Archive Page

Derby City Wrap Up – Melling Wins 9-Ball, Busty is Master of the Table

Chris Melling

Derby City Classic XX, January 19-27, 2018
LIVE from the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino, Elizabeth, IN
Francisco Bustamante’s win in the DCC One Pocket Championship, compounded with his 4th in Banks and 12th in 9-Ball totaled 198.5 points and secured his 3rd All-Around Champion and Master of the Table title.
Justin Bergman, with 153.3, got $3,000 for second and, for a first in the history of DCC, two players tied for 3rd and shared the $2,000. Corey Deuel and Shane Van Boening accumulated 141.0 points each.
Race to 9, Winner Break.
What a Final! We were graced with genius. In the wee, small hours, the hill-hill thriller was truly worth waiting up for. What would happen next, kept us on the edge of our seats until 3:30 am.
The 363 entries vying for the $16,000 first place prize money had all come down to two: England’s Chris Melling and Canada’s John Morra.
With snooker tour experience, the wise and wily Melling always employed his motto, “When in trouble, stick ’em!”  He certainly utilized it in play today,
Back in the semi’s, Dennis Orcullo got off to an expected lead, At 4-1, his tactics slowed the pace of Melling’s fast and loose shooting style to a standstill. Orcullo was taking more time to rack the racks than he was to run them.
Unintimidated, Chris patiently clawed to get ahead to 8-7. With nothing to shoot at, a snooker exchange ensued.
Ducking and dodging are where Melling excels. Being truly outmaneuvered, Dennis saw his quest for another DCC finals quickly slip away as Chris quietly closed the set, 9-7.
Morro, in semis #2, was up against his nemesis, Shane Van Boening. And, John had a score to settle. Shane had beaten him repeatedly in past encounters, including the DCC 9-Ball Finals in 2014.
Today, John got off to comfortable 3-0 lead. “And the next thing I knew, I was behind 3-5. I thought, I am not going to hand it to him.”
John summoned the Morra mustard and never lost another game: At 9-5, he regained his berth in the Accu-Stats Arena to face Chris.
Chris had begun the day in round 10 by administering a 9-5 battering of Joshua Filler. Morra had drawn a bye.
Melling’s buy-back still intact, he was leading Donny Mills 8-5. Needing only 1, it looked like it was going to stay that way. 
Chris was not familiar with ringer Donny Mills.
Donny has a history of finishing in the money, He fears no one, he revels in devouring champions, which was exactly what he did to Melling, he devoured him.
Chris never did capture that final rack, Donny did. 
Coincidently, with the DCC redraw process, he drew Morra. Donny managed 7.
Morra knew what to expect from Chris’s game plan. The emphasis would be on “when in doubt duck,” lots of hiding whitey, ballbuster shot-making, few misses and, elegant run outs.
And that’s just how the finals started until Chris, with a chance to move ahead at 4-2, missed! John closed out that rack and empowered…ran a six-pack!
Breaking at 8-3, all Morra needed was one more rack. He made a ball! And, missing within an inch of perfect position, he allowed Melling back at the table.
It was like he hadn’t left. From the start he attacked. Ball after ball fell in the hole. 4-8, 5-8, 6-8…
You could see the demons arise in Morra’s demeanor as Melling pummeled away. 
At 7-8 Melling, John got a look at a ball. He wisely, laid a snooker only to have Chris connect and leave him safe. 8-8!
Chris, capitalizing on the final opportunity, and calmly ran the winning rack. Relieved, and probably exhausted, his head fell forward as he took a moment’s rest and let it all sink in: What a deficit he had overcome.
The crowd applauded and yelled, you could tell that they felt empathy for the mild-mannered Canadian with the smooth stroke and impeccable composure.
John sincerely congratulated Chris, “Well played.”
For Melling, who was, incidentally, celebrating his 39th birthday, this was indeed a memorable moment. Not only had he captured one of pool’s most prestigious titles, he had survived 9-days of pool’s most grueling arena. 
Happy birthday to Chris, he earned it. He’ll never forget his performance today, neither will John.
“Somedays, it’s just not to be.” he later commented, philosophically.
Melling, clutching his new crystal obelisk award, has contributed to DCC ’s history, There is a feeling of agelessness when winning a championship, He might honor Jack Benny and remain 39 forever.
Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth,  Cyclop Balls, Lucasi Custom, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, and Samsara Cues.
Congratulations Greg and Chad at Diamond Billiards for 20 memorable years of DCC! And, thanks to their tournament crew for their contributions to these reports! That’s you, Brett Baker, Bill Stock, Paul Smith, Bonnie and Ric–the used to be Bad Boys of DCC; They’ve been demoted to naughty!
BTW: BadBoys captured alternative matches, featuring the top pros, which will be uploaded next week at for your viewing pleasure.
AND, let’s not forget Accu-Stats. Their DCC Vimeo On Demand Series featuring ALL the TV Table matches will be uploaded, soon.
You can also take advantage of their all-new On-Line Subscription service. 
Visit for more info.
Tell ‘em you read about it on AZB!
It took 2 grand to enter and the man Billy Incardona called, “The greatest bank pool player in the world, Billy Thorpe, outlasted them all.
At $600 a ball, Shawn Murphy was the last man to get massacred.
Jeremy Jones and Corey Deuel hung in there, while past winners, Skyler Woodward and Shannon Daulton, were the first to exit.

Van Boening Wins Challenge of Champion

Shane Van Boening (Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson –

The Challenge of Champions, in its 24th year on ESPN, pitted Shane Van Boening against Holland’s 2014 World 9-Ball Champion Niels Feijen. With the Dutchman taking the first set 5-4, and having opportunity to take the 2nd at 4-4, Niels fell to the comeback power of SVB. The Sudden Death, race to one, formula proved fatal for Feijen as Shane’s nerves never faltered and he was into the finals.
Austrian, 2015 China Open Champion Albin Ouschan now faced 2014 Challenge winner Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann. Albin, stoic, never strayed from the task in hand. His calm composure assisted as he took the first set 5-4.
Thorsten, with huge wins this year as he capture his 4th World Cup if 14.1 and CSI’s US Open 10-Ball Championship at the Rio, was at a loss and, uncharacteristically, began to err.
At 5-2, Albin sealed the deal and was off to the finals and a face-off with Shane.
Still in stroke, Ouschan shook Shane as he snared the first set, handily, at 5-3.
In an earlier conversation with Paul Smith, Diamond’s table set-up maestro, Shane confided, ”The Challenge of Champions is the tournament that I saw on ESPN that motivated me to become a pro. I really want to win this one.”
It didn’t look like it was going to happen this year either. 
In the 2nd set, Albin took an early lead. It wasn’t until the 2nd game that nerves reared heir ugly head.  Retired WPBA pro Mary Kenniston, cheerleading from the bleachers, chimed her support. “Come on Shane, let’s go!”
Solid as a rock, punishing Albin for every minor error, Van Boening sped up the hill, and at 5-1, we were at Sudden Death: One game for the title–and the $25,000 first place prize money. Bupkis for second.
Ouschan was shaking now, not visibly, but on the inside he later shared. Shane didn’t look too comfortable either as makable balls were missed by both players. But, it was Albin’s scratch, with only 2 balls on the table, that added another notch to Shane’s accomplishments while eliminating a lifetime goal on his bucket list.
Albin was devastated. “I’ve never felt nerves like that before. Even when I was in the finals playing for $40,000. Maybe, it was the thought of not winning anything that scared me. At least in the China Open, I knew that i had 20,000 coming.”
Billiards International promotor, Gregg Hovey, added, “These tournaments are the most brutal out there. It takes great courage to maintain championship composure.”
Being a four week old dad can do that: Our congratulations to Albin on the birth of his daughter, Lene Sophie.
Although the order of airing has not been determined, scheduled ESPN dates for all of the Billiards International events are December 13, 20, and 27. Mark your calendars, set your smart phones, these shows offer some of the closest, drama-filled footage captured to date.
Billiards International thanks its sponsors: Diamond Billiard Products, Simonis Cloth and Aramith Balls, Cue Mate, Mueller, Pool Dawg, and Seminole Casino  Hotel.

2014-2015 Bluegrass BCA Awards Banquet

The Kentucky Bluegrass BCA wrapped up its Annual League Championships on May 28th. 132 players from all over the state participated in the 2014-15 season. An estimated $30,000 in cash and prizes was awarded to players during the Bluegrass BCA Annual Awards Banquet, which was held on June 14th at Silver Cue Billiards in Lexington.
In team competition it was “Live Action” receiving top honors as they finished the year as the “First Place Team in the State.” Team members include: Richard Collins, Kyle Easley, Dean Lawson, D.J. Sharp Jr., Doc Shepard, Paul Smith, and Mike Tackett.
Anthony Beeler and Isela Arras finished the year as the “#1 Ranked Male and Female Players in the State.” Dale Richardson and Tracy Featherly won “Most Improved Player” awards. Tim Hill, David Jones, Brooke Caperton and Tammy Moyer won awards for the “Most Perfect Scores.” David Jones and his wife Ashley won awards for “Most Games Won” and “Most Weeks Played with the Highest Average.”  Ashley Jones also won the coveted “League Sportsmanship Award.”
If you are interested in joining the Bluegrass BCA or would like more information about the League call Tammy Moyer at: 859-619-0729.

Derby City Classic XVI Underway

Earl Strickland

Damn it's cold! But, nasty weather didn't stop 361 Bank Pool entrants traveling from near and far in search of glory and, of course, a chance at a downpayment on the $25,000 Master of the Table added cash.
Diamond Billiard Products awards $20,000 to the player who accumulates the highest finishes in the Bank Pool, One-Pocket, and 9-Ball events.
Diamond also adds another $50,000 to those three events.
If that's not enough, there's the Diamond Big Foot 10-Ball Challenge: Diamond doubles the 16 large that, arguably, sixteen of the world's best 10-Ball busters ante-up, at a grand a man, to battle it out for $32,000. BTW, it's single elimination and only the top four finishers get paid. (Suddenly, it just got colder.)
And, let's not forget the 14.1/ Straight Pool preliminary rounds where the top 8 high runs, derived from a ball-in-hand break shot, square off in single elimination.
Or, the PUMP-UP MINI tourneys held in the wee small hours–just to keep you in stroke–when you really should be in bed resting-up for tomorrow's torture.
And, we love it., we love it so much, we've have been lining up for 16 years to this Derby City medley; Young and old; fearless and full of fight, battered and bewildered, we're all here, hundreds of us.
Where else do pool's super stars get to mingle with the best and the brightest of new talent? And, get beaten. Look at Justin Hall's success against Shannon Daulton. Or, Justin Bergman's against Bustey in last July's Southern Classic.
The race to 3 game, short rack Banks division held few surprises–except that Efren is back.
Rumor had it that he'd retired. Not yet he hasn't. Running 7 and out still holds a certain satisfaction. (He's just warming up for One-Pocket.) He's also playing in the 10-Ball with Rodney Morris today on the Accu-Stats' TV table.
Efren has 5 Master of the Table titles. Wouldn't it be great to see him take another? Or, is it like expecting Federer to take out Djokovic and Nadal? This week will tell.
What might be considered an upset was when not-so-well-known Paul Smith had Brandon Shuff shuffling back to the buy-back booth.
Saturday also has Scott Frost, Shannon D, Freddy the Beard, Cliff Joyner and, more. John Brumback  and Shawn Putnam will square off while Corey Deuel meets Sylver Ochoa.
The Big Foot Challenge opened on the Accu-Stats TV table with Scotland's Jayson Shaw pitted against former Florida State Champion Robb Saez. Shaw had had little sleep and delivered, not his best, Accu-Stats Total Performance Average(TPA) of .826 but, let's not forget, this is the ten foot. Rob garnered an uncharacteristically low .742 to lose 11-8.
Last year's Southern Classic 9-Ball champ Lee Vann Corteza then faced 2012 Banks Champ John Morra
Lee Vann's TPA of .811 and John's .810 TPA showed how accurately the system actually is as both player's were on the hill. Vann faltered to leave John a long shot on the rail which he hammered home with great composure. Then, the normally emotionless Morra steadied himself to face the last 3 balls with loud, pursed lip exhales before executing each shot. He, then, calmly sank the ten to move into the semi's on Sunday.
Shane shone over nemesis Dennis Orcollo. The ten foot doesn't faze Shane as he has plenty of past experience straddling its length. His .890 is world class in any discipline. Orcollo's .819 showed he wasn't quite battle ready and he was only allowed to 8.         
LA's Oscar Dominguez performed fearlessly when surmounting a zero to 2 deficit to hover over the mighty Earl at 5-2. Luck favored him most of the way. In the race to eleven, he'd stayed ahead until 8-5. Then the warm wind changed direction and the cold set in. Earl started making balls on the break. Running out at 10-8, his bank in the side skidded off tip of the pocket and sped along the rail into the corner. Sinking the remaining 3 balls secured him a seat in the quarters on Sunday.
Saturday has Ralf Souquet vs. the new Filipino threat Carlos Biado, Efren and Rodney, Corey Deuel vs. Niels Feijen, and Francisco Bustamante vs. Darren Appleton.
To see these matches LIVE on your computer, visit
For the 14.1/Straight Pool action visit
The 2014 Derby City Classic is Sponsored by Diamond SMART TABLE, True Blue Simonis 860 Cloth, and Cyclop Pool Balls.

New Draw Policy for Southern Classic Tournament

Greg Sullivan and Diamond Billiard Products, Inc. have announced a new policy for the round by round random draw used at the annual Derby City Classic and Southern Classic tournaments.  The new policy assures no player will draw the same player more than once in a tournament while assuring at the same time that every player is assigned an opponent at random from the pool of all participants.

Greg described the new draw policy this way.  “We have used a random draw since the beginning of the Derby City Classic back in 1998. And while the odds of drawing the same player in a subsequent round are very low, it does happen.  When it happens everybody is uneasy – not just the players who are re-matched but also everyone who wonders if the draw is ‘really all that random.’  With the new policy, we are eliminating that concern by reshuffling the random pairings in the draw until everyone has a new opponent.”
Ed Scott, who made the software changes to implement the new policy and also invented and implemented the Dynamic Derby Draw algorithm that, beginning in 2011, has converted the Derby City format from an ad hoc, unscheduled format into a tournament with scheduled rounds and matches, added “There has always been about a 39% probability that at least one match will re-pair the same players in the next round.  And it doesn’t really matter whether you have 10 or 400 players.  It’s like the old trick birthday question: how many people in a room does it take before it is good bet there are two people with the same birthday?  The answer is a surprisingly non-intuitive 23.  In other words it comes up a lot more than we might think.  This new policy was pretty easy to implement; we simply keep doing random draws until we get one that is a completely ‘clean’ shuffle.  I was surprised that it only takes on average 1 or 2 retries before we get a clean shuffle and the new algorithm adds zero time delay to the draw, which itself takes about 1 or 2 seconds to do using SQLServer’s random number generator.”
The new policy will only be in force until the remaining pool of players have all played each other before.  “Obviously, when you get down to the final players, depending on the buyback situation, you are going to have some re-matches” said Paul Smith, Tournament Director for both tournaments.
The new policy will become effective with the Southern Classic in Tunica, MS on June 21, 2013 and the Derby City Classic on January 24, 2014.  For questions or comments regarding this announcement please contact Ed Scott at or Paul Smith at