Tamara Rademakers takes on the NWPA

Ford (Tournament Director), Tamara Rademakers, Liz Cole, Dave Lauer (The Parlor)

August 15-16th was another weekend of great competition at the NWPA's 5th tour stop of the season, hosted by The Parlor in Bellevue, Washington.  The Parlor has 17 tables total (13 9-footers), an in-house proshop for any cue tip and shaft repairs, a full length iced martini bar, and VIP suites available with catering, As always, The Parlor was a gracious host, providing players with free tickets to their comedy club and always a favorite of mine, all day happy hour on Sunday, including discounted drinks and appetizers.  A wide variety of activities is available including Single's Mingle, Rockaroake, the Ultra Lounge and Comedy Club.  Check out their website at www.parlorbilliards.com.

Twenty-six women came out to fight for the title and our tour's last WPBA qualifier of 2009.  After a slough of close matches on Sunday, 8 women returned on Sunday to vie for the opportunity to represent the NWPA at the WPBA's Pacific Coast Classic at Chinook Winds in October 2009.  The a-side matches included the Liz Cole vs. Cindy Sliva (#1 and #2 ranked players on tour) and NWPA Player Advocate, Mary Olson vs. up-and-coming player Suwanna Kroll.  Both matches were relatively lopsided as Liz and Suwanna both won their matches 7-2 and 7-1 respectively.  Liz continued with her stellar shot making and earned her seat in the final with a 7-3 victory over Suwanna.  The b-side matches included tour regulars Mikki Small and Elizabeth Jensen, and NWPA graphics designer Julie Valdez vs. Tamara Rademakers.  Tamara made the long trip from Galeen, Netherlands in her quest to secure a spot in the last WPBA Classic event before WPBA Championships in November.  Elizabeth and Tamara advanced through their morning matches 7-3 and 7-1 to come up against Cindy and Mary.  Cindy and Tamara then won both of their matches 7-1 to face-off.  Tamara was unwavering in her focus and dispatched Cindy 7-4.  Fresh off her hot seat loss to Liz, Suwanna was the last obstacle to Tamara getting a chance to play in the final.  Tamara defeated Suwanna 7-1.  This was Suwanna's best finish yet, nice tournament girl!!!  

The Finals: Liz Cole vs. Tamara Rademakers, one race to nine for the grand prize.  Liz had already secured a spot at the Pacific Coast Classic by finishing first in points after the 2008 season; however, by winning the qualifier she would earn the $500 entry fee and the unpaid spot would go to 2nd ranked player on the tour (Cindy Sliva).  Tamara who is currently ranked 32nd on the WPBA did not have a guaranteed spot, so needed to take the grand prize to ensure her participation.  Liz and Tamara played in the first round of the event, and after Liz handed Tamara her first lost, Tamara battled her way through the b-side to earn a rematch for all the cookies…  

The Final: Liz Cole (Portland, OR) vs. Tamara Rademakers (Galeen, Netherlands)
Tamara and Liz shook each others hand and Tamara won the lag by less than a ball's width.  Both players were shooting beautifully through the first six games.  With the score tied at three games a piece, Liz looked to be in the position to take her first lead of the match.  Running out from the 4, Liz rattled the 7 ball and left it hanging in front of the pocket, and Tamara ran out.  Tamara also took games 8, 9, and 10 to make the score 7-3.  In game 11, a botched push shot left only a kick at the one, so Liz made Tamara shoot it.  She made a good hit, but left the table wide open for Liz to run out, which she did to bring the score to 7-4. Game 12 would end up being a turning point.  Liz broke dry for a fifth time in a row, but left no shot for Tamara, so she pushed.  Liz played the D, and ended up getting ball in hand.  Liz made the 1, 2, and 3 and then got a fortuitous roll when she missed the 4, hooking Tamara behind the 6 ball.  Tamara plays the 3 rail kick on the 4, but ended up hitting the 8, putting her at risk of the always disappointing 3rd game-costing foul.  But instead of locking Tamara up, Liz opted to shoot, made a 4-8 combination, 4 in the same pocket, and then attempted a super thin cut on the 5 in the side, which she missed.  A make, and then a missed D by Tamara resulted in Liz with another opportunity at the table, but she still couldn't close out that rack.  A miss on the 6 left Tamara with 3 balls between her and the ever desirable Hill.  Tamara took her time and made the 6, 7, then 9.  

With an 8-4 lead, Tamara seemed to have her ducks in a row for the win, but Liz had a different plan in mind.  For the next 4 games, Liz played with such determination and focus; there was nothing that was going to stop her.  Games 13-16 key game winning moments: (13) late in rack Liz plays beautiful safe pushing the 8 ball up table and the cue ball cozied-up with the 9 ball, Tamara plays the 2 rail kick and misses = Ball in hand Liz.
(14) Liz plays a safety on the 4 ball, forcing Tamara to kick the ball in.  Tamara misses and leaves the table open and Liz runs out.  (15) Tamara misses a blind cut on the 8 and leaves an off angle position with the 8.  Liz drills the bank and leaves herself straight in on the 9. (16) Tamara makes the 2 ball and scratches in the side.  Liz runs out.

Hill-Hill: 8-8 in a race-to-nine
Tamara broke dry, but didn't leave a shot on the 1. Liz pushed out, moving the 9 away from a potential 4-9 combo, and only left a kick-cut on the 1.  Tamara made Liz shoot it, which she did and made it perfectly, but then missed the 2 ball.  Tamara made the 2 and 3, but the cue ball went 2 rails and froze on the wrong side of the 8.  Tamara drove her stick into the floor in frustration, and then in an attempt to conceal her disgust set, and reset.  She was forced to kick the full table length off the side rail.  She made a good hit on the 4, but was forced to take her seat and watch in utter disappointment as her opponent stepped to the table.  Her heart was on her sleeve as she sat down and could barely watch as her hopes of playing at the Pacific Coast Classic seemed to be slipping through her fingers.  Liz made the 4 and 5, and then slow rolled the 6, for perfect shape on the 7-9 carom.  Liz took a deep breath and examined the angle closely.  She bent down and took her preshot strokes, and then took the shot.  She hit the 7 softly and ended up hitting the 9 ball into the rail.  Tamara jumped to her feet in eager anticipation.  She shot a stop shot on the 7 to leave that shot we all love, shooting the 8 along the rail across the side pocket.  Tamara took her time, set, and reset, then stroked her shot.  The 8 hugged the rail the entire length and went in.  Tamara gave a “Woo-Hoo” as she eyed the 9 ball sitting in front of the pocket.  She bent down over the table, and shot it in.  Her elation was felt by all, as the audience came to their feet and applause the tremendous display of skill by both players.

Congratulations to Tamara Rademakers for winning the NWPA's 5th tour stop and receiving paid entry into the WPBA's Pacific Coast Classic in October 2009.  Good luck to both Liz and Tamara, who will both be representing the NWPA at the event.

Our next tour stop will be held on September 25-26th at the Golden Fleece in Kenmore, WA.  We would like to give special thanks to Jennifer Matsuda of Red Fish Blue Fish Photography, who donated her time and camera to come to the event and take photos of all the tour players.  And also, to Marvin Holmes and John Te who volunteered their services as tournament officials and timekeepers for the entire event.