Hewitt Claims Canadian Billiard Event
Canadian 9-Ball Tour – Event #4 Valleyfield, Quebec
Sunday started with 12 players making their way back to Doolys Billiards in Valleyfield. Eight of the twelve commenced at 10am and made up the four matches from the losers brackets. Top seeded John Morra faced off against the number three seed, Edwin Montal. These two stars of the Canadian Tour split the first 8 racks with both looking strong in the early going. With Montal breaking at 4-4 he started to take command of the match and took the next three racks to lead 7-4. Morra had a chance to win rack number 12 but a poor effort opened the door for Montal to get to the hill and break at 8-4. Five minutes later a disconsolate Morra was offering congratulations to Montal as he moved on to the last eight.
Alain Martel came up against fellow Quebec professional, Pascal Villeneuve. Villeneuve apparently was not going to be intimidated by the reputation of Martel and stormed out in front leading 7-2 at one stage. The dancing bear knew that he had to keep Villeneuve away from the table and play himself back into contention. Some griity safety play and timely shot making saw Martel claw back to 7-7. From this point Martel had obviously hit a gear that Villeneuve could not match and after two more racks Martel had assured himself of moving on with a 9-7 win.
Jason Klatt opposed Shannon Ducharme in a battle of native Manitoban cueists. Klatt, a more road hardened and experienced player asserted himself early in this match and jumped out quickly taking the early initiative. Ducharme had one good finish under his belt at the last tour stop in Ottawa and called on that experience to pull himself back into the match fighting back to assume a commanding lead at 8-5 and breaking. A perfect break at a perfect time laid the foundation for Ducharme to clear up and take the match with a 9-5 final score.
The final of the four matches on the left side pitted tournament number four seed, Erik Hjorleifson against Phil Tourangeau from Edmonton, Alberta. Hjorleifson was in no mood to let the underdog Tourangeau get any wind in his sails and quickly jumped into a commanding lead at 6-2. Tourangeau just could not make any headway into the authority that Hjorleifson had stamped on this match and shortly thereafter succumbed by a final score of 9-3.
Winners side matches presented a pair of mouth watering prospects in Danny Hewitt taking on Detroit’s Adam Smith, who had braved a 10 hour drive to get to Valleyfield. The other match from the right hand side of the draw brought together the up and coming young Quebec star, Francis Crevier, with home field advantage on his side, taking on seasoned campaigner Stan Tourangeau.
Danny Hewitt arrived at the venue an hour before his scheduled match and that practice paid off as he made a great start to his match against Adam Smith taking the first three racks before Smith hit back. Leading 3-1 Hewitt put on a dominating performance with superb shotmaking and cue ball control. His break speed was ideally suited for the table the match was on and approximately 20 minutes after he took the 3-1 lead, he was home and dry winning the match convincingly 9-3. He would now sit back and wait to see who his opponent would be for the hotseat.
Stan Tourangeau faced a confident Francis Crevier knowing that 99% of the fans in attendance were hoping to see Crevier maintain his unbeaten record in Valleyfield. The pony tailed Tourangeau has a wealth of experience playing in enemy territory and unfazed he took the opening racks and the early lead at 3-1. Crevier hit back quickly to level the scores at 4-4. Both players looked stern faced and focused and went hand in hand through the next six racks to leave a 7-7 score. Crevier had the break at this point in the match but could not secure the initiative. It seemed this match was always going to go right to the wire and that is exactly how it unfolded. With Crevier breaking at hill-hill he once again failed to take advantage and scratched off this vital break. Tourangeau miscued with cue ball in hand to bring Crevier out of his chair. After a long tactical battle Tourangeau was confronted with a 3-9 combination to win the match. A smattering of applause greeted the winning combination and Tourangeau could now focus on his winners’ side final against Danny Hewitt with a hard fought 9-8 win over Crevier.
Losers side action now would see the number eight seeded Alain Martel oppose Shannon Ducharme and Edwin Montal face off against Erik Hjorleifson in a battle of the number three and four seeds.
Shannon Ducharme knew he had to bring his best game to his match with Martel because the friendly giant was gaining momentum with every match. The early exchanges favored Martel with little to choose between the two players. It was Ducharme who made the first serious impression during the middle stages of this match as he brought himself to the hill at 8-6 in front. Martel dug deep and won the next two racks convincingly to bring up yet another hill-hill clash. The break was not kind to Martel and Ducharme saw his chance to get to the winning line. This was the only chance Ducharme would require as he sent the popular French Canadian Martel to the sidelines with a winning score of 9-8.
Edwin Montal seemed to be in control of his match against Erik Hjorleifson and was another player that came into Sunday’s play knowing his game was starting to peak at just the right time. Hjorleifson had just come off his best performance of the event and was feeling fit for his fight with Montal. As expected this was never going to be easy for either player and at 6-6, the score confirmed everybody’s feelings. Hjorleifson made a terrific run out to move in front and after exchanging the next two racks the tall cueman found himself breaking for the match at 8-7.
Following his win over Martel, Shannon Ducharme was now set to take on the left handed Francis Crevier. This was a re-match of their semi final battle in the previous Canadian Tour event in which Crevier proved to be the superior player. Ducharme was hoping to avoid an instant replay. Ducharme started well taking the first two racks only to see Crevier hit back with the next two. The players volleyed the next few racks back and forth before Crevier assumed control and the break leading 6-5. Two break and run outs later Crevier found himself on the hill at 8-5. A rare dry break by Crevier brought Ducharme to the table needing to win the last four remaining racks to stay in the tournament. Ducharme won the next but was unable to halt the progress of Crevier and finally bowed out of the event 9-6.
Adam Smith vs Erik Hjorleifson brought together a player coming off a win in Hjorleifson against a player coming off a loss in Smith. As is usually the case in double knockout formats, momentum can be a valuable ally. With this in mind Hjorleifson quickly put Smith under pressure taking the first three racks to go 3-0 in front. Hjorleifson continued to apply the pressure to Smith and built up a comfortable lead at 7-1. Smith was not getting any chance at the table as Hjorleifson was just not missing. Exercising patience and hope, Smith’s chance to make headway into the deficit finally arrived. He won the next two racks to pull back to 3-7 but unfortunately for Smith this was to be his only bright spot in the match as Hjorleifson secured the last two racks to come out on top 9-3.
With only four remaining in Valleyfield it would boil down to Danny Hewitt vs Stan Tourangeau for the hotseat and Erik Hjorleifson vs Francis Crevier in the B side semi final.
Francis Crevier got off to a dream start against Hjorleifson, much to the delight of all the Quebec pool fans in attendance. He benefitted from a couple unforced errors to pull into a comfortable 5-1 lead. Crevier maintained his four rack advantage to lead at 7-3 with Hjorleifson at the table and facing a rack winning opportunity. This match was not to be for Hjorleifson as he was made to suffer through a series unfortunate breaks and to make matters worse his form leading up to this match had completely deserted him. Given a final opportunity Crevier swooped in to take the last two racks and book his place in the B side final with a 9-3 win.
In the Hewitt vs Tourangeau encounter it was the favorite Hewitt that seized the initiative and won the first three racks to keep Tourangeau firmly planted in his chair. Hewitt had been practicing very little before this event and it was apparent that his fresh outlook meant there was no pressure being applied from within. Fortunately for him, Tourangeau was not applying any pressure from without as he pulled further in front to lead 6-1. When the lead held fast at 8-3 to Hewitt it meant that Tourangeau had no more room for mistakes. Known as a tenacious fighter Tourangeau would be asked to dig in his heels and stop Hewitt from winning the one rack he needed to advance to the final. Rack number 12 went to Tourangeau prolonging the celebration from the Hewitt fans and bringing the score to 8-4 Hewitt. They would not have to wait long however as the very next rack saw Hewitt home and dry with a very decisive 9-4 win. Hewitt would now await the winner of the Crevier vs Tourangeau match to see who his opposition would be in the final of the Canadian 9-Ball Tour event #4
The B side final of Stan Tourangeau vs Francis Crevier brought familiar memories back for Tourangeau as he once again would be facing an opponent with a decided edge in fan support. Tourangeau did not enjoy the best of starts just to make matters worse and he quickly found himself 4-2 down to Crevier. It had become very clear to players and fans alike that Francis Crevier had emerged as a force on the Canadian 9-Ball Tour. The next two racks were split giving Crevier the two rack edge at 5-3. The see-saw battle continued with both players exchanging the next four racks meaning Crevier was still ahead by two at 7-5. This ratio of rack exchange would suit Crevier much better than Tourangeau as the players were nearing the finish line of the match. An unlucky scratch after a terrific swerve shot from Tourangeau allowed Crevier to get to the hill at 8-5. The pain would be over soon for Tourangeau as Crevier would only need one more rack to book his spot in the final against Danny Hewitt with a 9-5 win.
The final was a race to 11 racks between two of the most consistent players in Quebec over the past two seasons. Francis Crevier came from the losers bracket to face Danny Hewiit who had yet to taste defeat. The match started with Hewitt grabbing an early lead at 2-0. Following a rack win by Crevier he immediately relinquished the table with a scratch off the break in rack four. This gave Hewitt the chance to restore his two rack lead at 3-1. Hewitt continued to take advantage of every opportunity and increased his lead to 7-3 with his break clicking on all cylinders. His game was also peaking at just the right time as he forged in front 9-5 thereby sending a message to Crevier that he was not going to accept anything less than a first place finish in Valleyfield.
Having won this very event at the Valleyfield stop last season, Hewitt came into the final day knowing exactly what he would have to do against an elite field of opposition. Even though Crevier was matching Hewitt shot for shot he could not seem to overcome the early deficit that he had created for himself. Hewitt cleared the balls to take rack number 15 and with that arrived on the hill leading 10-5. With his back against the wall Crevier made short work of rack number 16 to trail 6-10 to Hewitt. A tactical battle in the next won by Crevier pulled one more rack back bringing the score to 10-7 in Hewitt’s favor. As is the case with Hewitt however, every time pressure is applied he responds the only way he knows how and the 18th rack would be all the he would need to win his first Canadian 9-Ball Tour event of season three. The final score was 11-7 to Danny Hewitt over Francis Crevier but in the end all the fans in Valleyfield were the winners as they were all treated to a fantastic weekend of 9-ball.
The Canadian 9-Ball Tour wishes to thank its sponsors, Indigo and Chapters bookstores, Cineplex Odeon Entertainment, Canada Billiard Bowling, Dufferin Billiards, Stan James Sports Bookmakers, Iwan Simonis table cloth and Aramith billiard balls for their support and adding to the success of the tour. We would also like to acknowledge Doolys Billiards and its owner Luc Salvas as well as all the fans and players that continue to offer their support of the Canadian 9-Ball Tour.
For all Canadian 9-Ball Tour information including all the event brackets and tournament prize money payouts please visit the official tour website at www.canadian9balltour.com (http://www.canadian9balltour.com/) .