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Two tour veterans, each seeking first Joss NE 9-Ball title, battle it out in finals of season finale

Pete Bowman, Mike Zuglan, Snookers manager Paul Troxell and Ray McNamara

Oldest player to win on tour,’ Bob Darigis, wins Second Chance event

He’d be the first to tell you that it’d been a long time coming. But it did show up. This past weekend (June 4-5), after 20 years of attempts, Ray McNamara (generally known on the tour as ‘Ray Mac’) claimed his first Joss NE 9-Ball Tour title, using the last regular season event of the tour’s 2021-2022 season to do so. In an effort that began (as far as we know) with a 7th place finish at a stop in Bristol, CT in October of 2002, McNamara went on to compete regularly on the Joss and other tours, and more recently, won the 364-entrant Amateur Senior event of the Super Billiards Expo this past April. The $1,500-added, 15th stop on the 2021-2022 Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour drew 53 entrants to Snooker’s in Providence, RI.

In addition to crowning a first-time champion, the event played host to another event champion, whom tour director Mike Zuglan described as “the oldest person (he could) think of who won any of (their) events.”  A $500-added Second Chance tournament that drew 14 entrants was won by 71-year-old Bob Darigis.

“Ray Mac and Bob were both around in the days when me, Larry Lisciotti and Joe Tucker were still playing around,” said Zuglan.

Ray Mac’s trip to the winners’ circle had to go through another Joss NE 9-Ball veteran, also looking for his first (recorded with us) win on the tour, Pete Bowman. They met twice; hot seat match and finals. Mac had gotten by Nick Coppola, Lida Mullendore, Clyde Matta and Ryan Cullen to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Bob Madenjian, who, it should be noted, finished in the four-way tie for 5th place behind McNamara in the SBE’s Amateur Senior tournament in April and would end up in the same position at this event. Peter Bowman sent Aro Majumber and Brandon Coley to the loss side before encountering the later-to-be winner of the Second Chance event, Bob Darigis, who battled him tooth and nail to double hill before he sent him over, as well. Bowman then downed Darren Jevons to pick up Kerry McAuliffe in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Mac sent Madenjian west 9-2, while Bowman was defeating McAuliffe 9-3. McNamara claimed the hot seat 9-5, which was, as far as we know, his first.

On the loss side, McAuliffe picked up Steve Mack, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Madenjian and jumped onto the loss-side wagon with victories over Rich Kravetz 7-5 and Dan Sharlow 7-3. Madenjian picked up Francisco Salas, who’d also lost to Madenjian on the winners’ side (3rd round) and was working on a seven-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the semifinals and include the double-hill elimination of Jeremy Sossei, followed by wins over Darren Jevons 7-2 and Frankie Hernandez 7-3.

Mack did his part to secure a rematch versus Madenjian with a 7-4 win over McAuliffe, but Salas took Madenjian out 7-5 and then eliminated Mack 7-3 in the quarterfinals. 

Bowman closed out Salas’ run with a 7-3 win in the semifinals to earn his second shot at Ray Mac, waiting for him in the hot seat. Though Salas would chalk up three more racks against Ray Mac in the finals than he had in the hot seat, Ray Mac prevailed 9-5 to claim his first Joss Northeast 9-Ball title, closing the ‘long time coming’ door behind him.

The final standings in tour points were headed up by Bucky Souvanthong, who appeared in nine of the season’s 15 events, winning five of them. Ron Casanzio finished in 2nd place, based on 10 appearances, with a single win. Jeremy Sossei was in 3rd place, having won three of his five appearances. Len Gianfrate placed fourth, just ahead of Aaron Greenwood. Rounding out the top 10 on the 2021-2022 tour were Jamie Garrett, Dan Sharlow, Frank Hernandez, Mhet Vergara and Bruce Carroll. 

Tour director Mike Zuglan thanked Regina and Steve Goulding and their Snookers’ staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Joss Cues, Turning Stone Resort Casino, Simonis Cloth, Poolonthenet.com, AZBilliards, Aramith, Billiards Press and World Class Cue Care. The next event, the tour’s season finale, scheduled for Sept. 1-4, will be the $25,000-added Turning Stone Classic XXXV 9-Ball Open, hosted by the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY

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Joss NE 9-Ball Tour at Raxx in West Hempstead May 14th – 15th

Congratulations to Stop # 13 winners Jeremy Sossei ($1,100 main event), Ryan Cullen ($300 second chance) & our $1,900 Joss Cue raffle winner Crystal Atkinson.

Stop # 14 of my Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour will take place on May 14 & 15 at Raxx Pool Room Sports Bar & Grill in West Hempstead NY. Raxx is one the Northeast’s largest rooms complete with a huge 50 foot bar, Great food, 21 9ft tables & 6 7ft tables making for a fun time for everyone. Our good friend and owner Holden Chin, deserves much credit and thanks for being so generous in allowing us the use of his beautiful facility and adding $2,000 for this free spectator event. Much more info about Raxx can be found on Face Book & their web site raxxpoolroom.com  So why not come down and show Holden your appreciation and support by playing in, or just to watch, yet another great event with some of the games top players. While there, you could even win a gorgeous custom engraved Joss Cue valued at $1,900 in their cue raffle. Anyone can enter and you Do Not need to be present to win! The cue drawing will be immediatelyprior to the final match of the main event.

This event at Raxx will consist of a $1500 added Saturday and Sunday Main Event (entry Fee $120 for pro level or $70 for non pro level) and a $500 added second chance event on Sunday ($20 Entry Fee) for those non pro players eliminated from the main event on Saturday.

For those of you coming to play, please arrive on Saturday May 14, Before 11:00 AM, and in proper dress please. Yes, jeans and sneakers are permitted in our billiard parlor events. But please, NO T-SHIRTS, TANKS, SHORTS OR SWEATS. Complete tour info can be found on our site www.joss9balltour.com

Please remember to spread the word to frequent your local billiard parlors and utilize and promote the world class products of our most generous sponsors. They are the backbone of our sport and deserve our support now more than ever!!

Thanks, and I hope to see you all at Raxx.

Mike Zuglan

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Sossei Over Sim For Joss NE 9-Ball Tour Title

Jeremy Sossei Room Owner Bobby Hilton and Del Sim

Jeremy Sossei avenged his only loss to win his second Joss NE 9-Ball Tour title of the year  at Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT on April 9th – 10th. 

Sossei cruised through Saturday undefeated, with wins over Chad Esposito, Scott Carter, Rick Bentley and Ryan Cullen. Sossei’s biggest scare on Saturday was a 9-3 win over Carter that was part of an overall record of 36-7 for the day. While Sossei’s Saturday performance was impressive, equally impressive was Del Sim’s Saturday record of 36-9 with wins over Trystan Speedwell, Bob Ohashi, Jamie Gauthier and Bill Kiley. Joining Sossei and Sim on the winners side Sunday morning were Aaron Greenwood and Dan Sharlow. 

Greenwood scored a decisive 9-2 win over Greenwood and Sim matched that with a 9-2 win over Sossei. Sim then won a close 9-7 match over Greenwood to take the hot-seat. 

Sossei was put to the test in his first match on the left side of the board, as last week’s winner Lukas Fracasso-Verner took him to hill-hill before Sossei scored the win. Sossei then moved on to score more comfortable wins over Sharlow (7-2) and Greenwood (7-3) to line up a rematch with Sim in the finals. 

Sossei won the first set of the double elimination finals 9-6 and then flexed his 9-ball muscles a little for a 7-3 win in the second set. It was Sossei’s second Joss Tour win of the season, as he also won the Northeast 9-Ball Open XXXIII back in February. 

Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Ryan Cullen take the hot-seat and then hold off a threat from Jamie Gauthier in the finals. Cullen had wins over Sheikh Ahmed, Roger Lakotko and Mike Renshaw on his way to the hot-seat, but dropped the first set of the finals to Gauthier 3-2. Cullen took the second set 3-1, for the win. 

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour is off for the rest of April and will hold their next event on May 14-15 at Raxx Pool Room in West Hempstead, NY.

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Rowe goes undefeated to take down clear ‘favorite’ on New England 9-Ball Series

Stephen Rowe, Lukas Fracasso-Verner and Ryan Cullen

If it had been a horse race, Stephen Rowe would have been a ‘dark horse’ longshot. Fargo Rate calculations gave him only a 15.9% chance of defeating Lukas Fracasso-Verner in either of their two matches at this past weekend’s (Sat., Oct. 9) Stop #17 on the New England 9-Ball Series. With an ‘established’ rating of 467, and what they awkwardly refer to as ‘robustness’ of 438 (meaning that his performance has been tracked in the course of 438 games), Rowe didn’t just walk in off the street, so to speak, any more than an individual horse in a stakes race would come out onto a track having never seen one before. It would have been a good bet, though. Rowe went undefeated through a field 40 at the $500-added event, hosted by US 1 Billiards & Bar (owned by Jayson Shaw) in West Haven, CT.

Working from the lower bracket, Rowe got underway with victories over Stacey Bowser 5-3, Stacy Hamel 5-3 and Robert Lucas 5-2 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Thomas Dale, Jr. In the upper bracket, Fracasso-Verner was awarded an opening round bye and then had to contend with a double hill battle vs. Andy Down. Fracasso-Verner advanced to shut out John Vitale and defeat Jim Gravel 8-2 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against Ryan Cullen.

Rowe got into the hot seat match with a 5-2 win over Dale, Jr. and was joined by Fracasso-Verner, who’d sent Cullen to the loss side 6-4. If the odds of Rowe winning two matches against Fracasso-Verner were high, they’d have been astronomical if you bet on a shutout, but that’s exactly what happened in the battle for the hot seat, claimed by Rowe.

On the loss side, Cullen picked up Michael Matthieu, who’d defeated Tour Director Marc Dionne 5-1 and in the first money round, Mario Argentino, double hill, to reach him. Dale, Jr. drew Michael Selig, who’d recently eliminated Robert Lucas 4-1 and Nathan Johnson 4-2.

Dale, Jr. and Selig locked up in a double hill fight, which eventually sent Dale, Jr. to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Cullen, who’d defeated Matthieu 5-1. Cullen then downed Dale, Jr.8-2 in those quarterfinals.

Fracasso-Verner gave up only a single rack in his semifinal matchup against Cullen. Fracasso-Verner had to win twice in the true double elimination finals versus Rowe, but he never made it out of the first set. Rowe took that opening set 4-2 (Fracasso-Verner racing to 10) to claim only his second recorded payout appearance on the tour, as well as the event title.

Tour director Marc Dionne offered special thanks to US 1 Billiards & Bar room owner, Jayson Shaw, who, on short notice, agreed to host the event, originally scheduled to be hosted by Yale Billiards. Shaw spent time with the players during the event and put on a few trick shot demonstrations for the assembled crowd. Dionne also thanked tour 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.

The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#18), scheduled for Saturday, November 6, will be the $500-added Tony Mendonca Memorial Tournament. The event will be hosted by Stroker’s in Pelham, NH.

Sossei and Fracasso-Verner Score Joss NE 9-Ball Tour Wins

Ryan Cullen, Jeremy Sossei and Yale Billiards Owner Bobby Hilton

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour Stop at Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT on July 24th – 25th featured two division winners who will be hoping to build on their weekend wins in the upcoming week.

The main event winner, Jeremy Sossei, will be traveling 2500 miles west this week, as he heads to Tucson, Arizona for the Predator US Pro Billiard Series Stop at Casino Del Sol on July 28th – Aug 1st.

Sossei, a multiple time winner on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour, found himself in unfamiliar territory after dropping a late Saturday match to Ryan Cullen. Sossei had wins over Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Dave Fernandez and Pete Genovese before dropping a hill-hill match to Cullen late in the day on Saturday. Sossei then defeated Yesid Garibello on the one loss side 7-2 to end his Saturday play.

Sunday was business as usual for Sossei, with wins over Ron Casanzio, Shawn Dickson and Rob Piersa to earn a rematch with Cullen in the double elimination final match. Cullen had come back on Sunday to score wins over Bob Madenjian and Piersa to take his first career Joss Tour hot-seat, with hopes to turn that hot-seat into his first career Joss Tour Win. Cullen would have to wait for that first win though, as Sossei won both sets of the finals 9-4 and then 7-2 for the tournament win.

Sunday’s second chance tournament saw a win from another competitor who will be adding to his frequent flyer miles this week. Lukas Fracasso-Verner will be traveling a little further this week, as he will fly to Las Vegas, Nevada to compete in the Billiard Education Foundation’s Junior National Championship.

After the aforementioned loss to Sossei in the main event, Fracasso-Verner rode the one loss side with a bye and then three match wins before finally dropping a late Saturday match to Steve Mack to finish one spot out of the money. Undeterred, Fracasso-Verner came back for the second chance tournament on Sunday where he had wins over Demian Provost, Darren Jevons and Nick Coppola before dropping the hot-seat match to Joe Darigis 3-2. Fracasso-Verner took that loss in stride and quickly defeated Coppola 3-0 for another shot at Darigis in the finals. He then made the most of that second shot, scoring 3-1 and 3-2 wins for first place.

With the Yale Billiards stop being its final “supplemental tour stop”, the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour will now take three months off before kicking off the official 2021/2022 season at East Ridge Billiards in Rochester, NY on October 2nd – 3rd.

Dechaine Crowned Blufelt Champion

Mike Dechaine, Ryan Cullen and Darren Jevons

Sixty-four players attended the April 24th & 25th Blufelt (Handicapped) tournament at Shooter’s Billiards and Arcade in Southington, CT. Many eager amateur players tracked in from neighboring states, ready to wage friendly war against other table felt junkies, to satisfy their innate competitive drive. Sixty men and four women converged on a clear sunny day, battling it out to be crowned champion of the literal blue felt.

Day 1:

Many fast matches with big upset, 6-1 by Jerry Barton over Stephen Rowe, Frank Celadita made fast work of Brandon Coley 7-1, Mike Serencko over Phil Inacio 6-2, Steve Romann defeating Oscar DeLeon 6-1. Other close matches: Darren Jevons 8 over Ty Speedwell 7, Chris Blanchard 6 over Alex Bausch 6, and Nick Bousquet squeaked by Jim Gravel by a score of 7-6.

Day 2:

We brought back 12 players for Sunday action – 4 from winner’s side and 8 from loser’s.

Local player Darren Jevons made a big splash in tournament by taking down Nick Bousquet 8-4, Pete Genovese  8-7, Lukas Fracasso-Verner 8-8, losing 9-0 to Mike Dechaine for the hot seat, and eventually outed by Ryan Cullen 8-4. He earned a respected 3rd place for his strong finish.

Cullen was firing back after his initial lost to Alvin Lam 5-5. With strong determination, he bested Jason Noble 8-3, Kenny Hoke 8-3, Pete Genovese 8-5, Kerry McAuliffe 8-5, Alvin Lam 8-5, Lukas Fracasso-Verner 8-5, Darren Jevons, 8-4, and finally succumbed to Dechaine in a one race final, placing 2nd for his impeccable performance.

As expected, Mike Dechaine, a well-oiled machine, mowed down competition up and down the field, giving no one player a chance to win more than 4 game beads on the string. He plowed through Miuller Jaramillo 9-0, Mark Morgan 9-4, Mike Serencko 9-1, Dan Uccello 9-1, Alvin Lam 9-2, Darren Jevons 9-0, and the finals against Ryan Cullen 9-4, crowning him Blufelt champion.