Archive Page

Prather and Blair spilt top prizes on NE 9-Ball Series’ season opener

Adam Blair, David Melancon and Jim Prather

Jim Prather and Adam Blair have been competing on the New England 9-Ball Series (and to a lesser extent, the area’s Rack ‘Em Up Tour) for a combined total of 26 years; Prather since 2007 and Blair since 2011. As far as we know, though they’ve cashed in lots of events on the tour, they’ve never met in a final and neither of them has won a stop on either tour. Until this weekend, at the first stop on the NE 9-Ball Series’ 2022 season; a $600-added event that drew 24 entrants to Straight Shooters Family Billiards in Fall River, MA. Prather went undefeated to the hot seat in the event and though Blair returned from a victory in the semifinals to win the opening set of a true double elimination final, they opted out of a second set and negotiated a split of the top two prizes.

Prather came into the tournament’s Upper Bracket with what turned out to be the event’s highest Fargo Rate (624). Another competitor, Robert Lewis, with a higher Fargo Rate (635), forfeited out of his opening match, as well as his first scheduled match on the loss side. Prather started his trek to the winners’ circle with a double hill win over Steve Nelson and apparently not happy with that means of advancing, followed up with a shutout over Mike Cote. He then went back to the double hill route, surviving his match against Eric Burgess to draw David Melancon in a winners’ side semifinal. 

Blair, at work in the Lower Bracket, was awarded an opening round bye and also won his first match, double hill, over Ryan McCrum. He followed that with a 4-2 win over William Aley to pick up Sandra Kostant in the other winners’ side semifinal.

In a straight-up race to 5, Prather got into the hot seat match with a 5-3 win over Melancon. Blair joined him after shutting out Kostant. In their first of what would turn out to be two matches, Prather claimed the hot seat 6-2 (Blair racing to 4).

Moving to the loss side, Melancon drew Eric Burgess, who, after his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Prather, had downed Roarke Dickson 4-2 and Van Sy, double hill. Kostant picked up a rematch against Steven Mantineo, who’d lost his winners’ side quarterfinal to her and then, defeated Ryan McCrum 5-2 and Kenneth Duclos 6-2.

Melancon and Mantineo advanced to the quarterfinals; Melancon 5-3 over Burgess and Mantineo 5-2 over Kostant. Melancon put a bit of a punctuation mark on his quarterfinal match by shutting Mantineo out.

Blair and Melancon battled to double hill in the semifinals that followed. Blair, with the lower Fargo Rate, began the match with a single bead on the wire in a race to 5, so when they were tied in total racks at 4-each, Blair was the winner.

Blair started the true double elimination finals against Prather with two beads on the wire in a race to 6. For the second straight time, Blair battled to double hill and won; this time, starting with two beads on the wire in a race to 6. It was at this point that they opted out of a second set and decided to split the top two prizes. Having not been defeated twice in the double elimination format, Prather was the event’s official winner.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Straight Shooters Family Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Outsville, Salotto and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories. Stop # 2 on the NE 9-Ball Series, scheduled for the weekend of February 5-6, will be its Annual Winter Classic. The $2,000-added event, which will be limited to 128 players, will be hosted by Snooker’s Sports-Billiards Bar & Grill in Providence, RI. Players must pre-pay for this event by Thursday, Feb. 3 and can do so by registering on the tour Web site at

Fracasso-Verner goes undefeated to claim NE 9-Ball Series ‘20/’21 Tour Championship (Finale)

Paul Kazalski, Robert Lewis, and Lukas Fracasso-Verner

The winner and runner-up of the New England 9-Ball Series’ Tour Championships, held this past weekend (Jan. 15-16), were returning to the tables after distinctly different amounts and kinds of time away. Lukas Fracasso-Verner, who went undefeated to claim the event title, has been working his way back up the ‘earnings’ ladder for the past couple of years, following what had been, to date, his best earnings year (2019), when he won two stops on the tour and was also that year’s Empire State 9-Ball champion. The following year, thanks to the pandemic, he cashed in only three (recorded) events, finishing as runner-up on the NE 9-Ball Series three times. In 2021, he cashed in nine events, including a victory at a 2nd Chance event on the Joss Tour, and an undefeated run to claim the MD State 10-Ball title; his first major win in almost two years. Fracasso-Verner has started 2022 with this most recent undefeated run on the $5,000-added Tour Championships, which drew 55 entrants to Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.

Coming from the loss-side, where he won five straight for the right to face Fracasso-Verner in the finals, was 68-year-old Robert Lewis, aka Chelsea Grinder and also aka Machine Gun Bobby, who reportedly “hasn’t been competing much lately.” He came back to the tables for this Tour Championship event, at which his runner-up finish has led to his first (recorded) cash finish in an event, anywhere.

Fracasso-Verner (704) and Lewis (629) both emerged from the event’s upper bracket, where they met for the first of two matches in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Lewis had benefited from a first-round forfeit, a 6-3 win over Daniel Simoneau and a shutout of Joe Meuse before running into Fracasso-Verner, who sent him to the loss side 7-1. Fracasso-Verner advanced to a winners’ side semifinal matchup versus Chad Bazinet. From the lower brackets, it was Paul Kazalski and Tiffany Vuong who advanced to their face-off in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Fracasso-Verner defeated Bazinet 6-3, and in the hot seat match, faced Kazalski, who’d sent Tiffany Vuong west 5-3. To his credit, Kazalski made the best of a (Fargo Rated) hot seat match that favored Fracasso-Verner by almost 70 percentage points (84.6 to 15.4). Kazalski battled Fracasso-Verner to double hill (9-3) before Fracasso-Verner closed it out to claim the hot seat. 

Meanwhile, “Chelsea Grinder” (Lewis) had opened his loss-side campaign with a double hill win over Steve Sutton and backed it up with a 6-3 win over John Vitale, to draw Bazinet, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Vuong drew Curtis Wright, who’d lost his opening match to David Ty and was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Adam Blair 5-2 and in a rematch, Ty 5-3.

Wright advanced one more step, downing Vuong 6-1, while Lewis was working on advancing to the quarterfinals with a 6-3 win over Bazinet. Lewis then ended Wright’s run 7-3 in those quarterfinals. 

Kazalski came into the semifinals versus Lewis with a similar handicap to the one he’d been able to employ against Fracasso-Verner in the hot seat match. In the semifinals, as Lewis was racing to 8, Kazalski was racing to 4. Kazalski came one rack short of forcing a second straight, double hill, deciding game for himself, but in the end, Lewis edged out in front to win it 8-2.

The second Fracasso-Verner/Lewis meeting proved to be an exact replica of their first meeting in a winners’ side quarterfinal. For the second time, Fracasso-Verner downed Lewis 7-1 to claim the event title.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Crow’s Nest for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Outsville, Salotto and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories.

The New England 9-Ball Series will kick off their 2022 schedule at Straight Shooters in Fall River, Ma. this coming weekend (Sunday, Jan. 23) for the tour’s 2022, $600-added season opener.  

Dynamic Billard European Championships Started

Gre Leenders addresses the players

In a nice and familiar opening ceremony, the President of the EPBF, Gre Leenders, just opened the 2014 Dynamic Billard European Championships for Men, Women and Wheelchair Athletes.

The tournament will be held in the Acapulco Resort Hotel in Kyrenia, North Cyprus. The island is famous for its beautiful landscape and many players are already enjoying their stay here.

The first welcome speech was held by Mrs. Vacide Gören, the Relation Manager of the Hotel. The local staff are doing their best to make the stay for all participants and their companies as pleasant as possible.

Following Mrs. Gören, the President of the Federation of North Cyprus, Mr. Askin Burcu, welcomed all players and team leaders and expressed his sincere thanks to the EPBF for assigning the Championships to his home nation.

Finally, Gre Leenders opened the event in front of representative of 22 nations. During the night, 10 more nations will arrive. A total of 32 nations will compete for glory in North Cyprus for the upcoming days.

The event will be played on 24 tables which can all be viewed in the LIVE Stream on

More information about the event on

Van Boening and Kennedy Fight for Predator 10-Ball Title

The SBE Predator Open 10-Ball event is one of those rare instances where everyone is not talking about the winner. The buzz on this event is all about the second-place finisher, Tommy Kennedy. Shane Van Boening won the event in the end, but it was Kennedy who kept setting off hand grenades throughout the brackets.

Van Boening was in the top bracket while Kennedy was in the bottom bracket, so they could not meet until way out at the end of the charts. Van Boening, fairly predictably, took down Robert Lewis and Alan Duty before the wood he was chopping got thick. It was then that he had to take on and defeat first Shawn Wilkie and then Dennis Hatch.

Van Boening then had to take on a tough-shooting Warren Kiamco. KIamco had already beaten Rob Hart, Jason Klatt, Oscar Dominguez and Rodney Morris, so he was ready for the fight. But Van Boening took him down and then went to do battle for the hot seat against Tommy Kennedy. And that is when he lost.

Tommy Kennedy had served notice two days prior when he defeated Johnny Archer. This was a rematch of his U.S Open win and Kennedy just shot the lights out to send Archer left. And Kennedy was only beginning to massacre the giants. He took down Mika Immonen next and then defeated Ralf Souquet to earn the right to face Van Boening for the hot seat. And he won that match to stand alone at the end of the winner’s bracket.

Van Boening had to go earn his right to be in the finals. Earl Strickland and Oscar Dominguez first fought for the right to play the last left-hand match. Strickland took that match-up to finish Dominquez in fourth place. But he could not handle Van Boening and Van Boening beat him to earn his seat on the final stage.

This time Van Boening would not be denied. He calmly played his normal, steady game and took the Pro Players Championship and the $10,000 first place money while Kennedy had to settle for second and the $5,000 that accompanied his trophy.