2016 North Island 9-Ball Championship

King Club, the next frontier. These are the voyages of the NZPA, to seek out new players and new venues, and to boldly go where no tournament has gone before. 
Captains log, stardate 0406.16. The players began the Imperial March down the motorway to King Club for the second of the 9 Ball ranking events for 2016, the North Island Championship. With unexplored territory ahead, the wonder and anticipation of what the weekend would bring was high. Returning Jedi, Matthew Edwards was keen to retain his crown, while 2015 woman’s winner, Ramona Belmont beamed away earlier in the year, leaving the chance for another champion to materialise. Congratulations to Duncan Wu who played in his very first ranking event.
Saturday’s preliminary stages ran smoothly. With 11 tables running at Warp 9, the competition was swift and ruthless as the players battled it out to secure one of the desired top 3 spots for qualification. Sunday’s post section play continued with the double-life format where some players found that fear is the path to the Dark Side. 
A galactic performance in the ladies competition saw Connie Adams only drop one match throughout the whole tournament, 3-4 to Klare Hamit in section play. Congratulations to Kim Hall who qualified in style and won her ‘Dark Side’ match against Klare, finally succumbing to Lisa Everett in the semi-final. The final saw Lisa and Connie battle it out frame for frame to 3-3, where Connie broke away to win 6-3. This is Connie’s highest ranking win, and surely a sign of much more to come!
The Dark Side of the Force really is the pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural. Many of the top Jedi’s found themselves knocked down including Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan, Tetsutaro Ueda, Louis Chand, Lee Jones, Raymond Sayo and Matthew Edwards. Tetsu completed the circle where the learner becomes the master, defeating close friend and training partner Koki Mizuno 5-2. He was eventually beaten by Molrudee who, once again, did a fantastic job in the men’s event backing up her 5th placing in the Regionals with the same result. Raymond Sayo also had a very successful tournament, defeating New Zealand number one Matt Edwards 6-2. He travelled through to the quarter final where Neil Barnes won 7-6 in a close match. Unable to enact revenge, he went down to Matt 4-6, losing his second life and ending his dreams of becoming the North Island Champion. 
Vinnie Adams started the tournament by setting phasers to kill. The force is strong with this one! He crashed through many formidable opponents such as Jonel Cabiso, Louis Chand, Jem Tamonte and Amith Devdas before an extremely close and pressurised match with Neil Barnes, losing 6-7. Vinnie was over-powered by Matt in the ‘Dark Side’ final where Matt reigned 6-1 thus ending Vinnie’s journey in 3rd place, his best result in a ranking tournament. Weekend good it was, for the Adams family!
The final was everything Matt dreamed of. After making some school boy errors over the course of the event, he showed nothing but class, clearing four frames. Despite Neil ‘giving it all she’s got captain’, resistance proved futile and he was assimilated 8-2. Neil was another player to have chalked up his highest finish in a tournament. A very well deserved result! This is Matts 6th ranking win in a row. Try for a 7th? Do. Or do not. There is no try. And no doubt, ‘Do’ will be only thing on his mind. Make it so Number One!
For full results, refer to the NZPA official website: http://www.nzpa.org/
A massive thank you goes out to Michelle Lan of King Club for providing such a wonderful venue to play at. The opportunities you have given the players will be fondly remembered and we all look forward to the next tournament at King. We would also like to thank our sponsors and the following organisations for their input and support: Kamui, Mezz, Excellence Billiards, API and the NZPA. Thank you also to the following people:
• First and foremost, Matthew Edwards, Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan and David Breen. Their constant work at the helm ensures that all systems remain operational and run at full capacity. We all wish Molrudee good luck for the Woman’s Amway World 9 Ball Open in Taiwan next week!
• Our tournament directors, John MacMillan, Duncan Wu and Ethan Douglas 
• Ethan Douglas for beaming down the live stream all over Earth
• Michelle, Yuki and Andy for working behind the bar and replicating many refreshments! 
• Lucinda Prescott, our official photographer for the weekend, don’t forget to smile when she is near!
• Lastly, thank you to all you Jedi’s in training! Remember, your focus determines your reality!
Captain’s Log supplemental. As the ships dock, we all reflect on the weekend behind us. With the talent ever-increasing, one must wonder to what heights these players will ascend. In the words of the great Spock - change is the essential process of all existence. So get out there and change what you need to become a champion. May you live long and prosper.

Written by Lisa Everett


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