By: Markus Noé
For most of us in Canada this past long weekend May 20-23 is the kick off to our summer, which we only get a few precious months off. Gardens are planted, swimming pools are opened, barbecues are taken out of storage and fired up for the first time of the year. However as we know for pool players the normal rules do not apply.
Roughly 300 players opted out of the nice weather we had this past weekend and gathered in the small town of Thetford, Mines, located in south-central Québec. For the past six years players have been making the yearly trek to participate in the Classiques de Billard des Appalaches, (C.B.A). It boasts amateur division from beginner through to Semi-Pro and a Pro division. The past two years the Pro division has been renamed to the Archer Cup (10 Ball) in honor of the legendary career of American great Johnny Archer.
The C.B.A is backed by the local community who understand by investing in this event that it attracts hundreds of players as well as their families to fill their hotels and restaurants for 4 days. The money that the city provides helps beef up the prize pool to the Archer Cup which over the last few years have made it possible for a world class field to develop. Even with only 16 players in the field this year it boasted two World Champions, Ultimate Ten Ball Champion, U.S Open Champions, several Canadian Champions and the list goes on.
The Archer Cup got underway Friday morning, with my partner here at Cue Sport Nation Erik "Big Red" Hjorleifson in the field I was focused on his match with Francis "the Panda" Crevier. This match began close enough but midway through Crevier took control as he was breaking at a high level. Crevier went on to win 10-5. Hjorleifson went on to play one of the best players from western Canada next Shannon Ducharme which he won 10-6. As this tournament was played over 3 days alongside an Open 9 Ball event it made for a very hectic schedule. By the time he met up with Johnny Archer late Sunday night both players were visibly fatigued.
The term "grinding" is often used in the pool world and I don't think the term could be applied any better when describing this match. This was highlighted at 8-7 for Hjorleifson when Archer missed a routine 9 ball leaving it in the jaws of the side pocket. Mental fatigue was visible here as Big Red was caught in between two shots and decided to cinch the ball instead of working the rails to attempt to get closer to the 10 ball. The result was a weird leave and he ended up rattling the 10 making it 8-8. Archer would ride this little bit of momentum to go on to win 10-9 leaving Hjorleifson in 8th place.
For local fans it was kind of a thrill coming into Monday with 3 out of the 4 players remaining being Canadian. John Morra and Johnny Archer met up first in the 4th place match, with Morra getting the win 10-6. Here he met up with his teammate last year for the World Cup of Pool and fellow Canadian Champion Jason "Klatticus" Klatt who was just defeated by Alex Pagulayan in the winners side final 10-9. I have met Klatt several times before however this past event I had the opportunity to get to know him a lot better as he roomed with Hjorleifson and myself.
I have to say Klatt is one of the most laid back and down to earth professionals I have ever met. Even at the top level as you see the pros prepare, the nerves and the stress that comes with having to preform at the highest level is usually visible. Not just because they want to win but as we know in pool with the lower prize funds compared to other sports they need to win to eat.
Myself being an amateur player and the major fan that I am, anytime I get a chance to pick one of these guys brains I do and what I got mostly from Klatt is how he mentally prepares. Basically he just makes sure he has enough rest for the grueling days of competition and as he says, "just go out their and have fun." I have to say the calmness and his mantra of just have fun is something really refreshing to see, as most players almost have a chip on their shoulder and put an enormous amount of pressure on themselves. So much so that I sometimes fear that the basic joy of the sport is being lost. This method appears to work very well for the 33rd ranked player in the world as he went undefeated during the first 2 days in both events. In the third place match in the open 9 ball event Alex Pagulayan defeated him 11-7 after John Morra defeated him 11-3 in the winners side final. In the 3rd place match in the Archer Cup once again Morra bested Klatt 10-5.
The Archer Cup final began almost immediately after the Open 9 Ball final which featured the same match-up. In the open 9 Ball Morra had earned himself a bit of lead late in the set however, Alex Pagulayan roared back to win 13-11. In the final of the 10 Ball the same story line played out as at one point Morra lead 8-5 however once again the Lion who is known for his big heart did not give up and capitalized on a few of Morra's mistakes and bad rolls to tie up the match and eventually went on to win 13-11. Congratulations to John Morra who played with a lot of heart all weekend as he battled back from the losers side in the Archer Cup which was no easy feat especially while playing in another event. Also congratulations to Jason Klatt and Alex Pagulayan who played exceptional all weekend.
Overall this was a very enjoyable weekend for amateur players and and fans alike as we were able to compete in our own events, and in our spare time were treated to some world class pool. With the help of compusport.ca , players can download the app and get their match schedules and notification right to their phone and with the tournament organizers everything ran very smoothly.
I would like to thank the entire C.B.A board who were one of my sponsors for this event and especially Marco Sanschagrin who is the main organizer. He provided another excellent weekend and every year the Archer Cup inches closer to becoming recognized as true world class event. The best part of the C.B.A is that they are constantly looking for ways to improve and willing to take constructive criticism in order to do so, a mark of a great promotion team. I would also like to thank my other sponsor for this event David Touhey of Touhey Management located out of Ottawa, Ontario. Without guys like him the shear amount of tournaments I go to would be impossible. Below is the video of the winning run out by Pagulayan. For full results and payouts go to http://eventime.ca/champions-cba-2016/
To see all our videos and pictures from this weekend visit the Cue Sport Nation Facebook Page.
Archer Cup Payouts:
Alex Pagulayan $4,000
John Morra $2600
Jason Klatt $1500
Johnny Archer $1000
Sylvain Grenier/Mike Dechaine $750