Four days of billiard festivities concluded yesterday in Thetford Mines, Québec as the Archer Cup and the amateur divisions both came to an end. This years “Classique des Applaches”which was in its 5th year, boasted amateur divisions for “C” caliber players right to Semi-Pro. The pro division was renamed to the “Archer Cup” in honour of the multiple world champion and hall of fame inductee Johnny “the Scorpion” Archer. This was dubbed a memorial tournament and some of the English speaking players jokingly poked fun, as usually a memorial tournament is for someone who has passed. However this is something that is lost in translation as the intent in renaming the tournament is to honour a great champion and promoter of the game for everything he has done and continues to do. The irony of this was not lost on Archer as he even poked fun of himself in the opening ceremonies, which you can see on the Cue Sport Nation Facebook page.
The final day of 24 player marquee event started off with Danny Hewitt vs Thorsten Hohmann in the winners side final. Hohmann went into this event as one of the overall favourites and it was no surprise to see him in this match. On the other hand lesser known on an international scene Danny Hewitt was a bit of a surprise to see in the winners side final to most fans outside of Canada. For some this was a coming out party for Hewitt who dispatched both Mike “Fireball” Dechaine and John “Mr. Smooth” Morra on his way to meet Hohmann. However for fans north of the border he is a proven world class talent who is a threat in any tournament. In fact he recently beat Hohmann at the Turning Stone Classic 9-5, which Hohmann later acknowledged in his victory speech.
Hohmann was on a different level this week as he was clearly the most consistent performer and beat Hewitt 10-5. From here Hewitt had to wait for the losers side of the bracket to finish up to see who his oppenent would be in the semi-finals. First up was Erik “Big Red” Hjorleifson up against a strong Semi-Pro from Gatineau, Québec John Leblanc. Leblanc had an incredible run in this tournament as he beat both Johnn Archer and Luc “The Machine Gun” Salvas and only lost to Morra on his way to meet Big Red. This match went back and forth with Leblanc taking an early 3-1 lead then Hjorleifson came back to go up 6-3 before he won 10-7 knocking out Leblanc in the 5/6 Position
Morra was up against Dechaine in the other 5/6 match up. Dechaine got up early in this match 3-1 however his break left him and Morra was breaking and running at a high level and basically played flawless winning 10-4. This set up a match between two long time friends, road partners and Canadian Champions Morra and Hjorleifson. This was an unconventional match as Hjorleifson broke and ran his first 3 breaks in this alternative break format and built a lead 3-1. From there a few bad rolls that resulted in fouls allowed Big Red to pad his lead to 9-2. In alternate break format this is almost a guaranteed win at this level the way they break. However Morra was not done yet as some stellar play and a few errors made the score 9-7 before Hjorleifson was able to secure the final rack.
In the losers side final between Hewitt and Hjorleifson, Hewitt continued on his torrid pace winning 10-2. Hjorleifson’s break left him during his match leaving a lot of open tables which Hewitt took full advantage of and combined with his great breaking won this match with ease. This set up a rematch of the winners side final between Hewitt and Hohmann to the delight of the Québec fans. Unfortunately Hohmann was just too good to beat on this occasion as he walked away with this set 12-6. In his post match speech he congratulated his oppenent and acknowledge his high level of skill. Hohmann also joked to the crowd when he said, “I know you all wanted to see a closer match in this final, but I did not.”
Hohmann is not only a world class champion but a consummate professional as he gracefully accepted the trophy and acknowledged the great work of the promoters. I watched him all weekend and was really impressed with how he handled himself the entire event.
Top 3 Payouts
Thorsten Hohmann -$6500
I would not only thank Marco Sanschagrin and the entire C.B.A board for sponsoring Cue Sport Nation to cover this event, but to also congratulate him on its success. Sanschagrin is one of few promoters who delivers exactly what is advertised. He promised a world class event with $10,000 added and that is exactly what we got. In any event of this magnitude there will be issues, that goes without saying. However most issues in billiard related events has to do with broken promises, poor organization, last minute funding issues and the list goes on. What was great to see this weekend is that the only issues that came up were left on the table.
For one Mike Dechaine was very vocal this weekend on his displeasure with having to use the “Magic Rack” and he said the pocket sizes were a bit big. Dechaine who is well known for his break, felt that perhaps the “Magic Rack” made it too easy to make balls and took away one of his key advantages. On the flip side what we did not hear complaints about was missing prize fund money and players not getting what they were promised. It really is a treat to attend an event where we can all focus solely on what’s going on at the table.
The amateur divisions and the Scotch Doubles events which we will be covering in an article later this week all went off without a hitch. All the matches were scheduled via an app called CompuSport. At the conclusion of each match the winner simply had to scan their paper and the brackets would automatically update. The app feature also enabled players to get a notification sent to their phone as soon as their match was scheduled to play. This kept all the tournaments running smoothly which is quite a feat considering there was up to 14 tournaments being played simultaneously throughout the divisions.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the C.B.A they are a billiard promotional organization backed by the city of Thetford Mines. Marco Sanschargrin is at the head of all this and you will be hearing more about them in the coming months. They have also secured the Black Lake Arena to host this event for the next few years and have struck a deal with the Québec Federation to host the Provincial Championships as well.
Finally some exciting news for those who have been desperate to see change for our Canadian Championships, which have not been well attended at the highest level for some years now. Sanschagrin has stated he will be placing a bid to host the 2016 Canadian Championships, this news comes to the delight of Canada’s top players in which he has their full support. As my partner and I here at Cue Sport Nation usually do after these type of events, we discussed what we thought on this years Classique des Appalaches. I feel Hjorleifson summed it up perfectly when he simply said, “It just does not get any better than this”