What a great tournament! 90 players, $3000 added, it does not get much better for the Toronto pool scene than this! First off let us say thank you to Shooters Snookerclub for hosting such a big event. This event did not go unnoticed with the likes of Mario Morra, Erik Hjorleifson, Brittany Bryant, who are all Canadian champions showed up to compete in this event. With 90 players the prize pool was just over $8,000 and with the calcutta there was just over $16,000 up for grabs! Who would take home the championship? Shooters also started a new initiative to reward players for their continued dedication to the game. This time and for the first time Mario Morra was the beneficiary of $500 for his professionalism, dedication, and enthusiasm towards the game of pool. Shooters will continue such tradition with most improved player and best player of the year.
Before we get onto the last 16 there were huge upsets throughout the day. The favourites represented by their blind bids in the calcutta were: Erik, Mario, and Ryann. Among them were other strong players like Jeff Robson, Brittany Bryant, Naomi Williams, etc. In the first round surprisingly, Erik was already knocked to the B side by Stefane Godinho in a very even match. The biggest upset happened shortly after as Erik was knocked out by Rob Mcgill! Other surprising matches or upsets included: Jeff Robson going two and out, Curtis Miller taking out Rod Arsenault, Mario getting knocked out by Nicholas, and Ryann Malinao being taken out of the tournament by Cory Sharman.
The last 8 from each side of the bracket was brought forward to day 2. On the A side, There was Vince Belanger versus Curtis Muller, Marc Julien versus Shane Gummerson, Waleed Hashem versus Alan Ada, and Nathan Clarke versus Rob Hall. On the B side the 4 matches included: Froland Magsonac verus Mike Loponen, Woody Tran versus Mike Van Eck, Brittany Bryant versus Rod Arsenault, and Jeff Pollack versus John Andrade.
Starting with the A side matches, Vince who was playing very strong the whole tournament continues his run beating Curtis 7-3. The same can be said about Marc Julien who had a close match against Shane winning 7-6. Waleed who seemed to have just woken up did not seem to have his head in the game and was destroyed by Alan 6-2. Lastly, Rob Hall who has never beaten Nathan Clarke was showing a determination this tournament seen very rarely from Rob. A back and forth battle ensued but Rob was unable to defeat his nemesis yet again. This now leaves Marc to play Vince and Alan to play Nathan.
On the B side, Froland who just came from a late win against Dean Mcnaughton managed to also put Mike Loponen to the C side as he advances to play Curtis. Both Curtis and Froland are 5+s making the race even, but the game was anything but, Curtis couldn’t seem to bring back the same form on day 2 as he lost 5-1. Woody who has the smoothest stroke for a 5+ showed his talent against Mike beating him 5-3. His next match though would be more exciting. Shane and Woody went to hill-hill and Shane played a nice safely, but it wasn’t tight enough as Woody had enough space to jump. Woody slightly over hits the jump and manages to hit the 2 ball just skimming the top of it as it went over the 2 and off the table. Unluckily for him this left the 2 9 combo lined up and after much preparation Shane put it down to take home the win! The other two matches were comfortably won by Brittany and Jeff respectively. Brittany then played an off form Waleed to advance deeper through the B side, and Jeff Pollack lost in a very tight hill-hill match with Rob Hall after Rob got a lucky hook in the final moments of the game. This now leaves Froland to play Shane and Brittany to play Rob.
Back to the A side. Vince and Julien one of which is arguably favoured to win the tournament at this point go head to head in a race to 7. However, Vince seems to have lost his form as he makes a couple of crucial mistakes allowing Marc to capitalize and win the match 7-4. In the other match the rack which Nathan won was a very contested safety battle, after Nathan played a containing safe Alan kicks at the ball and makes it but hooks himself solid. After much contemplation Alan tries to kick at the next ball and misses leaving Nathan the 5,6,8,9 to win 6-5. This puts Nathan in the A side final against Marc.
Shane puts on his A game against Froland winning 8-3 and doing a little fist pump for the crowd. Now however, he has to play the much stronger Alan who makes life tough for Shane and eventually becomes victorious winning 6-5. Brittany and Rob also have a very exciting match as Rob jumps out to a quick 6-2 lead. Brittany who is not phased starts to make a comeback bringing into to 7-6. At 8-6 Rob Hall makes a crucial mistake leaving ball in hand for Brittany with three balls left of the table. The pressure is immense and Brittany does not get the best shape on the 8, leaving a tough shot on the 9, which she eventually misses allowing Rob to take the match 9-6. Rob seems to have the same determination as he did the day before and runs through Vince beating him 9-5 leaving Rob to face Alan.
The day was coming to a close with only four matches left to play. The titans of the A side go up against each other. Julien keeps Nathan contained accelerating to a 4-1 lead. However, after a few mistakes, Nathan brings the match back to 6-5 (to Marc) with a couple of strong shots including a three-rail shot on the 5 which also knocked the 9 in. With a few safety exchanges, Marc leaves a safety open allowing Nathan to run the table and win 6-6. Nathan now guarantees himself first or second place. Marc will have to fight back from the B side.
In the match between Alan and Rob, Rob seems to have run out of gas as Alan takes the match 6-4. Alan will now play Marc in the B side final. Alan’s fortune of running into players that have run out of steam continues and the match against Nathan seems to have drained all the energy from Marc which allows Alan to take the match without much contest ending 6-3. This now advances Alan to the tournament finals to play Nathan yet again. The match started out strong as Nathan breaks and runs the first rack and Alan returns the favour in the second. The run outs and safety battles are quite even as the match goes hill-hill. In the last rack Nathan is on the table going on a run-out and ends up having to play safe on the 6 and lock him behind the 7, but Nathan draws the ball by accident and leaves the table wide open. Alan then rattles the 6 leaving a tough shot for Nathan who eventually misses and allows Alan to win the first set hill-hill. However, this is a double elimination so Alan has to beat Nathan one more time to claim the championship. It was about 1:00am and both players were tired, but Nathan’s drive and determination seemed to bring him through the match as Alan was tiring out. Alan put up a strong fight but eventually was defeating 6-5 meaning that Nathan Clarke is this week’s tournament champion!
Shooters would also like to thank everyone for making it out and especially for those who made it to day 2 where the snow was surreal. Congratulations to everyone who made it back on Sunday as they all made money. Special congratulations to Nathan Clarke who has worked very hard to improve and grind to become this week’s 404 Champion! Nathan Clarke and several other players who played strong throughout the tournament will be going up in their handicap accordingly to reward them for their success.
A reminder for the upcoming events:
– Silver Jubilee 10 Ball ($1,500 added plus 2 free spots to Finale) – Even races, winner breaks – 18th of February 2017
– 2-6 9 Ball Tournament – 19th of February 2017
Field: 90 players (Two Days Event)
Prize Payout : $8,470 ($3,000 added)
Calcutta : $7,670
1. Nathan Clarke $2,500
2. Alan Ada $1,600
3. Marc Julien $1,000
4. Rob Hall $670
5. Shane Gummerson $440
6. Vince Belanger $440
7. Brittany Bryant $290
8. Froland Magsanoc $290
9. Waleed Hashem $190
10. Jeff Pollack $190
11. Woody Tran $190
12. Curtis Muller $190
13. Rod Arsenault $120
14. John Andrade $120
15. Mike Loponen $120
16. Mike Vaneck $120
**Calcutta not included**