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Barrette and Cabral split top two prizes at NE 9-Ball Series’ Summer Sizzler

Francisco Cabral, Richard Barrett and Richardson Fuertes

After a three-month hiatus, the New England 9-Ball Series returned to mount its annual Summer Sizzler at Snookers in Providence, RI this past weekend, August 13-14. Though Francisco Cabral, working at the outset, from an upper bracket (higher ranked competitors), would end up winning seven on the loss side for the chance to face Richard Barrette in the final, the two opted out of playing that final, splitting the top two prizes and allowing Barrette, as the hot seat occupant, to become the event’s official winner. The $1,000-added event drew 39 entrants to Snookers.

Working from the lower bracket, Barrette got by Albert Michaud, William Aley, Jeffrey Sheehan and Robert Lucas to meet up with Joey Arruda in one of the winners’ side semifinals. In the upper bracket, Richardson Fuertes advanced through Jim Prather, Van Sy, and Beau Powers (who’d previously sent Cabral to the loss side in the third round) to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Jimmy Nou. 

Barrette defeated Arruda 5-1, as Fuertes downed Nou 5-3. In a straight-up race to 6, the ensuing hot seat match went double hill before Barrette claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, it was Nou who picked up Cabral, four matches into his loss-side winning streak that had included a shutout win over Fred Soulliere and a re-match win over Beau Powers 5-2. Arruda drew Robert Lucas, who’d defeated William Kuhn 5-3 and Jake Rickel, double hill, to meet him.

Cabral and Nou battled to double hill before Cabral advanced to the quarterfinals against Lucas, who’d eliminated Arruda 4-2. Cabral shut Lucas out 8-0 and then spoiled Fuertes’ bid for a rematch against Barrette by defeating him in the semifinals 6-1. 

Though their respective Fargo ratings were 120 points apart (Cabral, 657 and Barrette, 537), the odds-on-winning (64.1% to 35.9%) were not too heavily in Cabral’s favor, although he would have had to win twice to claim the Summer Sizzler title. The two opted out of a final and split the top two prizes.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Snooker’s for their hospitality, along with sponsors BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Outsville, Salotto and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#7), scheduled for the weekend of October 8-10, will be the Joe Brown Memorial, to be hosted by Buster’s Billiards in Somersworth, NH.

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Lucas and Nou split top prizes on New England 9-Ball Classic

Jimmy Nou, Robert Lucas, and Ricardo Diaz

Robert Lucas and Jimmy Nou were to have played each other twice at Stop #5 of the New England 9-Ball Series this past weekend (Sunday, May 1). They played their first, battling for the hot seat, with Lucas winning. They opted out of the second, which would have been the finals,  and split the top two prizes, leaving Lucas as the official winner. The $2,000-added New England 9-Ball Classic drew 48 entrants to Snooker’s in Providence, RI.

Lucas worked his way through progressively tough opponents in the lower bracket, shutting out Sandra Kostant, for starters, then allowing Joey Arruda to chalk up two racks against him. William Aley battled him to double hill, before Lucas advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Fred Soulliere. Nou, on the other hand, opened with a double hill win over Francisco Cabral, before downing his next three opponents 6-2 (Dave Morganelli), 6-3 (Mark Ruzzano), 6-3 (Mark Tringali). Nou turned to face Ricardo Diaz in the other winners’ side semifinal.

In the two, straight-up races to 6, Lucas defeated Soulliere 6-4 and Nou sent Diaz west 6-2. In what would prove to be the official title-winning matchup, Fargo Rate gave Lucas a 40-60 chance of defeating Nou in the battle for the hot seat. Playing with three ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 7, Lucas claimed the hot seat by adding the four he needed, while giving up only one to Nou.

On the loss side, Diaz picked up a rematch against Russell Bellisle, whom he’d sent to the loss side in the third winners’ side round. Bellisle won four on the loss side, including two straight double hill wins over Dave Morganelli and Steve Sutton, before eliminating Mark Tringali 5-1 and Mark Ruzzano 5-3 to earn the rematch. Soulliere drew Rob Simonetti, who’d lost a double hill match to Joey Arruda on the winners’ side before mounting a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated William Aley 4-2 and Dalica Shatee 4-1 (whom he’d sent to the loss side in the opening round of play).

Diaz got back into the swing of things with a second win over Bellisle 5-2. Simonetti, though he only had a Fargo-calculated, slightly better than one-in-four chance of defeating Soulliere (27-73), he did just that. With Soulliere racing to 8, Simonette moved on to the quarterfinals against Diaz 4-3.

Diaz put a stop to that right off in the quarterfinals, downing Simonetti 9-1 and then, in what proved to be the final match of the New England 9-Ball Classic, Nou gave up only one rack to Diaz. The split was negotiated and the New England 9-Ball Classic was in the books.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Snooker’s for their hospitality along with sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Outsville, Salotto and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories.

The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series (#6), a $500-added event, originally scheduled for Sunday, June 12, has been postponed until a to-be-determined date, sometime before Stop #7 in August.

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Vollhardt claims official Stop #3 NE 9-Ball Series title, as Gravel gets by Fracasso-Verner twice

Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Jim Gravel and Jim Vollhardt

When you’re the top-FargoRated competitor at a given tournament, by 73 points, you might be forgiven for stepping up to the tables fairly confident of your ability to get to the finish line ahead of any opponent on the entrant list. But like the “Any Given Sunday” rule in professional football, dictating that on any given Sunday, one professional football team can beat any other professional football team, regardless of how low one of those teams might be rated, pool is subject to the same vagaries of fortune and the accumulated rolls of a differently-shaped ball. Or two.

So it was, that on Saturday, March 12, Lukas Fracasso-Verner (706) was downed twice by Jim Gravel (562) and never got a shot at Jim Vollhardt, who, after the semifinals had eliminated Fracasso-Verner, negotiated a split of the top two cash prizes with Gravel (passing on the opportunity to face him a second time) and became the official winner of Stop #3 on the 2022 New England 9-Ball Series. The $500-added event drew 24 entrants to Branford Cue & Brew in Branford, CT.

Gravel and Fracasso-Verner both emerged from the same upper bracket, working their way through the field from different ends to arrive at the hot seat match of the upper bracket, which is one of the winners’ side semifinal matches of the combined bracket(s). Gravel had opened with a double hill win over Daniel Cecchetto and came within a game of double hill in sending Dennis Brewer to the loss side. This set up his first meeting with Fracasso-Verner in the upper bracket’s entries into the winners’ side semifinals. From the lower bracket, Jim Vollhardt and William Aley (dead even in FargoRate at 515, squared off in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Fracasso-Verner and Gravel fought to double hill in their first meeting, with Gravel prevailing 4-7 (Fracasso-Verner racing to 8) and turning to a hot seat match against Vollhardt, who’d sent Aley to the loss side 5-1. In a straight-up race to 6, Vollhardt claimed the hot seat over Gravel 6-3.

On the loss side, Fracasso-Verner and Aley got right back into the swing of things, meeting up with competitors who’d been sent to the loss side of their respective brackets by the eventual hot seat occupants. Fracasso-Verner drew Dennis Brewer, who’d been defeated by Gravel in a winners’ side quarterfinal and gone on to defeat Ramon Vazquez 5-2 and Pedro Oquendo, double hill. Aley picked up Anthony Petruzzelli, who’d lost to Vollhardt in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then, eliminated Mike Zingarella 4-2 and Stephen Rowe, double hill.

Fracasso-Verner had to contend with a double hill fight against Brewer before moving on to the quarterfinals. Aley downed Petruzzelli 4-1. Fracasso-Verner gave up just one rack to Aley in those quarterfinals and drew his rematch against Gravel.

With Gravel racing to 4, he was the one who was stingy in the racks-given-up department. He allowed Fracasso-Verner (racing to 7) only one in advancing to the finals-that-didn’t happen  against Vollhardt.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Branford Cue & Brew, as well as sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Outsville, Salotto and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories. The next stop on the New England 9-Ball Series, will be the Annual Robert & Catherine Dionne Memorial, a partners tournament, scheduled for this Saturday, March 19, 

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Prather and Blair spilt top prizes on NE 9-Ball Series’ season opener

Adam Blair, David Melancon and Jim Prather

Jim Prather and Adam Blair have been competing on the New England 9-Ball Series (and to a lesser extent, the area’s Rack ‘Em Up Tour) for a combined total of 26 years; Prather since 2007 and Blair since 2011. As far as we know, though they’ve cashed in lots of events on the tour, they’ve never met in a final and neither of them has won a stop on either tour. Until this weekend, at the first stop on the NE 9-Ball Series’ 2022 season; a $600-added event that drew 24 entrants to Straight Shooters Family Billiards in Fall River, MA. Prather went undefeated to the hot seat in the event and though Blair returned from a victory in the semifinals to win the opening set of a true double elimination final, they opted out of a second set and negotiated a split of the top two prizes.

Prather came into the tournament’s Upper Bracket with what turned out to be the event’s highest Fargo Rate (624). Another competitor, Robert Lewis, with a higher Fargo Rate (635), forfeited out of his opening match, as well as his first scheduled match on the loss side. Prather started his trek to the winners’ circle with a double hill win over Steve Nelson and apparently not happy with that means of advancing, followed up with a shutout over Mike Cote. He then went back to the double hill route, surviving his match against Eric Burgess to draw David Melancon in a winners’ side semifinal. 

Blair, at work in the Lower Bracket, was awarded an opening round bye and also won his first match, double hill, over Ryan McCrum. He followed that with a 4-2 win over William Aley to pick up Sandra Kostant in the other winners’ side semifinal.

In a straight-up race to 5, Prather got into the hot seat match with a 5-3 win over Melancon. Blair joined him after shutting out Kostant. In their first of what would turn out to be two matches, Prather claimed the hot seat 6-2 (Blair racing to 4).

Moving to the loss side, Melancon drew Eric Burgess, who, after his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Prather, had downed Roarke Dickson 4-2 and Van Sy, double hill. Kostant picked up a rematch against Steven Mantineo, who’d lost his winners’ side quarterfinal to her and then, defeated Ryan McCrum 5-2 and Kenneth Duclos 6-2.

Melancon and Mantineo advanced to the quarterfinals; Melancon 5-3 over Burgess and Mantineo 5-2 over Kostant. Melancon put a bit of a punctuation mark on his quarterfinal match by shutting Mantineo out.

Blair and Melancon battled to double hill in the semifinals that followed. Blair, with the lower Fargo Rate, began the match with a single bead on the wire in a race to 5, so when they were tied in total racks at 4-each, Blair was the winner.

Blair started the true double elimination finals against Prather with two beads on the wire in a race to 6. For the second straight time, Blair battled to double hill and won; this time, starting with two beads on the wire in a race to 6. It was at this point that they opted out of a second set and decided to split the top two prizes. Having not been defeated twice in the double elimination format, Prather was the event’s official winner.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Straight Shooters Family Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Outsville, Salotto and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories. Stop # 2 on the NE 9-Ball Series, scheduled for the weekend of February 5-6, will be its Annual Winter Classic. The $2,000-added event, which will be limited to 128 players, will be hosted by Snooker’s Sports-Billiards Bar & Grill in Providence, RI. Players must pre-pay for this event by Thursday, Feb. 3 and can do so by registering on the tour Web site at http://www.newengland9ballseries.com.

Emerson comes from the loss side to down DeMarco in 8-ball event on the NE 9-Ball Series

Mike DeMarco, Jordan Emerson and William Aley

In a gritty come-from-the-loss side performance that belied his pool career resume, Jordan Emerson worked his way through a short field of 24 entrants at the April 25 stop (#9) on the New England 9-Ball Series. He returned from a three-match campaign on the loss side to down Mike DeMarco twice in the true double elimination final that earned him his first NE 9-Ball Series and tournament-anywhere title.

Our records indicate that Emerson and DeMarco have both competed on the same tours and New England-oriented events since about 2013. The difference, though, is that while they both came into this recent event with the exact same Fargo Rate of 575 and had joined the AZBilliards’ player database in the same year (2013), DeMarco had cashed in a total of 14 events since that time, while Emerson had cashed in only two. The last time Emerson brought cash home from a tournament before this past weekend (that we know about) was in 2013, when he finished 9th at the 25th Annual Ocean State 9-Ball Championships (won that year by Mike Dechaine, defeating Jayson Shaw in the finals). The $500-added 8-Ball event that earned Emerson his first major victory drew its 24 entrants to Straight Shooters in Fall River, MA.

The aforementioned “grit” that characterized Emerson’s trip to the winners’ circle this time was exemplified in his nine matches, all but two of which went either double hill or one game shy of becoming double hill. One of his three double hill matches was won by DeMarco. One of the matches he won by a wide margin (5-1) was his quarterfinal match against Phillip Russo, while the other wide-margin win, same margin, came against DeMarco in the first set of the double elimination final.

Following victories over Dave Soule 5-3, Jim Prather, double hill, and Derek Cunningham 5-3, Emerson faced DeMarco for the first time in a winners’ side semifinal. From the lower bracket, William Aley and Phillip Russo squared off in the other one.

A harbinger of things to come, Emerson and DeMarco battled to double hill before DeMarco dropped the last 8-ball and advanced to the hot seat match. He was joined by Aley, who’d defeated Russo 4-1. DeMarco shut Aley out and claimed the hot seat.

Emerson began his trip back to the finals against Francisco Cabral, sporting a 68-point higher Fargo rate (643-575), who was working on a modest, four-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently sent Justin Bertrand home after a double hill fight and defeated Matthew Rezendes 5-2. Russo picked up Barrett Ridley, who’d shut out both Amanda Reynolds and Sandra Kostant to reach him. 

Russo won a double hill fight versus Ridley and advanced to the quarterfinals. Emerson joined him after defeating Cabral 4-3 (Cabral racing to 5). In a straight-up race to 5, Emerson gave up only a single rack to Russo in their quarterfinal match, and then downed William Aley 5-3 in the semifinals for a shot at DeMarco in the hot seat.

Emerson opened his necessary two-match, last campaign against DeMarco by allowing him only a single rack in the opening set of their true double elimination final. DeMarco rose to the challenge and battled him to double hill in the second set before Emerson finished it to claim his first event title.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Straight Shooter’s for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AzBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3 Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Piku Tips and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories. The next stop on the NE 9-Ball Series (#10), scheduled for this weekend (May 2), will be a $500-added event, hosted by House of Billiards in Hampton Falls, NH.

Powers goes undefeated on NE 9-Ball Series, splits top prizes with Bausch

Alex Bausch, Beau Powers and Rich Minichello Jr.

Looking for his first win on the New England 9-Ball Series (according to our records) and his first cash payout in 2020, Beau Powers got both. The first came with an asterisk, when he and Alex Bausch opted out of a final match and Powers, as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, was declared the official winner, while the second had to be split (by an undisclosed amount) with Bausch. The $500-added event, Stop #4 on the NE 9-Ball Series, drew 41 entrants to Amazin’ Billiards in Malden, MA.

Working in the upper bracket, Powers opened up his campaign with a double hill fight against Ricardo Diaz. He prevailed and went on to send Daniel Simmons (6-4), Tom Comerford (6-1) and Brian Tierney (6-4) to the loss side, drawing Suad Kantarevic in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Bausch, in the meantime, in the lower bracket, worked his way through Justin Cunningham 5-3, Ed Murray 7-1, Alvin Lam 5-2 and Robert Lucas 5-1 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match versus Curtis Wright.

With Kantarevic racing to 8, Powers advanced to the hot seat match, double hill (4-7). Bausch joined him after shutting Wright out. With the lower Fargo Rate (528), Bausch started the hot seat match with a single bead on the wire in a race to 6 against Powers (595). Powers claimed the hot seat and, as it turned out, the only match he’d play against Bausch 6-2.

On the loss side, Kantarevic and Wright stepped right into their second straight loss. Kantarevic drew Rich Minichello, Jr., who’d lost his opening round match against Brian Tierney, double hill, and embarked on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would end with some controversy in the semifinals. He’d recently been the beneficiary of a forfeit by his brother, Michael and eliminated Clyde Matta 6-2. Wright picked up William Aley, who’d been defeated in his second winners’ side round and went on a six-match winning streak that would take him to the quarterfinals. He’d just defeated Robert Lucas 5-1 and Alvin Lam 5-3.

With Kantarevic racing to 6, against his 5, Minichello, Jr. advanced to the quarterfinals 5-2. Aley joined him with a 5-3 win over Wright. Minchello chalked up win #8, downing Aley 8-2 in those quarterfinals (Aley racing to 4).

The semifinal between Bausch and Minichello, Jr. was a close one that was live-streamed. At the end of their 10th game, with Bausch racing to 4 and Minichello racing to 8, Minichello was acting on the assumption that they had just reached double hill at 3-7. What was assumed to be the match’s 11th rack was assembled and when it was done, broken and played out, Bausch had won with what was assumed to be a 4-7 score. However, Bausch knew and the live stream confirmed that somewhere along the line, Minichello had failed to move a bead on the wire, and at what Minichello assumed was the match’s deciding 11th rack, he’d already won 8-3. It was the 12th rack that Bausch won and claimed the win. Minichello agreed that the $200+ mistake (depending on how the finalists split the top two prizes) and responsibility for it was his and Bausch advanced to the semifinals.

Bausch did not play again. He and Powers agreed to the split and the 4th stop on the NE 9-Ball Series was, as they say, in the books.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Strokers Billiards, as well as Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-Ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Bob Campbell, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America, Piku Tips and Just the Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories.

The next stop on the NE 9-Ball Series (#5), scheduled for this weekend (Oct. 24-25), will be a $750-added event, hosted by American Pool & Billiards (formerly Union Station Billiards) in Portland, ME.