White Diamond Billiards Annual Summer 9-Ball Extravaganza / Lafayette, LA
by Lea Andrews
On the weekend of August 8-9, the bar box action was at White Diamond Billiards, where Jeremy “Double J” Jones zipped through a 128-man field to clinch first. The much-anticipated $1,000-added White Diamond Billiards Annual Summer 9-Ball Extravaganza, run by husband and wife team Chris Miller and Ashley Kline, drew the players and the spectators to Lafayette, LA.
Following a win over crowd favorite Jesse Bowman, Jones faced in the winners’ side final four Gary Abood, who’d just gotten past Bobby Pickle. Jones brushed Abood aside to advance to the hot seat match, where he met Nick Vita, who was coming off wins over John Lopez and Bobby Johnson. Vita had notched his final victory on the winners’ side, though, and he moved to the left side of the bracket with a mission to get back to Jones.
In a field such as this one, relatively early exits are bound to happen as familiar names run into each other on the one-loss side. Cliff Joyner, having just ousted Daniel “Lil D” McKeeney, was ousted himself by Lopez, who’d already knocked out Jamie Farrell. Lopez went on to put Gary Abood in fifth before coming upon Chuck Ralston, who’d gone through Bowman, Pickle, and Johnson. Ralston continued his winning ways against Lopez in the quarterfinals but came up short against Vita in the semis, falling into third while Vita moved on to seek revenge on Jones in the finals.
At first, it seemed Jones would simply run away with the match, getting off to a quick 3-0 start. The alternate-break format gave Vita the opportunity he needed in the fourth rack, though, as he broke open the rack and ended it quickly with a 2-9 combination. That combination fueled a streak, as Vita took control to get the match to 6-3. In each rack that followed, the ball that could push the second set sat on the table, but in each rack, it was Jones who sunk it. With the score tied at 6, Jones broke, making the 1 ball but finding himself without a shot on the 2. A well-played safety gave him ball-in-hand, but a tricky 5 ball left him a tough on the 6. When Jones missed it, Vita was left hooked, with a kick-safe his only option. Vita made a good hit, though he left a makeable shot for Jones. With the cue ball nearly frozen to the 6 near the foot rail, Jones jacked up, needing a lot of power to force the 6 to the foot corner pocket. Combining skill with luck, Jones sent the 6 neatly in its intended pocket, while the cue ball flew towards the head of the table, colliding with the 9 and sending it into the head corner pocket for the win.
1st Jeremy Jones $2,142
2nd Nick Vita $1,040
3rd Chuck Ralston $796
4th John Lopez $551
5th Bobby Johnson $367
7th Bobby Pickle $214
9th Jesse Bowman $107
James Davis, Jr.