Veteran Kollins Takes 2009 USSA National Snooker Tour Stop #2 Win at On Cue Billiards

Runnerup Paul Fleming and Champion Tom Kollins

The United States Snooker Association (USSA) continues to rejuvenate snooker in the United States in 2009 with its inaugural USSA National Snooker Tour, and the second stop on the Tour – the On Cue Open Snooker Classic at On Cue Billiards, directed by USSA board member Tom Kollins - in Grayslake, IL, January 17-18, again enjoyed a full 16-player field.   Four round-robin preliminary flights determined the eight players for the final rounds.  The preliminary flights featured 2-frame matches among each opponent within a flight for a total of six frames played per player.  The preliminary favorites of multi-time national champion Tom Kollins, Canadian Paul Fleming and Stop #1 winner Jeff Szafransky from California cleared through to the final eight, qualifying them for the final playoffs.  Group D was a tough flight, as Szafransky, Fleming and John Connelly all tied with 4-2 records, but the tie break was high run, and John Connelly registered the lowest high run at 22.  Fleming claimed overall high run honors in the prelims with a break of 47.

[Numbers indicate win/loss record in frames in prelims]

Group A:
1st                    Tom Kollins (Grayslake, IL): 5-1
2nd                    Mike Monegato (St. Charles, IL): 4-2
3rd                    Kyle Benn (Mundelein, IL): 3-3
4th                    Lee Rathert (Grayslake, IL): 0-6
Group B:
1st                    Rajneesh Bansal (Bollingbrook, IL): 5-1
2nd                    Vaishai Talati (Streamwood, IL): 3-3
3rd                    Neil Hendry (Waterloo, ON): 2-4
4th                    Chris Szarek (Waukegan, IL): 2-4
Group C:
1st                    Tom Kalinowski (Westland, MI): 4-2
2nd                    Don Sitarski (Fox River Grove, IL): 4-2
3rd                    Marek Kuc (Chicago, IL): 3-3
4th                    Chuck Looney (Eastpointe, MI): 1-5
Group D:
1st                    Paul Fleming (Waterloo, ON): 4-2 [High Break – 47]
2nd                    Jeff Szafransky (Mountain View, CA): 4-2
3rd                    John Connelly (Elk Grove Village, IL): 4-2
4th                    Francisco Cancino (Grayslake, IL): 0-6
The top two in each flight moved forward to the quarterfinals, where Tom Kollins eliminated Don Sitarski 2-0, Paul Fleming clipped Mike Monegato 2-1, Jeff Szafransky passed Vaishai Talati 2-0 and Rajneesh Bansal ended Tom Kalinowski's event 2-0.
The semifinals showcased Paul Fleming slipping by Jeff Szafransky 2-1, and Tom Kollins breezing by Rajneesh Bansal 2-0.  That set the stage for the finals between Canadian veteran Paul Fleming from Waterloo, ON versus the “grand old man of American snooker” – former pro player-turned-snooker enthusiast Tom Kollins (aged 73) of Grayslake, IL, the promoter of this Tour stop.  Fleming took the early initiative by a 2-1 margin, but Kollins still had some gas in the tank after two days of competition, and he recovered to take the crown by a 3-2 score!
Final Results:
1st                    Tom Kollins (Grayslake, IL) - $400
2nd                    Paul Fleming (Waterloo, ON) - $200
3-4th                 Jeff Szafransky (Mountain View, CA) - $100
                        Rajneesh Bansal (Bollingbrook, IL) - $100
High Run – Paul Fleming (47) - $50
The USAA National Snooker Tour is sanctioned and produced by the United States Snooker Association (USSA) [established in 1991], which is recognized as the USA governing body for snooker by the world-governing body – the International Billiard & Snooker Federation (IBSF) – and which produces the annual USA National Snooker Championships to determine the representatives from the USA to the annual IBSF World Snooker Championships.  The 2009 USSA National Championships will be conducted at the Prince Snooker Club in New York City, NY, May 21-24, and is open to the first 32 entries who are permanent residents or citizens of the USA.  Info and entry details are available on the USSA website –
The USSA National Snooker Tour is sponsored by Aramith Billiard Balls and Strachan West Of  England snooker cloth, and the 2009 Tour will feature its third stop (of the six-stop Tour) at Prince Snooker Club in Brooklyn, NY on the weekend of February 7-8 (contact Raymond Fong at tel. (917) 923-5118 or USSA Executive Director Alan Morris at