Thursday, 8 March 2018
By: Markus Noé
The Ashton Twins Classic which is only in it's third year now has quickly become the second most prestigious female event in Canada, outside the Canadian Championships. This event has attracted named players such as Brittany Bryant Emily Duddy as well as both of the Ashton sisters themselves Joanne and Beverely who are accomplished players in their own right.
The Hidden Spot pool room in Calgary is the premier place to play in the area and a beautiful venue for a big event. It is rumored that the added money will be around $10,000. Joanne Ashton has announced the dates to be June 14-18 more details to come!
Thomas Martin, the main promoter of pool in the East Coast of Canada at the moment has announced his second edition of the East Coast Canadian 9 Ball Open. This past November was the inaugural event which saw 238 players descend upon his pool room of RailBirds Billiards Inc in Halifax Nova Scotia.
When this tournament was first announced last year, it caused an immediate stir as it was easily the biggest prize pool played in Canada in at least a decade. The large amount of added money attracted world class players all around the globe including, Mika Immonen, John Morra, Imrad Majid ,Alex Pagulayan and Erik Hjorleifson to name a few. By all accounts this was a well run world class event.
Immonen beat Morra in the final to win the inaugural event in a close match. Once again this year the field is open to 256 players and with the buzz created from the precious event this one should be even better. If the poster above cannot answer all your questions please contact TJ Martin at 902-402-7954.
Tuesday, 6 March 2018
|Winner Martin Daigle, Director Danny Hewitt, Runner up Dan Normandin and second chance winner Darren Auclair|
The Falcon Québec Pro Tour saw the biggest turnout of the season with 55 players descending upon Billiard Heriot in Drummondville, . The field boasted 12 pro's and a healthy number of high level Semi-Pro and AAA players. What added to this this tournament was the 34 amateurs that participated in this non-handicap event. This demonstrates that the staggered entry fee system that the Falcon Tour organizers Danny Hewitt and Luc Paquette have implemented is working.
With so many pro's and other top players in attendance it made it possible for upsets to occur. In Québec Alain Martel, and Danny Hewitt have been so dominate for so many years now its almost a guarantee that one of them will win the tournament if they are both in the field and no big out of province names show up.
Recent third place finisher at the Turning Stone Classic and finalist this year on the Falcon Tour Joey Cicero was the first big name to be upset. He went down in the first round to the Québec Junior Champion Tommy Cayer 9-7. Cicero did not have his best match however Cayer showed his potential by not playing scared and taking advantage of the opportunities given to him. In his next match he met up with one of the fastest rising female players in Québec Valerie Bedard who recently returned from a successful trip to Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento, California. This was for the NAPT Division 2 (North American Pool Tour) stop, Bedard cashed in this event in the 9-12th position. She was apparently still in form as she got by Cayer 9-7 and in her match had Pro Martin Daigle down 4-1 before eventually losing 9-4.
Daigle would not be denied in this extended race to 11, as he won 11-7 to earn his first Falcon Tour victory of the season. Congratulations to all the winners, I would also like to thank Danny Hewitt and Luc Paquette for putting on a great event. The next Falcon Tour will be held in Edmundston New Brunswick this weekend March 10-11. Finally I would like to thank my main sponsor for this tournament Doug Disotell and Rack-M-Up Billiards.
Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Billiard Heriot in Drummondville Québec located about an hour outside of Montreal on route to Quebec City, will host a Falcon Tour stop this weekend. A few weeks back Dooly's Neufchatel hosted the most recent stop and 47 players came to participate, this tied Terminus in Gatineau for the second highest number of players this season.
With this pool hall being located between Montreal and Québec City were most of the elite players AAA and above live, this has the potential to be another record turnout. The field in Neufchatel featured 12 Pro's, and many other top players. The Falcon Tour now in its 3rd season has seen professional participation increase a fair bit as well as seeing a lot of players in the AAA and Semi-Pro range come out of long hibernation now that there is an elite circuit to play on.
Dooly's Neufchatel is a beautiful venue with a great staff. Marco Sanchargrin a well known promoter in the province is the owner and for a chain it really feels like a mom and pop place that caters to the players. In the Finals it was a couple familiar foes facing off as Alain Martel and Danny Hewitt. In the winners side final they also met, with Danny Hewitt winning 9-5. In the third place match Martel played Joey Cicero who has been close a few times to winning his first Falcon Tour stop. He already had a finals appearance at La Patriote in December and a few other top finishes. However the seasoned "Dancing Bear" was once again too much for the young upstart Cicero as he fell 9-4.
In the final Martel revenged his earlier loss to Hewitt 11-8 to win his third event of the season. I am accepting sponsorship as always to help cover expenses to go and cover the event this weekend. It is a great and cheap way to advertise your business as no contribution is to small. Also if you are a frequent reader of Cue Sport Nation it is a great way to support us and to make sure the updates keep on coming. Email transfer and receipts are available! Hope to see many new faces this weekend!
Once again I would like the thank my main sponsor for this event, Rack-M-Up Billiards in Cornwall Ontario!
Sunday, 25 February 2018
|Runner-up Marc "Jesus" Malette and Do Gauthier|
Saturday February 24th Rack-M-Up Billiards held a rare event these days in Ontario, a AAA and under non-handicap 9 Ball tournament. With only about two weeks notice players from Ottawa/Gatineau and Montreal came to participate. Originally the field was slated to be filled at 24 however do to overwhelming interest owner of the room and tournament director Doug Disotell opened the field to 32. The entry was $40 it was races to 7 on the winners side and 6 on the losers, as well as alternative break.
When player registration ended at 9:45 there was 31 participants and shortly after the player auction began. This is better known as a "Calcutta," and it is where the players are auctioned off with the winners getting an extra prize fund. Each player that is auctioned off has the option to buy 50% of themselves back in order to be eligible for the side pot. The players who all tied for the highest bids which is a good indicator of who the favourites are were, Marc Malette, Jean-Francois Dorais, Jody Roy. The overall side pot was $1720
Two of the betting favourites met up right away as Roy sent Dorais over to the one loss side in the first match. Marc Malette also found himself on the losers side at the hands of Do Gauthier a newly ranked AAA in the Québec Federation who has been playing well as of late. Most of this field was was fairly evenly matched despite no handicap which made for an entertaining day. That being said some lower ranked players such as Daniel Sumon, Josh Levac, Cullen Arihote and J.R Cook stepped up for chance at gaining some experience and potentially as we like to say around here, "ruin someone's day." Levac and Arihote both were able to accomplish this feat both beating players ranked multiple levels above their own.
|Third place finisher Mehdi Harraq with director Doug Disotell|
In the final Gauthier met up with local player Malette who worked hard winning 8 matches on the losers side to have his chance at redemption. It was looking good early for Malette as he lead 4-1 in this race to 7. However as he was doing all day Gauthier came all the way back to win 7-5 and win his second tournament in as many months. It should be noted that Malette has taken several years off playing and has recently come back to competitive play, this is his second time finishing in the top 2 in the last two events here.
Congratulations to all the winners! Also a big thank you to all the Québec players who came down, many of whom have been big supporters of Cue Sport Nation. It was a pleasure to see the same people support a great tournament in my home room. Doug Disotell did a fantastic job running the event smoothly as well as being the referee. There was not a single complaint all day and from what I heard from the players I know these tournaments can be a regular success.
Payouts Calcutta included
1. Do Gauthier $930
2. Marc Mallet $610
3. Mehdi Harraq $430
4. JF Dorais $290
5/6 Jody Roy/Markus Noé $190
7/8 Luc Comptois, Justin Miller $40
Thursday, 1 February 2018
|Danny Hewitt photo courtesy of Shelley Anne-Marie Doran|
January 27-28th, Tailgators located in the Meriviale Mall in Neapean Ontario hosted the 7th stop of the Falcon Québec Pro Tour. 36 players came to participate with again the majority of players being from Québec. Chris Dempsey and Jason Robichaud two of the best players from the East Coast made the trek from New Brunswick , while Andy Aupin, Alain and Johnathan Lessard were the furthest traveling players from Ontario coming from Sudbury. My small homeroom of Rack-M-Up Billiards which only has 10, nine foot tables and one snooker table showed up in numbers as we had 7 who made the hour trip to Ottawa. Out of those 7 we had every class represented from C through to Pro.
Going into this weekend we knew that some regulars on the tour such as Joey Cicero, Alain Martel and Martin Daigle would be missing due to prior engagements. Also there was a semi pro tournament just outside of Montreal that kept regulars such as Marco Caron and Eric Cloutier away. However with so many players within reasonable driving distance to Ottawa, Ontario 36 players was a disappointing turnout for organizers.
Perhaps that the Ottawa Barbox Championships which is historically well attended and filled again this year was only a few weeks before played a factor, it should be noted that Tailgators main focus and most popular game is Barbox 8 Ball. However it was a bit baffling to myself that there was significant amount of good amateurs to high ranking players who frequent and play the weekly leagues at Tailgators that did not attend.
In contrast the Falcon Tour as been averaging just over 40 players in each event this year. This includes pool rooms outside the densely populated cities of Montreal, Ottawa or Québec. The most disappointing part for people looking to grow this tour and promote pool overall, is that Tailgator's has such a big and beautiful venue in a prime location. It is basically directly between Québec City and Toronto and a few hours from Montreal. Between this area lies a huge percentage of Canada's top players. If you factor all of this in, the potential for successful Pro Tournament is staggering. I am mentioning this not to be critical, however to point out the importance of the Falcon Tour and a room like Tailgators is to the potential growth of pool. Ottawa/Gatineau has three great venue's in the region, Tailgators, Terminus, and Dooly's Ottawa.
The Falcon Tour is the only Pro Tour in the country, it has been successful in Québec and New Brunswick in its first 3 years. If it takes off in the Ottawa/Gatineau region then it can potentially use this momentum to spring board itself into the Greater Toronto Area and then who knows. The issues for professional non handicap tournaments in Ontario is well documented and here is a solution. A common complaint in all tournaments and tours is there is not enough money to be won. However it is near impossible to grow and attract more sponsors that can help with added money if players do not show an interest. In cities like Ottawa/Gatineau, Montreal, Québec and Toronto fields of 64 to 128 are very possible especially with a staggered entry fee. The first move however needs to be made by player participation so organizers of the Falcon Tour Danny Hewitt and Luc Paquette have a strong product to show to potential sponsors. The saying "If you build it, they will come" comes to mind here.
Now that my little rant is over lets get to business. At the end of the first day there was not much report in the way of upsets because outside of Dany Nguyen and Danny Hewitt it was a fairly evenly matched field. Of course they met in the first round with Nguyen coming out on the short end of a 9-2 loss. The Falcon Tour plays down to the final 8 on day one. One of the final 4 matches on the winners side on day 2 included Pierre Normand vs Roger Miller which Normand won 9-8. The other was Hewitt vs new pro Seb Laramée, Hewitt won this one 9-5.
|Andy Aupin photo courtesy of Shelley Anne-Marie Doran|
Aupin 9 vs Alain Lessard 5
Aupin 9 vs Roger Miller 3
Aupin 9 vs Dany Nguyen 6
Aupin 9 vs Normand 4
This run on the losers allowed Aupin a second crack at the most dominate player on the Falcon Tour, Danny Hewitt. The final was a tightly contested match as Aupin fought back from an early deficit to tie this extended race to 11 at 10-10. Hewitt ended up taking the last game winning his 4th event out of 7 total tournaments this season. Congratulations to the winners of this event and thank you to Curtis Houlden and Morgan Bristow for providing an ideal venue for the tour. Finally thank you to Shelley Anne-Marie Doran for the great photo's her entire album of the event can be found at the Tailgators Facebook Page.
The next event will be held near Québec City at Marco Sanschargin's pool room a well known local promoter. It is called Dooly's Neufchatel. I will be in attendance to play and cover the event in detail, if you are interested in being a sponsor please feel free to contact me through Facebook either on the Cue Sport Nation Facebook page or my personal one. Look forward to seeing everyone in a few weeks!
Sunday, 14 January 2018
By: Erik Hjorleifson
Greetings and Happy New Year from Markus Noé and I at Cue Sport Nation. 2017 eventful year on the Canadian pool scene lets take a look back at some of the highlights from 2017.
From east to west:
2017 marked the second year of the Atlantic 9 ball tour. The ten event tour takes place throughout the Maritimes and features non handicapped play staggered entry 9 ball. These tournaments drew an average of over 100 players! the brainchild of promoter TJ Martin who I will unofficially deem the savior of pool in the Maritimes. This tour has been a huge success and has filled a void in competitive pool out east. The most consistent winner on this tour was Chris Dempsey who also won the finale event. Tom Theriault was competitive winning a few events and names like Jeff Kennedy, Rick Leon and Gilles Leblanc were often seen at the high end of the placings. This year marked the first installment of the East Coast Canadian 9 ball championships promoter TJ Martin managed to pull off the biggest event possibly in Canadian history drawing 240 players. The $10 000 first prize was the highest first prize payout in Canada in over ten years. Mika Immonen ended up being the winner and John Morra runner up, the tournament drew names like Alex Pagulayan and Imran Majid. Rail birds pool room opened in Halifax this year and looks like it will be the center of competitive pool in the Maritimes.
Pool in Quebec is still alive and well, the Falcon Pro tour continued in its third year of operation and once again as has been the case for the past several years Dany Hewitt was the most consistent winner. Alain Martel, Francis Crevier, Martin Daigle, Joey Cicero and Dany Nguyen also had many strong finishes throughout the year. Quebec continues to operate their A, AA, AAA, Semi Pro and Pro divisions in which players are able to play in their own class or higher. Handicap tournaments are a rarity in Quebec and the overall system is something that any pool community should strive for. Notably Alain Martel has continued his junior program that has been integrated into the school system. He now has over 200 juniors enrolled in his programs, the sky seems to be the limit now for Martel as he has built the foundation to something monumental. Huge kudos goes out to him for exposing youth to our game. Youth is the future and it would be great to see more programs like this pop up nationwide. Marco Sanschagrin owner of Doolys in Quebec city continues to promote major tournaments including hosting the Canadian Championships and Archer Cup, his efforts do not go unnoticed.
The scene in Ontario continues to be plagued with handicap tournaments. There are plenty of tournaments and lots of people playing but the odd thing is that the lower handicap players are playing for more money than the open players. The one upside as I said is that there are a lot of people playing, there were probably 75 tournaments in Ontario that were $1000 first prize or more. Only about 15 of those tournaments were open to pros and I think the problem with that is self explanatory especially considering almost all of the tournaments are handicapped. On the bright side The Corner Bank continues to try and turn the tide hosting several good events throughout the year most notably the Vince McIntyre memorial won by Jason Klatt. John White and Jim Wych have been putting in a lot of hard work at the Corner Bank including building a 3000 square foot patio that will be open next summer. Every weekend there is a waiting list for tables and it is not uncommon to walk in the afternoon and see 15 tables going, the weekly tournaments draw over 30 players regularly. Don Broos fulfilled his dream of owning a pool room this year. Don and his team renovated Formac billiards in Burlington Ontario re naming it Shooterville , it has quickly become the place to be west of Toronto. Someone to watch out for in the future will be Waleed Hashem who has improved from a AAA player to a strong semi pro player this past year.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba
Manitoba is in a bit of a downswing from a time when I grew up there and there was 20 pool rooms in the city to now only four or five. Cornell McClean jr. is active in promoting tournaments at Sonix billiards running a few weekly tournaments and recently had a 64 player field out for a bigger event that Johhny Baptiste won. The best players in Manitoba are Shannon Ducharme, Felix Beardy, Berry McClean, Cornell McClean, Ryan Solleveld, Jeff Clare, Randy Bagot among many others. These players play a lot in Minnesota and North Dakota and do well.
Saskatchewan has been a little quiet believe it or not there is not one pool room in Regina. A city that has a CFL team but no pool room, seems like an opportunity to me.Jane Gordon and Roy Munns however have two tournament quality tables in one of their storage facilities. They have three tournaments a year that draw all the best players from Saskatchewan and a few from Alberta and Manitoba. These are the results from the 2017 tournaments
Alberta and B.C.
The Hidden Spot in Calgary continues to run many good size tournaments including the Ashton classic which is scheduled again this year in June. Stephen Holem from B.C. has been the most consistent winner out west including a third place finish in a tournament in Oregon that had many U.S. pros. He will definitely be someone to watch for in the future. There has been a push to promote Chinese 8 ball in B.C. and players such as Kevin Beskal, Paul Potier, Simon Pickering, Mike Vidas and Stephen Holem have gone to China to take a shot at the big prize money on offer.
On the international front John Morra took a five month hiatus. After a little break in which he gained some experience as a DJ, he is now back playing full time. He remains without a doubt Canada's strongest hope on the international stage and we will all be watching and cheering him on. Jason Klatt had a quarter final finish at the world pool series and continues to play in most major events. Martin Daigle traveled actively beating many big names such as Early Strickland, Tommy Kennedy and John Morra. Brittany Bryant had a third place finish at one of only two W.P.B.A events in 2017. Naomi Williams had 3 third place finishes on the N.A.P.T tour which looks to possibly one day replace the W.P.B.A tour. It is really unfortunate for these girls as women's professional pool is at a historic low point in North America.
That's all for this year, hopefully next year will bring bigger and better things!