Laurance, Balabushka Picked for Hall of Fame

374aEwa Laurance, 9-ball goddess and the public face of the billiard industry in the 1990s, and legendary cuemaker George Balabushka will be inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame on April 1 during the BCA International Billiard & Home Recreation Expo in Las Vegas, Nev.

For the Hall of Fame’s 2004 class, BCA voters chose Laurance over fiery pool superstar Earl Strickland and longtime pro and promoter Allen Hopkins in the Greatest Player category. Balabushka, who died in 1975, won the nod in the Meritorious Service category over American Poolplayers Association founders Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart, and 19th century player-author Maurice Daley.

Laurance is a former world 9-ball champion and current president of the Women’s Professional Billiard Association. Her appearance on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in 1992 triggered a media blitz for pool, and the native Swede then split her time between stumping for the sport and playing championship-level pool.

Balabushka was considered the Stradivarius of cuemakers – an innovator in cue construction, designs and finishes. Already a member of the American Cuemakers Association Hall of Fame, he also was credited with elevating widespread demand for custom cues.

Comfortable at the Top

Top-ranked Karen Corr widened her points lead over No. 2 Allison Fisher, winning by the narrowest of margins at Sandia Casino on Sept. 9. Corr’s 7-6 win over Fisher in the final of the Classic Tour’s fourth stop of the season netted Corr $7,500, and doubled her lead over Fisher in the rankings to an 80-point advantage.

The former snooker stars were even at 6-6 heading into the final game, where Corr pulled out the win to give her victories in all four Classic Tour stops this season. Only Jeanette Lee’s victory at the Billiard Congress of America 9-Ball Championships has kept Corr from a perfect 2001 season thus far.

Lee, who recently captured the Gold Medal for the United States in the women’s 9-ball division of the World Games in Akita, Japan, finished in third place. Ewa Laurance took fourth.