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Reymart Lim goes undefeated to win Action Pool Tour’s 2019 season opener

(l to r): APT Director Tiger Baker & Reymart Lim

Sykes wins short-field Ladies opener
The opening rounds of the Action Pool Tour’s (APT) 2019 season opener on the weekend of January 19-20 featured a match between the winner of the 2018 APT Season Finale a little over a month ago (JT Ringgold) and the eventual winner of the opener, Reymart Lim. Between the preliminary round, and the second winners’ side round, seven of the APT’s top 2018 players participated, including the 2018 Tour Champion, Steve Fleming, runner-up Jason Trigo, and Reymart Lim, who finished 2018 in fifth place on the tour rankings. Lim went undefeated through the field, downing separate opponents in the hot seat (Kenny Miller) and finals (Ty Laha). The $200-added event drew 49 entrants to Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA.
When enough women had signed on to the opening event, APT’s tour directors opted to hold a Ladies’ season opener, as well. Seven women signed on to compete in the $150-added ladies event, including the 2018 VA State 8-Ball Ladies Champion, Bethany Sykes. Sykes went undefeated through the short field, playing two of her three matches against Liz Taylor, whom she faced in the hot seat match and finals (6-2, 7-1). Both Sykes and Taylor competed in the Open event, with Taylor cashing in both.
As noted above, the season opener’s main event began with a match between Reymart Lim and JT Ringgold. The two battled to double hill before Lim prevailed 7-6. Ringgold moved to the loss side and began a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the matches to determine the tie for 5th place. Lim, in the meantime, moved on to continue his seven-match, winner’s side streak that would eventually earn him the event title. Four matches in, he met his eventual opponent in the finals, Ty Laha, in a winners’ side semifinal. Kenny Miller, in the meantime, squared off against Bill Duggan in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Lim sent Laha to the loss side 7-3, where he ran in to an immediate match against Ringgold. Miller downed Duggan 7-2 and met up with Lim in the hot seat match. Lim won 7-2 and waited on the return of Laha.
On the loss side, Laha drew Ringgold, who’d recently chalked up loss-side wins #5 and #6, defeating Danny Bell 6-3 and Dave Hunt 6-2. Duggan picked up Mac Harrell, who’d just eliminated RJ Carmona 6-3 and Coen Bell 6-2.
Laha ended Ringgold’s run 6-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Harrell, who’d defeated Duggan 6-1. Laha and Harrell fought back and forth to double hill in those quarterfinals before Laha prevailed 6-5. Laha’s subsequent match, the semifinals against Miller, wasn’t as obviously difficult. Laha defeated Miller 6-1 to earn a rematch against Lim in the finals.
Lim was on the verge of starting 2019 the same way he’d started 2018, as the winner of the APT season opener. He won two on the APT last year, won the NC State 9-Ball Championships in March and was runner-up in the state’s 10-Ball Open. He completed his 2019 season-opening run with a 9-2 victory over Ty Laha in the finals.
Eight players signed on to a second chance event. It was won by Derek Davis, who the APT’s 2018 Player Champion Steve Fleming in the finals.
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Q Master Billiards, as well as sponsors Diamond Billiard Products, Viking Cues, Predator, Tiger, Kamui Tips, Ozone Billiards, Simonis Cloth, and George Hammerbacher Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the 2019 Action Pool Tour, scheduled for February 16-17, will be hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.

Aranas downs defending champ Shuff twice to win 2nd Annual Barry Behrman Memorial at Q Master

It’s shaping up to be a pretty good year for the Philippines’ Zoren James Aranas. He’s already recorded stronger earnings in 2018, than he did in all of 2017. After winning the Music City Classic’s 2018 Open Division in January, he had something of a below-par outing at the Derby City Classic (20th in 9-Ball, 34th in 9-Ball Banks), before bouncing back to win the Scotty Townsend Memorial in Los Angeles, and, less than a week and 3,000 miles later, both the Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament on the Action Pool Tour (APT), and days after that, the Pro Am Bar Box Championships at the Super Billiards Expo. On the weekend of April 21-22, still in the relative vicinity of the SBE locale, he signed on to the $1,500-added, 2nd Annual Barry Behrman Memorial Tournament, hosted by Behrman’s pool hall, Q-Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA. Aranas went undefeated through the field of 35, downing a small set of Mid-Atlantic veterans, in the process, including this event’s defending champion, Brandon Shuff, twice.
Aranas opened his winning bid with a 9-7 victory over Mike Davis, Jr. and then downed Ty Laha, Sr. 9-1 to draw Shuff for the first time in a winners’ side quarterfinal. He defeated Shuff 9-3 and moved into a winners’ side semifinal against Eric Moore, the APT’s 2016 Champion, and currently, #4 on its 2018 rankings list. In the meantime, Tim Colvin, who finished 3rd in the inaugural Barry Behrman Memorial, behind Shuff and Davis, squared off against Bernard Andico.
Aranas and Moore locked up in a double hill fight that eventually moved Aranas into the hot seat match. He was joined by Colvin, who’d sent Andico to the loss side 9-5. Aranas sent Colvin to the semifinals 9-2 and waited on the return of Shuff.
Shuff had opened his five-match, loss-side trek with 9-7 wins over JT Ringgold and Davis, which set him up to challenge Andico. Moore drew Nilbert Lim, who, following a defeat at the hands of Andico in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had eliminated Steve Fleming (the APT’s current points leader) 9-6 and Kelly Farrar 9-4.
Shuff and Lim advanced to the quarterfinals; Shuff 9-7 over Andico and Lim, by the same score, over Moore. Shuff ended Lim’s short, three-match run on the loss side 9-3 in those quarterfinals, and then denied Colvin a second shot at Aranas with a 9-7 win in the semifinals.
Shuff’s hoped-for defense of his 2017 Barry Behrman Memorial title was at stake in the finals, but he fared no better than Colvin had in the hot seat match. Like Colvin, Shuff managed to chalk up only two racks against him (one less than he’d managed in their winners’ side quarterfinal matchup), and Aranas claimed the event title 9-2. 

Action underway in Barnsley

Nick Ekonomopoulos (GRE)

Chris Melling (ENG) 8-3 Karol Skowerski (POL)

Nick Ekonomopoulos
(GRE) 8-2
 Ralf Souquet (GER)

Niels Feijen
(HOL) 8-6
 Karl Boyes (ENG)

The 21st annual running of the PartyPoker World Pool Masters got underway at the Metrodome in Barnsley, Yorkshire and there were first round wins for Chris Melling, Nick Ekonomopoulos and Niels Feijen.  The $66,000 tournament has been a staple on the pool calendar for over two decades and was making its first appearance in the UK since 2005.

In front of an excellent first night crowd at the popular Yorkshire venue, defending champion Karol Skowerski of Poland fell at the first hurdle as was beaten 8-3 by England’s Chris Melling who looked in fine form in front of his local fans.

Melling, whose smooth action is renowned the world over, flew into a 5-0 lead in front of his Yorkshire faithful as he took advantage of the winners’ break format. Skowerski, who enjoyed a magical three days in his home town of Kielce as he won the Masters last year, took the sixth rack to get his name on the board.

The Pole won the next after a quality safety battle and ran out the eighth game from the break to take the score to 5-3. Melling got lucky in the next when a he had a hit-and-hope attempt on the 3 ball which was parked next to the 9. The 8 ball got cannoned into the top pocket and the 3 ball rolled into the opposite corner. From there he cleared to go 6-3 in the race to eight match.

Melling won the next to get to the hill, and although Skowerski got to the table in the next it was the Englishman’s day as he ran out the winner and can look forward to a quarter final match against Ga Young Kim or Alex Pagulayan.

“I played really well. I twitched an easy eight ball but other than that I played really well. I had a good fluke to be fair when I was 5-3 up,” said Melling.

“I am cueing the ball nicely and I have the table speed down well so it is just a matter of getting your chances and taking them when they come.

“This is the first time I have played 9-ball in Yorkshire and I have a good following from Keighley. Come tomorrow I think it will be a packed house. It makes a big difference to have home advantage. It is like the guy in your corner in a boxing match. I have a lot of people behind me and a lot of good support.”

The second match of the evening saw six-time Masters champion Ralf Souquet exit the competition as he was defeated by a sharp shooting Nick Ekonomopoulus 8-2.

They shared the opening two racks but Nick, a Mosconi Cup winner on his debut last December, took the next two with a determined look on his face. A run out from the break made it 4-1 and the six times Masters champion looked in trouble with the winner breaks format.

Another meaty break from the Greek set up a run out for 5-1 and Souquet needed something to happen to give himself a chance. It didn’t come in the next as Ekonomopoulos ran out once again to take himself to 6-1.

An illegal break got Souquet back to the table and sensing that anything less than a run out would sound his death knell, cleared for 6-2. He got the 1 ball into the side pocket off the break in the ninth game but missed the 2 ball and the Greek took full advantage to clear and reach the hill. He ran out the next for an excellent win.

“I played very well although I was lucky in rack one. He played a very good safe and I played a safe but made the ball. After that I made three run outs and in a short format when it is race to eight you can quickly take a big lead,” said Ekonomopoulos.

“I have been playing well and practicing a lot with my friend Darren Appleton. I don’t play my quarter-final until Sunday so I will keep practicing.”

Souquet was a little disappointed at his lack of table time: “I don’t feel like I have been a part of this tournament. Apart from the two scratches he played so well and I wasn’t able to get a chance.”

The final match of the opening session saw two 2013 Mosconi Cup players face off as Niels Feijen of Holland met England’s Karl Boyes.

They shared the opening racks before Boyes fouled as he failed to reach a rail with a safety shot. Feijen ran out to take the lead but Boyes squared it in the next. Both had visits in the fifth rack but it was Feijen who dropped the 9 ball and he took the next for a 4-2 lead.

Boyes got the home crowds cheering in the next as he completed the run out to reduce the deficit.  Feijen was always in the lead but Boyes was never too far behind him but it was the Dutchman who reached the hill first at 7-4.

Boyes though got it back to 6-7 but lost the table as he tried a difficult cut on the 3 ball after a solid break. He got lucky though as he missed but left Feijen hooked. The Dutchman got out of it and when Boyes scratched it was all over as he ran out for the win.

“It was nip and tuck all the way and I feel I caught a couple of rolls in that match but also he was breaking really well, especially at the end,” said Feijen.

“I got a little worried there from 7-4; we had a long tactical game from that point. He made a nice bank on the 3 ball, runs out, breaks and runs out and it was getting close. Then he had a good break but scratched on the 3 ball in the side pocket. I knew if I got it straight on the six it would be over and I am glad I got through that one,” he added.

Boyes said, “It was one of those matches. We both played well, nobody missed anything, it was just the odd safety error. I was breaking well the whole match but I just couldn’t get a shot early in the match.”

This is the 21st annual running of the World Pool Masters following its inaugural event in 1993. Some of the greatest players in the modern era of pool have won this title including the likes of Souquet, Strickland, Orcollo and Appleton. With a field of 16 players there are 15 matches in total – all race to eight racks and culminating in the final on the Sunday evening.

The 2013 PARTYPOKER.COM World Pool Masters is sponsored by, the world's leading online poker site. Cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith. Diamond is the supplier of the Official Table and Predator is the Official Cue.

US Open Day Six Leaves Four Left Fighting

Jayson Shaw

By Friday evening at the U.S. Open the field was down to those who had survived some truly dramatic matches. One of those providing the excitement was fan-favorite Tommy Kennedy. Kennedy had served notice earlier in the week when he sent Brandon Shuff over to the one-loss side 11-7.

He was then sent to the left side himself by Jeremy Sossei, but then bounced right back with a very impressive 11-6 victory over Ralf Souquet. Next he ran into the powerhouse of Nikos Ekonomopoulos from Greece and found himself covered and smothered 11-1 to end the week.

Niels Feijen has been quietly slashing his way through the field. He brushed a strong Ty Laha aside 11-5, wiped out the American Rotation Champion Joey Dupuis 11-5 and then just never stopped chopping heavy timber. He took down Chris Bartram 11-8 and then flushed champion-of-everything Darren Appleton left with a precise 11-2 domination.

His road stayed rough as he had to face Oscar Dominguez and OD hadn't set a foot wrong all week. His shots were splitting the pockets and the cue ball listened to many of his whispers. The match lived up to its advance publicity and Dominguez prevailed 11-10 to move Feijen over to the longer route home. Feijen continued his run by knocking out Ekonomopoulos 11-9, but he was just getting warmed up. The next favorite to fall to Feijen was Johnny Archer by the score 11-8. That left one obstacle between Niels and Saturday play; Chris Melling. After a loss to Shane Van Boening late Friday night, Melling then fell to Feijen 11-9 to end his tourney run.

After Darren Appleton was sent left by Feijen, he dispatched Rodney Morris 11-8 and Keith Bennett 11-10 before seeing his tournament hopes dashed at the hands of Jeremy Sossei 11-8. 

Sossei has followed up his second place finish at Turning Stone last month with another great tournament this week. Sossei had notable wins this week over Robb Saez, Ekonomopolous and Appleton before falling to Van Corteza late Friday night.

Jayson Shaw is one helluva player. Off of the table Shaw has a ready laugh and makes friends easily. When facing the racks, he displays an instinctive focus that takes him through the balls as if it were just meant to be. He began his week downing Charlie Williams 11-5 and his stops along the way included the 11-7 gnarling of Tommy Kennedy. He passed World Champ Huidji See 11-6 and then defrocked Johnny Archer 11-8. (This after Archer had shell-shocked Lee Van Corteza 11-1 and overpowered Jason Klatt 11-5.)

Shaw wasn't done. He never gave Oscar Dominguez enough opportunities to show his stuff and his break was working. He muscled through 11-5 and now faces Shane Van Boening way out on the end of the winners' bracket.

Lee Van Corteza has had a tough but rewarding day. He shellacked Hijikata 11-1 and then went into a couple of double-hill showdowns as he eclipsed both Imran Majid and Mike Dechaine 11-10. After the win over Sossei late Friday, Corteza eliminated a visibly tired Oscar Dominguez in 5th place 11-6.

These days you almost expect for Shane Van Boening to be hanging around somewhere on the winners's side of the charts. He rarely disappoints and thus far has been stellar all week. He first won  over Omar Al-Shaheen 11-5, then demolished Fabio Petroni 11-3 and Danny Mastermaker 11-5. Jeremy Sossei (shooting great these days) could not stand the heat and fell 11-7 and Chris Melling was nullified 11-6.

That brings us to the Shaw VS Van-Boening showdown that the crowd has been awaiting all week. These two champions will face off for the hot-seat at 1pm EST, while Niels Feijen takes on Van Corteza on the one loss side for the right to take on the loser of the Van Boening/Shaw match at 3pm. All roads lead to the finals, scheduled to kick off at 7pm Saturday night.

Follow all of the action with our online brackets and real time scoring, found on our live coverage page.