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Robinson downs Fracasso-Verner in finals of New England 9-Ball Series’ opener

Mark Morgan, Ricky Robinson and Lukas Fracasso Verner

As it happened, the highest-ranked player in the lower bracket, ended up defeating the highest-ranked player in the upper bracket to complete an undefeated run and claim the event title at the season opening stop on the New England 9-Ball Series. As is always the case, the tour splits the field, initially, into separate brackets, defined by Fargo Rates. Ricky Robinson, with the highest Fargo Rate (515) among the 22 players competing initially in the lower bracket went undefeated through the field and in the end, downed two straight opponents who’d begun play in the upper bracket – Mark Morgan (596) in the battle for the hot seat and the highest ranked player in the competition, Lukas Fracasso-Verner (675), in the finals. The $1,000-added event, held this past weekend (Sept. 26-27), drew 43 entrants to Rack City in Bangor, ME.

Following an opening round bye in the upper bracket, Ricky Robinson walked right into a double hill fight, which he won, versus Kenny Hoke. He had a slightly easier win against Dan Sanborn (6-1), before downing Dennis Neault 5-3 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Aaron Barra (500). Lukas Fracasso-Verner played in the upper bracket’s opening round and defeated Dennis Boucher 8-2, before running into two straight double hill battles. He won the first against Ross Webster, but was defeated 5-6 (Fracasso-Verner racing to 7) by Mark Morgan. Morgan advanced to defeat Tyler Campbell 6-4 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Chad Bazinet.

In a straight-up race to 5, Robinson defeated Barra 5-3. With Bazinet (659) racing to 6, Morgan advanced to the hot seat match with a 5-4 win. With Morgan racing to 7 in the winners’ side final, Robinson downed him 5-2 to claim the hot seat.

Fracasso-Verner opened the seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would put him into the finals with a 7-3 win over Brian Tierney and leapfrogged over Phillip Russo’s forfeiture. He then downed Mike Gagne 7-2 and William Mounts 8-1 to enter the first money round, picking up Bazinet. Barra drew Dennis Neault, who, after his defeat at the hands of Robinson, had won loss-side matches against Paul Kazalski 5-1 and Troy Fortin 5-2.

Fracasso-Verner eliminated Bazinet 6-4, as Barra was doing likewise to Neault 5-1. Fracasso-Verner left little doubt in the quarterfinals that followed, eliminating Barra with a shutout. In the semifinals that followed, Mark Morgan put up a fight. Racing to 5, against Fracasso-Verner’s 7, Morgan came a single game shy of forcing a deciding 11th game and was defeated 7-3.

Fracasso-Verner entered the finals against Robinson, having won three out of every four games he’d played in his six matches on the loss side. Combined with his two winners’ side victories, he arrived with a 74% game-winning percentage. Robinson, in five matches, sat in the hot seat with a 68% winning percentage. With their 160-point differential in Fargo Rates (675-515), Robinson had the ‘game’ advantage, needing to win only 4, to Fracasso-Verner’s 8. They both won four games, but Robinson’s handicap advantage gave him the victory and event title.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Rack City, as well as sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell with Lease Fundings, Master Billiards, OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America, Piku Tips and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories. The second stop on the New England 9-Ball Series Tour, scheduled for this Saturday (Oct. 3), will be the $500-added Dave Marcus Memorial Tournament, hosted by Buster’s Billiards in Somersworth, NH.