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2021 Ocean State 9-Ball Championship – Scott Bannon vs Gary O’Callaghan

Gupta goes undefeated to win his first 2019 Tri-State event title, downing Trajceski twice

(l to r): Ilija Trajceski & Shivam Gupta

They’d been down this road before. Specifically, in January of this year, when they faced off in the finals of a Tri-State Tour stop at Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. It was noted at the time, that it was Ilija Trajceski’s third victory on the Tri-State Tour since 2017 and only the fourth time that he had cashed in a Tri-State event. He’d sent Shivam Gupta to the loss side in the winners’ side quarterfinals, but Gupta won five on the loss side to face him in the finals. Trajceski downed Gupta a second time, by the same 7-5 score, to claim that event title.
 
On Sunday, May 5, at the last 10-ball match of the Tri-State’s season, they squared off twice again; this time in the hot seat match and finals and although the score was the same in both matches (6-3), the end result was that Gupta claimed his first 2019 Tri-State title (his second of the 2018/2019 season). Gupta is the #2-ranked B+ player in the Tri-State’s current Player of the Year standings (9 appearances), behind Jaydev Zaveri (Gupta’s traveling partner), whose 21 appearances on the 2018/2019 tour give him a substantial lead among the B+ players. Trajceski, with 10 appearances is at #14 on the list of B players. The $1,000-added event drew 31 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Gupta began his trek to the event title with a double hill win over his traveling partner and fellow B+ competitor for the division’s top slot, Jaydev Zaveri. He then downed Scott Bannon 6-4 and Pashk Gjini 6-1, to draw Tri Chau in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Trajceski, in the meantime, after defeating Rick Rodriguez 6-4, Paul Madonia 6-5 and Andrew Ciccoria 6 -3, would draw Marc Lamberti in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Gupta and Chau locked up in a double hill fight that eventually (6-5) sent Gupta to the hot seat match. He was joined by Trajceski, who’d defeated Lamberti 6-4. Gupta claimed the hot seat with his first of what proved to be two 6-3 wins over Trajceski.
 
On the loss side, Chau and Lamberti got back on track with double hill victories over their first loss-side opponents. Chau faced and defeated Eddie Medina, who’d defeated Mike Strassberg 6-3 and Scott Bannon 6-4 to reach him. Lamberti defeated Andrew Ciccoria, who’d defeated Bob Toomey and Rick Brothers, both 5-3, before falling to Lamberti.
 
Lamberti gave up only a single rack to Chau in the quarterfinals (6-1) to earn his rematch against Trajceski in the semifinals. In his second of three straight 6-3 matches, and the only one in which he recorded a win, Trajceski defeated Lamberti a second time. Gupta completed his undefeated run with a second 6-3 win over Trajceski in the finals.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, May 11, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

Wong and Krah split top prizes on Mezz Tour Pro-Am event

Michael Wong and Matt Krah opted out of a final match at the Mezz Tour's second stop of the year on Sunday, February 15. In the hot seat, Wong claimed the event title, leaving Krah, who'd won three on the loss side to reach him, as runner-up. The $500-added event drew a small field of 16 entrants to Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ.
 
Though both finalists played in a winners' side semifinal, they did not face each other. Wong battled Scott Bannon, as Krah took on Adam Kielar. Wong defeated Bannon 7-4 and faced Kielar, who'd sent Krah to the losers' bracket 7-5. Wong claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Kielar in what proved to be his final match of the evening.
 
On the loss side, Krah's first opponent was Tony Maria, who'd defeated Woo Tang 7-4 and Steve Lillis 7-2. Bannon drew Mike Salen, who'd given up only one rack each in his previous two matches against Kyle Bubet and Julie Ha. Bannon nipped that little run in the bud with a double hill win, as Krah downed Maria 7-4. 
 
Krah took the quarterfinal match against Bannon 7-4 and moved into his final match; the semifinal against Kielar. He won that 7-3 and then agreed with Wong to call it a night and split the top two prizes.
 
Tour director Jose Burgos thanked the ownership and staff at Sandcastle Billiards, as well as sponsors Mezz Cues, Gamblin' Clothing, Kamui, J.D. Custom Cues, Allen Hopkins Super Billiards Expo, JB Cases, Billiard Life USA, Howitzer Break Cues, Steve Klatt's Custom Cues, and Mike Ricciardella.

Karmoeddien comes from the loss side to take down Kennedy and win first Tri-State

Dennis Kenedy, Akbar Karmoeddien and Marco Costello

Two weeks ago, Dennis Kennedy had to forego a finals re-match against Scott Bannon and missed an opportunity to chalk up a second Tri-State win. On Saturday, December 21, Kennedy was sitting in the hot seat, looking, once again, to chalk up a Tri-State win. This time, Akbar Karmoeddien, whom he'd sent to the loss side, came back and made him a runner-up for the second time this month. The $750-added event drew 24 entrants to House of Billiards in Staten Island, NY.
 
They met for the first time among the winners' side final four, with Kennedy advancing to the hot seat match 6-5. Joining Kennedy in that hot seat match was Marco Costello, who'd sent Matthew Harricharan west 7-4. Kennedy chalked up his final win of the day and got into the hot seat 9-5 over Costello.
 
Karmoeddien, in the meantime, opened up his three-match march back to the finals against Steve Persaud, who'd defeated Joe Varvaro 6-5 and Paulo Valverde 6-4.  Harricharan picked up Omar Alli, winner of the December 14 stop on the tour, who'd defeated Keith Adamik 7-5 and Basdeo Sookhai 7-3.
 
Karmoeddien advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3 win over Persaud, as Alli made it clear he was looking for a second straight win on the tour with a shutout over Harricharan.  Karmoeddien ended that bid with a 7-3 win in the quarterfinals and earned his second shot at Kennedy with a shutout over Costello in the semifinals.
 
Karmoeddien and Kennedy fought back and forth, trading racks to a 3-3 tie; Kennedy with the initiative, and Karmoeddien coming back to tie each time. Karmoeddien then won two straight to go ahead 5-3, before Kennedy came right back with two of his own to knot the score at 5-5. Karmoeddien ended it right there, winning three straight to complete his first win on the Tri-State Tour.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at House of Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State, scheduled for December 29, will be hosted by The Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. 
 

Bannon wins Tri-State, splits top prizes with Kennedy

Dennis Kennedy, Scott Bannon and Paul Wilkens

Going into the December 8 stop on the Tri-State Tour, Scott Bannon and Dennis Kennedy had each won a previous stop on the tour. Bannon had won two; a year ago on Staten Island, when he and Kennedy were among the winners' side final four, and three years before that in 2009. Kennedy's first Tri-State win came 22 months ago in Queens, when he came back from a loss in the hot seat match to take down Emily Duddy.  Bannon and Kennedy met only once on Saturday, December 8, and it was in the hot seat battle. Bannon won that fight, and claimed the event title when medical issues precluded Kennedy's appearance in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 31 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.
 
Their first and only match came after Bannon had sent room owner John Trobiano to the loss side 7-5 and Kennedy had dispatched Jan Mierzwa 6-2 in the two winners' side semifinals. Bannon claimed the hot seat in what proved to be his final win 9-6.
 
On the loss side, Paul Wilkens, sent west by Mierzwa from among the winners' side final eight, embarked on a four-match, loss-side march to the semifinals with victories over Mike Figueroa 6-3 and Jamiyl Adams 6-4. This set him up for a re-match against Mierzwa. Trobiano, in the meantime, squared off against Borana Andoni, who'd defeated Shin Sekine 7-3 and Ricardo Mejia 7-2 to reach him.
 
Wilkens and Andoni advanced to the quarterfinals; Andoni with a 7-4 win over Trobiano,  as Wilkens successfully wreaked his vengeance on Mierzwa 6-2. Wilkens and Andoni battled to double hill, and it was Andoni who got the first look at the 9-ball in the deciding game. She attempted a combination on the 9-ball, which not only failed, but left the ball hanging in the hole for Wilkens. Wilkens took aim at a full table bank shot on the 4-ball, which successfully traveled the distance to drop the hanging 9-ball and advance him to the semifinals against Kennedy.
 
Wilkens jumped out to an early lead in those semifinals, but Kennedy rallied to run up four racks and win it. At this point, Kennedy sighted back-related problems that forced him to forego a final, second match against Bannon, and the two opted to split the top prizes. Bannon, in the hot seat, officially claimed the event title.

Walmsley stops loss-side bid by Smiley Feliz to take Tri-State stop

Tony Ignomirello, Neil Walmsley and Yomaylin Feliz

Neil Walmsley stopped an eight-match, loss-side winning streak by Yomaylin "Smiley" Feliz to capture the July 28 stop on the Tri-State Tour. The $1,000-added event drew 31 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. 
 
Feliz came out on the wrong end of a double hill match against David Ascolese in the opening round of play, and embarked on the longest possible route (eight matches) back to the finals. Walmsley, in the meantime, after victories over Dave Shlemperis, Scott Bannon, and Harry Guevarez, advanced among the winners' side final four to meet up with Scott Simonetti. Tony Ignomirello and Grant Weldon squared off in the other winners' side semifinal. Walmsley sent Simonetti over 7-5, for a match against Feliz, as Ignomirello advanced 8-7 over Weldon. Walmsley got into the hot seat with a 7-5 win over Ignomirello, and waited on Feliz.
 
With three wins chalked up on the loss side (including wins over Carl Yusuf Khan and Bannon), Feliz survived two straight double hill matches – against Guevarez and "Annie" Flores – to pick up Simonetti. Weldon drew Ambi Estevez, who'd defeated Mike Davie 6-4 and Jay Choi 6-3 to reach him. Feliz handed Simonetti his second straight loss 8-5 and was met in the quarterfinals by Weldon, who'd eliminated Estevez 8-4.
 
Feliz downed Weldon 7-4, and then survived yet another double hill fight; this one, against Simonetti in the semifinals. She moved on to her third appearance in a Tri-State final since January.
 
It looked as though Feliz was destined for a fourth double hill fight, as she and Walmsley battled back and forth to a 4-4 tie. Walmsley, though, found a second gear and won three straight to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour is scheduled for August 3 at Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.

Ng goes undefeated on Tri-State Tour stop

Mike Harrington, Richard Ng and room owner Isabel Buckley

Richard Ng, a B-Class player on the Tri-State Tour, hadn’t chalked up an event victory since last June, at the tail end of the 2010/2011 season. In spite of that, he entered the weekend of June 9-10, ranked at #10 in the B-class standings for the 2011/2012 season, 80 points behind Dave Shlemperis and 45 points ahead of Borana Andoni.  He assured himself a strong move up the ladder with an undefeated weekend in a $2,500-added, B-D handicapped Tri-State event that drew 64 entrants to Gotham City Billiards, in Brooklyn, NY.

Following victories over Edward Ng (not related), Raul Reyes (a fellow B player, ranked # 6), Paul Raval (a shutout) and Alex Osipov, Ng moved among the winners’ side final four, where he faced his toughest challenges; two straight double hill matches that left him in the hot seat. He defeated Scott Bannon, and was joined in the battle for the hot seat by Mike Harrington, who’d sent Mike Strassberg west, also double hill. In their first of two, Ng defeated Harrington and waited on his return.

On the loss side, Bannon picked up Carl Yusuf Khan, who’d defeated Annie Flores 7-2 and Osipov, 7-6. Strassberg drew Mesdhak Daniel, who’d gotten by Rick Shellhouse 6-2 and Lou Loria 6-3. Bannon and Strassberg got right back on track; Bannon downing Khan 7-2, and Strassberg defeating Daniel 7-3. 

It was Bannon advancing to meet Harrington in the semifinals with a 9-5 win over Strassberg in the quarterfinals. Bannon put up a fight to get a second crack at Ng, but Harrington prevailed, double hill, to earn the second chance. Harrington and Ng battled back and forth to a 3-3 tie in the finals, before Ng took command, winning four straight to secure the event title.

In addition to the regular Tri-State event, Gotham City Billiards, in conjunction with Bill Hoffman, conducted two Mid-Atlantic qualifiers for the Billiards Educational Foundation’s Junior National Championships, set for July 11-12 at Romine’s High Pockets in Greenfield WI. Thomas Price won the 14-and-under tournament, with a victory over Robert Buckley. In the 15-to-18 group, it was Brendon Hallock over Sam Hoffman. The winners will join over 150 young pool players in the national event, competing for prizes and the chance to represent the US in the World Pool-Billiard Association World Junior 9-Ball Championships.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Gotham City Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Ron Tarr Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. Next stop on the Tri-State Tour is a $1000-Added, A/D handicapped event, scheduled for June 16 at Carom Cafe & Billiards in  Flushing, NY.

Cintron goes undefeated for first Tri-State win since February

Rick Shellhouse and Dan Cintron

Dan Cintron began 2011 with two victories on the Tri-State Tour, and then slipped into something of a ‘bridesmaid’ role three times. He was defeated twice as the hot seat occupant (by Daniel Dagotdot in August, and Shi Wei Chang in September), and had an eight-match, loss-side winning streak come to an abrupt halt when he and two others opted out of continuing an October event that was greeting the dawn. On Saturday, December 10, at a $500-added, A-D handicapped event that drew 41 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ, Cintron advanced to the hot seat, following a victory over Rick Shellhouse, which, later, by mutual agreement, became the deciding match.

Cintron had a “fairly easy” ride to the hot seat, in spite of one double hill challenge from Paul Raval. From among the winners’ side final four, Cintron faced and defeated Scott Bannon 7-5, as Shellhouse was sending George Osipovich west 6-3. In what proved to be his final victory, he sent Shellhouse to the semifinals 10-7.

Bannon moved to the loss-side and ran right into the man he’d sent there earlier – Ed Culhane – who was in the midst of a six-match winning streak that would propel him into the semifinals. Culhane had defeated Scott Simonetti 7-4 and Mike Zimny 7-2 to set up the re-match. Osipovich picked up Greg Costanza, who’d gotten by Eddie Perez 7-5 and Kyle Bubet 7-3.

Culhane wreaked his vengeance with a 7-3 victory over Bannon, as Osipovich was busy surviving a double hill battle versus Costanza. Culhane concluded his six-match run with a 7-5 victory over Osipovich in the quarterfinals, and ran into a determined Shellhouse, who allowed him only a single rack in an 8-1 semifinal victory that proved to be the final match of the evening. Cintron and Shellhouse, good friends, opted out of a final match, declaring the undefeated Cintron as the winner.

Tour representatives thanked the staff and management of Castle Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Ron Tarr Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The Tri-State’s final stop of the year (not the tour’s season) is scheduled for Sunday, December 18, at The Cue Bar in Bayside, NY.