The eagerly anticipated ‘4-7’ tournament at Shooters Snooker & Sports Club is now history. This past weekend (June 6 & 7, 2015) saw the biggest turnout of players and the biggest prize payouts for a GTA tournament in many years. This tournament was restricted to players with a recognized ‘404’ handicap of between 4 and 7. Even with this narrow range of eligible players, a total of 110 participants were ready to test their skills against fellow competitors of about the same ability. A total of $18,000 in prize money and an extra $7,500 from the player Calcutta were up for grabs.
A total of 18 qualifiers took place over a period of several weeks for this tournament in addition to those who chose to pay direct entry to the tournament. Clearly a big reason for the heavy interest in the event and the success of the tournament was the fact that there were no clear favourites for the top prizes and the winner was not a foregone conclusion. This made for a very competitive field and resulted in a very active player Calcutta which exceeded all expectations for participation. This very high turn-out for the narrow handicap range eligible for the tournament demonstrates that pool in the GTA is popular at the grass roots level when players believe that if they play well they will be rewarded.
Pool tournaments in the GTA have become more innovative recently which appears to have sparked a renewed interest in the game especially among those who seldom play in handicapped tournaments and those who have been ‘out of action’ for a period of time. Through the hands-on running of qualifiers and the active recruitment of players for the event, Peter Chin of Shooters has assembled a long list of players in southern Ontario for more of these unique and targeted events. The successful coordination of these events is very time consuming and not without issues especially –- not surprisingly –- the management of a fair handicap assignment for the participating players and regrets to those not eligible for the tournament.
It was a long Day 1 for the tournament participants as the field was whittled down to the 24 players who would return for Sunday play. On the undefeated ‘A’ side of the draw, Sumon Sarkar, Brandyn Griffen, Scott MacDonald, Alan Ada, Trevor Arnold, Randall Truscott, Brittany Bryant and Naomi Williams emerged unscathed to be able to make another appearance on Day 2. The more exhausting and punishing one-loss ‘B’ side of the draw saw the following players stagger into Sunday play; Adam Roos, Mashaka Munene, Stuart Mactaggart, Tom Hogan, Sam Huang, Fonzie Chiong, Dave Lettner, Ian Argue, Jeremy Brown, Jeet Kandhai, Mike van Eck, Ronald Santos, Greg Plester, Justin Zammit, Glenn Seeseman, and Ronald Giron.
In the ‘A’ side final Brittany Bryant overcame Alan Ada 7-5 in a tense hill/hill match sending Ada to the ‘B’ side and Bryant to the hot seat. Waiting for Ada on the ‘B’ side was Naomi Williams who had been relegated to the ‘B’ side by Bryant in an earlier match. Not wanting to miss her chance at redemption against Bryant, Williams topped Ada 7-5 in another hill/hill nail-biter to capture the ‘B’ side and set up a rematch against Bryant. This left the tournament final in the very capable hands of Canada’s top 2 women professionals who have battled each other for several years especially in Canadian Championships which have become the personal domain of these two fine players. When the dust settled it was Bryant who had more gas in the tank as she defeated Williams 7-2 in the championship final to go undefeated in the tournament.
Congratulations to Brittany Bryant on her tournament win. This was her biggest tournament win in Canada and compares very favourably to her highest payday ever on the Women’s Professional Tour. The 2nd place prize money to Naomi Williams also dwarfs prize money paid in most WPBA tournaments.
On a final editorial note — c’mon guys you have to step it up a notch. You were beaten by the “girls”. The long hours of practice and ability to play under pressure clearly contributed to Brittany’s and Naomi’s success in this inaugural event. Let’s hope we get more tournaments with the same participation, competition level and resulting prize money.
Thank you to all the participants for a wonderful weekend of pool.
|17-24th||Mike van Eck||5||$100|