Canadian 9-Ball Tour Hits Bourbon Street Billiards
The seventh stop of the Canadian 9-Ball Tour, presented by Indigo Chapters bookstores and Cineplex Entertainment, saw unseasonably cold weather once again greet the 64 players making their way back to the venue for Saturday morning play. Apparently the cooler temperatures affected some of the players’ sleeping patterns. Second seed John Morra was one of three players to be disqualified on the one-loss side and was forced to make his way back to Toronto empty-handed. The other two players to be listed among the missing on the B-side were Scott Harder and Fast Eddy. All three were relegated to the stands for the remainder of the event in Winnipeg.
Winners’-side action commenced early with some enticing prospects to whet the appetite of the pool fans in Winnipeg. Top-seeded Edwin Montal again looked strong in defeating Doug Nobiss 9-1. He carried that form through to his match against American Rory Hendrickson with a 9-3 win. In total, Montal had dropped only five racks in his first three matches. Jason Klatt survived a hill-hill scare before advancing over Jeff Clare 9-8. Klatt then faced Ryan Solleveld in a re-match of the final at Canadian Tour event number 5l. This re-match went the same way as that previous final but with a more convincing result in favor of Klatt, this time 9-4 over Solleveld. Tyler Edey overcame a tough opponent in Berry McLean by a 9-5 score and found himself in another tussle with highly regarded Felix Beardy. Beardy was well-prepared, and playing in his homeroom did little to throw him off the scent. When the smoke cleared it was a surprisingly easy 9-5 win for Beardy over Edey. An excellent match-up took place when Shannon Ducharme hooked up with former national champ Randy Pruden. The former champ took control of this match early and never relinquished the reins en route to a surprising 9-3 victory over the tenth-ranked player on the tour.
Adam Smith, Erik Hjorleifson, and Blake Martel all progressed with minimal resistance through round three and then into round four on the A side. There was also a good deal of local talent on display, many of which were gaining momentum as the second day of the Canadian Tour was heating up.
After a couple of wins each, Smith and Hjorleifson met up on the draw sheet. The crowd on hand was very partial in favor of their local star, and Hjorleifson appeared to relish that aspect. In what always promised to be a close match, Hjorleifson proved one rack better when it counted most and scraped home a 9-8 winner. Another anxiously awaited confrontation in round four on the winners’ side saw Montal oppose Klatt. Similar to the Hjorleifson versus Smith match, the crowd was very vocal in their support of another hometown star in Klatt.
The left-hand side of the draw brought Shannon Ducharme and Berry McLean together. McLean coming off a win and Ducharme coming off his loss meant that McLean was the player in the positive frame of mind. It proved to be just enough to allow McLean to fend off Ducharme after a hill-hill struggle at 9-8.
Tyler Edey fought back after his loss to Beardy with back to back wins over Martel and Smith, respectively. The latter, a convincing 9-4 account that proved Edey had pulled his socks up and would be ready for Sunday.
Play went smoothly and without issue all day Saturday, and event organizers took advantage of this and decided to play down to the last eight for Sunday. This meant four from the winners’ bracket and four from the one loss-bracket would be coming back to take their shots at the $5,000-guaranteed purse for the winner of the event.
Of the eight men returning on Sunday, the four on the winner’s side were all homegrown Winnipeg natives. Erik Hjorleifson, Felix Beardy, Jason Klatt, and Randy Pruden insured that all the fans in the city were going home happy. The four left from the other half of the draw and coming back with no insurance policies in hand are travelling companions Tyler Edey and Edwin Montal, along with Gimli Manitoba’s Dave Strachan and another Winnipeg hopeful, Blake Martel.
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