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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.