Ali Carter is through to his second final of the season after a hard fought 6-4 win over Joe O’Connor at the Duelbits Players Championship in Wolverhampton.
The Captain now has the chance to capture two ranking titles in a single season for the first time in his career. Carter thrashed Tom Ford 10-3 in the final of the German Masters last month to pick up silverware for the first time since 2016.
That title had put him in position to claim the £150,000 BetVictor Series Bonus, but Robert Milkins’ shock win at last week’s Welsh Open denied Carter that payout. The five-time ranking event winner now faces either Shaun Murphy or Kyren Wilson in Sunday’s final over the best of 19 frames for a top prize of £125,000.
Defeat ends another brilliant run for O’Connor, who has enjoyed the best season of his career so far. He made the final of the Scottish Open in December, where he was runner-up to Gary Wilson. The 27-year-old departs with £30,000 for making the last four and is in line to move into a career high 31st in the world rankings.
O’Connor took the first with a run of 68, before Essex’s Carter won the next two to move 2-1 up. O’Connor replied with a fine break of 79 to restore parity at 2-2 heading into the interval.
When play resumed breaks of 54 and 86 from Leicester’s O’Connor saw him establish a 4-2 advantage.
Carter had to dig deep and he did just that by claiming a 40-minute seventh frame to reduce his arrears. He then made a superb 70 break, with the balls in difficult positions, in the eighth. Despite that, O’Connor still had the chance to force a respot. He missed the final pink and Carter stepped up and deposited it to draw level at 4-4.
From that point on Carter didn’t look back, after taking the ninth he fired in 79 to get over the line and secure a 6-4 win.
“Things looked like they were going to go awry. I missed a pink at 2-2 and the game didn’t forgive me. I was 4-2 down, I couldn’t do anything right and when Joe missed he wasn’t leaving me anything. It was all going wrong, but I managed to dig in and play some of my best stuff and the end so I’m proud,” said 43-year-old Carter.
“To keep my cool is absolutely massive and that is what won me the match at the end of the day. I stayed patient, kept my belief and kept calm. It allowed me to perform when I got the chance. Before my head would have come off in a match like that.
“It is all about winning. I’m in another final which is great, but I want to be a tournament winner. I don’t want to be a finalist. This is a massive tournament and it would arguably be the biggest event I’ve won. I have a day off to chill and recuperate, happy days.”
They were both looking for their first 2023 event victory. Oklahoma’s Shane McMinn and Louisiana’s Clint Freeman battled three times in On The Snap Tour’s $1,000-added, 2023 season opener last weekend (Feb. 25-26). Freeman claimed the hot seat and McMinn returned from the semifinals to defeat him twice in the true double elimination finals. It was McMinn’s first (recorded) win in two years, since he claimed title to the Smokin’ Aces Show Me Classic in Poplar Bluff, MO (Feb. 2021). This most recent event drew 41 entrants to Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX.
After being awarded an opening round bye, McMinn opened his campaign against Ruben Adame, who’d won Stop #2 on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour a week ago. McMinn allowed him only a single rack and then gave up only two to Tommy Tokoph, which set him (McMinn) up for a double hill battle against Friday Abismo. McMinn advanced, to a winners’ side semifinal against Tony Top. Freeman, in the meantime, after his opening round bye, sent Ramon Mendez, Mike Rountree, and Ryan Braselman to the loss side to face Rick Stanley in the other one.
McMinn moved on to the hot seat match after defeating Top 7-2, as Freeman was busy sending Stanley to the loss side 7-4. In what proved to be his last win, Freeman claimed the hot seat 7-4.
On the loss side, Top picked up Greg Sandifer, who’d lost his opening match to Terry Shackelford and gone on a five-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Braselman 7-5 and in their double-hill rematch, Shackelford. Stanley drew Justin Espinosa, who’d lost his fourth winners’ side match in a double hill battle against Top, moved west to take out Christian Young 7-2 and then, double hill, defeated co-tour director, Jeff (“Sully”) Sullivan.
Espinosa defeated Stanley 7-5 and in the quarterfinals, faced Sandifer, who’d knocked Top out of the running 7-2. Espinosa ended Sandifer’s loss-side winning streak at six with a 7-2 win in those quarterfinals.
McMinn was relentless and accurate in the semifinals against Espinosa that followed. He didn’t give up a rack in his bid for a rematch against Freeman, waiting for him in the hot seat. With that oft-noted momentum boost of a strong semifinal, McMinn took the opening set of the true double elimination final 7-4 and claimed the event title with a 7-2 win in the second set.
Tour representatives – Jeff and Ileana Sullivan, Rick and Alicia Stanley, Jacky Halper, Michael Roundtree and Nicole Hall – thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty’s Billiards for their hospitality. The tour also thanked sponsors Diamond Billiards, Aramith, Simonis, On The Snap Billiards Apparel, Jeff Tucker Custom Cues, JB Cases, DigitalPool.com, Stixx and Stones Billiards, Dallas Heating and Air Conditioning. Outsville. TeamStraightpooleye. Cowboy Roofing and Remodeling. Rolling R’s Tack and the Embroidery Shop.
The next stop (#) of the On The Snap Tour (#2), scheduled for next weekend (March 11-12), will be hosted by Tailgaters (formerly Snookered) in Frisco, TX.
Congratulations to Stop # 11 winners Jeremy Sossei ($1,500 – 13th New England Pool & Billiard Hall of Fame 9-Ball Open Champion), Jordan Emerson ($320 – 2nd chance) & $1,900 Joss Cue raffle winner Beau Powers
Stop # 12 of my Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour’s 2022/2023 season will take place at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard in Utica, NY on Sat. & Sun. March 11 & 12. This will be the second of three stops this season in this beautiful room owned by our good friend Andrea Duvall. Andrea has created a modern, bright and welcoming room featuring 10 Brunswick Gold Crowns, all recently recovered in 860 Simonis (“The Cloth of Champions”), that will be used for our event. There is also a 10-ft heated billiard table, a 12-ft snooker table, a 9-ft tight pocket table, a ping-pong table, 5, 7-ft tables, darts, foosball and video games making for a varied and fun recreational experience for the family and entire community. There is a wide range of menu selections and snacks as well as a pro shop with a large array of billiard supplies, cues and cases. So come on down this weekend to compete or just watch another great tournament. Be sure to take a chance on winning a beautiful, $1,900 custom engraved Joss cue in the cue raffle. Anyone can participate and you do not have to be present to win! We will draw for the cue just prior to the finals of the main event on Sunday. For more information visit www.uticabilliards.com, www.facebook.com/uticabilliards or call 315-732-3000.
If you will be in need accommodations, there are many to choose from nearby on Genesee St, just off exit 31 of I90. Or call the room for more info. 315-732-3000.
This event at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard will consist of a $1500 added Saturday and Sunday Main Event (entry Fee $120 for pro level or $70 for non pro level) and a $500 added second chance event on Sunday ($20 Entry Fee) for those non pro players eliminated from the main event on Saturday. All of our billiard parlor main events are now races to 9 on the winners side and races to 7 on the one loss side. Please take note that I may alter the races to accommodate overly large fields or at the request of the room owner.
For those of you coming to play, please arrive on Saturday March 11th BEFORE 11:00 AM, and in proper dress please. Jeans and sneakers are permitted in our billiard parlor events. But please, No T-shirts, No tanks, No shorts or sweats. I will have a large assortment of our Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour shirts on hand for those who have been asking! Complete tour info can be found on our site www.joss9balltour.com
Please remember to spread the word to frequent your local billiard parlors and utilize the world class products of our most generous sponsors. They are the backbone of our sport and deserve our support now more than ever!!
Thanks and I hope to see you all at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard.
The Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour Is Proudly Sponsored By;
Two veterans of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) battled it out in the hot seat and finals of On the Hill Productions’ MD State Women’s 8-Ball Championships this past weekend (March 11-12). Former JPNEWT tour director, Linda Shea, who finished 3rd in the 2022 tour standings, went undefeated to the hot seat. Alyssa Solt, who finished 5th in the tour’s 2022 standings, came back from her loss to Shea in the hot seat match and defeated her in the finals to claim the event title. The event drew 57 entrants to Brews & Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD.
Solt started strong in the event, allowing her first three opponents (in races to 6), to chalk up only six racks against her; Taylor Perkins (2), Malea Haacke (1) and Nicole Nester (3). The against-racks started mounting up in a winners’ side quarterfinal against Karlene Goodrich (4), which set Solt up to face Lai Li in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Shea, in the meantime, started out with a bit of a bang, shutting out her first opponent, Sharita Pernell, before getting by Heather Platter (3), Jenny Mohammed (3) and in the other winners’ side quarterfinal, junior competitor Hayleigh Marion (4). This set her up against Carol V. Clark in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Solt defeated Li 6-4 and advanced to the hot seat match. She was joined by Shea, who’d sent Clark to the loss side 6-2. Shea grabbed the hot seat 6-2 over Solt.
On the loss side, Li picked up Nicole Nester, who, following her loss to Solt, was on a modest, four-match winning streak that had recently eliminated two junior competitors in a row; Hayleigh Marion and Skylar Hess, both 6-3. Clark drew Bethany Sykes, who’d lost her opener to Hess and embarked on a six-match streak, in which she’d given up only two racks, total, to her last three opponents before Clark; Mohammed (0), Goodrich (1) and Debra Pavan-Peterman (1).
Clark put a stop to that momentum with a 6-3 win over Sykes, as Nester downed Li 6-2. Clark and Nestor battled back and forth to double hill in the quarterfinals that followed, with Clark eventually advancing to the semifinals against Solt.
Solt put a stop to Clark’s momentum, allowing her only a single rack in their semifinal battle for advancement to the finals (6-1). Solt claimed the event title with a 6-3 victory over Shea in the finals.
TD Loye Bolyard thanked the ownership and staff at Brews & Cues for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Simonis Cloth, Aramith Balls, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region, Safe Harbor Retirement Planners, Bull Carbon, Gina Cunningham, Keller Williams, Integrity and DigitalPool.com. Bolyard also gave a ‘shout out’ to Wayne Everhart at TTMD Billiard Streaming and Kelly Daniel for “together, building the women’s pool scene in Maryland.”
Next up on the On The Hill Productions’ calendar will be the MD State 9-Ball Open, scheduled for April 1-2 and hosted once again by Brews & Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD.
Justin Espinosa, Alex Calderon, Rick Stanley, Gus Briseno
Alex “Jerry” Calderon’s best recorded earnings year with us here at AZBilliards was his first, 17 years ago in 2006, when he finished 61st in the IPT North American Open Championships (won by Thorsten Hohmann) and 121st in the IPT World Open 8-Ball Championship (won by Efren Reyes). Calderon almost made 2022 his best recorded earnings year when he finished as runner-up to Roberto Gomez in the 49th Texas Open One Pocket division and 25th in that same event’s Open division. This past weekend, March 11-12, he came from the loss side to claim title to On the Snap Tour’s second stop of the season. Calderon lost the battle for the hot seat, but double-dipped Gus Briseno in the finals of the $1,000-added event that drew 43 entrants to Tailgaters (formerly Snookered) in Frisco, TX.
Beginning with his opening match against Joel Nabia, Calderon’s opponents kept gaining on him as he wended his way through the field toward the hot seat match. Nabia chalked up two racks against him, Velma Vela got three. Then came a string of 7-4 wins that began against Danny Williams, went through Justin Espinosa and concluded with a winners’ side semifinal win over tour director Jeff Sullivan. Briseno, in the meantime, was experiencing a similar increase in pressure, although his first opponent (Mark McKelvy) chalked up two against him, while the rest of them, right on in to the hot seat, got stuck on three; Sam Abusalem, Steve Lenz, and in the other winners’ side semifinal, Curtis Tidmore.
Calderon became the first opponent that either he or Briseno had faced who recorded more than four racks-against. Briseno claimed the hot seat 7-5 and as it turned out, Calderon became the last opponent either of them faced to record more than four racks-against.
On the loss side, Sullivan picked up Rick Stanley, who’d lost a second-round, double hill match to Steve Lenz. began an eight-match winning streak and didn’t have more than two racks chalked up against him (including two shutouts) until he reached loss-side win #6 against Clint Freeman. Stanley defeated him 7-4 and then, downed Sullivan 7-3 to advance to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Justin Espinosa, who’d followed his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Calderon with wins over Pasini Taloa 7-1, Sam Abusalem 7-4 and, fresh from his winners’ side semifinal loss, Curtis Tidmore 7-4.
Stanley chalked up loss-side win #8, his last, before Calderon put a stop to his streak with a 7-3 in the semifinals. Gus Briseno chalked up five racks against Calderon in the double elimination finals, but they were split between the two sets. Calderon took the opening set 7-3 and improved on that with a 7-2 second set that gave him the title.
Tour director Jeff Sullivan thanked the ownership and staff at Tailgaters for their hospitality, along with sponsors Diamond Billiard Products, Aramith Billiards Balls, JB Cases-Custom Pool Cue Cases, Jeff Tucker, Stixx and Stones, Dallas Heating and Air Conditioning, Digitalpool.com and Outsville, Inc. He also gave a ‘shout out’ to Accu-Racks “for their support and all they do for the sport.”
The next stop (#3) of the On the Snap Tour, scheduled for the weekend of April 15-16, will be hosted by Stixx and Stones Billiards in Lewisville, TX. Registration is currently open and interested competitors can do so by visiting the tour Web site at www.OnTheSnap.org.
Congratulations to Stop 13 winners – Nick Charette ($1,000 main event), Dan Sharlow ($300 second chance) & $1,900 Joss Cue raffle winner Russ Crutchley. Also to our current tour point leader Ron Casanzio for a paid entry into Allen Hopkins Super Billiards Expo 9-Ball Pro Event (April 13-16, 2023), Courtesy of Allen Hopkins!!!!
The Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour will once again be at Yale Billiards in Wallingford CT on April 1 & 2, for a $2,000 ($1500+$500) added 9-ball event. Our host, Bobby Hilton, deserves much credit for bringing our tour back to Connecticut and all he does to promote our great sport of pocket billiards. So lets come out in big numbers to show our support! Yale Billiards has been around for almost 30 years with just the last four in their new building. They have a full bar with an extensive bar food menu to satisfy all of our needs. There are 16 Gold Crown tables all covered with 860HR Simonis plus a couple of Valley bar boxes for league play. Yale Billiards is also the home of the increasingly popular “The Sharkstream” which allows for live streaming league and tournament pool matches as well as our event. You can access the live stream on Face book on “The Sharkstream” page or on You Tube by searching Yale Billiards Shark Stream. So come on down to compete or just watch another great tournament. Be sure to take a chance on winning a beautiful, $1,900 custom engraved Joss cue in the cue raffle. Anyone can participate and you do not have to be present to win! We will draw for the cue just prior to the finals of the main event. For more information visit them at yalebilliards.com or call them at 203-294-9591
If you will be in need of motel accommodations, please call the room at 203-294-9591
This event at Yale Billiards will consist of a $1500 added Saturday and Sunday Main Event (entry Fee $120 for pro level or $70 for non pro level, plus any applicable tour fees) and a $500 added second chance event on Sunday ($20 Entry Fee) for those non pro players eliminated from the main event on Saturday. All of our billiard parlor main events are races to 9 on the winners side and races to 7 on the one loss side. Be advised that I reserve the right to alter the format to accommodate large fields or at the direction of the host room owner.
For those of you coming to play, please arrive on Saturday April 1, BEFORE 11:00 AM, and in proper dress please. Jeans and sneakers are permitted in our billiard parlor events. But please, No T-shirts, No tanks, No shorts or sweats. Complete tour info can be found on our site www.joss9balltour.com
SCHEDULE UPDATE: I have added stop # 16.5 at Amazin Billiards in Malden MA (near Boston) on May 20 & 21!! This will be the “Massachusetts State 9-Ball Championships” and will be $1,500 Added to the main event plus $500 Added to the second chance event. More info at joss9balltour.com or at amazinbilliards.com
Please note that our $25,000 Added Turning Stone Classic XXXVII 9-Ball Open on Aug 31-Sept 3, 2023 is ALREADY FULL. If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please call me at 518-356-7163
Send all replies and inquiries to email@example.com or call Mike Zuglan at 518-356-7163. This gmail address is only used for announcements.
Please remember to spread the word to frequent your local billiard parlors and utilize the world class products of our most generous sponsors. They are the backbone of our sport and deserve our support more than ever!!
I hope to see you all at Yale Billiards.
The Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour Is Proudly Sponsored By;
It’s easy to forget that while tournament reports, by their very nature, focus on a narrow band of tournament activity, there’s a lot more that goes on than just the matches that determine the hot seat match opponents, the hot seat match, the loss-side activity that leads to the finals and the finals themselves. There are pivotal, individual matchups, the results of which, unsure when they begin, prove to be significant to the way it all turned out.
That said, the hot seat and finals of the WPBA’s $15,000-added Fairfield Invitational, held this past weekend (March 16-19), was a highly anticipated pair of matches between the #1 and #2-ranked women in the WPBA, Kelly and Allison Fisher. Kelly went undefeated to claim the title in the event that drew 48 invited entrants to the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center in Fairfield, Iowa.
Kelly Fisher, played one example of a significant match when she faced 13-year-old Savannah Easton. It was Fisher’s first round (she’d been awarded an opening round bye) and Easton’s second. Quick side note about another ‘significant’ match; in the event’s opening round, Easton, the youngest player in the field, defeated the oldest player in the field, Jeri Engh 7-3.
Easton chalked up a single rack, early, in her match against Fisher, after which Fisher advanced to reach the hill first. At 7-1, Easton with the (alternate) break won her second and then, off Fisher’s break at 7-2, won another before Fisher finished it. Easton is, by accounts from a number of WPBA competitors, a solid player, not some cute junior who’s at the tables for the optics of embracing a younger generation. She earned and deserved her invitation to this professional event and throughout her match against Fisher, she demonstrated why; sound shot selection and execution, along with mind-boggling composure. Commentators on the live stream – Lonnie Fox-Raymond and Angela Janic – made note of the fact that while not specifically stated, it’s clear that at some point, sooner than one might imagine, Easton will be “coming for” Fisher to challenge her for the tour’s top spot.
Fisher followed her opening victory with an 8-3 defeat of Teruko Cucculelli and then, ran into Janet Atwell, on the opposite end of a set of pool-generation gaps (10 years+/-) that Fisher faced in the event. In what proved to be her second double-hill match, having just survived one against Monica Webb, Janet Atwell battled Fisher to double hill before once again, Fisher finished it and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Russia’s Kristina Tkach, who’s a pool generation just ahead of Savannah Easton.
Allison Fisher, in the meantime, who’d given up just two racks, total, to her first two opponents, one each to Laura Smith and Shanelle Lorraine, ran into her first double-hill battle, against Margaret Fefilova. Fisher won that younger pool-generation battle to draw another, in the person of Tzu-Chien Wei (known affectionately on the tour as “Wei-Wei”) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Kelly sent Tkach to the loss side 8-4, while Allison advanced to join her in the hot seat match with an 8-3 victory over Tzu-Chien. There is a tendency to anticipate basically flawless pool when you have the top two players on the WPBA facing each other, along with an assumption that two players who know each other as well as the Fishers, and friends to boot, automatically set aside any ‘nerves’ that one might normally encounter in a pivotal match. Such did not appear to be the case in their first of two.
They both went through some tough ‘patches’ in the early going of their hot seat match. Kelly won the lag, but after some initial back-and-forth, turned the table over to Allison, who took aim at the match’s first 9-ball. It was what’s commonly known as a “duck,” but Allison missed it; nobody more surprised than she was. They traded racks through Allison’s first break and run and in rack #7, Kelly rattled a ball in a hole. After a bad nudge of an object ball turned the table back to Kelly, she rattled another one, allowing Allison to take her first lead at 4-3. She put herself in a tricky position shooting at the 9-ball in the following rack, but promptly banked it to go up by two.
Allison was up by three when she dropped two balls on her break and then scratched. Kelly ran the table and began a five-rack run that put her in the hot seat and Allison off for a rematch against Tzu-Chien in the semifinals.
On the loss side, the two who’d just arrived – Tkach and Tzu-Chien – got right back to work and advanced to the quarterfinals; Tkach over Fefilova 8-5, Tzu-Chien over Kristina Zlateva 8-3. Zlateva had previously stopped Savannah Easton’s five-match, against-older-competitors loss-side run.
With the three remaining competitors on the loss side, any of whom could and might challenge Kelly Fisher for the event title, the anticipation level started to mount, reflected in (among other things) the relative absence of any background noise during the live stream that accompanied the final three matches. The first of the two loss-side matches left came within a game of double hill. Tzu-Chien edged out in front to eliminate Tkach 8-6 in the quarterfinals, which meant that no matter who won the semifinals, Kelly Fisher, waiting in the hot seat for one of them, would be competing against a friend. Allison downed Tzu-Chien 8-3.
By the time the Fishers stepped to the table in the finals, they had played a combined total of 11 matches. They’d gotten used to a very fast table and had gone great lengths to eliminate the ‘unforced errors’ that had characterized portions of their early matches. The final match demonstrated some of the reasons that they were there (an incredible jump shot early in the 6th rack for Allison, as an example) and demonstrations that pool can be a ‘funny’ game (both of them missing relatively straight-forward shots at the 1-ball in rack #7).
They fought back and forth to a 2-2 tie, before Kelly made her move, winning the next five. Allison chalked up her third in rack #10, after which Kelly recorded her eighth. Allison then won three in a row, which had the present crowd, along with stream commentators and chat room visitors buzzing about a comeback. With Kelly ahead by two at 8-6, rack #15 became critical and their play showed it. It went back and forth in a tight, tight game until Kelly won it to reach the hill first.
The buzz was re-ignited when Allison won her 7th. Kelly, though, won the 17th rack to claim the event title.
The WPBA thanked the Fairfield Convention Center and its staff for their hospitality, along with sponsors the City of Fairfield, Midwest One Bank, Mad Hatter Billiards, Diveny Cues, Aramith Balls, Diamond Billiard Products, Outsville, Jam Up Apparel, Simonis Cloth, Iowa City Woman’s 8-Ball League, Vic’s Auto Body Repair, The Ottumwa Radio Group, NATEL (Southeast Iowa Broadband Internet) Holt Family Dental Care and Americus Diamond.
The next stop on the WPBA tour, scheduled for the weekend of July 12-16, will be the $40,000-added Soaring Eagle Masters (pending signed contract), to be hosted by the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, MI.