WPA Crowns World 9-Ball Champs

79aThe 2001 World Pool-Billiard Association World 9-ball champions are Allison Fisher (representing Great Britain) and Brian Naithani (Germany).

Fisher, ranked No. 2 by the Women’s Professional Billiard Association, earned her fourth WPA world title by defeating WPBA No. 1-ranked Karen Corr (also representing Great Britain) 11-8 in the final held in Amagasaki City, Japan. Only one other player (Robin Dodson, with the 1990 and 1991 titles) owns multiple WPA women’s 9-ball titles. Fisher finished third last year while Corr placed second. The 2000 titlist, Julie Kelly, finished 17th, losing first to Anita Kuczma of Canada, 11-5, and then to Kyoke Sone of Japan, 11-4.

Naithani, who was the 2000 runner-up in the juniors’ contest, defeated Jung-Lin Chang of Taipei, 11-5, in the final. The defending champion, Dmitri Jungo, aged out of competition.

Also at the tournament, the WPA elected Ian Anderson of Sydney, Australia to a four-year term as its president.

Irving Crane Sr., Dead at 89

Irving CraneHall of Famer Irving D. Crane Sr., died Saturday, Nov. 17, at 89. Crane, who won six 14.1 World titles across four decades, was nick-named “The Deacon” because of his imperial bearing and serious, high-minded attitude towards pool.

Crane had been in fragile health, but had lived at home with his wife of 64 years, Althea, until a short hospital stay last week. He was recuperating at a care center when he passed away. Crane is survived by Althea, son Irving Jr.; daughter Sandra DiLucia; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Visitation is Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Crawford Funeral Home, 495 N. Winton Rd., Rochester, N.Y. Funeral service will held be Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 10:00 a.m. at Crawford Funeral Home followed by interment at Union Cemetery, Livonia, N.Y.

Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be sent to DePaul-Huther Doyle, 360 East Ave., Rochester, N.Y. 14604 or Camp Good Days & Special Times, 1332 Pittsford-Mendon Rd, Mendon, N.Y. 14506.

Reyes Pockets Pool’s Biggest Payout

60aEfren “The Magician” Reyes pulled out the largest tournament payday in the history of the game by topping Dutch phenom Niels Feijen, 15-7, in the final of theTokyo-9-Ball ¥100,000,000 International Billiard Tournament in Tokyo, Japan, on Nov. 14, to collect approximately US$160,000. Reyes emerged from a mammoth field that topped 700 players to register the victory.

Feijen, who added to his breakout 2001 season by finishing in second, took home approximately $64,000 after knocking out 2000 World Pool-Billiard Association World Champion Fong-Pang Chao and Australian Johl Younger to reach the final match. Earlier in the year, Feijen notched back-to-back fifth-place finishes in the WPA World 9-Ball Championships and the U.S. Open.

Fisher crowned “Champion of Champions”

58aAllison Fisher captured her biggest victory of the year by beating Karen Corr in sudden death to claim the winner-takes-all International Tournament of Champions at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn., on Nov. 8. The victory netted Fisher, the No. 2-ranked player on the Women’s Professional Billiard Association’s Classic Tour, $25,000 for first place in the four-play star-studded event to be televised on ESPN.

Fisher, who handed over the WPBA’s top ranking to a red-hot Corr in June, has lost to Corr in the last three Classic Tour stops. At the Tournament of Champions, though, Fisher controlled the deciding sudden-death tiebreaker game to secure the win. “I feel like I just won an Olympic Gold Medal,” said Fisher, who topped Helena Thornfeldt in the semifinals. “One shot missed and you can lose $25,000! Your emotions are off the chart during the entire tournament.”

Mosconi Cup Lineup Set

57aMatchroom Sport released its Team USA and Team Europe rosters for the popular Mosconi Cup, held at York Hall in Bethnal Green, England, Dec. 20-23. The two six-man rosters were respectively selected in consultation with the Billiard Congress of America and European Pocket Billiard Federation.

Five-time Player of the Year Earl Strickland will return as captain of the American squad, which is rounded out by Corey Deuel, Johnny Archer, Jeremy Jones, Nick Varner and Charlie Williams. All but Varner and Williams were members of last year’s Cup-winning team.

Team Europe is comprised of captain Ralf Souquet (Germany), Marcus Chamat (Sweden), Steve Davis (England), Niels Feijen (Holland), Mika Immonen (Finland) and Steve Knight (England).

Comeback Queen

55aFor the third consecutive Classic Tour event, Karen Corr rebounded from an earlier loss to win a tournament championship. This time Corr did it at the Women’s Professional Billiard Association Midwest Classic at Palace Billiards in Villa Park, Ill., Oct. 11-14, recovering from a loss to Fisher in the winner’s-bracket finale to oust Fisher in the final, 7-4.

Corr, who has swept all five 2001 Classic Tour events this season excluding the Billiard Congress of America 9-Ball Championships, extended her points lead in the WPBA rankings over Fisher with the victory. The $7,500 payday also pushed Corr’s 2001 WPBA Classic Tour earnings to $45,000, surpassing last year’s total of $40,500, with the 2001 WPBA National Championships still left to play this season. Fisher collected $5,500 for second, while Gerda Hofstatter earned $4,500 for third — her best finish since winning the BCA 9-Ball Championship in May 2000.

2001 World Championships Cancelled

The World Pool-Billiards Association has cancelled the 2001 World 9-Ball Championships for women and juniors, according to a press release from John Lewis, the WPA secretary.

The tournament had been scheduled for Nov. 14 – 18 in Ottawa, Ont., Canada, and had been awarded to “Les Productions 14.1,” the promoter that handled the 2000 event in Quebec City. No reason for the cancellation was given.

The 2002 event will be held June 26-30 in Taipei, Taiwan under the auspices of WPA-confederation member, the Asian Pocket Billiard Union, according to Lewis.

BCA Organizes Billiards For America Day

The Billiard Congress of America has designated Nov. 10 as Billiards for America Day, and is coordinating an industry-wide effort to raise money for relief funds established to benefit victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

The BCA, working with the American Poolplayers Association and the Women’s Professional Billiard Association, will provide pool rooms and league operators with promotional posters and tournament packages. Billiard retailers and manufacturers are encouraged to donate money or products to support the effort.

Tokyo Tourney Gets Nod From WPA

The World-Pool Billiard Association has given its blessing — and financial backing — to the much-discussed 100,000,000-yen Tokyo 9-Ball tournament scheduled for Nov. 11-14 in Japan.

Promoted by a new organization, The International Billiard Council, the prize fund is worth approximately U.S. $820,000, the highest in pool history. According to a press release from WPA treasurer John Lewis, “The WPA have no concerns about the organizers and are confident that all promises will be fulfilled.” Additionally, WPA chairman Ian Anderson announced that the world governing body will guarantee U.S. $100,000 of the prize fund.

More information about the tournament and a concurrent expo is available at www.tokyo-9ball.com.

Deuel is U.S. Open Champ

Corey Deuel blanked reigning WPA World Champion Mika Immonen in Chesapeake, Va., Sunday, Sept. 16, to take the 26th U.S. Open title over a field of 217 players.

Deuel collected a reported $30,000 at the end of a controversial tournament that forged ahead despite the terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Center on Tuesday, and promoter Barry Behrman’s mid-tournament prize-fund reduction.

See the November issue of Billiards Digest for full coverage.