Every year just before the Grande finale tournament for the ABO out of Ottawa/Gatineau there is a challenge match between Quebec and Ontario. These teams are made based on points earned throughout the season by players in the Open and the A/B division, the higher the finish in each tournament the more points you gain. Once the 8 regular season tournaments are played the top 4 in each division make the team.
Ontario had won the last two Winning Stroke Cup’s and Quebec was eager to regain the title and the bragging rights that go with it. The day started off with a challenge match between Ontarian Sylvain Sigouin (AAA) and Quebecois Dany Provencher (Semi-Pro). The challenge match is the most important match of the day, as the wining team earns first break in the rest of the matches that day. Sigouin who was also team captain played nearly flawlessly, impressively wining 9-4 and set the tone.
Next up was the doubles event where an Open player matches up with an A/B to play 4 matches best of 3 games. Quebec dominated the doubles erasing a 5 point deficit winning 28-20 and earning a 3 point lead going into the speed pool challenge. This challenge was played with a full rack of 15, one can hit any striped or colored ball on the table leaving the 8 ball last. Team Ontario got back on track by sweeping the A/B and Open division to earn 10 points and take a 7 point lead into the single event despite impressive times by Daniel Shane 1.52 and 1.31 by Kitty Solomon both of Quebec.
The single event is best of 5 in which players in the A/B and Open pair off to play everyone in their own division once. Team captain for Quebec Dany Provencher came out as a man possessed trying to recover from his opening match loss by dominated his first 2 matches 4-1 and 5-0, Kitty Solomon also added a 5-0 win for team Quebec. Luckily for team Ontario they were making up for their early shortfall in the A/B division wining nearly every match. Gilbert Carrier from Quebec up against Pierre Lamarche from Ontario was the last match of the day and as Lamarche buried the last 9 everyone attention immediately dialed in on the score keeper to see who won. It was clear that this was going to be a nail bitter at the finish and after about 5 mins of calculation Steve Gelinas from the Winning Stroke had his number. The final was 117-114 for team Ontario, the wining team not only receives bragging rights for the year but a medal and 100$. A big thank you goes out to the people at the Winning Stroke who helped put this event on, as well as the hosts Terminus Billiards. Next up for the ABO is the Grande Finale which will be played April 12-13