The Ontario Billiards and Snooker Association as it pertains to non-snooker events has been dormant for a few years and was relaunched last fall. The first events were organized and held recently and there are half a dozen more events scheduled in the following weeks all heading into the Canadian Championships in Quebec the first week of May. The new kid in town is 8-ball. With the surprise news of the World Championships landing at Corner Bank in late summer there is a new buzz around 8-ball. As the provincial body sanctioned by the Canadian Billiards and Snooker Association the OBSA has a mandate to qualify and send players the Canadian Championships. This spring the focus has been on getting Ontario players to the Nationals to participate in the 8-ball Championship and hopefully move on to the World Championship later in August.
The directors of the pool section of the OBSA, Greg Plester, John White and Frank Kakouros took it upon themselves to schedule weekly qualifiers and have cueists play-off for the right to represent TEAM ONTARIO in Quebec. The format is staggered entries, single elimination play and equal races to nine. Players need to bring their best game to contend. The ultimate windfall could be the $100,000 prize available at the World Championships. At the local levels the prize packages are worth $500, covering entry and partial expenses to Quebec City.
The first qualifier was held on March 23rd at Petrinas. The field was very small and the winner, Barry Hetherington, a seasoned, but semi-retired pro breezed thru the field to earn his ticket to Quebec.
The word slowly leaked out and the following week on March 30th ten players showed up again at Petrina’s to compete for another spot on TEAM ONTARIO. The field included veteran players Erik Hjorleifson and Brian Belobradic, and eight players with great dreams of competing at the nationals.
Erik had wins of (9-3), (9-4) over Brandon Jaipaul, and Steve Winters respectively to make it to the hot seat. Brian Belobradic, without a bye had to beat Devin Buttle, Cory Sharman, and Stefan Bonicci to mount the dais and face Erik.
Erik has been shooting the lights out since his second place showing at Turning Stone and left Brian sitting in his seat for most of the time during the final. In the end Big Red left no doubt he is ready for the Canadians by beating Brian (9-1).
With more qualifiers scheduled at Petrinas, The Cornerbank and Tony’s in Guelph the action and competition is intensifying. Time for players to step their games up and try for TEAM ONTARIO.
The OBSA will be soon scheduling events for the Amateur Championships in New Brunswick later in June. Interest rooms should contact the OBSA directors. Time to get the balls rolling again.