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Marion and Kanamura take home doubles title on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Yoshiaki Kanamura and Hayleigh Marion

While the vast majority of pool tournaments feed into a system that defines various levels of competition based on a player’s performance at them, there is a breed of tournament action that doesn’t really care whether you win, lose or fall somewhere in between. They’re called Scotch Doubles Tournaments and while they are competitive in so far as those who participate are certainly invested in winning, they’re more of a crowd- and player-pleasing exercise which has a way of emphasizing fun rather than player stats and grim-faced battles for dominance at the tables.

Every once in a while, say a number of tournament directors from all across the landscape, you have to throw one or two into a tournament schedule, because they’re popular and because, as Paul Simon said so aptly in his song, it’s a good idea to “keep your customer(s) satisfied.”

The Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball tour tossed one into their schedule last weekend, March 6-7, and drew a crowd of 18 teams of two to Jac’s All-American Billiards in Newport, TN. An unexpected pair of competitors made it through the event to claim the event title. It’s not that teenager Hayleigh Marion and early 20-something Yoshiaki Kanamura, playing at a 9 handicap as a team (5 & 4), faced high tier competition at this event. There wasn’t a chance that they’d be running into Wei Tzu-Chien and Shane Van Boening, for example, but tour veterans Reid Vance and Hank Powell, sporting a combined ‘15’ handicap were there, as were 16 other teams sporting players of relatively high caliber.

Team Yoshiaki worked their way through the field to arrive at the hot seat and while they lost the subsequent first set of a double elimination final, they came back to claim the second set and the title. It was only the second time that Hayleigh Marion had ever cashed at an event, the first being a Scotch Doubles Tournament at Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC last June, when she and Janet Atwell finished in the tie for 5th place and won $30; combined, not each. We have not, until this past weekend, recorded any data regarding Marion’s partner, Mr. Kanamura.

They faced Rodney Huskey and Ricky Bingham (some teams gave themselves names, others didn’t) in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Team Chitwood (Ricky Chitwood & Josh Swindell) squared off against Team Supershaft (James Price & Robert Ingold). Team Yoshiaki downed Huskey/Bingham 5-2, as Team Chitwood sent Team Supershaft west, double hill (8-4).

With Team Chitwood racing to 8, Team Yoshiaki claimed the hot seat 5-4.

On the loss side, Team Supershaft picked up Team Hightower (Jimmy Hightower & Jose Irizarry), who’d just defeated the aforementioned Reid Vance & Hank Powell 5-1 to reach them. Huskey/Bingham drew Louis Chandler & Dakota Waldrip, who’d eliminated Cory Morphew and Steve Summerlin 5-3 to reach them.

Two double hill matches ensued for advancement to the quarterfinals, both won by the recently-arrived-from-the-winners’-side team; Huskey/Bingham downing Chandler/Waldrip 6-4 and Supershaft eliminating Team Hightower 5-7. Team Supershaft won the next two for a shot at Team Yoshiaki in the finals. They defeated Huskey/Bingham in the quarterfinals 5-2 and then, Team Chitwood in the semifinals 5-4 (Team Chitwood racing to 8).

You might say that going into the finals, Team Supershaft was aided and abetted by double the momentum of singles competition. However you describe it, Team Supershaft took the opening set of the true double elimination final 5-2. Team Yoshiaki, though, came back to win the second set 5-1 and claim the title; (according to our records) the first of any kind for either member of the team.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Jac’s All-American Billiards 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 next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend, March 13-14, will be a $1,000-added ($1,500 with 64+) event, hosted by Sonny’s Billiards in Princeton, WV.

Frank and McGrady split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop in Tennessee

Trey Frank

Scheduling tournaments can be tricky at times, because while most tour directors (TDs) look into whether there are going to be conflicting tournaments near a potential venue at a given point in time and attempt to schedule accordingly, they can’t predict what they don’t see at the time they solidify their own schedule. What can and often does happen is that after a schedule has been set and confirmed, sometimes months later, someone organizes a nearby conflicting tournament, or the TD who made the initial schedule realizes that there’s a tournament nearby that he/she didn’t know about when preparing their own schedule.
 
So it was that tour directors Herman and Angela Parker reckoned without an American Poolplayers Association regional league tournament that did, on the weekend of May 18-19, conflict with their made-months-ago-plans for a Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop at Janet Atwell’s room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. The event drew a relatively small field of 25, who completed their competition at the conclusion of the first day when the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Trey Frank, and his potential opponent in the finals, Sean McGrady, agreed to a split of the top two prizes.
 
They met first in the hot seat match after Frank had shut out Robert Ingold in one of the winners’ side semifinals and McGrady had sent Brian James to the loss side 5-5 (James racing to 7) in the other one. In what proved to be the deciding match, Frank claimed the hot seat 6-2.
 
On the loss side, James and Ingold were able to get right back on track. James drew Jackson Hurst, a junior player, who’d defeated 15-year Pro competitor and room owner, Janet Atwell 4-1 and Scott Howard 4-4 (Howard racing to 7). Ingold picked up Brady Brazell, who’d eliminated Dalton Messer 7-3 and Brian Francis 7-4.
 
James and Ingold advanced to the quarterfinals; James, 7-3 over Hurst and Ingold 5-5 over Brazell, who was racing to 7. James then ended up handing Ingold his second defeat by shutout in those quarterfinals.
 
The last match of the day went double hill, as James and McGrady battled to see who’d be splitting the top two prizes with Frank in the hot seat. McGrady prevailed 5-6, he and Frank opted out of the final, and everybody went home.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this Memorial Day weekend (May 25-26) will be the $1,000-added, 5th Annual North Carolina State 9-Ball Open at Brown’s Billiards in Raleigh, NC, where defending champion Reymart Lim is expected to compete.