Monday, 17 April 2017

Corner Bank : Arsenault Wins OBSA 9 Ball Championship

Rod Arsenault

By: Erik Hjorleifson 

This past weekend The Corner Bank in Scarborough, Ontario played host to the OBSA (Ontario Billiards and Snooker Association) amateur 9-ball provincial championships. The event carried a generous $3000 in added prize money with the top four finishers receiving partial expenses to the Canadian amateur championships in Thetford Mines, Quebec taking place the last week of May. This provincial Championship was a culmination of an effort put forth between Greg Plester OBSA board member and OBSA board members and room owners John White and Frank Kakourous. This year saw the return of the OBSA as active promoter of cuesports in Ontario seeing them hold 10 regular season events at rooms all across Ontario. Paul Duell won the regular season points race with Brad Guthrie finishing second. It is a great breath of fresh air to see the game being organized at a provincial level with an official governing body after a long absence of OBSA run events. The OBSA also saw the players move towards the A, AA, AAA, Semi pro and Pro categories that mirrors the handicap system in Quebec which has proven to be quite successful. Minimal handicaps were the most common format for the regular season events and the provincial championships was a non handicapped event . Winner breaks with the 9 ball racked on the spot was used thoughout all events. 

Fifty five players came out to compete at the corner bank, play started Saturday morning and a healthy player auction of $4500 kicked off the festivities.
Saturday match highlights included:

Rod Arsenault over Paul Duell
Brad Guthrie  over Greg Plester
Naomi Williams over Dave Robertson
Kenny Chen over Naomi Williams
Wayne Tate over Kenny Chen
Ronald Giron over Tom Fraser

12 players would come back for play on Sunday with Rod Arsenault facing off against Wayne Tate and Jeet Khandai against Sumon Sarkar on the other half of the bracket. Rod and Sumon would emerge from these matches to set up the winners side final. As the Losers side dwindled down Naomi Williams finished a great run on the losers side after losing first round finishing fifth.  Jehlar Fenandez filled out the second fifth place spot, Wayne Tate came back all the way to third defeating Naomi Williams and Jeet Khandai along the way before falling to Sumon Sarkar which set up a rematch of the winners side final between Sarkar and Arsenault. In the extended race to 11 finals Sarkar got out to an early lead but it was all Arenault in the end taking home the title.

Special consideration also goes out to Che Lemmon for receiving the most improved player award.

1st Rod Arsenault $1400
2nd Sumon Sarkar $1060
3rd Wayne Tate      $780
4th Jeet Khandai    $540
5th Naomi Williams $380
       Jehlar Fernandez

Player auction $1800

Monday, 3 April 2017

Strokers London Ontario: Wood Wins Weaver Memorial

Winner Chris Wood 
By: Erik Hjorleifson

This past weekend Strokers billiards in London played host to the 6th annual Leave it to Weaver Teen Challenge Pool Tournament For the fourth consecutive year the field sold out at 128 players (prepaid spots with a waiting list), making it the largest field for any tournament in Ontario. The success of this event is truly a team effort between tournament promoter Anita Chan, owner of Strokers billiards Ronda Drew-Clement and the Weaver family who also generously added $1000 (extra $500 this year) to the prize fund. Special thanks also goes out to Stu MacTaggart, Taylor Chan and Dolores Weaver for their countless hours of help. For anyone that has not attended the tournament it is always a first class affair with so many added touches like a homemade buffet provided by the Weaver family, friends of Jamie or volunteers. Free door prize drawings that include donated gifts and gifts bought by the Weaver family. Fifty-Fifty draws and extra draw tickets in support of Teen Challenge a charity organization that provides support for teens at risk with addictions are ongoing throughout the weekend. At the end of the weekend nobody leaves empty handed and that is something that can rarely be said at your everyday tournament.

Every year a ceremonial toast is performed in honor of Jamie who was an avid billiard enthusiast and a great friend to many in the London pool community and around Ontario. It is always a great celebration of remembrance that gives everyone involved a chance to remember someone that meant so much to many and brightened so many lives.

As in past years the tournament was a three day event and after the opening ceremonies got underway Jeff Dick took on the daunting task of running through the 128 player Calcutta. Big names in the field this year included myself, Chris Wood, Andy Aupin and Adam Monture along with hometown favourites David Parker, Tyler Nearing and Jesse Piercey. Two of Jamies friends Greg Gauthier  (Jamie's best fiend) and Adam Cudmore also made the trip all the way from the maritimes.  A bidding war ensued for the pick of the field and finally a record breaking buy of $1300 received the honour. From there many more blinds were sold and after all players were auctioned off a record breaking total of $11270 was up for grabs.

The first round of 9 ball play began on Friday night on sixteen Dufferin tables with low handicaps of 4 and a high of 13, it was a double knockout bracket and winner breaks. With the huge field of players play continued non stop all the way past midnight on Saturday and tournament director Heath Manning and Ronda Drew-Clement did a great job of filing the players through efficiently.

Match highlights from Friday and Saturday included 

Dj McGinley over Jesse Piercey
Chris Wood over Jason Williams
Erik Hjorleifson over Tyler Nearing and Adam Monture  
Andy Aupin over Mike Fisher

Twelve players returned on Sunday including myself vs Chris Wood in one winners side semi final and Paul Duell against Steve B from Windsor on the other half of the bracket. The match between me and Chris turned out to be very hotly contested going right down to the hill game where a long safety battle ensued with Chris finally getting the best of it. Paul Duell also advanced to face Chris in the winners side final. As the B side narrowed down Tyler Nearing continued a great run after losing second round defeating Stu Mactaggart, myself and Adam Monture in succession. Monture had a strong fouth place finish defeating Andy Aupin along the way. Chris Wood continued his fine play in the winners side final defeating Duell to take the hotseat. Duell showed some great heart coming off a loss finally ending a ten match winning streak by Tyler Nearing who finished in an impressive third place. 

The final would be a true double elimination format with Duell needing to win 9 games to Chris' 11. After Chris took a seven a 7-2 lead in the first set Paul dug deep and made a great comeback setting up a final set for all the marbles. Unfazed by his first set loss Chris came out strong in the second  set and didn't let up finishing off the deal with a convincing 11-1 win. Chris is a legend on the Ontario, North American and international scene who is strong at all games and has a huge wealth of experience. Despite taking some time off in recent years he showed that he still has what it takes and I can assure you that a win in this field is no easy task especially playing at one of the highest handicaps, huge congratulations goes out to Chris and welcome back to the winners circle.

This is such a great tournament and the attention to detail and effort put forth by Anita and her team is always evident and results in a great time had by all.  
In closing tournament promoter Anita Chan added:

My envision is to celebrate Jamie’s life, help save a life and or to encourage people to get help and to have an awesome tournament.
Everyone pitches in to make this tourney a success.  Everyone commits to something whether it is their entry, a donation of a prize/cash or to help make food etc.. 
Each year, more and more volunteer to do something!  It really shows the “power of positive” and team work.  Thank you just isn’t enough!  See you all next year!  I know Jamie is up there smiling ear to ear!

                                       Tournament            Auction
1st Chris Wood                $1125                       $3620
2nd Paul Duell                 $725                          $2500
3rd Tyler Nearing            $500                          $1500
4th Adam Monture         $400                          $850
5th Erik Hjorleifson         $300                          $500
       Steve Arnold
7th Andy Aupin                $200                          $300
       Stu MacTaggart

Top 24 paid