Teacher (Harrell) defeats student (Swinson) on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Mac Harrell

It was playwright David Mamet who made the observation that “old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance.” It’s hard to designate the two matches of the double elimination final on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour this past weekend (Dec. 3) as a victory of ‘old age’ and ‘treachery’ over ‘youth’ and ‘exuberance,’ because while it’s true that the winner, Mac Harrell, is older than the runner-up, Graham Swinson, Harrell could not reasonably be considered to be in the realm of ‘old age’ or to have applied ‘treachery’ in double-dipping Swinson in the two matches that they played against each other. Hard to argue with Swinson’s youthful exuberance though.

Swinson is 22 now, but he and Harrell have known each other for a number of years, dating back to a time when Swinson was attending Riverside High School in Williamstown, North Carolina and Mac Harrell was his math teacher. Q City 9-Ball Tour Director, Herman Parker, recalled that the two have played against each other over the past few years or so, but never, to his recollection, in the finals of an event before. They have both won stops on the tour, almost exactly a year apart, at the same location; Harrell four months ago and Swinson, a year and four months ago. The meeting led to some boisterous commentary on both sides in the $250-added event that drew 18 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC.

“The teacher taught the student a lesson,” said Parker, “and the teacher had to beat the student twice in the (straight-up race to 8), double-elimination final.”

“There was definitely some good-natured trash talk going on,” he added with a laugh.

Swinson caught Harrell at the tail end of what has been his best (recorded) earnings year since he started showing up on payout lists back in 2008, when Swinson was in grammar school. Swinson, on the other hand, with his runner-up finish in this event, came within about $60 of matching his best recorded earnings year – 2021.  

They both advanced through the field to a winners’ side semifinal. Swinson faced Delton Howard, while Harrell squared off against Jeff Underwood.

Swinson advanced to the hot seat match 8-5 over Howard, but Harrell got shuttled off to the loss side by Underwood 7-6 (Harrell racing to 8). With Underwood racing to 7, Swinson claimed the hot seat, double hill, 8-6 and waited for ‘teach’ to return, which he did.

On the loss side, Harrell picked up Jerry Canon, who’d defeated Ron Ford and Jacob Stein, both 6-1, to reach him. Howard drew Michael Yamuni, who’d recently won two straight double hill battles versus Jack Whitfield and Chris Gehrki.

With Howard racing to 8, Yamuni defeated him 5-3. Harrell, in the meantime, advanced to the quarterfinals 8-2 over Cannon and followed that up with another 8-2 victory over Yamuni in those quarterfinals.

Jeff Underwood managed to get one more rack against Harrell than either of his (Harrell’s) last two opponents, but still fell short in the semifinals. Harrell won 8-3 and entered the ‘double-elimination final’ classroom, prepared to teach. 

He gave up only a single rack to his former student in the opening set, winning it 8-1. The student rallied in the second set and came within a game of forcing a double-hill final match. Harrell stayed ahead of him though and took the second set 8-6 to claim the event title, his second on the tour, to date.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Mickey Milligan’s for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Breaktime Billiards (Winston-Salem, NC), BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend, Dec. 10-11, will be hosted by the Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC.

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