break, but Shaw came through to get on the hill with his first lead of the match. Gorst, with a scratch-on-the-break assist from Shaw, made it interesting by winning the 20th, double hill rack.

Gorst broke dry in the deciding rack, but Shaw turned the table back over to Gorst, who promptly scratched shooting at the 2-ball. Shaw ran to the 8-ball and Gorst conceded the game and match. 

Moving into the semifinals, Shaw drew Mario He, who’d earlier defeated Jonathan Pinegar 11-7 and Oscar Dominguez 11-9. Appleton’s path to the finals from the final 16 started out against Earl Strickland. He got by him 11-6 and then downed Joseph Spence 11-3. In the semifinals, Appleton drew Billy Thorpe, who’d recently eliminated Robbie Capito 11-9 and Souquet 11-8. 

Shaw downed He 11-7, as Appleton was busy dispatching Thorpe 11-4. The all-UK battle was on.

In the early going of the finals, it appeared as though neither of them was going to win a rack off their own break. Appleton won the lag, broke dry and Shaw ran the table to take a 1-0 lead. Shaw broke, dropping two balls and scratching. Appleton set up a 1-9 combination to tie it up. They went back and forth like this, winning the other’s break to a single game lead for Shaw at 4-3.

Shaw broke the 8th rack, dropped one, and after giving the table back to Appleton briefly, won the rack, his first off his own break, to take the game’s first two-game lead. He made it a three-game lead (his first of two), before Appleton chalked up two in a row to make it 6-5. Shaw used a terrific jump shot at the 2-ball to maintain his run of rack #12. On Appleton’s break of rack #13, he dropped one ball, but almost immediately gave the table to Shaw, who missed hitting the 1-ball, completely. Shaw saw an obvious 1-9 combination awaiting Appleton’s arrival at the table, so, gentleman that he was, he picked up the cue ball and placed it in the position it needed to be for Appleton to make the combination. He did so without handling the cue ball Shaw had set for him.

Shaw dropped two balls on the break of rack #14 and used another terrific jump shot to jumpstart his third win off his own break and then, off Darren’s break, established his second three-rack lead at 9-6. Appleton fought right back, winning the next two and including his own terrific jump shot at the 1-ball that started his 8th game win.

Ahead by a single rack at 9-8, Shaw broke and ran the 18th (his fourth win off his own break) to reach the hill first. Darren broke the 19th rack, sinking one ball, but couldn’t see the 1-ball. He pushed (the one and only time that happened all match) and Shaw finished the game to claim the event title. 

Amateur events draw 35 shy of 2,000 entrants

Not including the two junior events for ages 17/Under and 12/under, the total entrants for which were not recorded, the nine amateur events of the 2022 SBE drew a total of 1,965 entrants (with some crossover between events). This brought the total number of participating pool players to 2,101. The two Pro events (73 Open and 63 Women) thus represented just 6% of the total number of players who competed this year. Trying to detail 9 events, especially the 996-entrant Open Amateur would be unwieldy, so we offer some information about and congratulations to the 94% percent who were the largest participating contingent of pool players at the 2022 SBE.

6-Ball Amateur Players Championship (200) – 1st Danny Mastermaker, 2nd Fred Goodman III, 3rd Jared Demalia/Daniel Dagotdot

Early Bird Super Seniors (58) – 1st Ike Runnels, 2nd Martin Ciccia, 3rd Al Muccilli/Flaco Rodriguez

Open Amateur (996) – 1st Chris Bruner, 2nd Pat McNally, 3rd Jomax Garcia/Derick Daya

Senior Amateur (364) – 1st Raymond McNamara, 2nd Chris Sutzer, 3rd Javier Perez/Efrain Morales

Super Seniors (149) – 1st Gene Rossi, 2nd Ed Matushonek, 3rd Frank Sorriento/Ace Aughty

Women’s Amateur (166) – 1st Tina Malm, 2nd Ashley Benoit, 3rd Nicole Nester/Bethany Tate

Junior (12 & Under) – 1st Jim Powell, 2nd D’Angelo (“Jaws”) Spain, 3rd Noah Majersky, 4th Evan Demelo

Junior (18 & Under) – 1st Brent Worth, 2nd Payne McBride, 3rd Landon Hollingsworth, 4th Yan Pena

ProAm BarBox (32) – 1st Joe Dupuis, 2nd Alan Rolan Rosado, 3rd Bart Czapla/Joey Tate

Go to thread

Miller wins her second straight on J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour

Briana Miller and Kia Burwell

In the wake of winning the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour’s season opener last month (March 5-6), after being away from the tables for about three years, Brianna Miller commented that while she hoped to be increasing the frequency of her competition in the weeks and months ahead, she was going to “stick with the JPNEWT for right now, to get back into the swing of things.” She took a ‘swing’ at Stop #2 on the tour this past weekend (April 9-10) and as she did in March, so, too, in April. She went undefeated to claim her second straight 2022 tour title. The event drew 21 entrants to Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA. 

Absent from the entrant list this time around were Miller’s season-opening hot seat opponent (Kathy Friend) and finals opponent (Caroline Pao). In as clear an indication of “out of the frying pan, into the fire” imaginable, she faced tour director Linda Shea in the hot seat match and Kia Burwell in the finals.

Following victories over Gina Cunningham 7-3, Susan Kimble 7-1 and a shutout over Ada Lio, Miller faced Anna Marks in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Shea, in the meantime, got by Suzzie Wong 7-4, Jolene Retallack 7-2 and Carol V. Clark to face Nicole Nester in the other winners’ side semifinal. Nester had just sent Kia Burwell to the loss side in a rare shutout against Burwell.

Shea downed Nester 7-3 and turned to a hot seat match against Miller, who’d defeated Marks 7-3. Miller claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Shea and waited for Burwell to get back.

Burwell took her opening, loss-side round versus Suzzie Wong 7-5 and then, in something of a response to her winners’ side shutout loss, advanced to the quarterfinals, with two straight shutout wins over Carol V. Clark and fresh from the winners’ side, Marks. Nester picked up Alyssa Solt, who’d lost her opening round match against Linda Cheung and embarked on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Ada Lio 7-4 and, in their rematch, Linda Cheung 7-3.

Nester stopped Solt’s loss-side run at four, downing her 7-3 on Saturday night. Nester was unable to return on Sunday for a rematch against Burwell, who leapfrogged over the quarterfinals and downed Shea in the semifinals 7-5. Miller completed her second straight undefeated run on the tour with a 7-3 victory over Burwell in the finals.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Cues, ThinkTechMD for their streaming and social media services, as well as Gina Cunningham (real estate agent of Keller Williams Integrity) and George Hammerbacher. The next event on the JPNEWT, scheduled for May 21-22, will be hosted by On Cue Sports Bar & Grill in Front Royal, VA.

Go to thread

Beltrami-Nester goes undefeated to claim MD State Open Amateur Women’s Championship title

Loye Bolyard, Nicole Beltrami-Nester, Tina Malm and Rick Scarlato, Jr.

Varias goes undefeated to win concurrently-run Open Drop-In Tournament

As it turned out, the ‘undercard’ in Maryland this past weekend (Feb. 12-13) drew more entrants than the main event. On the Hill productions held the Maryland State Open Amateur Women’s Championships 9-Ball event, for competitors with a Fargo Rate of 625 and under, at Brews and Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD and as something of a bonus event, decided to run an Open ‘Drop-in’ Tournament at the same time. The Open Drop-in tournament drew 33 entrants, which required a single preliminary match, while the Ladies Championship, which drew 30, awarded a bye to two of its first-round competitors.

Both winners – Nicole Beltrami-Nester in the Ladies event and Jimmy Varias in the ‘Drop-in’ – became occupants of their respective hot seats and had to contend with strong and long loss-side bids by competitors who challenged them in the finals. Tina Malm lost her second winners’ side match and won seven on the loss side to meet Beltrami-Nester in the Ladies final. Branden Williams lost his opening match and won eight on the loss side to meet up with Varias in the ‘Drop-in’ event.

Eugenia Gyftopoulos

Nicole Nester entered the MD State Ladies 9-Ball Championship after a strong previous year. Her recorded earnings in 2021 were her second-best since she started showing up on the payout lists of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour in 2011. She cashed in a single event that year, finishing 5th at a stop in November. Her best year was 2013, when she cashed in six JPNEWT events and was 5th in that year’s MD State Women’s Championship. Safe to say, she’s off to a real good start in 2022.

She won three out of every four games she played through her first three matches, downing Dawn Stickler (1), Judie Wilson (3) and June Prescop (2) to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Kelly Daniel. Eugenia Gyftopoulos, in the meantime, got by Rachel Walters (4), Debra Pavan Peterman (2) and Jane Im (2) to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal versus KanKan Yu.

Beltrami-Nester downed Daniel 6-1, while Gyftopoulos sent Yu to the loss side 6-2. Beltrami-Nester claimed the hot seat 6-1 (upping her game-winning percentage by three points) and waited for Malm to finish her long haul on the loss side.

On that loss side, Yu picked up a rematch against Colleen Knauff-Shoop, whom she’d sent to the loss side, double hill, in the winners’ side second round. Knauff-Shoop was working on a five-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated June Prescop 6-4 and Christina Madrigale 5-2. It was Daniel who drew Malm, four matches into her loss-side winning streak with wins #3 and #4 against Jane Im, by forfeit, and Theresa Tascarella 7-4.

Colleen Knauff-Shoop

Knauff-Shoop won her rematch against Yu 6-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Malm, who’d defeated Daniel 7-3. Malm stopped Knauff-Shoop’s loss-side run at five, with a 7-3 win in those quarterfinals and then gave up just a single rack to Gyftopoulos in the semifinals. Beltrami-Nester completed her undefeated run with a shutout over Malm in the finals and claimed the event title.

Varias opens 2022 campaign with an undefeated run

Like Beltrami-Nester, Jimmy Varias was coming off a strong year; his best-ever since he started recording cash payouts in 2013. Two 2021 runner-up finishes, in the Dynaspheres Cup 10-Ball event in August (losing to Jayson Shaw in the finals) and the MD State Bar Table 8-Ball Championships in September (losing to Dylan Spohr in the finals), led the pack of cash finishes last year. Also like Beltrami-Nester, it’s safe to say that he’s off to a real good start in 2022.

His path to the winners’ circle started with a shutout over Clint Clayton, an 8-2 win over Justin Pelech and an 8-6 win over Joseph Wright, Jr., which brought him to a winners’ side semifinal against Bryan Jones. Steve Fleming, a strong, veteran Mid-Atlantic competitor, got by Andres Kinones 7-2, Paul Krimes 7-5 and shutout Greg Schuler to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Rick Winpigler. 

Fleming advanced to the hot seat match 7-2 over Winpigler and was joined by Varias, who’d defeated Jones 8-2. Varias claimed the hot seat 8-3 over Fleming and like Beltrami-Nester, waited for an opponent (Branden Williams, in his case) to complete a lengthy trip on the loss side of the bracket.

Five matches into his loss-side trip, including another shutout over Schuler and a 7-2 win over John Moody, Sr. brought Williams to Jones. Winpigler picked up Glenn Loveland, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Jones and then, defeated Paul Krimes 6-6 (Krimes racing to 7) and Joseph Wright, Jr. by shutout.

Winpigler downed Loveland 7-4, and in the quarterfinals, faced a rematch versus Williams, who’d eliminated Jones 7-1. In those quarterfinals, Williams redeemed his earlier double hill loss to Winpigler and defeated him 7-4.

Williams completed his loss-side-of-the-bracket trip with a 7-5 victory over Fleming. Varias handed Williams his second loss in the finals 8-3 to claim the ‘Drop-in’ portion of the weekend events.

Tour directors Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff at Brews & Cues for their hospitality, as well as sponsors AlleyKat Cue Sports, AZBilliards, Aramith Balls, Simonis Cloth, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region, Safe Harbor Retirement Planners, Whyte Carbon Fiber Cue Shafts and MB Cues.

Go to thread

Burwell goes undefeated for the first time to claim her first JPNEWT title since 2018

Nicole Nester, Linda Shea, Melissa Jenkins, Kia Burwell and Naoko Dabreo

Kia Burwell has been a consistent performer on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) and other professional and semiprofessional tours and events since about 2015. An oddity of our AZB Money Leaderboard had her climbing to her highest number on that leaderboard (141) last year, even though her best earnings year, to date, has been 2018, when she came from the loss side to win her first JPNEWT stop in March of that year. This past weekend (June 26-27), Burwell won her second JPNEWT stop and went undefeated for the first time.

The tour returned to New Jersey for the first time since August, 2016 and welcomed a new venue. The event drew 21 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

As the JPNEWT approaches the midway point of its 2021 season (with stop #6 of 12, scheduled for July 17-18), the tour standings experienced a bit of a shuffle among its top players. Caroline Pao, who continues to look for her 8th win on the tour since 2019, finished out of the money in this one, though her previous two victories, runner-up and 3rd place finish in the first four events put her far enough ahead that she still sits atop the tour standings. In the absence of Liz Taylor at this event, Nicole Nester moved up a spot to be 2nd behind Pao. Tour director Linda Shea moved up a spot, too, to #3. Burwell, who came into the event in 7th place in the standings, moved up three slots to take over 4th place. Taylor moved down three to end up in 5th place, while Judie Wilson maintained her position in 6th place.

Burwell’s path to the winners’ circle took her past Jennifer Tully 7-3, Ashley Burrows 7-5 and Alison Davis 7-1 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Linda Shea. Nicole Nester, in the meantime, downed Kris Consalvo-Kemp 7-3, Naoko Dabreo 7-5 and Ada Lio in a shutout to draw Melissa Jenkins in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Burwell downed Shea 7-4 and moved into the hot seat match. Nester joined her after dispatching Jenkins 7-5. Burwell claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Nester.

On the loss side, Shea picked up Ashley Burrows, who was working on a four-match, loss-side streak that had begun with her loss to Burwell and recently eliminated Ashima Butler 7-4 and Ada Lio 7-2. Jenkins drew Dabreo, who was also working on a four-match, loss-side streak and had most recently defeated Joanne Corbett 7-2 and Jay Pass 7-5. 

Jenkins put a stop to Dabreo’s loss-side run 7-5 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Shea leap-frogged over Burrows, who ran into transportation issues associated with her return on Sunday and was unable to compete.

Shea gave up only a single rack to Jenkins in the quarterfinals. She then defeated Nester in the semifinals 7-3. Burwell completed her first undefeated run on the tour with a 7-4 victory over Shea in the finals.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked Kris Consalvo-Kemp and her staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Bitzel and Associates PTPA Physical Therapy, George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor) and Britanya E Rapp (angle aim Art) for the event’s live stream. Stop #6 on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of July 17-18, will be hosted by Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD. 

Pao goes undefeated to chalk up her seventh win on the JPNEWT since 2019

Caroline Pao and Nicole Nester

Last month (April 10-11), Caroline Pao joined 18 other competitors at stop #2 on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour, looking for her seventh straight win on the tour, dating back to 2019. Liz Taylor defeated her twice; once, in a winners’ side semifinal and again, in the finals. This past weekend, as 24 women gathered to compete at stop #3, hosted by First Break Sports Bar in Sterling, VA, there was some speculation that Taylor v. Pao might go at it again, in search of the event title. It didn’t happen. In fact, they didn’t meet in this one at all. Pao, though, went undefeated through the field to claim that seventh, though not ‘seventh straight’ JPNEWT title.

Pao faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals. She was awarded an opening round bye and opened her campaign with a 7-3 win over Kia Burwell. She then shut out Judie Wilson and drew Kelly Wyatt in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Carol V. Clark, in the meantime, also with an opening round bye, survived a double hill fight against Ashley Burrows and defeated Lai Li 7-5 to draw Nicole Nester in the other winners’ side semifinal. Nester, who would go on to face Pao in the finals, had just survived her own double hill challenge versus Liz Taylor, sending her to the loss side in their winners’ side quarterfinal match. 

Clark sent Nester to the loss side 7-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Pao, who’d defeated Wyatt 7-3. Pao gave up just a single rack to claim the hot seat over Clark.

Tour director Linda Shea, who’d started out in a promising direction on the winners’ side with two straight shutouts over Calaia Jackson and Kimberly Smith-Martin, ran into Kelly Wyatt in one of the winners’ side quarterfinals. When Wyatt sent her to the loss side 7-3, she downed Melissa Jenkins 7-4 and then, survived a double hill battle versus Ashley Burrows to draw Nester. Wyatt, in the meantime, picked up Liz Taylor, who’d followed her defeat at the hands of Nester with victories over Cecilia Strain 7-2 and Kia Burwell 7-1.

There were, at this point, six competitors left. Five of the six were among the top 10 in the tour standings going into this third stop. Pao, Taylor, Nester and Shea were, in order, #1 through #4, while Carol V. Clark was #6.  There were two rematch possibilities in the quarterfinals. It was Taylor and Nester who advanced to meet a second time. Taylor eliminated Wyatt 7-3, as Nester was busy in a double hill fight that she eventually won over Shea.

Any hopes for a second straight tour stop with Pao and Taylor in the finals was eliminated in the quarterfinals, when Nester downed Taylor 7-2. Nester earned her spot in the finals with a 7-5 win over Clark in the semifinals. 

Pao completed her undefeated run with a 7-5 win in the finals, which allowed her to maintain her top spot in the tour standings. In fact, the tour’s top five in the standings maintained their positions with the points they earned at this event. Pao, Taylor, Nester, Shea and Wilson (who finished in tie for 9th place) remained as the top five. Kia Burwell moved up a single spot to #6, while Carol V. Clark’s third-place finish moved her up from #9 to a tie with Burwell.

Tour director Shea thanked the ownership and staff at First Break Sports Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Bitzel and Associates PTPA (Physical Therapists), George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor/stream commentator) and for the live stream, Britanya E. Rapp of angle aim Art. The next stop on the JPNEWT (#4), scheduled for June 12-13, will be hosted by Triple Nines Bar & Billiards in Elkridge, MD.

 

Pao comes from the loss side to win sixth title on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour

Nicole Nester and Caroline Pao

Caroline Pao won twice on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) last year (2020). The two wins followed a somewhat brief, pandemic-inspired, competitive-play drought, before which she had finished in the tie for 9th place at the Ashton Twins Classic in January. She’d won all three times she competed on the tour in 2019, which proved to be, and remains, her best recorded earnings year to date.

On the weekend of March 6-7, 2021, at the JPNEWT season opener, she entered her sixth JPNEWT event in the past two years. She was looking for her sixth straight win on the tour and she found it. At Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD, where she met another long-time veteran of the tour, Nicole Nester, twice. Though knocked out of the hot seat match by Nester, Pao returned from a victory in the semifinals to defeat Nester in the finals. The event drew 26 entrants to Triple Nines.

Pao opened with a shutout over Melissa Mason, a 7-1 win over Lynn Richard and a 7-4 win against Teri Thomas, which set her (Pao) up in a winners’ side semifinal against Tour Director Linda Shea, with whom she’s had a battle or two over the years. Nicole Nester, in the meantime, got by KanKan Yu 7-4, and Deb Peterman 7-3, as a prelude to a double hill battle against Liz Taylor, fresh off a 3rd place finish at the VA State Ladies 10-Ball Championships a couple of weeks ago. Nester prevailed and advanced to her winners’ side semifinal matchup, against Kathy Friend.

Pao moved on to the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Shea and was joined by Nester, who’d defeated Friend 7-4. Nester claimed the hot seat 7-3.

On the loss side, Friend picked up Christine Pross, who’d suffered a winners’ side quarterfinal 7-5 loss to Shea. Pross went on to down Ceci Strain 7-3 and survive a double hill bout against Shanna Lewis. Liz Taylor, who’d followed her loss to Pao with a loss side victory over Judie Wilson 7-1, locked up in a double hill battle with the tour’s #2 competitor in the standings, Kia Burwell. Taylor jumped out of that frying pan and into the fire of the #1 player in the standings, TD Linda Shea.

Taylor dropped Shea 7-2 and in the quarterfinals, faced Friend, who’d defeated Pross 7-5. Taylor won that quarterfinal match 7-4 over Friend before having her modest four-match, loss-side streak ended by Pao in the semifinals 7-4. Pao completed her sixth straight win on the tour with a 9-3 victory in the finals.

Tour director Shea thanked Stan Nasiatka and his Triple Nines staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Bitzel and Associates Physical Therapy and Brit Rapp of angle aim Art for sponsoring the live stream. The next stop (#2) on the tour, scheduled for April 10-11, will be hosted by Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.

Shanna Lewis gets by Lai Li twice, double hill, to win JPNEWT season opener

Shanna Lewis

Pool tournaments will often play host to competitors who, for one reason or another, have been away from the game for a while. Depending upon the skill level they’d attained before they stopped competing, how long they’ve been away and the overall competitive level of the field they enter upon their return, the result could go either way. The competitor could go ‘two and out,’ if they’re seriously out of practice and stroke, or they could make it seem as though pool’s like riding a bicycle, where one can more or less pick up where they left off.

Shanna Lewis, whose last reported cash payout in a pool tournament was at a Q Master Billiards Mid-Atlantic Women’s 9-Ball Open in 2015 (9th place), returned to the tables this past weekend (March 7-8) to compete in the season opener of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour. Lewis chose the ‘like riding a bicycle’ option and went undefeated through the field of 31, downing last year’s runner-up in the Tour Championship standings, Lai Li, twice. The $500-added (by Coins of the Realm), NAPT Div. II Semi-Pro event drew 31 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.

Her own assessment of her TAFT (time away from table) was more in the vicinity of 10 years. It was an absence prompted by a decision to focus on the business career side of her life. She’s back, now, still working on the business side of her career, but with some flexibility to spend more TAT (time at table). While acknowledging that she’s returned with her skills more or less intact, she noted that it wasn’t as easy as it looked from the nature of the undefeated run and her two victories over Lai Li might indicate.

“Yeah, there were times during the tournament when I was thinking, ‘Yeah, this is great,” she said, “but there were other times when I felt like I couldn’t put a ball in the hole that was a straight shot.”

That said, Lewis was back on the bicycle right from the start, winning 14 of her first 17 games. She gave up only one rack to Judie Wilson and then two to Melissa Mason before running into Elaine Wilson, who, in essence, by chalking up five racks against her, applied some brakes to Lewis’ bicycle. It dropped Lewis’ game-winning percentage by 10 points in a single match. Lewis won, though, and advanced to face Teri Thomas in a winners’ side semifinal.

Lai Li, in the meantime, had opened with a 7-1 victory over Charlynn Dzambo, defeated Kelly Wyatt 7-4 and downed the tour’s 2020 champion, Linda Shea, 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal.  The draw wasn’t getting any easier as Li advanced to face Kia Sidbury in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Lewis got into the hot seat match with another 7-1 victory, over Thomas, and faced Li, who’d sent Sidbury to the loss side 7-4. In their first of two, they battled to double hill before Lewis prevailed to sit in her first hot (bicycle) seat in a while.

On the loss side, Nicole Nester and Sharon O’Hanlon were working on modest three-match, loss-side winning streaks that had begun when they’d lost their winners’ side quarterfinal match to  Teri Thomas and Kia Sidbury, respectively. Nester and O’Hanlon both won two loss-side double hill battles; Nester, versus Colleen Shoop and Eugenia Gyftopoulos; O’Hanlon, over two ‘powerhouse’ opponents – Nicole King and Tour Director, Linda Shea. They did not, however, draw rematches because Nester drew Sidbury and O’Hanlon drew Thomas.

Nester advanced to the quarterfinals 7-4 over Sidbury, as Thomas eliminated O’Hanlon 7-3. Nester then downed Thomas 7-3 in those quarterfinals, before herself being eliminated in a double hill fight versus Li in the semifinals.

A second, slightly longer double hill fight, Li’s third straight, ensued in the finals. Lewis won it 9-8 to claim the title to JPNEWT’s 2020 season opener.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, The Turtle Rack (www.mezzusa.com), Baltimore City Cues, and the live stream, sponsored by Britanya E. Rapp, billiards artist (angle aim Art). The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of April 4-5, will be hosted by Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.

Testa comes from the loss side to down Shea in finals of Stop #2 on the JPNEWT

L to R: Erica Testa, Kia Sidbury, Judie Wilson, Nicole King, Chari Slater, Linda Shea

While it’s still a little early to be talking about tour rankings, and who might or might not advance to be the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour champion at the conclusion of its season in November, the tour’s second stop, held on the weekend of April 28-29, did result in a bit of shuffling at the top of those rankings. Erica Testa, who entered Stop #2 in second place behind Kia Sidbury in the single-event rankings, came from the loss side to down Linda Shea in the finals. Testa moved ahead of Sidbury into first place. In the absence of Heather Platter, who was ranked second, Sidbury, who finished in the tie for 5th place, moved into the second spot. Shea’s runner-up finish moved her from 5th to 3rd, while Judie Wilson’s third-place finish kept her in the #4 spot in the rankings. The event drew 18 entrants to Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.
 
After an opening round bye, Testa downed Chari Slater and Anita Sowers to draw Shea in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Wilson, in the meantime (also after a bye) defeated Suzanne Sellet and Melissa Jenkins to meet Sidbury in the other winners’ side semifinal. The four women in those two matches were four of the early-tour’s six best players (Heather Platter and Cheryl Sporleder did not compete in this event). Shea sent Testa to the loss side 7-4, as Wilson was working on a double hill win over Sidbury. Shea claimed the hot seat (her first of the early season) 7-1 over Wilson and waited on the return of Testa.
 
Over on the loss side, Testa drew a re-match against Slater, who’d defeated Tina Marinelli, Sharon O’Hanlon (double hill) and Melissa Jenkins 7-4 to earn that re-match. Sidbury picked up Nicole King, who’d originally been defeated by Shea, and gotten by Elaine Wilson 7-3 and Nicole Nester 7-2 on the loss side.
 
Advancement to the quarterfinals was hotly contested with both matches going double hill. When the double hill dust settled, King and Testa had advanced. Testa eliminated King 7-5 in those quarterfinals, and then, spoiled Judie Wilson’s bid for a re-match against Shea (and movement up the rankings ladder) with a 7-3 win in the semifinals.
 
It was an ‘extended race to 9’ final. Coming from the loss side, Testa had to beat Shea to seven racks, to extend the race to 9. She did so and added two more for a 9-6 win that gave her the event title and sole possession of first place in the tour rankings.
 
In addition to the Open event, on Sunday, the tour added its second Amateur event, open to players with skill levels at “4” or below. That event was won by Shelah Joner, who, in addition to $40 in cash, was awarded a paid entry into the next JPNEWT event. That event, scheduled for the weekend of May 19-20, will be hosted by First Break Café and Billiards in Sterling, VA.

Shea comes back from semifinals to defeat Whitman in JPNEWT Season Opener

Linda Shea continues to be a force to reckon with on her own J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour, which opened its 2016 season on the weekend of March 19-20. She advanced to the hot seat match in the $1,000-added ($500 from Coins of the Realm) event which drew 29 entrants to Triple Nines Bar & Billiards in Elkridge, MD, and was sent to the semifinals by Kim Whitman. She returned from those semifinals to defeat Whitman in an extended race-to-9 final, chalking up her first 2016 tour win.
 
Following victories over Teri Thomas, Nicole King, and Colleen Shoop, Shea advanced to a winners' side semifinal versus Nicole Nester. Whitman, in the meantime, who'd survived a double hill opening round battle against Delia Mocanu, went on to defeat Sharon O'Hanlon, and Kia Sidbury to end up in the other winners' side semifinal against Nicole Monaco. Shea and Whitman got into the hot seat match with identical 7-4 victories over Nicoles Nester and Monaco. Whitman claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Shea and waited on her return.
 
On the loss side, Monaco had the misfortune of running into Erica Testa, who'd been defeated in the event's opening round by Judie Wilson and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would propel her into the semifinals versus Shea. She downed Kristina Douglas, O'Hanlon, Shoop and Heather Platter to draw Monaco. Nester didn't fare much better in the 'draw' department, picking up Mocanu, who was also defeated in the event's opening round by Whitman, and was on her own five-match, loss-side streak that began with two straight double hill wins (over Sierra Reams and Carol V. Clark). She went on to defeat Judie Wilson 7-3, Britanya Rapp 7-1, and survived her third, loss-side double hill match (vs. Kia Sidbury) to pick up Nester.
 
Nester ended Mocanu's streak 7-3, and in the quarterfinals, faced Testa, whose streak continued with a double hill win over Monaco. Testa was gaining momentum. She allowed Nester only a single rack in those quarterfinals, and advanced to meet Shea. Testa put up a fight in those semifinals, but Shea prevailed 7-5 for a second shot at Whitman in the hot seat.
 
They played an extended race-to-9, in which, if the loss-side opponent reaches "7" first, the race is extended to 9 games. Shea hit that "7" spot first, went on to win 9-7 and claimed the season opening title.
 
As representative of the JPNEWT, Shea extended thanks to the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of April 30-May 1, will be hosted by Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.