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McMinn double dips Grey to win stop on Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour

Shane McMinn, Michael Pickering and Joey Gray

Two years ago, in April of 2019, when we last reported on a match in which Shane McMinn and Joey Gray met each other in an event final, we were lamenting the fact that we had no way of knowing just how many times they had done that. Neither do they. Back then, we’d tracked down one event from 2014 in which Gray “went undefeated, downing McMinn in the hot seat and finals,” and “found a few instances in which McMinn had bested Gray in the finals.” Whatever their total count and whoever’s ahead of who in total wins, we know for certain that it’s an often-renewed rivalry that goes back at least 15 years. McMinn began showing up in our database in 1999. Joey Gray, in 2006.

In that last meetup (that we know of) in 2019, Gray came from the loss side and double dipped McMinn in the finals to win a stop on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour. This past weekend, Sept. 18-19, McMinn returned the favor, coming from the loss side to double dip Gray in stop #9 on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour. The $1,500-added event drew 60 entrants to Jeffro’s Billiards in Canton, TX. 

McMinn started off by chalking up three wins against Garrett Hogue, Jennifer Hooten and TJ Davis by an aggregate score of 30-7, before running into Joey Gray in one of the winners’ side quarterfinals. Gray, who’d tallied an aggregate score of 27-11 versus Shawn Findley, Tony Top and Corey Flud, sent McMinn to the loss side 9-5 and drew Crispian Ng in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Michael Pickering, in the meantime, who’d gotten by Jamie Blevins, Jonathan Davis, Robert Webb and Clint Freeeman (28-10) picked up the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour’s top player in the Tour standings, Daniel Herring, in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Gray advanced to the hot seat match with a 9-4 win over Ng, as Pickering got by Herring 7-3. Gray claimed the hot seat 9-5 over Pickering and waited on the return of a very familiar face.

On the loss side, it was Herring who drew Shane McMinn, in the middle of his five-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him all the way to the finals. Following his defeat at the hands of Gray, McMinn met up with and eliminated Chip Compton 10-4, a player who could readily be added to the McMinn/Gray rivalry, forming a Midwest rivalry triumvirate that’ve been battling each other all over the country for years. McMinn moved on to defeat Harold “Woody” Paine 10-4 and face Herring. Crispian Ng picked up Clint Freeman, who’d been sent over in a winners’ side quarterfinal by Pickering and defeated TJ Davis 9-5 and Alberto Nieto Garcia 9-6.

Freeman downed Ng 9-6 and in the quarterfinals, faced McMinn, who’d eliminated Herring 10-6. McMinn defeated Freeman 10-7 and then, in the semifinals, Pickering 10-5.

McMinn took the opening set of the true double elimination final 10-4. He went one better in the second set, claiming the event title 10-3.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Jeffro’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor Cuetec, Fort Worth Billiards Store, JB Cases, Internet Marketing Solutions, Granite Guyz and Dallas 8-Ball. The next stop on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for October 23-24, will be hosted by Snookered in Frisco, TX. 

McMinn goes undefeated to win 4th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial Tournament

Gary Abood, Shane McMinn and Randy Staggs

As it turned out, both finalists in the 4th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial Tournament, held over the long weekend of December 13-15, were looking to boost their 2019 resume; one, by chalking up only his second (recorded) victory of the year and the other, with a first (recorded) cash finish anywhere in over two years. Given the date, it was likely to be their last 2019 tour/event victory and/or cash finish. Shane McMinn, who went undefeated to claim the title, had won the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s season opener back in January. For runner-up Gary Abood, the Bunnell Memorial became his first (recorded) cash finish in any event since he finished 4th at the inaugural Scotty Townsend Memorial 9-Ball Tournament in March of 2017. The $2,000-added Bunnell Memorial, organized and sponsored by OB Cues, drew 68 entrants to the Billiard Den in Richardson, TX.
 
Shane McMinn’s path to the winners’ circle opened with a bye and three straight matches in which he allowed his opponent – in order, Greg Sandifer, Noel Villalobos and Isaac Wooten – only a single rack. McMinn advanced to down Ryan Robinson 7-3 and draw his first match against Abood in a winners’ side semifinal. Abood had arrived after chalking up one 7-2 victory over Alberto Nieto and three, 7-3 wins over Jason Judd, Billy Pinion and Corey Flud. Randy Staggs, in the meantime, squared off against Steve Raynes in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Staggs got into the hot seat match with a 7-4 win over Raynes. Abood chalked up twice as many racks against McMinn in the winners’ side semifinal than all of McMinn’s previous opponents combined, necessitating a 13th deciding rack. McMinn dropped the last 9-ball and moved on to the hot seat match. McMinn returned to form, allowing Staggs only a single rack as he claimed the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Raynes picked up Gerardo Perez, who’d lost his opening match to TJ Davis and was in the midst of an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals and had most recently included victories over Ryan Robinson 7-5 and, in a successful rematch, TJ Davis, 7-4. Abood drew Juan Parra, who was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had included recent victories over Jeff Sullivan 7-3 and Walter Huenerfuerst 7-2.
 
Abood and Perez advanced to the quarterfinals with identical 7-5 victories over Parra and Raynes, respectively. Abood then ended Perez’ loss-side winning streak 7-4 in those quarterfinals and earned a second shot against McMinn with a 7-4 victory over Staggs in the semifinals. 
 
Unlike their double hill, winners’ side semifinal match, the finals saw McMinn return, once again, to the form that ultimately earned him the event title. He gave up two racks to Abood in the 7-2 finals, ending with an aggregate score of 35-15; a 70% winning percentage. To Abood’s credit, his runner-up finish came as the result of having won just over half of the racks that McMinn had lost. 
 
McMinn and Abood figured prominently in two other events that were part of the 9-Ball Royce Bunnell Memorial. The weekend began with a 32-entrant, 8-Ball Mini Tournament, which was won by Gary Abood with OB Cues President Jesse Garcia as the event’s runner-up. There was also a Banks Ring (Chip style) Tournament, won by McMinn, with Jeff Sullivan finishing as runner-up and Chris “Woody” Smith in 3rd place. 
 
David “Doc” Reyes, Customer Service Manager for OB Cues, who’s been the main promoter and ‘head of the spear’ in the organization of this annual memorial event, along with the President of OB Cues, Jesse Garcia and CEO Mark Griffin (both of whom competed) thanked Marci Rothberg and her Billiard Den staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors (representatives), OB Cues, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore (Albert Trujillo), John Eagle Honda Dallas (JP Kinman, GM), Outville Racks (Chris Renfro), Granite Guyz and Dallas 8-Ball League. Reyes and Jennifer Hooten directed the event, while RackemTV sponsored the stream with commentary by Billy Guy and Marc Gonzalez as commentators. 

Pinegar wins second 2019 Bar Table title at Midwest Bar Table Classic in Indianapolis

Jonathan Pinegar

Orcollo takes top prize in 10-Ball Saturday Night Midnight Madness
 
In what has been something of a slow year for him, Jonathan Pinegar (the ‘artist’ formerly known as “Hennessee from Tennessee”) recently chalked up his second 2019 Bar Box title. In late March, Pinegar won the 32-entrant, Super Billiards Expo’s Pro Am Bar Box Championships and on the weekend of October 13-14, he went 7-1 through a field of 128 competing at the $7,500-added 39th annual Midwest Bar Table Classic, hosted by John Wayne’s Bar and Grill in Indianapolis, IN. He lost the opening set of a true double elimination final to runner-up Jason Klatt. Pinegar’s only other recorded earnings for the year stemmed from his participation in the 2019 Derby City Classic at which he finished in the money in three separate disciplines; 9-Ball (17th), One Pocket (21st) and 9-Ball Banks (91st).
 
As if a 128-player field wasn’t madness enough, the Midwest Bar Table Classic included a 10-Ball Saturday Night Midnight Madness tournament, which featured a single elimination ‘winner and runner-up take all’ format. It drew an extraordinarily short field of 10 entrants and lasted (no surprise) until 3 a.m., which might have had something to do with why the winner, Dennis Orcollo, finished in the eight-way tie for 17th place in the main event to take home $1,500. Tommy Stephenson was the $500 runner-up.
 
The main event saw a number of ‘marquee’ players eliminated earlier than anticipated (by themselves probably more than anybody). These included 2020 Mosconi Cup Team USA member, Billy Thorpe and the Midwest Bar Table Classic’s defending champion, Alex Olinger, both of whom shared in the four-way tie for 13th. Also out early (among others) were Dennis Hatch (25-32), Justin Bergman (17-24) and Shane McMinn (9/12).
 
Pinegar faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals; one of them, having sent the other to the loss side. Josh Roberts sent Jason Klatt to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal from where Klatt would launch a five-match winning streak that would earn him a shot against Pinegar in the finals. Roberts advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Jordan Davis, as Pinegar squared off against Chris Szuter in the other one.
 
Pinegar downed Szuter 9-6, as Roberts was busy sending Davis to the loss side 9-5. Pinegar claimed the hot seat 9-5 over Roberts and waited on Klatt’s return.
 
Klatt opened his loss-side campaign with a victory over Can Salim, who’d been responsible for sending Dennis Orcollo to the loss side (Kevin Hall would eliminate Orcollo). Klatt then went on something of a ‘tear’ as he shut out his next two opponents; Robert Frost and (fresh from his loss to Pinegar) Szuter. Davis picked up and defeated John Morra 7-5; Morra having been responsible for eliminating Shane McMinn and Jeremy Seaman.
 
Klatt took the quarterfinal match over Davis 7-2 and then, in a match that came within a game of double hill, downed Roberts 7-5 in the semifinal.
 
Klatt and his sidekick, Momentum took the opening set of the true double elimination final 9-6. Pinegar came back to win the second set 7-4 and claim the Midwest Bar Table Classic title.
 
Event directors John Klotz and Miranda Babcock thanked John Wayne’s Bar & Grill owner Chuck Thomas and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Meucci Cues, Simonis Cloth and for the live streaming, BilliardNet.TV. The next Midwest Bar Table Classic has been scheduled for April 3-5, 2020.

Gray double dips McMinn to win stop on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour

(l to r): Joey Gray & Magoo’s Mgr. Shad McMinn

Dodd goes undefeated to take Ladies title
 
Trying to figure out how many times Joey Gray has defeated Shane McMinn in the finals of a regional tour event is like looking for two needles in a haystack. To make matters worse, it seems likely that a lot of needles, representing the number of times that it’s happened, have been left out of that haystack, not reported for any number of reasons. We were able to find one event – The 3rd Summer Heat 9-Ball Classic Open Division in Midwest City, OK in 2014 – at which Gray went undefeated, downing McMinn in the hot seat and finals. We found a few instances in which McMinn had bested Gray in the finals, all dating back to 2008. These two, along with another Midwest notable, Chip Compton, have been pounding the pool pavement for over a dozen years now, and they’ve probably traded picking up first-place cash at least that many times, but again, hard to know really. There’s nothing quite like history to make a rivalry, any rivalry, compelling to hear about, and if you’ve been lucky enough, to watch.
 
On the weekend of March 30-31 at Magoo’s Bar & Grill in Tulsa, OK, Gray and McMinn went at it again at a stop on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour, where, it’s relatively safe to say, this long-standing rivalry has occurred the most and arguably, most times not in the finals of a given event on the tour. This time around, Gray chalked up his second (known) victory over McMinn in the finals. They met three times; once in the hot seat and twice in the finals. Gray took two of the three, double-dipping McMinn in a double elimination final. The $1,550-added event drew 56 entrants.
 
In a $450-added Ladies event that drew 17 entrants, Alisha Dodd downed Jenny Shaffer twice and undefeated, claimed the Ladies title (more on this later).
 
Gray and McMinn got into their first match, battling for the hot seat, after two, 7-6 double hill matches in their respective winners’ side semifinals. Gray sent Jackie Melton to the loss side, while McMinn sent Cody Pratt over. McMinn sent Gray to the semifinals in a match that fell a single game short of double hill (7-5) and left McMinn in the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Melton drew Ryan Robinson, who’d eliminated John Gabriel and Jonathan Kitchen. Pratt picked up Marshal Roney, who’d defeated Neil Drews and Tony Vue. Pratt and Robinson downed Roney and Melton and advanced to the quarterfinals.
 
Robinson then defeated Pratt 5-3 in those quarterfinals, before having his loss-side run terminated by Gray 5-3 in the semifinals. Gray took the opener of the double elimination final 7-5, and then shut McMinn out 5-0 in the second set to claim the event title.
 
In what might be considered a mega-event, within the tournament itself, AMC’s Remodeling in Mullinville, KS sponsored a ‘bounty hunt.’ Spectators at the event selected a competing candidate as the individual most likely to win the actual event. Any player who sent that individual to the loss side earned himself $50. If a player eliminated that player from competition, he’d earn $100. Shane McMinn was the player selected as the likely winner of the event, so when Joey Gray sent him to the loss side by winning the first set of the double elimination final, he earned himself $50. When Grey defeated him the second time, thus eliminating him, he earned the other $100.
 
Dodd goes undefeated to claim title, runner-up Shaffer collects bounty on Brittany Maynard
 
Alisha Dodd went undefeated through the 17 entrants in the Ladies event, downing Jenny Shaffer twice in the hot seat and finals. Shaffer, however, was the player who sent the spectator-selected Brittany Maynard to the loss side, earning herself $25, and then, in the semifinals, when she defeated Maynard a second time, she picked up an additional $25.
 
Dodd and Shaffer met first in the hot seat, once Dodd had sent Jessica Westbrook to the loss side and Shaffer had sent Kat Snelling over. Dodd claimed the hot seat 5-3 over Shaffer and waited on her return.
 
On the loss side, Westbrook picked up and defeated Laura McDermott. Snelling drew Maynard, who defeated her. Maynard shut Westbrook out 4-0 in the quarterfinals and then fell to Shaffer 4-2 in the semifinals. In a repeat of the hot seat match, Dodd defeated Shaffer in the finals 5-3 to claim the event title, while Shaffer collected her bounty for her two victories over Maynard.

Champions Reignite at Space City Open VII

Josh Roberts (Photo courtesy of Chris Lue, Next Action Media)

James Davis, Jr., “Junior”, of Austin, Texas, went undefeated in a 128-player field, to win the Space City Open VII, open 9-ball title, becoming the second player to win it twice. Josh “The Beast” Roberts not only defended his one pocket title, but finished second in banks, and thirty-third in the 9-ball, earning himself the “All-Around” title, and a hefty $1,500 bonus. First-time competitor, Evan Lunda of Detroit, Michigan, cleaned up in the 32-player, 9-ball banks division, going hill-hill with only a single opponent. In the 32-player, ladies 9-ball, Ming “The Empress” Ng redeemed herself in the second set of the true, double elimination final, securing her second title, and becoming the first, two-time winner in this division. Nine junior players, including eight young men, and one young lady, traveled from across Texas to compete in their very own division. Lazaro “Little Laz” Martinez, III, of San Antonio, Texas, went undefeated in this category, earning the first win in this division debut.
 
For years, Space City Open has featured top players from across America, and this year was no exception. Former Mosconi Cup players, contenders, and champions alike were in attendance, vying for a piece of the $53,415 payout. Space City Open superstars included Justin Hall, Josh Roberts, Danny Smith, Shane McMinn, John Morra, Charlie “Hillbilly” Bryant, Richie Richeson, Alex Calderone, Sylver Ochoa, Ernesto Bayaua, James Davis, Jr., Can Salim, Chris Robinson, Evan Lunda, Jamie Baraks, Manny Perez, Justin Espinosa, Tommy Tokoph, and Jesus Atencio.  
 
This year’s $7,500 added, Space City Open VII, was held December 6th-9th, 2018, and implemented a number of positive changes, including a $1,500 All-Around bonus, and a seventeen-and-under, juniors 9-ball division. In its seventh year, the “derby-like” event, now hosting five divisions over four days, was also held at a brand new venue. Big Tyme Billiards in Spring, Texas, stepped up to host, generously adding $4,000 to the purse, providing twenty Diamond bar tables and six nine foot tables, on which to compete. Twenty-six, brand new, Cyclop “Zeus” ball sets, and Accu-Racks by Outsville, were provided by Space City. The bar tables were a popular change from the eight foot tables used in previous years (for the open 9-ball division), and the format changes for one pocket and banks were also a huge hit. These divisions were still held on nine foot tables, but in a single elimination format as opposed to double, and the consensus was clear. Players loved the expediency, along with the added pressure and intensity of the “one-and-done” arrangement. For the first time, all divisions filled, with players on stand-by.
 
The open 9-ball division presented a monstrous, challenging field, played on the great equalizer; the bar table. On the road to victory, James Davis, Jr. defeated Matt Williams, Charlie Bryant, 9-8, Evan Lunda, 9-8, and Shelby Green, 9-5, to reach the winners’ side final eight. Espinosa logged wins over Angelina Dean, 9-1, Marshal Ward, 9-2, Eric Aicinena, 9-4, and Victor Rojas, 9-7, while Danny Smith defeated Mike Landry, 9-2, Colton Berzins, 9-1, John Morra, 9-5, and Mike Alonzo, 9-8. Jamie Baraks made quick work of Beto Cavazos, 9-3, Rick Moreno, 9-3, David Thomas, 9-7, and Shane McMinn, 9-4. Houston’s Andy Jethwa passed Grady Cooper, 9-1, Mark Galicia, 9-5, Sylver Ochoa, 9-8, and Corey Flud, 9-6. Richie Richeson ousted Alan Myers, Jerry Miller, 9-8, David Chow, and Billy “Big Tyme” Sharp, 9-4, while Alex Calderone overcame Chase Wheeler, 9-2, Ricki Casper, 9-6, Aaron Springs, 9-7, and Germany’s Can Salim, 9-8. On the one loss side and in the money, Kenneth Price upset Chris Robinson, 7-5, and bested Flud, 7-7, while Morra topped Curt Sheldon, 7-3, and Shelby Green, 7-2. Bryant subdued Angel Mentzel, but fell to Sharp by the same score, 7-2. Galicia upended Aicinena, 7-4, but fell to Salim, 7-2, while Moreno won an impressive five matches, ousting Springs, 7-3, and Rojas, 7-4. Following a second round loss to Morra, Ernesto Bayaua made a phenomenal comeback, securing five matches, including wins over Derek Fontenot, 7-3, and Poon, 7-0. Jesus Atencio, on a similar mission, marked up five on the one loss side, among the ruins, Reginal Samples, 7-1, and Alonzo, 7-5. Jimmy Krone racked up five victories on the one loss side, but was stopped by Ochoa, 7-4. Ochoa was taken out by McMinn, 7-6, wrapping up top sixteen action. Back on the east side, Espinosa throttled Perez, 9-1, Baraks triumphed over Smith, 9-7, while Davis, Jr. snuck by Jethwa, 9-7, and Calderone inched by Richeson, 9-8. Espinosa squeaked by Baraks, 9-8, and Davis Jr. served it up cold to Calderone, 9-4. The hot seat match-up marked an Austin-area shoot-out, and a short-lived set for Espinosa, who sustained his first blow from Davis, Jr., 9-5. On the west side, Morra took a stand, ending Price, 7-3, and Perez, 7-2, while Salim took out heavy hitters  Sharp, 7-3, and Smith, 7-2. Bayaua recorded his seventh win on the one loss side, ending Moreno, 7-1, and Jethwa, 7-3. Ochoa finished off Atencio, 7-3, but fell to Richeson, 7-5. Salim went on to defeat Morra, 7-5, and Calderone, 7-3, while Bayaua buried Richeson and Baraks, 7-3. Bayaua registered his ninth win, but no more. Winning the case game against Bayaua, Salim secured his sixth win, and slid into third place. Espinosa was ready for Salim, but got off to a slow start. At a 6-3 deficit, Espinosa came back to win, 7-6, earning himself a second shot at Junior, and the title. Once again, Espinosa found himself in troubled waters, as Davis was in perfect rhythm with the table, and couldn’t be denied. Davis Jr. surged to a 9-3 win, and his second 9-ball title since the inception of Space City. 
 
In the one pocket division, Josh Roberts took no prisoners, eliminating Charlie Bryant, Jamie Baraks, and Chris Robinson, 4-3, while Alex Calderone defeated Greg Trent, Jim McCary, and Sylver Ochoa, 4-2. Local favorite, Richie Richeson, defeated Marc Garza and Manny Perez, by the same score, 4-1, and John Morra, 4-1. Ernesto Bayaua rounded out the final four, booking wins over Bobby Roland, Aaron Springs, 4-3, and Evan Lunda. In the final four round, Roberts shut-out Calderone, 4-0, and Richeson slid past Bayaua, 4-3. For the first time, Richeson found himself at the end of the board, facing the defending champion. The pressure was on, as both players were in close running for the All-Around bonus. In the final, numerous games came down to the case ball. The fans were treated to an offensive juggernaut; a display of maneuvers and banks, not soon forgotten, but even the creativity of the venerable Richeson, was not enough. With an accounting of two, eight-and-out runs, Roberts was up 3-2, with one ball remaining in game six. Following an unforced error by Richeson, Roberts took it home, along with his second, Space City Open one pocket title.
 
Evan Lunda was in charge of the banks. The Detroit product eliminated Jim Walker, 4-0, Danny Smith, 4-3, and Jose Barbosa, 4-1. His upcoming challenger, Shane McMinn, took out Mike Alonzo, Gail Eaton and James Davis, Jr. by the same score, 4-2. Josh Roberts overwhelmed Marc Garza, 4-1, Kent Berthelot, 4-0, and John Morra, 4-1, while Richie Richeson completed the final four, with wins over Bret Harlan, 4-0, Jamie Baraks, 4-2, and Justin Hall, 4-3. Lunda ended McMinn, 4-2, and Roberts robbed Richeson, 4-1. Lunda and Roberts found themselves in their first, banks final, vying for new milestones; Lunda, aiming for his first title, and Roberts, going for first-time champion of two different divisions. Lunda’s casual style showcased epic moves, and wowed spectators as he banked his way to victory. He shut out Roberts in the final of the single elimination schedule, 4-0, to win his first Space City Open title.
 
On Sunday morning, thirty-two women started battling it out in the ladies 9-ball division. The 2013 ladies 9-ball division champion, Ming “The Empress” Ng, began her trek with wins over Terri Resendez, 7-2, two-time ladies 9-ball champion, Gail “Virginia Slim” Eaton, 7-6, and Kim “Texas Heat” Pierce, 7-1, as Robyn Petrosino plowed through Ruth Paine, 7-0, Brittany Kromer, 7-3, and Teresa “Princess of Pool” Garland, 7-1. Yvonne “Casher” Asher made her way to the cash, defeating Karen Reilly, Tam “MZ Tam” Trinh, 7-3, and Jillian Nickerson, 7-6, while Ricky “The Ghost” Casper, drifted past Matty Sword, 7-1, Sara Bork, 7-3, and Hopey “Hurricane” Lawrence, 7-2. Ng went on to shut out Petrosino, 7-0, and Casper stopped Asher, 7-4. In the hot seat match, Ng emerged victorious over Casper, 7-4. On the one loss side and in the final eight, Pierce and Eaton shut out Garland and Nickerson, respectively, 5-0. Pierce derailed Asher, and Eaton eliminated Petrosino, moving into the final four. Eaton went on to eliminate Pierce, 5-0, and Casper, 5-4, to meet Ng in the finals. Ng, going for her second title, and Eaton, searching for her third, battled to the bitter end. In the first set, Ng simply couldn’t get it together, and Eaton was on fire, taking the first set, 7-1. Following a five minute break, the second set got underway. This time, Ng took her turn, beating Eaton 5-3, to win her second, Space City Open title. 
 
Nine players, seventeen and under, competed in the inaugural, juniors 9-ball division. Lazaro Martinez, III, aka “Little Laz”, outplayed April Gonzales, 5-2, and Alex Fonseca bested Jonathan Cortez, 5-1. Jacob Gonzales beat John Benavides, but fell to Kyle Yi, while Gabriel Martinez passed Nathan Garay, 5-1. Martinez, III logged a third win against Fonseca, 5-2, and G. Martinez ousted Yi, for a brother versus brother, hot seat match-up. G. Martinez denied his brother, and awaited his final opponent. On the one loss side, and in the final six, Fonseca eliminated Garay, and Yi overcame Benavides. Yi eliminated Fonseca, but fell to Martinez, III. Once again, “Little Laz” faced off with brother, Gabriel, in the final. The final told a different story, as Little Laz overwhelmed Gabriel, 5-2, 5-3, to win his first Space City Open title.
 
Space City Open VII goes down in the record books as the most successful one to date. “I have no words for the outpouring of support from the Texas pool community. Even with the last minute venue and format changes, the event over-filled. Billy Sharp and Deborah Sharp of Big Tyme Billiards came through for all of us” commented Kim Newsome, Space City Open Founder and Director. Space City Open extends a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone involved in the production of this event; John Newsome and Johnny Gonzales of Eagle Plumbing who sponsored the $1,500, All-Around bonus; staff members Kim Newsome, John Newsome, Erica Hanlon, and Chuck Adams who managed every facet of the event; Ceferina Ramirez and Ruth Paine for their contributions; Mike Fabacher with Southern Streaming who provided a free, four-day live stream; Chris Lue of Next Action Media, whose photographs captured the essence of the event; sponsors Roger Schuett with the APA of North Harris County, Mike McDonald of VaporKnightsUSA.com, Poison by Predator Cues, Cyclop Pool Balls, Chris Renfro with Outsville Billiards, Charlie and Heather Bryant of Brutal Game Gear, and David Taylor and Teresa Garland with Houston Best of Billiards; vendors Jerry Olivier Cue Repair, Joe Salazar Connoisseur of Custom Cues, Arthur Politte with Qxtender.com, Darrold Stiehl with Champions Cues, and Brutal Game Gear. 
 
Finally, Space City would like to extend its deepest gratitude to the players who support this event, year in and year out. Without the players, none of this would be possible.
 
Space City Open is one of the biggest billiard events in Texas, and is held annually, the first week in December. For more information, visit www.SpaceCityOpen.com
 

Styer Makes Team USA Statement on International Open Day One

Tyler Styer (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Day one of the International 9-Ball Open is in the books and the first round of play is complete. 
 
While the day saw three Mosconi Cup hopefuls sent to the one loss side early (Mitch Ellerman, Shane McMinn and Billy Thorpe), it was Tyler Styer who may have stated his case the loudest as to why he belongs on Team USA this year. Styer was faced with the unenviable task of facing Niels Feijen on the Accu-Stats streaming table. Feijen already has a World Cup of Pool title on his resume for this year, and would certainly be happy to add the inaugural International Open title to his long list of titles. Styer came out on fire in this match and was ahead 8-3 before the crowd knew what was happening. A fluked ball from Feijen in rack twelve was the spark that he needed and it was then his turn to make a run. “He started walking around the table with confidence, and I thought uh-oh” Styer was overheard saying after the match. “Uh-oh” was right, as Feijen quickly knotted the score at 8-8 and looked to be on his way to the first round win. Styer wasn’t done though. With the vocal crowd cheering his every rack, and both Team USA Captain Johan Ruijsink and Co-Captain Jeremy Jones watching, Styer wrested control of the match away from Feijen and went on to win the match 11-9. Jones couldn’t help but sit up and take notice of Styer’s play. “For him to be playing like this on the feature table against a tough opponent, he is definitely making a statement” said Jones late in the match. 
 
Following the Feijen/Styer match, another Team USA hopeful Billy Thorpe was hoping to duplicate Styer’s performance in his match with Ko Pin-Yi. Thorpe played perfect and raced to an early 3-0 lead. Unfortunately for Thorpe, the races are to eleven here at the International Open as Ko clawed back to win the match 11-9. 
 
Earlier matches in the day on Sunday saw Ralf Souquet sent to the one loss side by Johnny Archer as Archer continues his “Don’t Call It A Comeback” tour. Chinese Taipei’s sharpshooter Yu Lung Chang was also sent to the one loss side, after a one sided 11-6 loss to John Schmidt. Two of the Filipino monsters in the event were taken to hill-hill by tough opponents with Carlo Biado beating Finland’s Jani Siekkinen and James Aranas beating Marc Bijsterbosch from The Netherlands.
 
While Day One had it’s fair share of marquee matchups, Day Two looks even better with winner’s side matches that include…
 
Alex Kazakis vs Earl Strickland
Shane Van Boening vs Maksim Dudanets
Kevin Cheng vs Corey Deuel
Jung Lin Chang vs Rodney Morris
Dennis Orcollo vs Chris Melling
Oscar Dominguez vs Petri Makkonen
 
Watch select matches with the online PPV coverage from Accu-Stats and follow all of the action at this year's event with our online coverage including real time scoring and live brackets

International 9-Ball Open Ready To Begin

The International 9-Ball Open is ready to begin with a field of 113 players and the field has definitely lived up to it's name with representatives from 25 different countries and almost every top professional player in the game today. Of the Fargo top 10 worldwide players, only Wu Jia Qing is not in this field. 

 

With a field this stacked with talent, the first round already contains a number of marquee matches. The following matches are lined up for the first round…

 

Denis Grabe vs Naoyuki Oi
Johnny Archer vs Ralf Souquet
John Schmidt vs Yu-Lung Chang
Mitch Ellerman vs Albin Ouschan
Shane McMinn vs Jayson Shaw
Jani Siekkinen vs Carlo Biado
Oscar Dominguez vs Ruslan Chinakhov
Billy Thorpe vs Ko Pin-Yi

 

Matches begin at 10:30 Eastern Time on Sunday October 21st. Watch select matches with the online PPV coverage from Accu-Stats and follow all of the action at this year's event with our online coverage including real time scoring and live brackets

Top seeds through on day one at the Eurotour

Mario He, Skyler Woodward and Shane van Boening

With the Dynamic Billard Leende Open 2018 underway here in Leende Netherlands, there was relief for some top seeds on day one. Austria’s Mario He the current European number one had a great escape in his first-round match today against the Dutchman, Tim De Ruyter. It was a close encounter with the score line level at 6-6 when Mario found an extra gear after a poor shot from De Ruyter and eventually got over the line with a score 9-7.  Chasing Mario in the rankings is Albania’s Eklent Kaci, who, with a decent result here in Leende will overtake Mario to claim first spot on the European rankings. Eklent has laid down his marker here with a routine victory over a Spanish newcomer Juan Antonio Pina 9-6 and now awaits the young Portuguese Samuel Santos at 3pm local time Friday.
 
The Americans came to town for this stop of the European 9-ball tour and they have a lot to gain here with some decent results. The USA Mosconi cup team is decided from the eight Americans who are here, so the pressure is on for them to perform. Tyler Styer came unstuck when meeting the experienced Karol Skowerski in his first match. Karol, with bags of experience, proved too much to handle for the young American winning in fine style 9-4 and now leaving the American a mountain to climb as he now faces the “Italian Stallion” Fabio Petroni in a must win match on the loser’s side Friday.
 
Oscar Dominguez is another American with an uphill climb, after losing to Austria’s Maximillian Lechner 8-9 and then winning against Saudi’s Amer Hadi Alderbani in a late match Thursday, he will face Germany’s Ruben Frick in a do or die match at 3pm Friday.
 
With USA’s Shane Van Boening, Skyler Woodward, Billy Thorpe, Mitch Ellerman and Shane McMinn all through on the winner’s side, there’s still some jockeying for those team places yet.
 
Corey Deuel will face Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski in a mouth-watering match on Friday at 1:30pm. The up and coming Zielinski will be eager to take down a legend like Corey and has some form of his own as Wiktor already has a Eurotour title under his belt while Corey is visiting the Eurotour for the first time.
 
Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz had Germany’s Joshua Filler all over the place in their first-round match. Filler raced off to a 6-2 lead only to watch as the Spaniard pulled back rack after rack and left Filler sitting on the same 6 racks he already had with the Sanchez winning the match 9-6.
 
England’s “Granite” Mark Gray could not stop Mohammed-Hassan Baabad from Saudi Arabia inflicting a shock result. Trailing 3-8 against the Saudi, it looked like the “Granite” was showing his namesake and got the score back to 6-8 before a shaky and nervous Baabad, finally finished the rack needed to seal a great victory for himself and the Saudi team here in Leende. Tomorrow the tournament continues with matches from loser's round 1 tomorrow at 09:00 CET.
 
Friday through Sunday, EPBF will show two feature matches LIVE on the EPBF Facebook page. The complete tournament is shown on kozoom.com for premium pass holders.
 
The event is hosted by the European Governing Body for Pool, the European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) and organised by International Billiard Promotion (IBP).  Play starts Thursday at 09:00 local time, for further information and reference please go to the federation website www.epbf.com under the Eurotour tab. You can also visit us on our Facebook page or check out the EPBF YouTube channel for regular news clips or contact our press office press@epbf.com.

Stars and Stripes come to the Eurotour in Leende

The Dynamic Billard Leende Open (20-23 September) will welcome the visiting PartyPoker Mosconi Cup hopefuls from America. Team captain, Johan Ruysink, will bring his team to the Eurotour in preparation for the 25th edition of the Mosconi Cup this December where the squad of eight players will be reduced to five.
 
The Eurotour is used to players from other continents and has welcomed Shane Van Boening a few times in the past. However, this situation where the entire team from the USA Mosconi Cup will compete on the Eurotour, is unique.
 
The USA Mosconi hopefuls consist of, Shane Van Boening, Billy Thorpe, Skyler Woodward, Oscar Dominguez, Tyler Styer, Mitch Ellerman and Shane McMinn and for many it will be their first taste of the Eurotour. Team USA Mosconi Cup captain, Johan Ruysink had this to say about their visit.
 
“The Euro Tour has been the foundation for the European players for heavy and tough competition. It has been there for a considerate time now and is always well organised. Playing on good material in a good set up against the best European player gives us a great chance to play all the players that are competing for the European squad. Being out of their comfort zone, the American players can have a taste of the level and tenacity that they will encounter on the Mosconi Cup, so it is probably the best practice we can get.”
 
Johan was also asked, if one of your players reach the semi-finals, does that make him automatic choice for the team come December or do you have other goals set for this event? “Of course, the results during the European trip will be considered once we will pick the final 5 players, but I don’t want to commit myself to promises that might be overruled. Results are not the only criteria for qualifying, but it would be great to see some of the players rise to the occasion and do well, as I expect them to do. This trip is a big part of our preparation, so I am grateful that we got a chance of playing this Euro Tour. I am very curious to see how things will work out in the Netherlands.”
 
David Morris, IBPF President said “It will be a great test for the visitors and a unique opportunity for some of our less established players to take some big scalps. We have some excellent players who don’t make the European team, and they will be out to prove a point if they’re paired against a USA team member. It will be tough for team USA but it will be interesting, that’s for sure”
 
When asked if this trip would help the Americans halt the European dominance of later years? Matchrooms, Luke Riches had this to say;
 
Anything that brings the team together for meaningful preparation is always a good thing. There’s been a feeling that in recent times, Europe has been more of a team compared to the Americans and the fact that they play throughout the year on the Eurotour is a big contributing factor.
 
Hopefully, Team USA’s preparation in Europe will make a big difference for them and we will see the results in December.
 
The Dynamic Billard Leende Open takes place at the Golden Tulip Jagershorst hotel in Leende NL, starting on the 20th September and will be streamed live on www.kozoom.com
 
The event is hosted by the European Governing Body for Pool, the European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) and organised by International Billiard Promotion (IBP). For further information and reference please go to the federation website www.eurotouronline.eu or visit us on Facebook for regular news clips or contact our press office press@epbf.com.

Ruijsink Narrows Team Usa Down To Eight

Team USA captain Johan Ruijsink has announced the eight players who will continue to the next stage of training camp as America works towards reclaiming the partypoker Mosconi Cup from Europe at Alexandra Palace, London this December 4-7.
 
An initial squad of 16 was selected by Ruijsink, and they were later joined by Shane Van Boening after the five-time US Open champion reversed his decision not to take part following discussions with Ruijsink.
 
Ruijsink, alongside vice-captain Jeremy Jones, has now whittled his team down to an eight-man squad who will continue with training camps. They are:
 
Shane van Boening
Billy Thorpe
Skylar Woodward
Oscar Dominguez
Dennis Hatch
Tyler Styer
Mitch Ellerman
Shane McMinn
 
The final five to contest the 25th annual partypoker Mosconi Cup will be selected later in the year.
 
Ruijsink said: “All players start on zero again and will fight in the next couple of months to get to the last five players. Every player has his strengths and weaknesses and we hope that they will give us a hard time making a choice – we think they will. Every player knows what is needed and is willing to work hard to get there. This is a great group of players.
 
“Of course it was also hard to not select the other players, because they all had reasons to get in and worked hard. I would certainly like them to push hard to show that we were wrong. If something very strong happens to one of them, we will not hesitate to call upon him again later – after all, although personal drama is unavoidable in a selection process like this, the main target is to win the Mosconi Cup. Nothing more, nothing less.
 
“We had a couple of conversations with Shane after not including him in the initial group. We found out that we had a lot of miscommunication and he told us that he was willing to commit to the program. So we corrected that by inviting him into the second training camp. He obviously is an asset to the team.
 
“Billy is playing a lot of international events this year and is a prospect for any selection. Young, driven and a winner by heart.
 
“Skyler didn’t perform to his potential last year and he is determined to put things straight. We talked about a couple of things and we think we have a better formula for his preparation and for his performance. Of course, he is a great talent.
 
“Dennis, with his big heart and sweet stroke, played very well last year but had a couple of silly mistakes. Again we will work hard to overcome these small dips and make sure he is fully focussed on every shot.
 
“Oscar is one year further on and learning all the time, so he is again a better player this year. He is great team player and we will find a way to make him show his best performance on the way to the Mosconi Cup.
 
“The new players are forcing the seasoned players to play their best. Mitch Ellerman is very solid and an eager player. He has no fear to win and impressed me with his game during the US Open. He is a dream to work with and absolutely wants to get the maximum out of his game.
 
“Shane McMinn impressed me a lot at the tournaments in Big Dog’s, Iowa. He is a big talent, pots balls easily, a threat for the current top players and willing to work hard.
 
“Tyler Styer is probably one of the best technicians in the States; deliberate set up and execution, and lots of control, young gun and didn’t play internationally yet.”
 
Tickets for partypoker Mosconi Cup XXV are on sale now priced from £25 per session, with season tickets available priced £90. Premium seating in rows 4-7 is available at £49 per session or £175 for a season ticket, with VIP Hospitality packages from £155 per person per session with a season ticket priced at £549.
 
partypoker Mosconi Cup XXV is sponsored by Rasson Billiards who supplies the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue of the event and Ultimate Team Gear provide all Mosconi Cup apparel. APA are the Official Team Sponsor of Team USA.