Long days and long nights favor youth in Kelowna billiards event
Canadian 9-Ball Tour event #5, Kelowna BC
By Canadian 9 Ball Tour Staff
Sunday morning brought brisk temperatures and sweaty palms back to Breakers Billiards and Bistro to crown the Canadian 9-Ball Tour winner of event number five.
Presented by Indigo and Chapters bookstores and Cineplex Entertainment, the Canadian Tour featured a number of class players that had been flying under the radar all weekend, most notably Brian Butler of Edmonton Alberta, Jason Klatt and Ryan Solleveld of Winnipeg along with John Horsfall and Alain Boutin both of Vancouver. All seasoned campaigners who are no strangers to the limelight of top flight pool. They were alive and looking good in the winner’s side matches with Butler facing Nick Kruger of Vancouver, Horsfall matching wits against Winnipeg’s young Ryan Solleveld, Boutin playing fifth seeded Louis Fazekas from Sudbury and Jason Klatt, another young star from Winnipeg opposing the maestro Paul Potier of Vancouver. All matches started at 10am local time and players were forced to negotiate the daylight savings 1 hour time change taking away an extra hours sleep from their match preparations.
The Horsfall vs Solleveld match found the experienced Horsfall in serious trouble as he fell 7-0 down very quickly to the vastly improving Solleveld. It was too big a deficit for Horsfall to overcome as he bowed down to Solleveld by a 9-2 score.
Butler vs Kruger saw a one sided start in favor of Kruger as the former Atlanta Georgia resident failed to stamp his authority on this match allowing Kruger to seize the early iniative. From this point Kruger continued to play solid pool and cruised home a 9-4 winner.
Louis Fazekas looked to be in fine form as he came out of the gate well against “Frenchie Boutin” taking the momentum. This match always looked to be a tough one to call as they went hand in hand to the finish line with Fazekas scraping out a hill-hill win.
The best match of the winner’s bracket brought Potier up against another young player from Paul’s original hometown of Winnipeg, Jason Klatt. Klatt has been gaining vast experience in pressure pool by travelling and playing money matches all over North America and this obviously put him in good stead with a good start against Potier. This match lived up to expectations and was a hard fought battle from start to finish and to nobody’s surprise it came down to the last rack. Klatt cleared the final rack after a safety exchange to come home a happy 9-8 winner.
Results from the one loss side were Edwin Montal over Claire Gauthier 9-1, Stan Tourangeau ousting PJ Massicote 9-4, Adam Smith beat Ray Carter 9-5 and finally Bill Thompson taking out Shannon Ducharme with a 9-6 win.
Eight players now remained on the B side pitting Paul Potier against Stan Tourangeau, Brian Butler vs Bill Thompson, Edwin Montal vs John Horsfall and lastly Alain Boutin vs Adam Smith. Coupled with the four remaining players on the winner’s side of the drawsheet, event number 5 in Kelowna assured us of crowning a brand new tour winner for season three.
Always intriguing match ups when an event reaches the later stages where players who have won a match oppose players coming off a loss. The psychological philosophies ensue and only time will tell how these tendencies pan out.
Adam Smith opposing Alain Boutin was virtually assured to be the first match completed as Boutin is regarded as one of the fastest players around these parts. The pundits in this regard proved correct as Adam Smith eliminated Boutin in a 45 minute clash by a score of 9-6.
The Edwin Montal and John Horsfall brought two road warriors together and it was Montal who took early command to lead 5-3. He maintained the advantage and reached the hill first with a lead of 8-5. Five minutes later the handshake arrived with Montal moving on a confidence boosting 9-5 victor.
In the Brian Butler vs Bill Thompson match, it would be interesting to see if Thompson could maintain the form that helped him eliminate the top seed John Morra and the number seven seed Shannon Ducharme. Butler coming off a loss to Kruger in his previous match could not afford the same loss of form against Thompson otherwise he would be booking his trip back to Edmonton sooner than expected. Butler was in no mood for a repeat performance as he established a tidy lead at 7-3. Butler took the last two racks he needed in short time and ended the game run of Thompson with a 9-3 win.
The final match of this sound brought two very experienced pals together in Paul Potier and Stan Tourangeau. These two will have met on countless occasions and undoubtedly will have carved out many lasting memories in these past matches. This one was not going to be going into Stan Tourangeau’s memoirs as Potier stormed in front to an insurmountable lead at 8-1. The misery soon ended for Tourangeau as Potier comfortably secured his place in the last 8 with a 9-1 win.
The last eight would bring four players from the winner’s side and four from the loser’s bracket to centre stage. Matches from the right hand side of the draw were up and coming young cueists, Ryan Solleveld vs Nick Kruger and another more seasoned young gun, Jason Klatt matching wits against the number 5 seed from Sudbury, Louis Fazekas. Klatt flew out quickly to a huge 6-1 lead over Fazekas. With his break working and his concentration peaking at just the right time, this was looking like Jason Klatt’s event to win. After approximately 10 minutes the final score was 9-1 to Klatt and it sent a message to the remaining players in the field that he was now the player to beat in Kelowna.
Ryan Solleveld was one rack in front of Nick Kruger at 4-3 with both players looking focused and showing no signs of nerves. Solleveld continued with a strong break and sound position play to build up a lead of 8-5 as he arrived to the hill. Both players have a lot of experience playing in Canadian Tour events and both were eager to keep their unbeaten runs alive in Kelowna. Kruger has a lot of heart and determination and this became apparent when he pulled three racks back in a row to tie the match at 8-8 and force one rack for the glory. A dry break from Kruger brought Solleveld in for a gutsy clearance and a well deserved 9-8 win over a battling Nick Kruger.
B side action saw Adam Smith lock horns with Paul Potier and Edwin Montal, the only other remaining seed in the event at number four, playing Edmonton’s Brian Butler. Both these matches started out similarly with Potier enjoying a 4-3 lead over Adam Smith and Montal in front of Butler by the same score. Potier finally took the lead over Smith at 7-6 only to have Smith hit back with the next two racks to go 8-7 in front and breaking for the match. Smith broke well in what proved to be the last rack played and kept his hopes alive of winning his first Canadian Tour event with a 9-7 win over a game Paul Potier. Montal and Butler looked to be heating up to a photo finish as they were deadlocked at 7 racks apiece. A bad miss on a 5 ball from Montal when the finish line was in sight at 8-7 in front brought Butler back to the table to clear up and assume the and break at hill-hill. The last rack brought about some safety play and offered a 3-9 billiard shot to Montal for the win. A successful effort on the billiard brought relief and a smile to Montal’s face as he escaped with a 9-8 win over Butler. It was now confirmed that it would be an all Winnipeg battle for the hotseat between Ryan Solleveld and his buddy Jason Klatt.
Two matches remained from the loser’s side, Adam Smith vs Nick Kruger and Edwin Montal vs Louis Fazekas. Smith coming off a big win and Kruger off a heartbreaking loss left little doubt as to who was in a better frame of mind. Smith was eager to take advantage of this scenario as he eased his way into a 4-2 lead early. Racks were exchanged by both players until Smith stole the 13th rack on Kruger’s break to take a 8-5 stanglehold on the match. A break and finish and Kruger’s run in Kelowna had ended as Smith moved on with a 9-5 victory. He now would await the winner of the Montal and Fazekas match to see who his next opponent would be.
Montal was starting to look like the player who finished in first place at the end of last season’s rankings and his match against Louis Fazekas definitely had him installed as early favorite to progress. Fazekas, the number five seed, already has a runner up finish this season from the Ottawa event. This self belief may have factored in to his quick start as he took 4 of the first 5 racks against Montal to lead 4-1. The reigning Canadian champ Montal, quickly returned the favor to seize 4 of the next 5 racks to level at 5-5. The next four racks gave no indication of who the winner would be as they were split bringing the score to 7-7. Fazekas took the next to leave him one rack win away from eliminating the number four seeded Montal. To force yet another hill-hill match, Montal would have to win the next and that is exactly what he did with some great pressure potting. The last rack provided Fazekas with the first real chance but a bad miss on the 7 ball allowed Montal to step in and clean up the remaining three balls for the 9-8 win.
The A side final between Jason Klatt and Ryan Solleveld, started very tentatively as one would expect when two good friends compete against each other in an event of this significance. Klatt moved out to a 4-2 lead to keep the heat on Solleveld. That advantage increased when Klatt swiped the next three racks to move into the comfort zone at 7-2 in front. Solleveld still had a lot of fight in him as he won three of the next four racks to face a deficit of three racks at 5-8. He also had the knowledge that one more mistake would send him to the B side final. Solleveld snatched the next two racks to pull closer to Klatt and keep the pressure on trailing 7-8. Displaying a ton of heart, Solleveld held his nerve to win the next and force a final rack against Klatt. After winning the last three racks momentum was definitely on Solleveld’s side. A break and run out in the decider and Ryan Solleveld had completed a terrific comeback against Jason Klatt with a character boosting 9-8 victory.
The B side semi final with Adam Smith and Edwin Montal would be tightly contested as both players possess a fierce competitive nature. The first six racks were split with Montal breaking at 3-3. He took the next three racks with little resistance to secure an enviable lead at 6-3 over Smith. A recovery by Smith winning three of the next four racks brought him back to just one rack behind Montal at 6-7. Montal won the next to arrive to the hill and with the break to come, looked to book his spot into the last three. A few minutes later he could relax and settle back to wait for the conclusion of the Klatt vs Solleveld match to see who his next opponent would be. It was a good win for Montal as many pundits in attendance were picking Smith as the in-form player to beat.
The B side final between Edwin Montal and Jason Klatt was eagerly awaited by all the pool fans in Kelowna as it presented a high powered match up of talented shotmakers. It was a dream start for Montal stealing the first rack off Klatt’s break and then running the next three racks to open up a 4-0 cushion. Klatt hit back winning the next three racks to trim Montal’s lead to only one rack. It appeared as though Klatt had hit stride as winning the next rack brought the match back to 4-4. The next ten minutes did nothing to aid Montal in his quest to repeat as a winner in Kelowna as Klatt took the next three racks to move in front 7-4. Klatt had now won the last seven racks in succession. The lead was increased to 8-4 when Edwin Montal came to the table and promptly asked for a break. That move proved to be beneficial as Montal finally stopped the rot by winning the thirteenth rack bringing the score to 8-5 in Klatt’s favor. Montal grabbed the next pulling back to 8-6 down, but a dry break by Montal in rack fifteen brought Klatt the opening that he been waiting for. After laying a solid snooker on Montal he came to the table with cue ball in hand and ran out the rack to win the match 9-6 and set up a re-match against Solleveld in the final.
The final offered a chance for Klatt to avenge his earlier loss to Solleveld and erase the memory of a match that he felt he had let slip away. The race to eleven started on an even keel with both players sharing the first four racks. Solleveld gambled in the fifth rack following his break and opted for a kick shot instead of a push out. That decision proved costly as it allowed Klatt to clear the balls for a 3-2 advantage. With the momentum in his corner Klatt took the next to lead 4-2. The two finalists split the next two racks before Klatt made a nice billiard shot from the 8 ball on to the 9 ball to move three racks clear at 6-3. Showing some competitive fight, Solleveld dug in his heels to win the next two racks and stay within range of Klatt at 6-5 down. A dry break in the following rack from Solleveld paved the way for Klatt to re-establish his two rack cushion at 7-5. Klatt took the next only to have Solleveld respond with a tricky two-nine billiard to bring the score to 8-6 in Klatt’s favor.
Klatt secured the next rack to go three in front and played a good snooker on Solleveld in rack sixteen only to see Solleveld play his best jump shot of the match, pocket the three ball and clear up to stay two racks adrift at 7-9. A break and run out in rack seventeen kept Solleveld in the hunt trailing by only one rack at 8-9. The next rack saw Klatt play a good safety and come to the table with a run out on offer to get to the hill at 10-8 in front. Breaking for the match Klatt failed to seize the opportunity and watched as Solleveld cleared up to trail 9-10. A gutsy clearance by Solleveld in rack number twenty meant that once again these two Winnipeg sharp shooters would be treating the pool fans in Kelowna to another hill-hill treat. The final break for Solleveld was successful but did not offer a shot on the one ball and a safety exchange followed. Failing to kick out of a snooker safely should have proved to be costly for Klatt but Solleveld failed to clear the remaining five colors and let Klatt off the hook. The final score read 11-10 for Jason Klatt over Ryan Solleveld but both these young stars will definitely be heard from in tour events to come and laid to rest that the future of pool is very bright indeed in Canada.
The Canadian 9-Ball Tour wishes to express its sincere appreciation to its presenting sponsors Indigo and Chapters bookstores and Cineplex Entertainment. We would also like to thank Canada Billiards and Bowling, Dufferin Billiards, Stan James the Sports Bookmakers, Simonis Pool Cloth and Aramith Billiard Balls for their continued support. We would also like to acknowledge Breakers Billiards Bistro and all their staff in Kelowna for providing a first class facility and allowing us to offer the best possible conditions to all the competitors.
Winner: $5,000 Jason Klatt
Runner Up: $3,000 Ryan Solleveld
3rd Place: $2,000 Edwin Montal
4th place: $1,500 Adam Smith
5-6th place: $1,000 each: Nick Kruger, Louis Fazekas
7-8th place: $700 each: Paul Potier, Brian Butler
9-12th place: $400 each: Alain Boutin, Stan Tourangeau, Bill Thompson, John Horsfall
13-16th place: $200 each: Claire Gauthier, PJ Massicote, Ray Carter, Shannon Ducharme