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Lai Li goes undefeated to win her first JPNEWT stop since 2019

Kia Sidbury, Shanna Lewis, Colleen Shoop, Lai Li, Linda Shea, Caroline Pao

Lai Li may not have intended for the Dynaspheres Cup 8-Ball Championships, held in Bowie, MD a little over a week ago (June 4-6) to be a warmup for this past weekend’s stop on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT), but it seemed to be just what the pool doctors ordered. Li was among only a handful of women who competed in the 8-ball event that drew 108 entrants to Center Pocket in Bowie, and though she finished out of the money (49th), she won over half of the games she played (16-14). A week later (June 12-13) and about half an hour north of Bowie, she signed on for her third appearance on the 2021 JPNEWT and went undefeated to claim her first title on the tour since November, 2019. Both of Li’s wins were hosted by Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD, which drew 23 entrants to this most recent stop (#4) on the tour.

Also noteworthy of this most recent JPNEWT stop was a 3rd place finish for Caroline Pao, who’d won two of the season’s first three stops and was runner-up in the other one, was looking for her eighth win on the tour since 2019. She was sent to the loss side early by Kia Burwell, and though she’d win six on the loss side to appear in the semifinals, Shanna Lewis stopped her loss side streak to earn a second shot at Li, waiting for her in the hot seat.

Awarded a bye in the opening round, Li got by Melissa Mason 7-4 and Judie Wilson 7-2 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Colleen Shoop. Shanna Lewis, in the meantime, had also been awarded an opening round bye, after which she defeated Teri Thomas 7-5 and Cecilia Strain 7-3 to draw tour director Linda Shea in the other winners’ side semifinal.

It came within a game of being two double hill matches for the right to battle for the hot seat. Shea and Lewis battled to double hill before Lewis prevailed. Li downed Shoop 7-5 to join Lewis in the hot seat match. Li and Lewis battled to double hill to claim the hot seat and it was Lewis who moved west to face Pao in the semifinals. 

On the loss side, Shea walked right into a rematch versus Kia Burwell, who’d followed her victory over Caroline Pao in the opening round with a defeat at the hands of Shea in the second round. Burwell won four straight on the loss side, including a 7-5 win over Sharon O’Hanlon and a 7-4 victory over Teri Thomas to draw the rematch versus Shea. Shoop drew Pao, four matches into her loss-side streak that had most recently included eliminating Cecilia Strain 7-1 and Kelly Wyatt 7-5.

Pao advanced to the quarterfinals 7-2 over Shoop and was joined by Shea, who defeated Burwell a second time 7-4. Pao then defeated Shea 7-4 in those quarterfinals before herself being eliminated by Lewis 7-5 in the semifinals.

The final match, unlike the one they’d fought for the hot seat, did not require a 13th deciding game. It did, however, require 12 of them. Li completed her undefeated run 7-5 and claimed the event title. 

The top four in the tour standings remained the same, with Pao at the top, Liz Taylor in 2nd place, Nicole Nester in 3rd and Linda Shea in 4th. Lai Li, though, jumped from 13th to 5th, edging Judie Wilson out of that slot into 6th. Rounding out the top 10 were Kia Burwell, Carol V. Clark, Shelah Joner and Christine Pross.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their ongoing hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Bitzel and Associates PTPA Physical Therapy, George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor), and Britanya E Rapp of angle aim Art (for the live stream). The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for June 26-27, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. 

Shanna Lewis gets by Lai Li twice, double hill, to win JPNEWT season opener

Shanna Lewis

Pool tournaments will often play host to competitors who, for one reason or another, have been away from the game for a while. Depending upon the skill level they’d attained before they stopped competing, how long they’ve been away and the overall competitive level of the field they enter upon their return, the result could go either way. The competitor could go ‘two and out,’ if they’re seriously out of practice and stroke, or they could make it seem as though pool’s like riding a bicycle, where one can more or less pick up where they left off.

Shanna Lewis, whose last reported cash payout in a pool tournament was at a Q Master Billiards Mid-Atlantic Women’s 9-Ball Open in 2015 (9th place), returned to the tables this past weekend (March 7-8) to compete in the season opener of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour. Lewis chose the ‘like riding a bicycle’ option and went undefeated through the field of 31, downing last year’s runner-up in the Tour Championship standings, Lai Li, twice. The $500-added (by Coins of the Realm), NAPT Div. II Semi-Pro event drew 31 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.

Her own assessment of her TAFT (time away from table) was more in the vicinity of 10 years. It was an absence prompted by a decision to focus on the business career side of her life. She’s back, now, still working on the business side of her career, but with some flexibility to spend more TAT (time at table). While acknowledging that she’s returned with her skills more or less intact, she noted that it wasn’t as easy as it looked from the nature of the undefeated run and her two victories over Lai Li might indicate.

“Yeah, there were times during the tournament when I was thinking, ‘Yeah, this is great,” she said, “but there were other times when I felt like I couldn’t put a ball in the hole that was a straight shot.”

That said, Lewis was back on the bicycle right from the start, winning 14 of her first 17 games. She gave up only one rack to Judie Wilson and then two to Melissa Mason before running into Elaine Wilson, who, in essence, by chalking up five racks against her, applied some brakes to Lewis’ bicycle. It dropped Lewis’ game-winning percentage by 10 points in a single match. Lewis won, though, and advanced to face Teri Thomas in a winners’ side semifinal.

Lai Li, in the meantime, had opened with a 7-1 victory over Charlynn Dzambo, defeated Kelly Wyatt 7-4 and downed the tour’s 2020 champion, Linda Shea, 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal.  The draw wasn’t getting any easier as Li advanced to face Kia Sidbury in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Lewis got into the hot seat match with another 7-1 victory, over Thomas, and faced Li, who’d sent Sidbury to the loss side 7-4. In their first of two, they battled to double hill before Lewis prevailed to sit in her first hot (bicycle) seat in a while.

On the loss side, Nicole Nester and Sharon O’Hanlon were working on modest three-match, loss-side winning streaks that had begun when they’d lost their winners’ side quarterfinal match to  Teri Thomas and Kia Sidbury, respectively. Nester and O’Hanlon both won two loss-side double hill battles; Nester, versus Colleen Shoop and Eugenia Gyftopoulos; O’Hanlon, over two ‘powerhouse’ opponents – Nicole King and Tour Director, Linda Shea. They did not, however, draw rematches because Nester drew Sidbury and O’Hanlon drew Thomas.

Nester advanced to the quarterfinals 7-4 over Sidbury, as Thomas eliminated O’Hanlon 7-3. Nester then downed Thomas 7-3 in those quarterfinals, before herself being eliminated in a double hill fight versus Li in the semifinals.

A second, slightly longer double hill fight, Li’s third straight, ensued in the finals. Lewis won it 9-8 to claim the title to JPNEWT’s 2020 season opener.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, The Turtle Rack (www.mezzusa.com), Baltimore City Cues, and the live stream, sponsored by Britanya E. Rapp, billiards artist (angle aim Art). The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of April 4-5, will be hosted by Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.

NAPT Announces First Tour Stop

The excitement is building as the North American Pool Tour announces their first event, the NAPT Inaugural 10-Ball Invitational, to be held June 3-5, 2016. The event will be hosted by Breakers Sky Lounge (2445 Centreville Rd, Herndon, VA 20171), which will be sponsoring the event with $5,000 added prize fund. 
 
“We at Breakers are so proud to be the first venue to host the first professional event of the NAPT!” Shanna Lewis, Manager, Breakers Sky Lounge (www.breakersskylounge.com)  
 
The event is a women’s Division I (pro) tournament. The format is double elimination, limited to 64 players, and with a full field will have a $21,000 minimum purse. Professional players will be receiving invitations in the coming week. Division II (semi-pro/regional) players can qualify for a spot in the event by entering a Division II tour qualifier; a list of NAPT Division II tours can be found at www.PlayNAPT.com. 
 
For more information, contact Linda Shea, NAPT Event Coordinator at office@playnapt.com or (443) 852-0020.
 

Corr chalks up another one on the JPNEWT

Karen Corr

They've come at her from every angle; the hot seat/final route, where Karen Corr gets challenged twice by the same player; the three-match, loss-side route, in which a player loses a winners' side semifinal and wins three on the loss side to get a second chance at her, and most recently, the deep-from-the-loss-side route, in which a player comes from deep on the loss side (say, five matches or more) to challenge her in the finals.  
 
The occasion this time around, on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour, was the Q Masters Mid-Atlantic Women's 9-Ball Open, held on the weekend of August 15-16, offering a $6,000 prize fund, and hosted by the US Open's Barry Behrman at his Q Master Billiards facility in Virginia Beach, VA. Pretty much everyone on the 47-entrant roster was looking to deny Karen Corr her seventh straight win on the JPNEWT. Corr responded with a six-match, 35-8 performance that secured that seventh straight win, and for the third time this year, Briana Miller challenged her in the finals, choosing the only method of the three noted above that she hadn’t tried yet; the ‘deep from the loss side’ (seven wins) route.
 
Four matches in, with victories over Connie Eddins, Barb Yeager, Nicole Monaco, and Shanna Lewis, Corr had given up only three racks; one each to Eddins, Yeager and Lewis. At this point, in a winners’ side semifinal, she ran into a familiar nemesis, who’d challenged her three times in the finals this year – Tour director Linda Shea. In the meantime, Jia Li, who’d been runner-up to Corr earlier in the month, faced Kim Whitman, who would finish third for the third time this year.
 
Shea became the first player to chalk up more than a single rack against Corr, but moved to the loss side 7-2. Whitman, in the meantime, sent Li packing 7-4. Corr, apparently not happy with Shea’s second rack against her, gave up only one to Whitman, and sat in the hot seat waiting for Miller to complete her seven-match, loss-side run.
 
Following victories over Nicole Fleming and Borana Andoni, Miller had been sent to the loss side, by TruTV Hustler, Emily Duddy 7-4. She began her loss-side run with 7-4 victories over Kassandra Bein and Belinda Calhoun, and followed them with a 7-1 win over Iris Cabatit, and a 7-4 victory over Nicole Monaco. This set her up against Shea. Li, in the meantime, picked up Duddy, who’d survived a double hill match against Jacki Duggan and defeated Colleen Shoop 7-2. 
 
Miller downed Shea 7-2 and was denied a rematch against Duddy, when Li defeated her 7-4. Miller took the quarterfinal match against Li 7-4, and gave up only a single rack to Whitman in the semifinals. Corr completed her (yet again) undefeated run with a 7-2 win in the finals.
 

Hall double dips Mazon to win Q City 9-Ball stop in Herndon, VA

Collin Hall chalked up a win on the Q City 9-Ball Tour on the weekend of August 1-2, and double dipped world-class pool player Jundel Mazon from the Philippines. Mazon, winner of the Guiness World Series of Pool tournament in Indonesia five years ago and more recently (February) shared the tie for 17th place at the WPA World 10-Ball Championship with the likes of Darren Appleton,  had to win 13 games in his matches versus Hall, who raced to 5. The tour stop drew 25 entrants to Breaker's Sky Lounge in Herndon, VA.
 
To no one's surprise, Mazon advanced to the hot seat in this one. He defeated Shanna Lewis (owner of Breaker's Sky Lounge) 13-2 in a winners' side semifinal (the first time in four matches that he'd given up a single rack), while Hall sent Brian Thacker to the loss side 5-4 in the other (Thacker, racing to 7). Mazon took the hot seat match 13-2 over Hall, and spectators might have been forgiven if they thought, for all intents and purposes, that it was over. Until it wasn't.
 
Lewis and Thacker moved to the loss side, picking up Joey Mastermaker and Daniel "Papa John" Adams, respectively. Mastermaker had gotten by Ethan Carson and Shane Goodrich, both 8-3, to reach Lewis. Adams had downed Rafael Reyes 7-5 and Asia Cycak 8-4 to draw Thacker. Lewis and Thacker picked up their second straight loss; Lewis falling Mastermaker 8-3, Thacker, to Adams 8-4.
 
Mastermaker took the quarterfinal match against Adams 8-4 and then had his run ended by Hall 5-3 in the semifinals. Mazon got close in the opening set of the true double elimination finals, winning 11 of the 13 games he needed to win. Hall, though, chalked up his five to force a second set. Hall claimed the event title with a 5-3 win in the second set.

World Police & Fire Games Day Five

Eric S. Townsend, Wesley Beins, John O’Sullivan, Genadijs Kaminskis and Shanna Lewis (-Bob Lerch)

FAIRFAX — Day 5 of the Pocket Billiards competition from the World Police and Fire Games has been finalized. The final 8 competitors raced to six.

 

In the end, it was gold once again for John O’Sullivan (Ireland), silver for Wesley Beins (Singapore), and bronze for Genadijs Kaminskis (Latvia). 

 

Here’s how we got there.

 

In the round of 8, the results were Wesley Beins (Singapore) def. Doug Moreau (Canada) 6-2. Genadijs Kaminskis (Latvia) def. Michael Grosso (USA) 6-1, John Griffin (Ireland) def. Joe Rodrguez (USA) 6-3, John O'Sullivan (Ireland) def. Chris Gloerson (USA) 6-0. Moreau, Grosso, Rodriguez, and Gloerson were eliminated from medal contention.

 

In the final four, it was: Wesley Beins (Singapore) def. John Griffin (Ireland), 6-5. John O'Sullivan (Ireland) def. Genadijs Kaminskis (Latvia) 6-4. Beins and O’Sullivan headed to the gold-silver match, while Griffin and Kaminskis landed in the bronze medal-4th place contest.

 

In the finals, O’Sullivan recovered nicely from an unlikely early 8 in just the third rack. He then worked like clockwork and produced a break and run to cap his 6-3 victory. It wasn’t quite the same form for Beins, who won the 9Ball tournament for Singapore earlier in the week. 

 

The real drama occurred in the bronze medal-4th place matchup between Latvia’s Kaminskis and Ireland’s Griffin. Still reeling from his hill-hill defeat to Beins (which denied an all-Ireland final), Griffin fell behind early 4-2. The Irishman fought back nobly in forcing a 5-5 lock. 

 

After a dry break from Griffin and one turn at the table apiece, the Latvian caught fire. Faced with a tricky cut on the winning 8Ball, Kaminskis dug deep and dropped the black. An understated but gritty competitor, the municipal policeman dropped to his knees, kissed his cue, and raised it triumphantly over his head several times. He was rushed by his teammate and wife as they hugged and jumped in unison. 

 

It took five trips to the World Police and Fire Games, and 16 years dating back to the Stockholm competition in 1999, but Kaminskis finally had his medal. “This was my dream,” revealed the spiritual athlete who had shown the sign of the cross before each break of the tournament.

 

After the medal ceremony, venue manager Shanna Lewis requested a photo opp with the competitors, asking them to line up and reveal their country’s colors. Beins and Kaminskis had their country’s names across their shirt backs. O’Sullivan joined the party late and instead faked a mooning. “You ask for Ireland,” quipped O’Sullivan. The audience broke into loud laughter for a fitting end to the crowd-pleasing week.

 

Here are the stat lines for the medal winners:

 

O’Sullivan (IRL), gold, 7-0 W/L, won 34 of 42 racks, .810 WPCT.

Beins (SGP), silver, 6-1 W/L, won 31 of 49 racks, .633 WPCT, losses: O’Sullivan (3-6).

 

Kaminskis (Latvia), bronze, 6-3 W/L, won 33 of 60 racks, .550 WPCT, losses: O’Sullivan (0-4), Grosso (2-4), O’Sullivan (4-6).

5-Day Billiard Event at World Police & Fire Games This Week

FAIRFAX, VA — 12,000 professional, public safety athletes from 70 countries competing in 60+ sports to qualify for over 1,600 medal events. That’s the Olympic-style competition known as the World Police and Fire Games (WPFG).

 

Held every two years, the games are being staged in Fairfax County, Virginia (USA). Previous competitions were held in Belfast (Ireland), Barcelona (Spain), Stockholm (Sweden), and Melbourne (Australia). 

 

The pocket billiards event is a 5-day competition covering 9Ball, 8Ball, and straight pool disciplines. Matches run from Monday, June 29th through Friday, July 3rd. The venue is Breakers Sky Lounge, an upscale room managed by Shanna Lewis in Herndon, VA. The tournament will adhere to BCA rules and be played on Brunswick Gold Crown tables with Super Aramith balls. “The players are in for a great week of billiards,” predicted Lewis. Athletes from Australia, Ireland, Canada, Latvia, Singapore, the United States, and more are in the field.

 

The WPFG Sport Coordinator for Pocket Billiards is Eric S. Townsend, a 10-year veteran of the American Poolplayers Association, league operator with Cue Sports International since 2009, ambassador for Joe Tucker’s American Rotation, and author of the billiard book Sharking: Don’t Get Fooled Again (GoBooklets.com, Amazon). “It’s an honor to ensure that our police and fire professionals experience the very best that pro am billiards has to offer,” shared Townsend. “It’s the very least that we can do,” he added. 

 

Townsend was hired by WPFG Sports Director Tony Shobe and Senior Games Manager Mark Kidd. “We couldn’t be happier with the enthusiasm shown by and for billiards for the better part of a year leading up to this event,” shared Shobe. “Our competitors will be grateful for the extra effort being put forth,” echoed Kidd.

 

The billiard support team is lead by Dan Madden, director of the Pennsylvania 9Ball Tour and a top amateur player himself. He is tasked with administrating the tournament and maintaining a live audio and video stream available by mobile phone, tablet, or computer. “I’m excited for the field to play our unique quadruple-qualifying format, and for those back home to enjoy the stream,” Madden said.

 

Additional attractions include professional commentator George Hammerbacher, who will call the action each afternoon from 1-6pm. “How can I not be excited for such an event?” offered Hammerbacher — a sentiment that’s been shared by many involved with the Fairfax games. Lucasi-sponsored pro Shaun Wilkie will be on hand Tuesday and Wednesday for player challenges, photo opps, and two different talks on 9Ball and straight pool tips. “‘I was excited to receive the invite for this wonderful event,” Wilkie said.  “It’s not every day that I get to tip my cap through the game that I love,” he added.

 

If you’d like to catch the live pocket billiard action this coming week (June 29th through July 3rd), then tune in any time from 9am until 6pm on the away channel at www.tvmike.tv. Commentary added 1-6pm daily. If you have any questions, then please email the WPFG Sport Coordinator at eric.s.townsend@gmail.com.

Corr goes 42-8 to win JPNEWT Season Opener

Karen Corr

Karen Corr started the 2015 year on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour the way she ended the 2014 season; on a winning note. In the $1,000-added season opener ($500 from Coins of the Realm) that drew 32 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD on the weekend of March 7-8, Corr played 50 games of 9-ball and won 42 of them, including back-to-back 7-1 victories over tour director Linda Shea, who, as a result of playing in almost twice as many events as Corr during the 2014 season ended up as the tour's top-ranked player last year.
 
They met first in the hot seat match. Corr had gotten by Shanna Lewis, Susan Shinn (who had chalked up an event-best three racks against her), and Delia Mocanu (for a 21-4 record) to draw Nicole Monaco in a winners' side semifinal. Shea, in the meantime, had defeated Connie Eddins, Nicole Fleming, and Joy McFeaters-Haas (for a 21-10 record) and played Meredith Lynch. Corr defeated Monaco 7-2, as Shea was busy sending Lynch to the loss side 7-5. Corr took the hot seat 7-1 and waited on Shea's return.
 
On the loss side, Kim Whitman and Kia Sidbury were making some noise that would see them both win six on that side of the bracket and face each other in the quarterfinals. Whitman had defeated Sidbury 7-1 in the opening round, and then, herself, been sent over by Monaco in the second round.
 
Sidbury got by Melissa Jenkins (double hill), Lynn Richard, Eugenia Gyftopoulos, Mocanu, and Kassandra Bein to draw Lynch, coming over from the winners' side semifinal. In addition to wins over Judie Wilson and a shutout over McFeaters-Haas, Whitman survived two double hill matches, against Nicole King and Jia Li, to pick up Monaco. Whitman eliminated Monaco 7-3 to chalk up her fifth loss-side win, as Sidbury was chalking up her sixth in a 7-2 win over Lynch.
 
Whitman ended Sidbury's loss-side campaign 7-5 in the quarterfinals, and got a shot at Shea in the semifinals. Shea took that match 7-5 for her second shot against Corr, who repeated her hot seat performance, claiming the season opener 7-1.

WPBA Announces Host for 2015 Regional Tour Championships

The Women's Professional Billiard Association (“WPBA”), through the Regional Tours Committee, is pleased to announce that Breakers Sky Lounge in Herndon, VA will host the 14th Annual WPBA Regional Tour Championships (“RTC”).  The WPBA would like to thank Shanna Lewis, Billiards Operational Manager at Breakers Sky Lounge, for completing the RFP process and congratulate Breakers Sky Lounge for being selected to host the ultimate event in regional tour competition.  
 
The RTC will be held January 8th-11th, 2015 and consist of 64 players competing in a double, round robin/single elimination format. WPBA Regional Tour Players from across the U.S. and Canada, who qualify through one of (14) WPBA Regional Tours and are WPBA members in good standing, will be invited to participate. The winner of this prestigious event takes home the title "2015 WPBA Regional Tour Champion", a portion of over $11,000* in prize money, and WPBA Exempt Player status which guarantees an invite to each 2015 WPBA Tour Event.
 
This will be the first combined, RTC on the east coast since 2008 and is sure to delight many local billiard enthusiasts.  Spectators will enjoy watching the best amateur and semi-professional players the sport has to offer. The WPBA invites you to come and share in the thrill and excitement of the Regional Tour Championships. If you are unable to attend, please tune in to the live stream at www.wpba.com. For venue information please visit www.BreakersSkyLounge.com or call (703) 793-6233. 
 
*based on full field
 

Corr chalks up third straight, undefeated win on JPNEWT

Karen Corr

Karen Corr and Linda Shea sit atop the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour rankings and they've met in three out of the four stops on the tour. Corr has won three of the tour's four stops, including the most recent, on the weekend of July 26-27. Shea has finished second twice (meeting Corr in the finals, once), fifth once (in the tour opener back in March) and this past weekend, she finished in third place. Corr's run through a field of 18, on-hand for the $1,000-added event this weekend($500 from Coins of the Realm and $500 from host First Break Cafe, in Sterling, VA) was her third straight undefeated showing on the tour.
 
Corr and Shea met up again, this time in a winners' side semifinal, as Dawn Fox and Nicole Fleming met in the other. Corr and Fox advanced to the hot seat match with identical 7-3 wins over Shea and Fleming, respectively. Corr got into the hot seat 7-4 over Fox and waited in the hot seat for her return.
 
Shea moved to the loss side where she met up with Kia Sidbury, who'd defeated Melissa Jenkins 7-3, and Ji-Hyun Park 7-4, to reach her. Fleming picked up Kathy Friend, who'd defeated Kelly Mitchell 7-4 and just did survive a double hill match against Shanna Lewis
 
Shea gave up only a single rack against Sidbury and advanced to the quarterfinals against Fleming, who'd eliminated Friend 7-2. Shea won the quarterfinal match 7-4, over Fleming, but was eliminated 7-4 by Fox in the semifinals. Corr completed her third straight undefeated stop on the JPNEWT with a 7-2 win over Fox in the finals.