Trajceski wins his third Tri-State Tour stop, going undefeated at Shooter’s in Wayne, NJ

Maybe it’s the weather. Two out of three of Ilija Trajceski’s victories on the Tri-State Tour have been won in cold weather. The third, his first, in October, 2017 at Clifton Billiards was not; it was rainy and mild (70˚). It should be noted that Mr. Trajceski has cashed in only four Tri-State events since October, 2017 and he’s won three of them. He was runner-up in the fourth. He chalked up his third Tri-State win on Saturday, January 12, going undefeated through a field of 33 entrants at a $1,000-added event, hosted by Shooters Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ, under partly cloudy skies with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark.
Trajceski opened his bid for the title with a double hill win over the man with whom he’d split the top two cash prizes in his ‘official’ second win a year ago (and placed 4th in his first win), Matt Klein. Trajceski moved on past Brian Jeziorski and in a winners’ side quarterfinal, 7-5 over Shivam Gupta (whom he’d encounter later, in the finals), to draw good friend Jaydev Zaveri in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Corey Avallone, in the meantime, squared off against Bob Toomey in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Trajceski sent Zaveri to the loss side 7-3 and was joined in the hot seat match by Avallone, who’d sent Toomey to the left bracket 7-2. Trajceski claimed the hot seat 8-4 over Avallone, and probably took a walk outside for a breath of cold air.
On the loss side, Gupta opened his loss-side campaign with victories over Victor Silva 7-5 and Max Watanabe 6-5 to draw Zaveri. Toomey picked up Mac Jankov, who’d chalked up two straight double hill, 6-5 wins over Dominic Novello and Shweta Zaveri to reach him.
Gupta sent Zaveri home 7-5, while Toomey was doing likewise to Jankov 6-3. Gupta took the subsequent quarterfinal match over Toomey 7-5 and then locked up in a double hill fight against Avallone in the semifinals, which he won 9-8.
The second verse of the Trajceski/Gupta song (otherwise known as the finals) was the same as the first. Gupta, in the space between the two matches, had played 65 loss-side games over five matches; all, with the exception of the 9-8 semifinal, won 7-5 by Trajceski. Trajceski won a fifth 7-5 match and his second 7-5 match over Gupta to claim the event title.
While an unconfirmed report indicates that Trajceski thanked the local weatherman, tour representatives thanked Shooter’s Family Billiards owners Kris and Chris Consalvo-Kemp for their ongoing hospitality, which, at this event, included the addition of two of the venue’s TAP league players as entrants. They also thanked sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, January 27, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.