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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Shaw comes back from semifinals to win Open/Pro division of Eastern States Championship

Jayson Shaw

On Labor Day weekend, to a growing list of 2015 victories that has included two Turning Stone events (XXIII, XXIV), the Ginky Memorial, two events on the Predator Tour, a Joss Tour win and a challenge match versus Corey Deuel, Jayson Shaw added a win in the Eastern States Championships, held under the auspices of the Predator Tour, the New England 9-Ball series and the Ride the 9 Tour. The $2,000-added Open/Pro event of the championships drew 27 entrants to Snooker's in Providence, RI. A concurrently-run, $1,000-added Amateur championship (separate story) drew 98.
 
Shaw's journey to the winners' circle took a little left hand turn in the battle for the hot seat against Nelson Oliviera, and he was forced to play a loss-side opponent in the semifinals – Sylvain Grenier – who'd won seven on the loss side to reach those semifinals. He took both circumstances in stride to claim the victory. He'd sent Jorge Rodriguez to the loss side in a winners' side semifinal 8-2, while Oliviera sent Tony Robles over 8-5. Oliviera claimed the hot seat 8-6.
 
On the loss side, it was Rodriguez who had the misfortune of running into Grenier, who was five wins into his seven-match, loss-side streak, that had included wins over Brent Boemmels 8-2 and Tom D'Alfonso 8-6. Robles picked up Kevin Guimond, who'd gotten by Peter Bowman 8-4 and Rick Sleeper 8-6 to reach him.
 
Grenier downed Rodriguez and Guimond eliminated Robles, both 8-6. Grenier then defeated Guimond in the quarterfinals 8-5. Then, he ran into Shaw, who was, to put it mildly, anxious to get back into things for a second shot at Oliviera in the hot seat. Shaw gave up a single rack to Grenier in the semifinals, and put an exclamation point on his event victory by giving up only two to Oliviera in their re-match.
 
Predator Tour Director Tony Robles thanked his fellow TDs from the New England 9-Ball Series (Marc Dionne) and Ride the 9 Tour (Gloria Magnano), as well as Snooker's owners, Stephen and Regina Goulding and sponsors, Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, and Delta 13 racks.