Hubbard Handles 14.1 Nationals
14.1 League Nationals / Egg Harbor, NJ
On May 29-31, 14and1.com league players gathered at the beautiful Atlantic City Billiard Club in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, for the second annual 14.1 League National Championships. 14and1.com and all the players would like to once again thank Atlantic City Billiard Club owner Ernie Arcaro and his staff for their generosity and outstanding service throughout the three-day event, which was ultimately won by Luke Hubbard.
Friday morning the doors opened at 10 a.m. for practice and saw league nationals qualified players walk through the door from all over the country in attempt to capture the title. Players qualified through their local 14and1.com League by finishing in the top two in their local league. 14and1.com leagues are now running in 10 states throughout the USA. We also saw a wide range of league handicaps among the players in attendance ranging from C+-rated to AA-rated players in the 14and1.com handicap system. We took a few moments to meet one another and chat a bit, then league owner and director Kevin Vidal called the players meeting and draw at 11 a.m.
The format was double elimination with players using their league handicap. The winner of the one-loss side must defeat the last player standing on the winners’ side twice in the final. The top half of the winners’ side of the flow chart saw Hubbard, playing out of D&D Family Billiards in Thorndale, PA, making his way steadily to the hot seat match. The bottom half of the winners’ side saw Angelito Carpio, also playing out of D&D Family Billiards, meeting Hubbard in the hot seat with his steady shot-making and a 47-ball run in his second match. Carpio, rated AA, had to give Hubbard, rated C+, a large spot. Carpio started off well and put a 32-ball run together, but Hubbard didn’t rattle and played to the best of his ability, making the shots he could. It appeared Carpio would catch the spot about halfway through the match, but he made a few unforced errors and left the table wide open. In the end Hubbard prevailed.
The one-loss side saw a trio of players from Minnesota battling to get a chance at the title. Matt Lind and Richard Barnier, shooting out of Jimmy’s Pro Billiards in Columbia Heights, MN, and Joel Loverncevic, shooting out of Shooter’s Billiard Club, Burnsville, MN, all proved to be tough opponents but fell short in some close matches with Lind finishing seventh, Barnier finishing fifth, and Loverncevic finishing ninth. Also putting together several wins on the one-loss side after an early loss was Steve Hathaway, rated B+ from Vermont. At the end of the day Hathaway came three balls short in his final match to finish out tied for seventh. Chris Smith, rated A+ from Latham, NY, also put in an outstanding effort on the one-loss side after an early loss, but he fell short as well, finishing out tied for ninth.
On the top half of the one-loss side, Joe Stern III, rated A-, was on his game and piling up several wins. He then ran into Andy Walker from Fenton, MI. Walker, rated A in the handicap system, was playing strong from the opening with several 30+ ball runs in his matches, he but was sent to the one-loss side in the fourth round of the winners’ side by Carpio. This matchup between Stern and Walker went back and forth, but in the end Walker prevailed by one ball when Stern played a safe.
In Walker’s way of getting to the semis on the bottom half of the one-loss side was Jim Manno, rated A+. Manno had been playing as steady as anyone throughout the tournament but had incurred a late winners’ side loss to be sent to the one-loss side. Manno opened up strong to put pressure on Walker, but Walker battled to stay in the match and keep it within striking distance. But this time the match went to Manno.
Now it was down to the final three players. Manno and Carpio lagged to start the match Sunday afternoon for a spot in the finals. Manno kept up his steady play and opened up early on in the match with a 30+ ball run, while Carpio seemed to have gone a bit cold from sitting but managed to hang in the match with his outstanding shot-making. In the end it was Manno prevailing after getting out to an early lead.
Sunday evening the stage was set: it was Manno having to best Hubbard twice to take home the title. Manno opened up once again with his steady trademark play. Hubbard looked like he might have been a bit nervous early on and made some errors he would not normally make. The pace of the match saw Manno creeping up on covering the spot, and it looked like it might come down to either player being able to win it in the final few balls. But about three-quarters of the way through the match Manno was able to take advantage of an error and get to the table with a wide open table and was able to take many of those balls off the table and take a lead. Manno put in a great effort once he got another opening, but in the end Hubbard kept his cool and made the balls he needed to win the 14and1.com National Championships.
The new season for 14and1.com is already underway for qualifying to the 2010 Nationals. Any room owners wishing to host a 14and 1.com sanctioned 14.1 league please visit 14and1.com for info.
1st Luke Hubbard $1,000
2nd Jim Manno $550
3rd Angelito Carpio $350
4th Andy Walker $200
5th Richard Barnier $150
Joe Stern III
7th Steve Hathaway $100
9th Chris Smith $50