Tuesday, 27 January 2015
3 Way Chop at Star Billiards First 9 Ball Tournament
By: Erik Hjorleifson
This weekend in London, Ontario Star billiards hosted their first tournament since falling under new management a few months ago. The room has a very storied history in the London area, I noticed a picture on the wall of Mario Morra and Cliff Thorburn that appeared to be dated from the 70's. Located in Downtown London the room features 10 Black Crowns and 2 National 9 foot tables, 4 BCE snooker tables and three 3 cushion tables. Room owner Patrick Chen bought all new ball sets for the tournament and is interested in promoting competitive play in the future including weekend events, weekly tournaments and in house leagues.
The format for this weekends tournament was a no handicap races to 9 on the winners side, races to 7 on the losers side, winner breaks and rack your own. There was a $200 high female prize as well which attracted about 8 female players, entry was $30 for everyone and the house generously added $1000 to the prize fund. Tournament promoter Darryl Heywood did a great job of running the player auction and assigning the players to their tables efficiently. The one roadblock was that the tournament was planned for one day and the overwhelming response of 56 players meant that it would inevitably be a long day and it was indeed.
Tournament favourites included all the of the top players from Western Ontario including Tyler Nearing, Jesse Piercey, Adam Monture, Pod and Harvey Shognosh, Dj McGinley and Dave Parker among many others. Myself, Naomi Williams and Mario Morra made the trip down from Toronto to round up a highly competitive field.
Following the random draw it so happened that the top half of the draw was considerably stronger than the bottom half. On the bottom half the hottest contested match was between Jesse Piercey and Tyler Nearing. Tyler came ahead this time and made his way through to the winners side final to face off against the winner of the talent packed top half of the draw. In the first round pre tournament favourite Mario Morra was put to the test by Greg Plester who after trailing 8-1 one made a big comeback eventually falling by a 9-6 score line. Morra also fended off another late charge by Dave Parker in the winners side final 8, after trailing 8-1 Parker came all the way back to 8-8 before losing a tough 9-8 match. This set up a final four match-up of the two players from Toronto myself and Mario Morra, this was a tooth and nail battle and after getting the majority of the rolls I squeaked out a 9-7 victory.
On the losers side the players battled off and notable finishes were Pod Shognosh, who after after losing his first round match came all the way back to fifth place. Stuart Mctaggart gave notice of recent improvement beating Harvey Shognosh and losing a close match to Dave Parker 7-5 settling for a 7th place finish. Paul Edgar also had a strong tournament finishing 4th. It was a long day to say the least and at about 4:30 am I played Tyler Nearing in the winners side final and I played pretty well and won 9-5. By the time the losers side caught up it was about 6am! the three remaining players myself, Tyler and Mario decided to make an agreement on the prize money and call it a night/morning. Knowing the response that this room can attract, future tournaments will be planned as 2 day events.
I would like to note again that this was an Open non handicapped event, something that is not the norm in the Southern Ontario pool scene and considering the affordable entry fee it was refreshing to see a group of players get together and just go out and play pool. No whining about handicaps just players playing the game we love, I would say that a good time was had by all who attended. Special thanks again goes out to Star billiards, the owners are a great group of people and it is nice to have a new addition to the pool scene in Ontario, be sure to check it out next time you are in the area and join their Facebook group "Star Billiards" for location info and future tournament announcements.
Prize money Including player Auction:
1st $1750 Erik Hjorleifson and Tyler Nearing/ Morra
2nd $800 Tyler Nearing/Mario Morra
3rd $550 Tyler Nearing/ Mario Morra
4th $350 Paul Edgar
5th/6th $175 Dave Parker
7th/8th $75 Stuart Mactaggart
$75 Paul Duell
Top Female Denise Belanger $200