Kressel Crowned King in Virginia
2007 Virginia State 9-Ball Championships / Richmond, VA
Rarely do four-year-old tournaments have much tradition, but the Virginia State 9-Ball Championships, presented by 5 Hour Energy Drink, already has more than its share. From the handmade trophies of local walnut off the family property of tournament director Joshua Dickerson to the list of prior champions, including legend Keith McCready, traditions abound.
Held July 28-29 at The Playing Field in Richmond, VA, this year’s tilt began with 64 players from across the state, all fighting for the chance to get a paid spot in this year’s U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships. Last year’s champion Chris Loar and runner-up Eric Moore were prepared to defend their spots against a field that included regulars from the Planet Pool 9-Ball Tour, Larry Kressel, Brandon Shuff, Chris Bruner, Cary Dunn, Alan Duty, and Joe Russo.
The hot seat match between Kressel and Shuff was a seesaw affair. Kressel drew first blood and Shuff tied it up. A seesaw battle, filled with superb defensive play, saw the score reach double-hill. Shuff broke and made two balls but missed a tough shot on the 2 ball, and Kressel ran out for the hot seat.
Meanwhile, Moore and Newton battled to get to the final match of the one-loss bracket. This was another back-and-forth match that was neck and neck until Newton broke dry at 5-all. Moore took advantage of Newton’s miscues in the next two racks, and then he broke and ran the next two racks to win the match.
In the semifinal match between Moore and Shuff, a smooth run-out won Shuff the first rack. Yet another close match was enjoyed by the spectators, and though the players uncharacteristically missed a few shots, pretty soon the score reached 7-all. Shuff broke and ran out to reach the hill, and though Moore kicked and hit the 1 ball in the following rack, he left Shuff an out, which he took.
The final was a rematch of the hot seat match. The first rack was a long chess match as the players, both appearing nervous and tentative, had trouble getting started. But once they did, it was Kressel who held the 5-1 lead. However, Shuff didn’t get to be one of the top players in the mid-Atlantic area by lying down. He converted a table-length jump shot on the 8 ball to win the next rack and kick off a four-rack run. With the score knotted at 7, Kressel took the next two racks, and Shuff only collected one more rack before Kressel crossed the finish line with a break and run.
Kressel was thrilled to have gone through the field undefeated, and in a field as deep as this tournament has, he has a right to be proud of the accomplishment. With his first big regional event victory, he is poised to take the next step and represent Virginia at the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships in October.
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