|Randall Morrison, Joanne Ashton, and Shannon Ducharme. Photo Courtesy of Collyne Savage|
By: Erik Hjorleifson
This past weekend in Calgary, Alberta the Hidden Spot held their second major tournament since opening a few months ago. This event was $1000 added with a 64 player limit, bar table 8 ball. It was alternate breaks, race to 7 on the winners side and race to 5 on the losers side. The field drew players from Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto as well as a group all the way from the Pas in Northern Manitoba.
There is a also 9 foot action in Western Canada but over the past few years it seems that most of the high level competitive play has shifted to the bar table. Notables in attendance this weekend included myself, Shannon Ducharme, Rob Phillips, Cass Burns, Jerry Young and Darcy Gilkes from the out of town side. The local contingent was highlighted by Paul Potier, Edwin Montal, Dave Martin, Eric Vargas and numerous others. In my opinion Alberta is the deepest province in overall talent when it comes to bar table pool.
After co-room owner Joanne Ashton greeted the players and went through the guidelines play started at around 8 pm on Friday night. Two tournament favourites Shannon Ducharme and Rob Phillips were matched up in the first round. As expected this one went right down to the wire with Phillips getting a little unfortunate in the hill game as he got off position on his last ball. He failed to run out and Ducharme cleared up the remaining balls for the hill hill victory. 8 Diamond bar tables were on hand for the event. As we usually see in events run in poolrooms, the first few rounds took a while to get through but the tournament directors did a great job in keeping things moving along as efficiently as possible.
Once the dust settled on Saturday night there would be 8 players left on the winners side and 8 players left on the losers side. Tournament favourites Paul Potier and Shannon Ducharme were moving along nicely. Edwin Montal would make it back to Sunday play after a first round loss to young up and comer Chase Cyr. Calgary bar table veteran Mark Vinogradov also had a 7-4 win against me in the final 16 of the winners side.
On Sunday I played Edwin Montal in the first match of the day, this one could have gone either way and I came out with a 5-3 victory. After a loss to Bill Thompson on the winners side Paul Potier also drew into me me and I advanced with a score of 5-2. In the Semi-finals of the winners bracket Bill Thompson missed the 8 to go up 6-2 against Shannon Ducharme, after the miss Shannon played great to come back and book his place in the winners side final. Russ Whittle advanced through the other half of the draw, where he would eventually go down to Ducharme.
The remaining players on the losers side battled off. It was relative newcomer Joseph Spence who came out of the pack to challenge the undefeated Ducharme in the true double elimination format. Ducharme was once again up for the task and he finished it off in style for the well deserved victory. Ducharme has had many wins on the bar table in Western Canada over the past few years and it was nice to see him come through when the big money was on the line, he will also be representing Canada at the World Championships in Qatar for the first time in September, best of luck to him!!
It was nice to see some old friends this weekend, as this is only the second time I have been able to make it back out west since moving to Toronto about 9 years ago. It is evident that pool is still alive and well in Western Canada and the newly opened Hidden Spot is a great venue with great service and playing conditions. There are also hints of an invitational 9 foot event to be held here in the near future. Special thanks also goes out to Randall Morrison for running the live stream that garnered a lot of added interest for the event. All streamed matches can be viewed through http://www.albertasnooker.ca/w/ and the Hidden Spot Facebook page.
1st Shannon Ducharme $9300
2nd Joe Spence $5415
3rd Russ Whittle $3830
4th Mike Robinson $2600
5th/6th Derek Moore $1325
7th/8th Mark Vinogradov $690
1st Joanne Ashton $525
2nd Toni Sakamoto $350
3rd Sandy Badger $200
4th Jamie Porth $75