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Kent and Lawhorne split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Earl Kent

The first time Earl Kent recorded a payout finish on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, nine days before Christmas in 2019, he and BJ Ussery negotiated a split of the event’s top two prizes. As occupant of the hot seat at the time, Ussery claimed the event title. This past weekend, May 14, at the same location, The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA, Kent, once again, split the top two prizes with his potential opponent in the finals. This time, however, Kent was in the hot seat and became the official winner, chalking up only his second recorded cash payout and his first tour win, albeit with the missed-final asterisk. The $500-added event drew 43 entrants to The Clubhouse.

He and Cameron Lawhorne worked their way through the field to arrive at Kent’s winners’ side semifinal against Chris Woodrum and Lawhorne’s against Brian Glisson. Kent got into the hot seat match 5-3 over Woodrum, as Lawhorne prevailed in a double hill match against Glisson (8-4; Glisson racing to 5). Battling for the hot seat became the defining match of the event with the two of them battling to a 12th deciding game and Kent finally winning it.

On the loss side, as matches dwindled down to the first money round (5th/6th), there was a junior competitor in the mix. Her name as Precilia Kinsley and is likely recognizable to anyone who’s been following the exploits of the Junior International Championships, now in their second season of events. After four events on the 2022 JIC so far, Kinsley is ranked 6th among 19 junior ladies in the 18 & Under division and finished 3rd at the JIC’s last stop in Phoenix, AZ a week ago. Like other junior competitors in the JIC, Kinsley has been encouraged to extend her ‘reach’ into regional tour events and according to Q City 9-Ball tour director, Herman Parker, she’s proved to be a formidable opponent.

“It was the first time she played with us,” said Parker, “and she won her first two matches; against another junior competitor and then, one of our regulars, Reid Vance, in a double hill match.”

She was sent to the loss side by the eventual winner, Earl Kent and eliminated by another Q City 9-Ball veteran, Scott Roberts, who ended up finishing third. Roberts advanced to down James Marvin, double hill, and Collin Hall 8-4 to draw Woodrum coming over from his winners’ side semifinal match. Glisson, arriving from the other winners’ side semifinal, picked up Thomas Sansone, who’d eliminated Clubhouse owner, Chris England 6-1 and Robert Cuneo 6-4.

In the first money round, Sansone and Roberts handed Glisson and Woodrum their second straight loss; Sansone advancing to the quarterfinals, double hill, as Roberts was busy eliminating Woodrum 8-2 to join him. Roberts and Sansone then battled to double hill in those quarterfinals, before Roberts advanced for a shot at Lawhorne in the semifinals.

In what would prove to be the event’s final match, Lawhorne defeated Roberts 8-6. The deal to split the top two prizes was made, with Kent taking the official event title, his first. 

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Chris England and his Clubhouse staff for their hospitality along with title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend, May 21-22, will be hosted Still Cluckin’ in Providence, NC. 

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Ussery comes from the loss side to take VA State 10-Ball Championships

Manny Chau and BJ Ussery

Junior competitor Precilia Kinsley takes Ladies title

There were times, as the 2022 VA State 10-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour, were playing out, that one might have thought they’d taken a wrong turn somewhere and ended up at an event on the Junior International Championships (JIC). In both the concurrently-run Open and Ladies tournament, held this past weekend (April 9-10), there was strong representation from the up-and-coming crowd of junior competitors.

Precilia Kinsley (15) won the Ladies event and though the Open event was won by BJ Ussery, Jr., it was a different kind of junior (Nathan Childress) who sent him to the loss side. Three of the five matches he played after that to get to the finals put him up against Childress a second time and two other prominent male juniors on the JIC roster, Joey Tate and Landon Hollingsworth. All four and Brent Worth, another player on the JIC, competed in the Open event. Kinsley went two-and-out, while Worth went three-and-out in that division. The event drew 46 Open competitors and 20 Ladies to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.

Ussery’s path to the Open finals was rolling along smoothly through his first three matches, in which he’d given up only one rack, against Luther Pickeral (0), Shane Buchanan (1) and Larry Kressel (0). Then, he ran into Childress, who defeated him 8-5. Childress advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Manny Chau. Hollingsworth became the second junior competitor in the winners’ side semifinals, having, on his way, given up only three racks, once, and two racks twice before facing Danny Mastermaker, who’d given up that many racks in his previous winners’ side quarterfinal win over Mac Harrell.

Mastermaker advanced to the hot seat match, sending Hollingsworth to the loss side 8-6. Chau joined him after downing Childress 8-4. Chau claimed the hot seat 8-1 over Mastermaker and waited on what he, with good reason, might have assumed was one of the three junior competitors still at work on the loss side.

On that loss side of the bracket, Childress drew Scott Roberts, who’d lost his opening match to Larry Kressel and was working on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to come to an end. He’d recently survived two straight double-hill matches against Mac Harrell and Chris Bruner. Hollingsworth drew Ussery, who was working on his own loss-side streak and had recently defeated Reggie Jackson 7-1 and JIC competitor Joey Tate 7-3.

Ussery defeated Hollingsworth 7-3 and advanced to his quarterfinal rematch against Childress, who joined him after putting a stop to Roberts’ loss-side streak 7-1. A little older by a matter of hours and presumably a little wiser, Ussery, Jr. stepped to the proverbial ‘plate’ and battled Childress to a deciding 13th game, his only double hill match of the tournament, before eliminating him.

Ussery then defeated Mastermaker 7-3 in the semifinals and claimed the VA State 10-Ball Championship title with a 9-6 victory Chau in the finals.

Precilia Kinsley and Liz Taylor

Six from JIC (30% of the field) compete, Kinsley comes from the loss side to take the title

Like Ussery, Precilia Kinsley had to come from the loss side to win the Ladies division of the VA State 10-Ball Championships. The winners’ side semifinals in the Ladies tournament featured two juniors against each other in one and two veterans in the other.

Kinsley was one of the juniors. She’d gotten by Cheryl Pritchard and Buffy Jolie to face fellow junior competitor, Bethany Tate in their winners’ side semifinal. Liz Taylor, who, at the same venue, won last October’s VA State Ladies 9-Ball Championship, ran a sort of JIC young ladies’ gauntlet. Four of her five total opponents in the event were JIC competitors. She opened with a victory over Courtney Hairfield (who’d finished 5th/6th in the last JIC 18U Girls division event, two weeks ago) and Hayleigh Marion (double hill) before stepping into her winners’ side semifinal against someone much closer to her in age, Lisa Cossette.

Tate downed Kinsley 6-4, as Taylor was working on a 6-2 win over Cossette. Taylor claimed the hot seat 6-2 over Tate and waited on the return of her last junior competitor.

On the loss side, that competitor, Kinsley, drew fellow JIC competitor Hayleigh Marion, who’d recently eliminated Britt Faries 5-2 and yet another JIC competitor, Savanna Wolford, double hill. Cossette picked up Buffy Jolie, who’d survived a double hill fight versus Courtney Hairfield and defeated Bethany Sykes 5-2 to reach her.

Cossette downed Jolie 5-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Kinsley, who’d survived a double hill match against Marion. Kinsley defeated Cossette 5-3 and in their semifinal rematch, eliminated Tate 5-3, as well. Kinsley and Taylor came within a game of double hill, but in the end, the youngster edged out in front of the woman who owns a number of VA State titles. Kinsley downed Taylor 7-5 to claim her first. 

A five-entrant Second Chance tournament was won by Chris Bruner, who took home $80 for the effort. Brian Sewell ($20) was runner-up

Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards, as well as sponsors George Hammerbacher and Haselman & Hunt, D.D.S., P.C. Family Dentistry (Haselman & Hunt.com). As the Action Pool Tour works on adding two more events to their 2022 calendar, the next scheduled event, to be held on the weekend of November 19-20, will bring the tour back to Diamond Billiards for the VA State 8-Ball Championships. 

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Billy Fowler is the first West Virginia State 9-Ball Champion

Herman Parker and Billy Fowler

Billy Fowler’s been collecting and recording payouts in his profile here at AZBilliards for 18 years now, since he won his first (recorded) major tour victory in Chicago on the Viking Cue Tour back in 2004. This past weekend (March 19-20), he recorded his eighth victory on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour in the past six years; one each in ’16, 17’ and ’18, along with two each in 2019 and 2020 (his best recorded earnings year). He also became West Virginia State’s first 9-Ball champion, coming from the loss side to down Josh Heeter in the finals of the $1,000-added WV State 9-Ball Championships, which drew 68 entrants to Sonny’s Billiards in Princeton, WV.

The Open (non-handicapped) event featured races to 7 on both sides of the bracket, with a single race to 9 in the finals. Tour director Herman Parker was pleased with this first WV State Championship, as were, he noted, many of the 68 who competed.

“It was a great event for everybody,” he said.

Fowler and Josh Heeter, looking for his first tour win in about a year, battled twice to claim the title. They met first in a winners’ side semifinal, as Cameron Lawhorne and Mike Clevinger battled in the other one.

Lawhorne downed Clevinger 7-5 and was joined in the hot seat match by Heeter, who’d sent Fowler off on a three-match, loss-side trip 7-3. Heeter grabbed the hot seat with a 7-2 win over Lawhorne.

The event drew the last 12 competitors back to Sonny’s on Sunday. Fowler began his loss-side work against Cory Morphew, who, earlier, had defeated Scott Roberts, double hill, and Trent Talbert 7-4. Clevinger drew Shannon Fitch, who’d defeated junior competitor Cole Lewis 7-4 and Craig Brown, the last West Virginian standing, 7-5.

Fowler downed Morphew 7-4, as Fitch was busy eliminating Clevinger 7-3. Fowler had to battle for his advancement over the next two steps. He survived two straight double hill matches; versus Fitch in the quarterfinals and Lawhorne in the semifinals to earn his second shot against Heeter.

In the extended, single race to 9, Fowler edged out in front and kept widening a lead. He kept at it until the end, completing his championship run 9-5 over Heeter and taking the title home.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Sonny’s Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Break Time Billiards of Winston-Salem, NC, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (March 26-27), will be hosted by Hummy’s Bar (formerly, Jack’s All-American) in Newport, TN.

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Ailstock wins first Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop in five years

Jonathan Ailstock

Jonathan Ailstock’s recorded cash earnings on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour (19 events) date back to a third-place finish in 2015 and have been updated to include his most recent of four wins on the tour, the last of which (prior to this past weekend; March 12-13) occurred in June, 2017. He and Cameron Lawhorne battled twice at this most recent event, which drew 33 entrants to Still Cluckin’ Billiards in Providence, NC. 

Ailstock and Lawhorne met up for the first time in the hot seat match. Ailstock had advanced to face Scott Roberts in one of the winners’ side semifinals as Lawhorne and Orlando Marcus squared off in the other one. Lawhorne/Marcus went double hill (8-5, with Marcus racing to 6) before Lawhorne advanced to face Ailstock, who’d sent Roberts west 7-3. 

The first of their two matches went double hill. With Lawhorne racing to 8, Ailstock snared the hot seat 7-7, sending Lawhorne off to the semifinals.

On the loss side, Roberts moved over to pick up Jesse Cortner, who’d defeated Tyson Pey 5-2 and the previous stop’s winner, DJ Brads 5-4. Brads, coming off that earlier win, had his handicap raised to ‘6,’ instead of the ‘5’ it was during the last event. Last week, 5-4 would have meant ‘double hill,’ but ire ad tempus (time marches on). Marcus drew Justin Knuckles, who,  with his opponent Collin Hall, racing to 7, had eliminated him 6-5. Hall was runner-up in Ailstock’s last tour win in 2017. Knuckles went on to defeat Dakota Ash 6-3 for his meetup with Marcus.

Roberts made short work of Cortner 8-1, and advanced to the quarterfinals. In a straight-up race to 6, Knuckles survived a double hill fight against Marcus to join him.

With Roberts racing to 8, Knuckles advanced to the semifinal 6-6, only to be eliminated by Lawhorne 8-2. In their second matchup, Ailstock prevailed 7-5 to claim the event title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Still Cluckin’ for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Break Time Billiards of Winston-Salem, NC, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, the West Virginia State 9-Ball Championships, a $1,000-added Open (no handicap) event, scheduled for this weekend (March 19-20), will be hosted by Sonny’s Billiards in Princeton, WV.

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Roberts and Morphew split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Scott Roberts

Scott Roberts and Cory Morphew haven’t exactly been dormant since the pandemic landed two years ago, though Roberts, in particular, saw his climb up the earnings ladder in the last decade drop a few steps right after he’d chalked up his best recorded earnings year in 2019. For his part, Morphew’s climb up the same ladder has been something of an up-and-down affair, in something of a reverse order. Prior to this past weekend, his best recorded earnings year was his first in 2011. His finish at this past weekend’s stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour (Feb. 19-20) put him $15 over his 2011 figure, and it’s only February.

They split the top two prizes. Roberts went undefeated, downing Morphew in the hot seat match and when Morphew returned from the semifinals, they opted out of a final match at the event that drew 33 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

Roberts faced Scott Howard in one of the winners’ side semifinal matches, as Morphew squared off against Chris Cowan. Morphew got into the hot seat match without giving up a rack. Roberts joined him after an 8-4 win over Howard. The hot seat match went double hill before Roberts prevailed to essentially claim the title. 

On the loss side, Eric Roberts (no relation to Scott) and Adam Pendley were both on a seven-match winning streak that would bring them together in the quarterfinals. Cowan drew Roberts, who, at the time, was five matches into his loss-side run that had recently included the elimination of Reid Vance 9-3 and Gary South 9-4. It was Howard who picked up Pendley, six matches into his loss-side run, with recent wins over 14-year-old Niko Konkel 9-1 and in a rematch from the winners’ side, double hill over 12-year-old Jas Makhani. 

Roberts and Pendley advanced to the quarterfinals; Pendley, with his seventh loss-side win, 9-6 over Howard and Roberts with his sixth, 9-3 over Cowan. Roberts then chalked up his seventh loss-side win, downing Pendley 9-6 in those quarterfinals.

The semifinals were a rematch. Morphew had downed Roberts on the winners’ side of the bracket 9-4 and chalked up a second one against him 9-1 for the right to face Scott Roberts a second time. It didn’t happen. They opted out and split the top two prizes, with Roberts, as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat laid claim to the event title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Feb. 26-27), will be a $500-added event, hosted by the Rock House Grill & Billiards in Gastonia, NC.

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Wolford & Keeney Make Sweet Music at Music City

Shane Wolford

The 34th Annual Music City Open was once again hosted by JOB’s Billiards in Madison, TN – a suburb of Nashville. Played on seven foot Diamonds, $7,000 was added to the event. Owner Ricky Gamble and his staff went all out to welcome all the players and fans.

Kicking off the event on Wednesday evening was a single elimination open 9 ball mini tournament. Sixty four players joined the fray – format was races to seven, winner breaks.

Directed by our own Ray Hansen, the field was whittled down to four players. Manny Perez handily beat Josh O’Neal 7-0 while James Davee beat Jeremiah Petty 7-3 to move into the finals. Due to the late hour, Manny and James decided to split the pot.

The $6,000 added Open 9 Ball division began the following evening. 127 players paid their $100 entry fees into this double elimination event. Races were to eleven with winner breaks. Following the players meeting, a rousing players auction and draw, play began.

Notable matches in the first round action saw John Gabriel thump Chris Baskerville 11-1 as did Shane Wolford over Raed Shabib 11-3. Brian Bryant had a bit of a tougher time with cuemaker Mike Durbin – the final score was 11-7. Young guns Sergio Rivas smoked Tracy Blevins 11-2 while Manny Perez defeated Steve Legace 11-3. John Hennessee blitzed Bob Ferrell 11-0 and Dave Matlock notched a forfeit over Jesse Couch.

In the second round and still having a fairly easy time of it, Tulsa’s John Gabriel then defeated Dominick Iraggi 11-3. Shane Wolford, owner of the Wolf’s Den in Roanoke, VA made short work of Mark Nanashee 11-4 and Jeremiah Petty skunked Brandon Andre 11 zip. Manny Perez claimed victory over Chris Busby 11-5 and Hennessee spanked Michael Williamson 11-3. Robert Hall defeated Ron Frank 11-7, James Davee outran Andrew Stroup 11-8 and Mike Gann forfeited his match to Josh O’Neal.

Legendary bar box king Dave Matlock had his hands full with the straight shooting Sergio Rivas. Hoping for a flashback, Dave played well but Sergio took him down 11-7.

Third round action saw John Gabriel run into a buzz saw named Shane Wolford. Catching up to the great breaking Shane a couple of times, Wolford finally pulled away to a 10-6 lead. No slouch himself, John clawed his way back to tie it up at ten apiece! In a heartbreaker of a game, a relieved Shane finally edged him out.

Other matches from that round had Rivas easing past Tab Pranee 11-5 as Chuck Raulston eased past Steve Cruse 11-2. Seemingly unable to find his game, Manny Perez was smoked by Rusty Jackson 11-3 and Hennessee from Tennessee took care of Anthony Gunn 11-5. Joey Yarbrough was no threat to Robert Hall – he lost 11-2 while James Davee wrestled Lee Uhles for an 11-8 win.

With both the Open and Ladies event in full swing, Saturday night was ground zero for the Midnight Madness nine ball mini. Eight players put up a $500 entry fee. Format was single elimination with races to eleven and winner breaks. Shane Wolford and Hennessee were the last men standing – they also decided to split the pot.

After a scare in his previous match with John Gabriel, Shane Wolford cruised to an 11-2 victory over Scott Roberts and Rivas was in the zone with an 11-1 win over Gene Drerup. Raulston sent Kevin Ping packing – same score – 11-1.

After his big win over Manny Perez, Rusty Jackson had his hands full with Hennessee – he lost 11-7. James Davee also survived a tough one – he defeated Joey Yarbrough 11-9.

Playing great, Wolford swept past Chip Gaither 11-2. Same great play by Rivas got him past Chuck Raulston 11-6 while Hennessee sent Davee west 11-6.

As the Open 9 Ball played on, the $1,000 added Ladies Division began on Friday night. Forty two players entered this double elimination event – format was races to seven with winners break. As always, there was a players meeting and auction followed by the draw.

The ladies played down to the final four on the winners side. Nicole Keeney defeated Amanda Huff 7-3 and Amy Theriault was defeated by Edie Dean. Edie & Nicole advanced to the hot seat match where Nicole breezed through the match and locked up her berth in the finals 7-1. Edie headed west to await an opponent.

After losing her first match, Laura Kanov’s run to the finals was finally thwarted by Julie Skirpac 7-3. Laura finished in fourth place. Julie then went on to face Edie Dean but lost 7-5. She finished third – Edie would get another shot at Nicole in the finals.

Since this was a double elimination event, Edie would have to win two sets to claim the title. She won the first two games but Nicole came roaring back to win the next four. Edie managed to put two more games on the board but it wasn’t enough – Nicole took the match and the title 7-4! Fantastic tournament for both players!!!

Finally down to four on the winners side in the Open event, Wolford made short work of Brian Bryant 11-5 while Rivas outlasted Hennessee 11-7. Sergio and Shane headed to the hot seat match – their opponents slogged over to the one loss side of the chart.

The hot seat match was all Shane Wolford. He kept Rivas pretty much nailed to his chair and moved undefeated into the finals – 11-4.

On the other side of the brackets, Bryant and Mike Gann battled – Gann was eliminated 11-8. On the other table, Josh O’Neal and Hennessee took it down to the wire – Josh was eliminated 11-10. After escaping his previous match, Hennessee tortured Brian Bryant 11-1 – Brian finished in fourth place.

Fighting to claim the remaining berth in the finals and looking to avenge his previous loss to Rivas, Hennessee was taking no prisoners this time. Hennessee defeated Sergio 11-6 and headed to the finals. Sergio finished in third place.

As this was double elimination, Wolford would have to be beaten twice for Hennessee to win the tournament. By mid-match, it was tied at five apiece. Shane won the next three games – making it 8-5. Could he run out the set?!!!

Nope!!! Hennessee rallies and ties it up at eight!!! Wins the next game and takes his first lead of the match!!! His lead didn’t last long though as Shane tied it up again at nine games each but once again, Hennessee won the next game. He was on the hill – 10-9. Could he win this last game and force a second set?

Not so fast!!! He scratched on the break!!! A dejected Hennessee slowly walked back to the chair to watch Shane run out the rack making it 10-10!!!

Making the one on the break, he had a wide open rack! Methodically running the balls but leaving himself a little long on the seven, he took a deep breath and rifled it in to win the event!!! Great tournament for both players!!!

PoolActionTV.com would like to again thank Ricky Gamble and local sponsor Action 24/7 for another fabulous event. Tournament Director Jason Hill – ably assisted by Steve McDonald – did an excellent job coordinating the various events.

We’d like to thank commentators Larry Schwartz, Mary Kenniston and Jeremy Jones – great job!

We’d also like to thank our sponsors and fans. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, StraightPoolEye, Lomax Custom Cues, Diamond, Durbin Custom Cues, Simonis, Aramith, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

Our next stop is the long awaited Derby City Classic in New Albany, IN – dates are January 21st-29th. As always, we hope to see you there and in our Aramith Action Room!!!

Robertson goes undefeated to win his second Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop in a month

Michael Robertson

Michael Robertson worked his way through a small field that was on-hand to compete in the Saturday, December 11 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. He went undefeated to win his second tour stop in a month, having gone undefeated to claim the November 20 tour stop at Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC. Robertson’s effort this past weekend was challenged at the end by Scott Roberts, who’d lost his second-round match and won seven on the loss side to meet him in the finals. The $500-added event drew 27 entrants to The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.

With Roberts already on the loss side, Robertson advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Earl Kent. Chris Woodrum, in the meantime, faced Anthony Rock in the other winners’ side semifinal. 

Robertson got into the hot seat match 6-3 over Kent and was joined by Woodrum, who’d sent Rock to the loss side 6-2. Robertson claimed the hot seat with a 6-4 win over Woodrum and waited for Roberts to complete his loss-side run.

On the loss side, it was Anthony Rock who ran into Roberts, four matches into his loss-side run. Roberts had recently eliminated Shane Woodrum (brother to Chris), double hill, and James Tyree 8-3. Earl Kent drew Collin Hall, who, most recently, had eliminated a father/son pair, in order; Father Greg Vaughan 7-2 and then, shut out son Garret Vaughan, who’d defeated Roberts in the second winners’ side round.

Roberts shut Rock out and was joined in the quarterfinals by Hall, who’d defeated Kent, double hill (7-4). Hall ended up on the wrong side of his second, double hill match, falling to Roberts 8-6 in those quarterfinals.

Roberts gave up just a single rack to Chris Woodrum in the semifinals that followed, earning a shot at Robertson, in the hot seat waiting for him. Robertson began that final match with two ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 8. He and Roberts both won six racks, but Robertson’s two ‘beads’ gave him the ‘8’ he needed for the win.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at The Clubhouse for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend, Dec. 18-19, will be a $500-added event, hosted by Sonny’s Billiards in Princeton, WV. 

BJ Ussery goes undefeated on first Action Pool Tour stop since February

BJ Ussery and Chris Bruner

“Guess who just got back today?
Them wild-eyed boys that’d been away
Haven’t changed, had much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy”  – Thin Lizzy “The Boys are Back in Town”

They were joined, it should be noted immediately, by a crew of “wild-eyed girls” who’d been away, too. Dorothy Strater, Cheryl Pritchard, Tina Malm, Bethany Sykes, Reene Driskill, Soo Emmett and Sheri Bruner (mother of the tour’s 2019 Champion, Chris Bruner), who, along with 46 other entrants, signed on to last weekend’s (July 17-18) stop on the Action Pool Tour, hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA. It was the first stop on the 2021 tour since the VA State 10-Ball Championships in February, and according to co-tour director Kris Wylie, it will be the last until sometime in September. A previously scheduled event, slated for August 14-15 at Wolf’s Den in Roanoke, VA had to be changed to accommodate amateur league events, scheduled for Las Vegas at the same time. Wylie and room owners, the Wolfords, are still working on details that will determine when, in September, the tour will visit the room.

“We were a little concerned,” noted Wiley of the tour’s return to activity, “what with falling out of the public eye, but we were very happy with the turnout and now, it’s just a matter of sorting out the rest of this year’s schedule.”

Visitors to the Action Pool Tour Web site will note that there’s no tour rankings list as there has been in previous years. That list, normally used to determine who earns entry into a year-end event for the tour, was deemed impractical, given the unexpected cancellation of stops and the ongoing plans for future events.

“We determined that there was no real value to have ‘points leaders’ at this point,” Wylie explained, adding that there will be a year-end event for the tour, but that a means of determining some way to get participants invited is still in the planning stages. “We just couldn’t come up with a way of having a tour leader right now.”

BJ Ussery would likely have been a candidate for top spot on this year’s tour rankings list on the basis of his undefeated run at this past weekend’s event. He came out of the gate real fast, giving up only four racks through his first 36 games to Jamie Bess (0), Graham Swinson (2), Kelly Farrar (0) and James Coleman (2). He drew Collin Hall in one of the winners’ side semifinals.

Ussery’s eventual hot seat opponent, Mac Harrell, had a little different experience with his trip to a winners’ side semifinal matchup versus Scott Roberts. Harrell chalked up the same 32 games-won as Ussery, but he gave up 16 racks to Enrique Barrios (4), Jason Trigo (3), David Parker (4) and David Hunt (5).

Ussery and Harrell downed Hall and Roberts, both 8-5. Ussery claimed the hot seat 8-3 over Harrell, though over his last two matches, he’d dropped his game-winning average from 88% down to 80%. 

On the loss side, Scott Roberts drew Graham Swinson, who followed his 2nd round loss to Ussery with a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that had begun when he eliminated Sheri Bruner, thereby eliminating any hope of a mother-son matchup somewhere down the loss-side line. He had most recently eliminated Thomas Dorsey 7-5 and shut out James Coleman. Collin Hall picked up Chris Bruner, who’d lost a double hill fight to Scott Roberts in one of the winners’ side quarterfinals and realizing that he was not going to have to face his mother in a loss-side match, went on to defeat Shane Buchanan and David Hunt, both 7-4. 

Bruner advanced to the quarterfinals 7-3 over Hall. Roberts joined him for their rematch after ending Swinson’s loss-side streak 7-4. As had happened on the winners’ side, Bruner and Roberts locked up in a double hill fight. The ending was different, with Bruner advancing to face and defeat Mac Harrell 7-5 in the semifinals.

Two very familiar faces in the mid-Atlantic pool scene and to each other squared off in the finals; one, thus far undefeated and the other, having won five on the loss side for the right to play the final match. Ussery prevailed 9-6 to claim his first event title of 2021.

As for the aforementioned ladies who signed on to compete (Sheri Bruner, Dorothy Strater, Cheryl Pritchard, Bethany Sykes, Reene Driskill, Soo Emmet & Tina Malm), Tina Malm advanced the furthest, finishing in the money in the four-way tie for 9th place. 

Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Haselman & Hunt Family Dentistry, George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor) and CSI. As noted, the August 14-15 stop on the Action Pool Tour has been postponed to a date-to-be-determined in September. Visit the tour’s Web site, www.actionpooltour.com, for a future announcement.

Ussery, Manley split top prizes at 1st Annual Brian James Memorial Tournament in Bristol, TN

(l to r): Brian James and TD Herman Parker

If and when the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour holds its annual Tour Championship in September, it will once again honor one of its tour members with a Sportsmanship Award. The award will go to a player chosen by members of the tour. This year and in the years to come, that award will bear the name and honor the memory of Brian James of Rosedale, West Virginia, a long-time member of the tour, who passed away on June 3, following a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer. James, a close friend of tour directors Herman and Angela Parker, had fulfilled a long-time dream earlier this year, when he competed at the annual Derby City Classic in January, finishing in a four-way tie for 5th place in the 9-Ball Mini Tournament. James was to have competed on the Q City 9-Ball Tour this past April, but the tour was halted due to the pandemic well ahead of his scheduled participation. By the time the tour was able to get back to the work of pool competition, James was no longer able to compete.

On the weekend of January 11-12 at Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN (where James enjoyed playing the most), the tour held a fundraising tournament, attended by James, to help defray the costs of his ongoing health care. Through the raffling of cues, balls and an assortment of other products from keychains to clothing, the event raised $3,300. Six months later, this past weekend (June 13-14), the tour went back to Borderline Billiards and drew 74 entrants to a celebration of life tournament. BJ Ussery and Sammy Manley ended up splitting the top two prizes of the commemorative event that drew 74 entrants.

“Brian’s daughters, Nina and Jesse, came to the tournament,” said Herman Parker, “and had a very emotional meeting with the players, thanking everybody.”

“He was the most genuine person,” said Parker of his friend. “There was just never any drama with him, which is why the Sportsmanship Award will be named in his honor. He was a good family man and always courteous when it came to the game. He was one of those guys; a 100% gentleman.”

And, as he most assuredly would have wanted, the tournament began.

The winner and runner-up at this event never competed. Though Ussery would go undefeated to the hot seat, Sammy Manley, who defeated Jeff Abernathy in the opening round of play, but lost to Scott Roberts in the second round, won nine matches on the loss side for the right to face Ussery in the final match that didn’t happen.

Ussery advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against junior player Landon Hollingsworth. Jordan Gray, in the meantime, squared off against Daniel “Papa John” Adams in the other one.

Ussery earned his spot in the hot seat match with a 12-3 win over Hollingsworth (racing to 6). Gray downed Adams 6-4. In what would prove to be his final victory, Ussery claimed the hot seat 12-3; like Hollingsworth, Gray was racing to 6.

With four wins of his nine on the loss side behind him, Manley defeated Travis Guerra 5-1 and Jody Musselman 5-4 (Musselman racing to 6) to draw “Papa John” coming over from his loss in the winners’ side semifinal. Hollingsworth drew Hank Powell, who’d defeated Josh Miller 7-1 and Dalton Messer 7-4 to reach him.

Manley downed “Papa John” 5-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Powell, who eliminated Hollingsworth 7-3. Manley then sent Powell to the figurative showers 5-3 in those quarterfinals.

In his 9th victory on the loss side and 10th, overall, Manley defeated Jordan Gray 5-2 in the semifinals. He and Ussery agreed to split the event’s top two cash prizes and the 1st Annual Brian James Memorial Tournament at Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN was in the books. According to the Parkers, future events in James’ name will be held around the time of his passing each year.

The Parkers thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards, Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine, Skyline Construction, 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 (June 20-21), will be hosted by Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC and feature two separate events. On Saturday, June 20th, the tour will mount its normal handicap event, which will, dependent on the number of entrants, conclude on Saturday night. On Sunday, June 21, the tour will hold an Open event (no handicaps), featuring races to 6.

Ussery comes from the loss side to win win VA State 10-Ball Championships

(l to r): Reymart Lim, TD Tiger Baker & BJ Ussery

Taylor becomes only 4th woman since 2013 to win VA State Women’s 10-Ball title
 
It’s a little early to start making predictions or get too much of a ‘read’ on a tour’s point standings (at least those that run on a calendar year schedule), but the Action Pool Tour’s second stop provided some intriguing information. It wasn’t so much about who’s in the top spots at this point, but who, among last year’s top players are apparently starting out a little slow. Stop #2 on the Action Pool Tour – the 2020 VA State 10-Ball Open Championships – drew 73 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA on the weekend of February 15-16. Six of last year’s top 10 players in the tour’s final standings competed in this event. Two finished out of the money, including the event’s defending champion, RJ Carmona. Three, including last year’s tour champion, Chris Bruner, finished in the first money round. Reymart Lim, who finished in 4th place overall last year and won this year’s season opener was this event’s runner-up. In his first appearance on the tour in seven years, BJ Ussery came from the loss side to earn a finals rematch against Lim, which he won to claim the event title.
 
Meanwhile, the 2020 VA State Women’s 10-Ball Championships drew 16 women to the same location. As they did last year, Liz Taylor and Janet Atwell battled twice to claim this title. The results of those two battles were a reverse of last year’s; Atwell, winning the first and Taylor, winning the final (more on this a bit later).
 
Ussery’s appearance on the Action Pool Tour is a reflection of his desire to play generally stronger opponents than those he tends to face on regional handicapped tours. The last time he’d appeared on the APT, he’d finished 7th in the inaugural (2013) VA State 10-Ball Championships.
 
“I’m hoping to play in more of these (APT events) this year,” said Ussery. “I want to play against better players and compete in the some of the bigger events, like the US Open or the Super Billiards Expo.”
 
Any time at table, ultimately, is good time at table, but playing in a handicap system, no matter which one it is, carries a downside. According to Ussery, it’s less about the game and more about human nature.
 
“I get so used to giving up a handicap,” Ussery explained, “that when I get into a non-handicap game, it’s hard for me to bear down.”
 
His opening matches tended to demonstrate this. Ussery opened with an 8-6 win over Reggie Jackson, had a strong 8-1 victory over Jonathan Syphanthavong, and then gave up five against Shorty Davis. He had to win a deciding, 15th game in his fourth match, against Justin Martin. Nathan Childress chalked up six against him next, but Ussery prevailed and advanced to his first meeting against Reymart Lim, in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Lim had downed Barry Mashburn, RJ Carmona, Larry Kressel and shut out Greg Sabins (last year’s #12 in the point standings) to reach Ussery. Shane Wolford and Eric Moore (the APT’s 2016 Tour Champion) squared off in the other one.
 
By identical 8-1 scores, Lim and Wolford advanced to the hot seat match over Ussery and Moore. Lim and Wolford then locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Wolford to the semifinals and left Lim in the hot seat.
 
Ussery opened up on the loss side against Mike Davis, who was working on a five-match winning streak that was about to end and had included recent wins over Kelly Farrar 7-3 and Justin Martin 7-2. Moore picked up Scott Roberts, who’d been shut out by Greg Sabins in the second round and was working on his own seven-match, loss-side streak that included a successful 7-5 rematch against Sabins and a 7-5 victory over Nathan Childress, which led to Moore.
 
Ussery ended Davis’ streak 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Roberts, who’d defeated Moore 7-4. Ussery ended Roberts’ streak and Wolford’s short visit to the loss side in the semifinals, both 7-5.
 
Going into the final match, Ussery was mindful not only of the earlier matchup, in which Lim had allowed him only a single rack, but previous matchups, as well. They’d faced each other on a number of occasions over the years, and playing against him, Ussery knew what the difference was.
 
“I knew he was a good player when we’d met before,” said Ussery, “but I knew then, that part of the reason he was beating me was that he’d been putting in the time.”
 
“These days,” Ussery added, “I’m as prepared as anybody.”
 
Ussery spoiled Lim’s bid for a second straight win on the APT. He defeated him 10-8 to claim his first APT title.
 
Taylor spoils Atwell’s bid for a third straight, sixth overall VA State 10-Ball Woman’s title.
 
[photo id=51605|align=right]Since 2013, there have been four women who’ve claimed the VA State Women’s 10-Ball title. Tracie Majors won it in 2014 and Meredith Lynch captured the title in 2017. Janet Atwell has claimed the title five times; once in its inaugural year (2013) and then, back-to-back, twice (’15,’16, ’18, ’19). Last year, Atwell was defeated by Liz Taylor, double hill, in the hot seat match and came back to down Taylor 8-2 in the finals to claim her second straight and fifth overall title.  This year, at the event that drew 16 entrants (one more than last year), they reversed things. Taylor was defeated in the hot seat match and came back to defeat Atwell in the finals and claim the 2020 women’s title.
 
It took them each three matches to meet for the first time in the hot seat match. Atwell got by Nicole King, Tina Nash and, in a winners’ side semifinal, shut out Hayleigh Marion. Taylor defeated Soo Emmett, Christy Norris and, in her winners’ side semifinal, survived a double hill match against Lisa Cossette. Atwell claimed the hot seat 6-1.
 
Taylor’s return faced a stiff challenge from Deeqa Nur, who’d been defeated in the opening round of play by Cheryl Sporleder and came back through five opponents to draw Taylor in the semifinals. Nur battled to double hill against two of those opponents. She picked up Hayleigh Marion, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal and defeated her, just ahead of downing Lisa Cossette in a double hill quarterfinal. Taylor spoiled the strong, loss-side bid 5-3 in the semifinals.
 
And so it was, that for the second year in a row, Liz Taylor and Janet Atwell battled for the State of Virginia’s Women’s 10-Ball title. In a reversal of fortunes, Taylor gave up only one rack to Atwell in claiming the event title 8-1.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Full Stroke Billiards Apparel and Haselman & Hunt, D.D.S., P.C. Family Dentistry. The next stop on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for March 28-29, will be a Double Points event – The East Coast Landscaping Bar Box Bash – to be hosted by Peninsula Billiards in Newport News, VA.