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Grau goes undefeated, winning sudden death final game on Western New York Pool Tour

(l to r): Jake Miosi, Dave Grau & Nick Brucato

It’s been a couple of years since the Western New York Pool Tour (WNYPT) has been in what could be described as full swing, or ‘stroke,’ if you prefer the pool analogy. Tour director Nick Brucato hasn’t been idle, but with children entering and proceeding through elementary school, his time was restricted somewhat, and what time he did have, he spent playing instead of organizing and directing tournaments. There have been a few here and there, unreported, over the past couple of years, but with a tournament held this past weekend, February 29, at Diamond Billiards Bar & Grill in Rochester, NY, Brucato is announcing the return, hopefully, the robust return of the Western New York Pool Tour.

“We’re going to start having two stops a month,” he said, literally still working on the precise schedule and sponsorships for the tour. “We’ll be back at Diamonds in Rochester in a couple of weeks.”

It’s perhaps fitting that this ‘return’ of the Western New York Tour was won by one of its strongest competitors, Dave Grau, who’s won a number of its stops over the year, while also competing and winning on the Joss Tour and a number of New England-based events. He won a Joss Tour stop in February last year and finished 9th at the 10th Annual New England Pool & Billiards Hall of Fame 9-Ball Open. His last recorded cash finish on the Western New York Tour came three years ago, when he finished as runner-up to Nick Brucato. They almost met in the finals at this most recent event; almost, as in . . . Brucato came from the loss side and was defeated by Grau in the semifinals. Grau and hot seat occupant, Jake Miosi, played a single deciding-game final, won by Grau.

The worked their way through the short field, facing two opponents to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal. Grau downed Dan Miosi 6-1 and survived a double hill fight against Geoff Montgomery to draw Qais Kolee in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Miosi opened with a double hill win over Fran Imburgia and then, shut out Brucato to pick up Sourith Thammavong in the other winners’ side semifinal.

With something of a pattern emerging, Miosi followed his double hill win and shutout with a second double hill win, over Thammavong. Grau sent Kolee to the loss side 6-3. Miosi broke the pattern with a 6-4 win over Grau to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Thammavong picked up Montgomery, who, following his defeat at the hands of Grau, chalked up loss side wins over Fran Imburgia 4-1 and a double hill win over Sean Zen. Kolee got Brucato, who was working on a modest two-match, loss-side streak in which he’d given up only a single rack; giving up none to Cory Welfare and the one, to Nick Cappolla.

Thammavong downed Montgomery 4-1, as Brucato gave up more racks in his third loss-side match than he’d given up against his previous two opponents combined. Kolee battled him to double hill, but Brucato prevailed, advancing to the quarterfinals and then, downing Thammavong 4-2.

Grau and Brucato battled to a somewhat predictable double hill juncture before Grau prevailed for a second shot at Miosi in the hot seat. It was decided that their second meetup would be a single game for the title. Grau won it to claim the first WNYPT pool title in quite a while.

Brucato thanked Diamond Billiard owners Fran and Jeremiah Imburgia and Cinder Ziegler and the staff for their hospitality. Stay tuned to these spaces for information about upcoming events on the tour and its sponsors.

Qais Kolee Wins First Career Joss Tour Stop

Bucky Souvanthong, Sharpshooters Manager Kayla Riccio and Qais Kolee

There’s a new sheriff on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour, and his name is Qais Kolee.

The tour returned from it’s midseason break on February 22nd – 23rd with the Northeast 9-Ball Open XXXII at Sharpshooters Billiards and Sports Pub in Amsterdam, NY with a field of 30 players, and the two players who drew the most attention were Jeremy Sossei and Bucky Souvanthong. Between them, they have 11 tour stop wins over the last year, and they both backed up their early favorite status with undefeated Saturdays.

Sossei kicked off his Sunday with a 9-3 win over Ron Casanzio, while Souvanthing was sending Dwight Dixon to the one loss side 9-5. Souvanthong then beat Sossei 9-6 to earn his place in the hot-seat match. The other half of the winners side saw Kolee with a 9-6 win over Greg Antonakos, followed up by a 9-7 win over Sean Zeng.

Sossei rode the one loss side to the semi-final rematch with Souvanthong, but came up short again, dropping the match 7-4. That setup Souvanthong with a rematch against Kolee in the finals.

The two players came into the finals with very different looking resumes. Souvanthong had three main event tour stop wins, while Kolee had only experienced the winner’s circle in one second chance event from last November. Those resumes didn’t matter though, as Kolee scored a 9-4 win over Souvanthong in the first set of the finals for his first main event tour stop win.

The second chance event on Sunday saw Geoff Montgomery come out ahead of 18 other players for first place. He defeated Willie Oney for the hot-seat 3-2 and then beat Brian Tierney by that same 3-2 score in the first set of the finals.

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be at Snookers Sports Billiards Bar & Grill in Providence RI on March 7th – 8th for their next stop, the 11th NE Pool & Billiard Hall of Fame 9-Ball Open where David Wright, Chris Leal, Michael Rinella, Jay Stevens, Cleiton Rocha, Pete Genovese and Ivan Lee will all be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Casanzio Takes Joss NE 9-Ball Tour Win Undefeated

Ron Casanzio, Room Owner’s Son Jeremiah Imburgia and Bruce Nagle

As it turns out, building a sizable winning stream of Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stops is a difficult proposition. Bucky Souvanthong came into Diamond Billiard Bar & Grill in Rochester NY, on November 2nd and 3rd looking to add to his two stop winning streak. Lyn Wechsler and Jeremiah Imburgia had other plans though, as they eliminated Souvanthong from play on day one of the event. 
 
Having more success on this weekend were Len Gianfrate, Dave Mills, Bruce Nagle and Ron Casanzio, who all escaped Saturday play undefeated. On Sunday, Gianfrate defeated Mills 9-5 and Casanzio beat Nagle 9-6. Casanzio then went on to send Gianfrate to the one loss side in the hot-seat match 9-3.
 
On the one loss side, both players coming over from the right side on Sunday won their matches with Nagle over Imburgia and Mills over Wechsler. Nagle then went on to eliminate Mills 7-4 and Gianfrate 7-6.
 
The finals went one set with Casanzio staying unbeaten and defeating Nagle 9-4 for first place. 
 
Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Qais Kolee in the hot-seat with a 3-0 win over Dan Sharlow. Sharlow then dropped the semi-final match to Sean Zeng. Zeng won the first set of the finals 3-2, but Kolee won the second set 3-0 for first place. 

Ocean State 9-Ball Championship This Weekend

Congratulations to stop # 6.5 winners, Ron Casanzio ($1,000 main event), Qays Kolee ($300 second chance event) & our $1,600 Joss Cue raffle winner Nicholas Imburgia
 
Stop # 7 of the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour's 22nd season will be at the beautiful Snookers Billiards Sports Bar & Grill in Providence RI on November 9 & 10, for the very prestigious, $4,500/$500 Added, 31st Ocean State 9-Ball Championship. This will once again be the first of three events this season at Snookers and our most generous hosts Regina & Steve Goulding deserve a multitude of thanks for all they do for pool in the Northeast! In case you didn't already know, Snookers was TWICE voted "The Best Billiard Parlor In The USA". Snookers also is one of the best restaurants in the Providence area, always with an air of fun in the atmosphere. These people really know their business! 
 
As always, for the Ocean State 9-Ball Championships, beautiful trophies will be awarded to the top 2 finishers and the winner's name will be placed on a banner and hung forever at Snookers. Whether you come to play, or just watch, you will have the opportunity to win a gorgeous, custom, engraved, Joss Cue valued at $1,600, by participating in the Snookers cue raffle.  Anyone can participate  and you Do Not have to be present to win! The drawing will be just prior to the final match on Sunday. So come on down and play and win, watch some great pool action for free, have some great food and drink, and take a chance at winning a $1,600 Joss Cue. A great time will be had by all!! 
The Joss Cue can be viewed here:   
https://josscues.com/product/joss-northeast-9-ball-tour-cue-model-2019-20/
 
This event will be $4,500 Added to the main event with an entry fee of $125 (plus any applicable tour fees) for All players. There will also be a $500 second chance event ($20 entry fee) on Sunday for those non pro level players eliminated from the main event on Saturday. Please remember that our new main event format is races to 9 on the winners side and races to 7 on the one loss side. 
 
If you are coming to play, please arrive on Saturday Nov. 9, BEFORE 11:30 AM, and in proper dress please. Yes, jeans and sneakers are permitted in our billiard parlor events. But please, NO T-SHIRTS, NO TANKS, NO SHORTS OR SWEATS. Complete tour info including our schedule, results, current point standings and other pertinent tour info can be found on our site www.joss9balltour.com
 
There will be a free live stream that can be found at www.snookersri.com
 
Our third "Joss Junior 9-Ball Championship" will be played at Sharp Shooters Billiards & Sports Pub in Amsterdam NY on Jan. 25, 2020. There will be an 18 & under division and a 12 and under division. Please contact Mike Zuglan regarding entry, sponsorship donations, and more details. 518-356-7163.
 
Our next event after Snookers, will be our $25,000 Added Turning Stone Classic XXXIII 9-Ball Open on January 9-12, 2020. This promises to be yet another great event with some of the games best players competing for the title. Spectator admission is always free at Turning Stone which is arguably one of the best arenas in the world for our event. Don't miss it!
 
Please remember to spread the word to frequent your local billiard parlors and utilize the world class products of our most generous sponsors. They are the backbone of our sport and deserve our support!! 
 
See you all at Snookers,
 
Mike Zuglan
 
The Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour Is Proudly Sponsored By;
 
Joss Cues – http://www.josscues.com
Turning Stone Resort Casino – http://www.turningstone.com 
Simonis Cloth – http://www.simoniscloth.com
Poolonthenet.com – http://www.poolonthenet.com
AzBilliards.com – http://www.azbilliards.com
Aramith – http://www.aramith.com
Billiards Press – http://www.billiardspress.com                 
World Class Cue Care – http://www.jnj-industries.com

 

Sossei Wins Seventh Straight and Then Drops Final Match to Souvanthong

Jeremy Sossei, Sharpshooters Manager Kayla and Bucky Souvanthong

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

Strickland’s Win Over Van Boening highlights Turning Stone Classic Day Three

Earl Strickland (Erwin Dionisio)

Earl Strickland proved that he has more than enough firepower to compete with the top players in the game, with his 9-5 win over Shane Van Boening on the streaming table Saturday night at the Turning Stone Classic XXXII in Verona, NY. 
 
The crowd was anticipating a battle, but they might not have been ready for the intensity and focus that Strickland brought to the match. Strickland took an early 5-0 lead, and the players exchanged multiple table runs, capitalizing on any opportunity that the other player allowed them. Strickland’s last obstacle before the hot-seat match will be Thorsten Hohmann, who has been (as he usually does) quietly winning matches. Hohmann already has wins over Billy Thorpe and Shaun Wilkie in this event, and a win over Strickland would leave him facing either Jayson Shaw or Brandon Shuff for the hot-seat. 
 
Meanwhile, on the one loss side, Thorpe will face Frankie Hernandez. Hernandez has been away from the big stage for a while, but his stroke appears to still be the same. He lost a third round match to Shaw hill-hill, but has already won five straight matches on the left side of the board, including wins over Donnie Mills, Qais Kolee and Loree Jon Hasson. The other match on the one loss side will see Van Boening face Rafael Dabreo. Van Boening came back from his loss to Strickland with a 9-4 win over Len Gianfrate, but Dabreo has been having a great tournament with wins over Danny Hewitt and Wilkie to his credit. 
 
All of the action gets underway at 11:00 Eastern Time and we have complete coverage of the event with Upstate Al providing a free stream, while we provide online brackets and real time scoring for the event. 

Dabreo Earns First Career Joss Tour Win

Mike Zuglan, Raphael Dabreo, Tom D’Alfonso and Snookers Owner Steve Goulding

Raphael Dabreo earned his first career Joss NE 9-Ball Tour win over the weekend of March 2-3 with an undefeated run at the 10th New England Hall of Fame 9-Ball Open at Snookers Billiards in Providence, RI. 
 
After a hill-hill tester against Steve Mack in his second match of the day on Saturday, Dabreo finished day one of this event with a 9-5 win over Qais Kolee and then a 9-3 win over Marko Clarke. Joining Dabreo on the winner’s side on Sunday were Tom D’Alfonso, Austin Ross and Zion Zvi. Dabreo sent Zvi to the one loss side Sunday morning 9-6 and then took the hot-seat with a 9-3 win over D’Alfonso.
 
Ivaylo Petrov had lost to Pat Fleming midway through Saturday play, but bounced back nicely with six straight match wins on the left side of the board. Petrov would settle for third place though, as he finally lost to D’Alfonso 7-3 in the semi-final match. 
 
Dabreo came out on fire in the first set of the finals, taking a quick 3-0 lead. D’Alfonso then came back to win five straight racks for a 5-3 lead. After Dabreo tied things back up at 5-5, the match would be tied at 6-6 and 7-7. D’Alfonso got to the hill at 8-7, but a scratch on the break led to Dabreo running that rack to tie things again at 8-8. Dabreo came up dry on the break at hill-hill, but a D’Alfonso safety on the 1-ball left Dabreo the opening he needed and he ran that rack for the 9-8 win in one set. 
 
Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Ben Werblow go undefeated with wins over Joe Darigis for the hot-seat and again in the finals for the victory. 
 
The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will be back in action this weekend (March 9-10) at Trick Shot Billiards in Clifton Park, NY. 

Turning Stone Classic XXXI – Loree Jon Hasson vs Qais Kolee

Kolee and Bova split top prizes at 6th Annual Jingle Grind Christmas Classic

Spencer Auigbelle, Qais Kolee, Nick Brucato & Kyle Bova

Possibly forgoing the inevitable march of procrastinators searching for gifts three days before Christmas, a hearty crew of 28 entrants braved near-freezing temperatures in Rochester, NY to attend the Western New York Pool Tour’s 6th Annual Jingle Grind Christmas Classic, hosted by Diamond Billiards Bar & Grill in Rochester. At the end of the evening, Qais Kolee, sitting in the hot seat, and Kyle Bova, who’d won five on the loss side to get a shot at him, decided against a final match and split $1,650 in prize money, a decent ‘Merry Christmas’ money for the both of them.

Kolee had chalked up three straight 6-3 wins over Luis Bani, Jake Miosi and Geoff Montgomery to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Brad Wesley. Spencer Augbelle, in the meantime, had downed Dave Ricci 6-4, and then survived two straight double hill matches, sending Mark Hadley and Kyle Bova to the loss side. Bova, like Jacob Marley, would return to haunt Augbelle in the semifinals, but for the moment, Augbelle advanced to face Jeremiah Imburgia in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kolee got into the hot seat match with a 6-4 victory over Wesley, and met up with Auigbelle, who’d defeated Imburgia 6-2. Kolee claimed the hot seat and his last victory of the day, 6-4.

On the loss side, Wesley picked up Bova, who, following his defeat at the hands of Augbelle, had shut out Nick Cappolla and given up four to Adam Smith. Imburgia drew tour director Nick Brucato, who never did get a chance for a re-match against Wesley, who’d sent him over, but was working on a modest, three-match, loss-side winning streak that included recent wins over Jerry Sullivan 6-3 and Geoff Montgomery 6-4.

Brucato’s hopes for a re-match were spoiled by Bova, who shut Wesley out. Brucato joined him in the quarterfinals with a 6-2 win over Imburgia. Bova ended Brucato’s day (competing) with a 6-4 quarterfinal win.

Bova and Augbelle’s semifinal re-match proved to be the last match of the event. Bova won it 6-4, and as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, claimed the event title. The decision to split the final two cash prizes was made, and everybody went home to their respective holiday revels.