Moving Day Surprises in Kelowna Billiard Tournament
The Canadian 9-Ball Tour presented by Indigo and Chapters bookstores and Cineplex Entertainment brought all competitors back on Saturday at 10am sharp to Breakers Billiards and Bistro where all players saw action. The theme of the event to date was one of major upsets. The pressure was definitely on top seeded John Morra from Toronto, number three seeded Tyler Edey and fourth seeded Edwin Montal of Calgary as they found themselves on the left hand side of the draw with no more lives in hand.
It didn’t take long for the first major shock to materialize on day two. Second seed Erik Hjorleifson from Toronto was dismissed to the loser’s bracket by virtue of a 9-1 drubbing at the hands of local sniper, Jason Spanier. This meant that the top four seeds in Kelowna would have to prove their mettle with no insurance policies on the one loss side.
While other seeds struggled, the dynamic duo from Sudbury Ontario, Louis Fazekas the number 5 seed and eighth seeded Alain Lessard were playing solid pool and marching through the ranks with little to no trouble. Matching them was BC native and event number 6 seed Stan Tourangeau, who seemed to be flying under the radar as well and was looking as solid as ever, never an easy player to beat.
Seventh seeded Shannon Ducharme from Winnipeg had suffered an early loss on day one but was making significant strides on the one loss side to keep his hopes of winning his first tour event alive. Matching Ducharme’s staying power was the number four seed Edwin Montal. The Canadian champ was starting to find some much needed form and more importantly, establishing some confidence in his game by winning some matches in the loser’s brackets. John Morra, a double winner of Canadian Tour events this season, was also making short work of his B side matches and building a strong case to insure that his Sunday morning schedule would be booked. Day two was proving to be the wake- up call for many top seeds who were now playing with the knowledge that one more slip up meant a long difficult trip home.
Unseeded players making a big statement this weekend included 2006 Canadian champion Brady Gollan, former touring professional John Horsfal, the colorful and entertaining Alain “Frenchie” Boutin, the experienced campaigner Paul Potier and capable young guns Jason Klatt, Ryan Solleveld and PJ Massicote.
As play on Saturday heated up, some feature matches involving players looking to stay alive, included Erik Hjorleifson facing off against Mike Vidas and a winner’s side prospect pitting Paul Potier against Brady Gollan.
In the Hjorleifson vs Vidas encounter the early going showed little in the way of advantages either way as the two players shared the first two racks. Hjorleifson then stuck a four pack on Vidas showing some superb cue ball control and vaulted in front 5-1. The next six racks were exchanged which obviously suited Hjorleifson just fine as he now enjoyed the benefits of arriving on the hill at 8-4 in front. Needing the last five racks to stay in the event was a tall order for Vidas and winning a tactical battle in rack 13 did nothing to derail his efforts as he pulled one back trailing 5-8. There would be no monumental comeback however as Hjorleifson would secure the next rack and with it the 9-5 win.
A winner’s side clash featured two foes that knew each other very well in Brady Gollan and Paul Potier. The elder Potier opened up with a win in rack number one. Two more break and run outs saw Potier sprint out to a 3-0 advantage. Gollan had seen only one kick shot in the first three racks. A scrappy fourth rack also went to Potier and Gollan knew he was digging himself a hole that would be tough to climb out of. The hole only got deeper when Potier took the next two racks to move closer to the finish line leading 6-0. Gollan, known for his fighting spirit, took three of the next four racks to trail Potier 3-7. Rack eleven went to Potier taking him to the hill with a comfortable 8-3 stranglehold on the match. The twelfth rack was taken by Gollan making it 4-8 who was well aware that he had to string some racks together if he would have any chance of remaining unbeaten into Sunday. Potier however was in the driver’s seat and riding the early lead that he had built up in the match, won the thirteenth rack to close it out with a 9-4 win over 2006 Canadian champion Gollan. A gritty performance from Potier was rewarded with a spot into the final sixteen and an unbeaten record to build upon.
On the loser’s side a massive upset was brewing on a back corner table. The tournament’s top seed, John Morra was in big time trouble against Calgary’s Bill Thompson. Morra admittedly had not been sleeping well and coming straight from an event in Reno, Nevada, did nothing to enhance his preparation for the Kelowna stop. Taking nothing away from Bill Thompson however as he is noted for his straight shooting ability and intense competitive drive honed from years of playing top class snooker in western Canada. Thompson asserted himself from the outset in this match and glided home with a one sided victory of 9-2 over the classy young Morra. It was a match that had to put a load of confidence in Thompson’s future run in this event.
With Gollan’s loss to Potier it set up another mouth watering prospect for the Kelowna native against Edwin Montal. The winner would survive the day. Gollan took the early lead at 3-2. The players jockeyed racks back and forth and when the smoke cleared it was Edwin Montal with a slim 7-6 lead. Montal won the next rack and brought himself to the hill at 8-6, much to the dismay of the local fans in attendance. Gollan won rack fifteen to bring the score back to 7-8 but it was Montal in with a big chance to win the match in the next. Taking no prisoners, Montal took his chance and nailed down his place on Sunday with a 9-7 victory over Gollan.
Sunday would see 8 players from the winner’s side return for final day action, names that included, Paul Potier, Jason Klatt, Louis Fazekas, Alain Boutin, Ryan Solleveld, John Horsfall, Brian Butler and Nick Kruger.
The 8 players completing the final sixteen from the left hand side of the draw are Adam Smith, Stan Tourangeau, Edwin Montal, PJ Massicote, Ray Carter, Claire Gauthier, Bill Thompson and Shannon Ducharme.
The Canadian 9-Ball Tour wishes to thank its sponsors, Indigo and Chapters bookstores, Cineplex 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.
For all the day one results and tournament brackets check the official website of the Canadian 9-Ball Tour at www.canadian9balltour.com (http://www.canadian9balltour.com/)