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Eric Roberts, sitting in the hot seat, splits with Ussery on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Eric Roberts

Though a junior state champion in both Florida and Tennessee (where he currently resides), a Billiards Education Foundation Junior National Artistic Pool Champion in 2013 (14-and-under division), runner-up in that event twice (2015/2018) and a frequent, cash-winning competitor on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, on which he won his first recorded payout ($50 for 9th place on the tour) five years ago, Eric Roberts, until this past weekend, had yet to chalk up an event title. Technically speaking, because he and BJ Ussery opted out of a final match on the February 13-14 stop on the Q City-9-Ball Tour, he still hasn’t won a title outright. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time he and Ussery came to an agreement on splitting the event’s top two cash prizes this past weekend, though, he does have one of those (*) asterisk event titles to his name. No small feat before you’ve graduated from high school. The tour stop drew 48 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

It was Roberts who sent Ussery to the loss side, downing him 9-1 in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Roberts advanced to face Robert Hamilton in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Mark Hurst squared off in the other one against Dustin Lackey, who’d been runner-up on the tour, two weeks ago. Roberts got into the hot seat match with a 9-5 victory over Hamilton. Hurst joined him after surviving a double hill battle against Lackey. In what proved to be his final match, Roberts claimed his first (recorded) hot seat match on the tour by shutting Hurst out.

On the loss side, Ussery followed his loss to Roberts with victories over Jaxson Hurst (Mark’s son) 12-1 and Hunter White 12-7 to draw Lackey. Hamilton came over and picked up Josh Miller, who’d recently shut out Daniel Shelton and eliminated Travis Guerra 5-4 (Guerra racing to 6).

Ussery ousted White 12-7 and in the quarterfinals, faced Hamilton, who’d gotten by Miller 6-4. Ussery took the quarterfinal match 12-3 over Hamilton and then, punctuating his five-match, loss-side winning streak, shut out Mark Hurst in the semifinals. He and Roberts negotiated the two-cash-prize split and everybody went home.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, AZBilliards, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and Dirty South Grind Apparel Co. The Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour continues to battle the varied restrictions and closures of the states it visits in the southeast corner of the US and lost one of those battles in a search for a stop this coming weekend. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for February 27-28, will be hosted by Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC and will be held to benefit local pool player, Alissa Murph, to help offset the cost of her recently-diagnosed battle against cancer.