Report - Auckland Regional 9-Ball 2016

And so it begins. The field of blue cloth lies before us. Diamond racks glistening under the lights. Command control operational, rules of engagement established, mission objective: Sink the 9 Ball.

The 9 Ball season is upon us. Starting in style once again at the esteemed venue, Pool and Blues, another great tournament was to be had by all. Auckland’s finest players gathered on the sunny morning of May 14th anticipating the first of this discipline for the year, the Regional Championship. With the 2015 winners (Kevin Zhang and Ramona Belmont) missing in action, a new victor for both events was about to be crowned.

Congratulations to the following players for joining the world of competitive pool in their very first tournament: Louie Payawai, Dean Wu, Ying Bai and especially Sang Ly, who joined the woman’s section. The NZPA and API always welcome new players. Young or mature, male or female - pool is a game for everyone, so get the word out and let us grow this amazing sport!

Saturday’s preliminary stages ran smoothly. The field battled it out to secure one of the coveted top 3 spots for qualification. Congratulations to the top qualifiers: William An, Evan Carlson, Tetsutaro Ueda, Willie Kleingeld, Toar Dotulong and for the women, Connie Adams. Sunday’s post section play continued with the double-life format introduced in 2015. This allows players to remain in the tournament even after losing their first match. These players move through to the ‘Loser’s Bracket’ where they can cling to their dream of being crowned the champion.

A solid performance in the ladies competition saw Sang Ly not only playing in, but winning her very first tournament. Overcoming the experienced Connie Adams 4-0 in her first match, she went on to defeat Lisa Everett in the semi-final 4-3. Connie pushed through to win 4-0 against Lucinda Rawson in the loser’s bracket. Another battle between great friends ensued, with Lisa winning 4-1 to make it into the final. Sang kept her finger on the pressure button throughout the final, punishing every mistake that Lisa made to walk away with a comfortable 5-1 win. It was fantastic to see such joy on the face of the new champion!

With players at every turn exuding a level of class that some of us only dream about, the hero of the day was none other than Matthew Edwards. Matt was a picture of calm, quiet confidence throughout, dropping only 8 frames in his climb to the top. He thwarted the efforts of many valiant opponents including Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan, new-comer Tetsutaro Ueda, Toar Dotulong, and Will Wen. Molrudee, once again choosing to compete in the men’s event, placed 5th overall, proving her worth amongst her male counterparts. Special mention must go to Tetsutaro, whose stand-out performances saw the immensely talented Louis Chand, New Zealand’s top junior player, thrown into the loser’s bracket. Relatively new to the game, Tetsu has put in a phenomenal amount of time on the table and has had a rate of improvement that is to be envied. The very talented Toar Dotulong exhibited a solid comeback from 4-0 down to win 5-4 early in the day against eventual finalist Will Wen. A heart-breaking miss on the 9 ball at 4-4 ensured history would not repeat itself when the pair met again in the loser’s bracket. Will’s class and experience finally ended Tetsu’s journey with a merciless 6-0 win. The final showcased masterful shooting from both players, full of clearances and many skilled safety shots. Matt’s insatiable strive for perfection saw him win with a comfortable margin of 7-2.

For full results, refer to the NZPA official website: http://www.nzpa.org/

As always, an amazing amount of work goes on behind the scenes to make events such as these possible. We would like to thank our sponsors and the following organisations for their input and support: Pool and Blues, Kamui, Mezz, Excellence Billiards, API and the NZPA. Thank you also to the following people:

  • First and foremost, Matthew Edwards and Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan. Their dedication and passion for everything ‘pool’ is second to none and will ensure the continuation of this great sport we all love
  • Our tournament directors, Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan and Stefan Mueller. Thank you for giving up your time to ensure the tournament ran smoothly
  • John MacMillan, for setting out the draw
  • Millie Van Der Ent for working behind the bar and taking endless coffee orders!
  • Ethan Douglas for showing his multi-tasking talents, playing the competition, working behind the bar and running the live stream. Is there anything he can’t do?
  • Lastly, thank you to YOU!  You are amazing and never forget – the best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today!

As the night closes in, we say goodbye to another successful tournament. As we watch in awe and wonder at the astounding talent on show we grasp a glimmer of hope that maybe one day, the possibility is there for us as well. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt – the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. The North Island 9 Ball Championship awaits us. Until then, may the force be with you!

 

Written by Lisa Everett

New Zealand Pool Association

P.O Box 47729
Ponsonby
Auckland 1144
New Zealand

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