The 2nd leg of the 2014/15 404 season wrapped up this past weekend (November 1 &2) at Shooters Snooker and Sports Club. The 404 has been operating this year exclusively at Shooters and is using a somewhat controversial change to the handicap system designed to increase the pool of potential winners. The change to the handicap system attempts to make it more challenging for the professionals to win as consistently as they were able to in the past.
Perhaps as a result of the handicap change, the tournament drew a number of players who seldom play in the 404 event. It was two of these infrequent 404 participants who faced off in the final on Sunday. Forty-four players took part in the event with many of the pre-tournament favourites including Carlin Sanderson, Isaac Ramos, and Ed Reyes failing to make it to Sunday play. In the player Calcutta that preceded the tournament, buyers were so unimpressed with the winning chances of the eventual two finalists that these players were forced to buy themselves for the minimum $20. So major commendations go out to Steve McAllister and Gene Chipongian for bringing their A game and playing consistently well throughout the tournament.
When play concluded on Saturday, Gene Chipongian, Marius Nakas, Bobby Drowns and Stefane Godinho were left standing on the undefeated ‘A’ side of the draw while Ben Chang, Ronald Giron, Steve McAllister and Kevin Oliveira survived the challenges of the one loss ‘B’ side of the draw. All returned for Sunday play.
When play resumed on Sunday, Gene Chipongian defeated Marius Nakas while Bobby Drowns downed Stefane Godinho setting up an ‘A’ side final match pitting Chipongian against Drowns. The ‘B’ side action saw McAllister send Chang home and Giron top his friend Oliveira. This set up ‘B’ side matches of McAllister versus Nakas and Giron taking on Godinho. McAllister and Giron prevailed in their matches to reach the ‘B’ side semi-final. The unheralded McAllister emerged the winner of a hard fought ‘B’ side semi-final.
In the ‘A’ side final Chipongian sent Drowns to the one loss side setting up a ‘B’ side final where Drowns would face off against McAllister. McAllister again continued his march through the ‘B’ side by outplaying Drowns in the final. This would set up an historic event final for the tournament win where not only had McAllister lost his first match of the tournament and persevered to the event final all the way through the very difficult ‘B’ side but the final match featured two players with handicaps of 5 and 6 –– the 2 lowest handicaps to ever face off in the tournament final. Continuing his weekend of solid play McAllister defeated Chipongian 5-4 in the championship final.
Congratulations to both Steve McAllister and Gene Chipongian for their excellent play over the weekend. Notwithstanding the absence of the professionals; more than anything, the tournament results demonstrate that anybody can win the tournament by putting together consistently good performances at their assigned handicap level.
Thanks to all the tournament participants and a hope that the tournament results will encourage more players to attend in the future.
The next Shooters 404 Event will be held December 1 & 2.