PoolRoom

Ruijsink to Coach U.S.

Ruijsink will switch jerseys for the Mosconi Cup.

In a move that was met with mixed reviews, Mosconi Cup promoter Matchroom Sport announced Holland’s Johan Ruijsink as 2017 captain for Team USA. The 50-year-old Ruijsink is well known in Mosconi Cup annals as the undefeated captain for Team Europe, having led the squad seven times between 2006 and 2014. Ruijsink voluntarily stepped down as Team Europe after the 2014 event, in part citing the lack of a challenge in leading the European team.

Ruijsink replaces Mark Wilson, who helmed the U.S. squad for three years, coming closest to victory in 2015, when the U.S. lost, 11-7.

With Team USA posting just one win in the last 11 Mosconi Cups, Matchroom said it was seeking a game-changer to “revive America’s flagging fortunes,” even if it meant appointing a European coach.

The announcement caught many American players and fans by surprise. Numerous posts on social media decried the decision as “an insult to the Americans,” while others applauded the selection as America’s “best chance” to become competitive again.

“The reason to take on this job is quite obvious,” Ruijsink commented in the Matchroom release. “I am an authentic lover of the game and especially of the Mosconi Cup. In 25 years of coaching, the Mosconi Cup has proven to be by far the most exciting event in the world of pool.

“As a coach in pool, there is no higher goal then working in the ‘home of pool,’ the U.S.A. My entire coaching career has been founded on seeing the American players compete at the World Championships in Bergheim, Germany, in 1990. There I saw Earl, Varner, Davenport, Mizerak, Mataya, Lebron and a young Johnny Archer, and they made me love the game even more.”

Ruijsink is credited with coaching Holland into a pool powerhouse, mentoring stars like Alex Lely, Niels Feijen and Rico Diks in the ’90s and early 2000s. In recent years, he has been coaching in Russia, developing a talented crop of players, including recent World Pool Series champion Ruslan Chinahov.

“I was shocked at first,” said American Justin Bergman, who has played on the last three U.S. squads. “But I don’t think it’s a horrible idea from a player’s view, since he probably has good ideas and he’s a knowledgeable coach. I think we should all support him.”

“I think it’s good, since he was so huge for Europe’s team,” echoed Skyler Woodward, Team USA’s best player over the past two Mosconi Cups.

According to Matchroom, Ruijsink will get to hand pick his five-player team, so long as each player is ranked in the top 10 in Mosconi Cup points in 2017. Additionally, Ruijsink plans to travel to the U.S. several times during the year to meet with and observe potential team members.

Ruijsink’s first decision was selecting Archer as his vice-captian.

IPT Round Three: The Plot Thickens as the Field Thins

Round three starts today in the International Pool Tour’s North American Open and already 17,066 games have been played. Fatigue certainly played a role yesterday with 120 players facing a $5,000 difference in payout as they were whittled down to 60 in 12 straight hours of 8-ball action. The 60 remaining contenders who advanced to round three have been placed into 12 groups of five players each. Three players from each group will advance to the next round. The 24 who are eliminated will receive a lovely parting gift of $10,000.

Here’s a breakdown of yesterday’s highlights:

Mike Sigel was eliminated with a 2-3 record after losses to Marlon Manalo, Marko Lohtander and Quinten Hann. “The Mouth” settled for 61st and a $5,000 consolation prize.

The female players are near extinction, survived only by Sarah Ellerby who edged out Corey Harper by less than one percentage point in win average to advance to round three. Both Loree Jon Jones and Allison Fisher went winless in round two, and Gerda Hofstatter was eliminated with only one win.

Only eight players went undefeated throughout yesterday’s round, including three Americans: David Matlock, Nick Varner, and Charlie Williams. Also unscathed: Australian Quinten Hann, Filipino Santos Sambajon, Mexican Rafael Martinez, Mika Immonen of Finland, and Ivica Putnik of Croatia.

The Filipino contingent is now down three men, with Warren Kiamco and Gandy Valle eliminated after round two, and Jose Parica eliminated after round one. Still, 10 of the original 13 remain and most dominated their groups. Francisco Bustamante fell to Efren Reyes, but has the highest winning percentage of the entire field at 73.68 percent. (Johnny Archer is second with 70 percent.)

Snooker superstar Ronnie O’Sullivan held on by the skin of his teeth, with only two wins, but advanced on the merit of his winning percentage. On the other hand, Takeshi Okumura missed out on advancing by 0.03 percent to Larry Nevel.

Veterans Allen Hopkins, Kim Davenport, Keith McCready are all heading home. George San Souci and Tony Chohan went winless in round two. Other notables who are heading home with $5,000 consolation prizes: Danny Basavich, Jeremy Jones, George Breedlove and Oliver Ortmann.

Round three is upon us, and each player will play five matches among formidable fields. Here’s a quick analysis:

Ellerby will have to face two top Americans: Gabe Owen and Charlie Williams and two Filipinos: Marlon Manolo and Ronato Alcano. Good luck!

Earl Strickland is alive and well in the tournament, but grouped with Raj Hundal and Efren Reyes, the recently inducted Hall-of-Famer will have to fight hard to see another day.

German Thorsten Hohmann is by far the biggest name in his group, but will face Mick Hill, a promising British 8-baller.

Check out this group: Break-and-run Bustamante, Undefeated Ozzy Quinten Hann, 8-Ball Boy Wonder Karl Boyes, Prince of Pool Cory Deuel, and Bad Boy O’Sullivan. Yikes!

Mika Immonen and John Schmidt will face off in their group — undoubtedly there will be some good-looking pool played there.

“Yikes!” or “Whew…”: IPT North American Groupings Announced

“Yikes!” or “Whew…”: IPT North American Groupings Announced
Jul 14, 2006, 9:44 AM

Several top pool pros won’t be sleeping too soundly for the next week, now that they know the identities of their opponents in the first round of the International Pool Tour’s North American 8-Ball Open Championship.

Among those who might have trouble catching some “zees” are Karen Corr, Cory Deuel, Charles “Hillbilly” Bryant, and Kim Davenport. On the other hand, Allison Fisher and 13-year-old Austin Murphy look to be pretty well rested.

The $2 million, 200-player event — with a $350,000 first-place prize — kicks off Sunday, July 23, at the Venetian in Las Vegas, Nev.

The IPT announced the first-round groupings — composed of 40 sets of five players each — on Thursday. After round-robin play, the top three finishers in each group will proceed to the next round. Eliminated players from the first round will each receive $2,000.

The complete list of groupings is available at the IPT Web site: www.internationalpooltour.com.

However, we’ll point out a few of the more remarkable first-round matchups to get the inevitable debate and buzz started. In no particular order:

Group 20 — International Incident
A big-time pro is going home with $2,000 — and the lonely, agonizing plane ride could be transcontinental. The round’s toughest group is topped by former world 9-ball champions Mika Immonen (Finland) and Oliver Ortmann (Germany). They’re closely followed by tough-as-nails American Charles “Hillbilly” Bryant and the wily Gandy Valle from the Philippines. If “Gentleman” Jim Raney (USA) can make it out of this group, he deserves a $10,000 bonus.

Group 14 — Cakewalk
It’s dangerous to call any group a “gimme,” because there are so many relatively unknown international players in the IPT. You can bet there will be several surprises along the way. But Brit snooker and 9-ball ace Allison Fisher looks like a lock to get past group 14, populated by middling and/or obscure players Grady Matthews (USA), Andreja Klasovic (Serbia/Montenegro), Marko Lohtander (Finland), and Jeff Abernathy (USA).

Group 32 — Dogfight of the Sleepers
Fans might not know all these names, but one or two of these guys are sure to be around late in the event. The group features rough road player Steve Moore (USA), 2006 Derby City Master of the Table winner Jason Miller (USA), resurgent 9-ball pro Kim Davenport (USA), and Canadian aces Paul Potier and Tyler Edey.

Group 18 — Bloodbath
A top player is going to go down here. This one looks like the semifinals roster from a Reno Open, with multitalented Shannon Daulton (USA) facing off against Canadian stalwart (and, coincidentally, 2005 Reno Open winner) Ronnie Wiseman, former BD Player of the Year Cory Deuel (USA), Chicago 8-ball machine Ike Runnels, and sneaky veteran Pete Fusco (USA).

Group 2 — No Rest for the Invader
Ireland’s Karen Corr will have her work cut out for her against Holland’s top pro Niels Feijen, China’s no-nonsense Wei-Liu, underrated 8-baller Greg Hogue (USA) and Hall-of-Famer Ray Martin. But Corr went 4-1 in the first round of December’s IPT King of the Hill event, so look for her to pass with honors.

Group 5 — Let’s go, Austin!
Okay, we’re (unofficially) rooting for 13-year-old Austin Murphy, who is no slouch, by the way. He just won his second consecutive title at the BCA Junior Nationals, and he can hold his own against the big guys. He has an excellent chance to get out of his first-round group, where he will face Danny Basavich (USA), Hall-of-Famer Ewa Laurance (USA), and little-known qualifiers Sam Monday (USA) and Anthony Ginn (England).

Orcollo Continues His Hot Streak at Reno Open

Dennis Orcollo, who also recently won the U.S. Bar Table 8-Ball Championship and the Hard Times IPT Qualifier, proved he can hold his own in 9-ball as well, with a run through the field of 159 players at the Reno Open.

Orcollo was smoking the competition, scoring notable wins over Corey Deuel, Tim Hall and Rich Geiler, before taking the hot-seat on Sunday with a dominating 9-1 win over former Reno Open champion Kim Davenport.

Davenport was a die-hard, however, dropping to the one- loss side where he had to face Texan Jui-Lung Chen. Chen’s appearances are rare, but he made the most of this one with wins over Victor Ignacio, Chris Bartram, Bobby Hunter, Gandy Valle, Warren Kiamco and Gabe Owen. He had to settle for third though, as Davenport earned a hard fought 9-7 win to set up a rematch with Orcollo in the finals.

Orcollo looked on his way to another dominating win in the finals as he sprinted out to an early 5-1 lead. Davenport showed his tenacity though, winning six straight games to take the lead, 7-5, and then took the match, 9-7, to force a second set in the true double-elimination finals.

In the second set of the final, Orcollo got to the hill first at 8-7, but scratched on the break and watched in dismay as Davenport tied the match at hill-hill with a flawless table run. Davenport broke the final game and made a ball, but had no position on the 1 ball. Davenport pushed out to a long straight shot on the one and Orcollo took advantage with a slow rolling shot on the 1, followed by a shakey table run to earn the 9-8 victory.

Third Round Brings All-Star Match-ups at the Reno Open

The 2006 Reno Open is underway at the Sands Regency in Reno, Nev., yielding a field of 156 players.

Tournament coordinator Mick McMillin said that the number of players at the tournament, usually at or above the 200 mark, has decreased this year due to the International Pool Tour qualifiers.

Nonetheless, some great pool is being played. The third round brought about several marquis matches, including a match between longtime friends Gabe Owen and Jeremy Jones. Jones now has the upperhand, defeating his friend, 9-5.

Edwin Montal came up against Rodney Morris in the third round, besting him, 9-2, and Dennis Orcollo sent Cory Deuel to the one-loss side, 9-5.

Kim Davenport remains undefeated in the fourth round, and will match up against Filipino Jose Parica. Young Austin Murphy also remains on the winners’ side, winning his first three matches, and will face Bobby Hunter today.

Game Over for the Glass City Open

Tom Gearhart, co-owner of the Toledo, Ohio-based Glass City Open with partner Tom Elder, gave a glassy-eyed eulogy for the 22-year-old independent 9-ball tournament via press release yesterday.

“Although record crowds packed the seats every night, it still wasn’t enough for this great tournament to break even. Simply put, without serious sponsorship, the Glass City Open costs much more to put on than we were able to take in,” he wrote.

The Glass City Open began in 1984, when Joe Kerr, Larry Kahan and Tom Elder teamed up to create an independent 9-ball event. The first one was held in Hi-Q Billiards and offered a modest $2,400 added to the player entry fees. Kerr was able to attract many of the top players such as Mike Sigel (the first ever champion of the Glass City Open), Kim Davenport, Buddy Hall, Earl Strickland, Wade Crane, Jimmy Mataya and many more.

Due to the declining health of Kahan and Kerr, the tournament was discontinued in 1993. Larry has now passed on, and Kerr has been forced to retire from the sport he loves due to a rare neurological disease called Myasthenia Gravis.

Gearhart and Elder took over in 2002 and got the tournament back on its feet, but have opted to pull the plug in 2006.

Gearhart wrote: “I, and all the others who have attended a Glass City Open, will always recall the superb playing, great match-ups, unbelievable shotmaking, the approachability of the great players for autographs and conversation, bellying up to the bar and listening to the never-ending tales of stories while on the road, plus… who will ever forget all the entertaining bark-fests between top players and amateurs alike trying to get in action morning, noon, and night? Folks, you can’t put a price on those kind of memories! Again, thanks to all who made this tournament possible.”

Enjoypool.com 9-Ball Championships Underway

Pool heavyweights and hopefuls alike arrived in Las Vegas over the weekend to compete in the Enjoypool.com 9-Ball Championships, which got underway May 14, at the Riviera Hotel and Casino.

This event always draws the top fields from both the men’s and women’s games, and this year is no different. Reigning champions Allison Fisher and Thorsten Hohmann will both be defending the titles they earned last year. Fisher will started off with a 9-1 win over My-Hahn Lac, while Hohmann will get his start today at 11 a.m. with a match against Bruce Wilkinson.

The first round of matches on Sunday featured a fair share of marquee matches. Johnny Archer defeated Kim Davenport, 11-4, and Jose Parica bested veteran Nick Varner, 11-8. On the women’s side, Chinese newcomer Xiao-Ting Pan tipped the scales against Tracie Hines, 9-6.

Men’s Pro Kim Davenport Suffers Eye Injury

328aAt the end of October, veteran 9-ball star Kim Davenport was competing in the UPA Atlanta Open, fighting for a spot on the U.S. team for the upcoming Mosconi Cup in London. Today, the 47-year-old Modesto, Calif., pro is fighting for his professional pool player life. Davenport, the 1990 Billiards Digest Player of the Year and a many-times pro tour champion, has only limited vision in his right eye, the result of a freak golf accident at a local driving range on Nov. 16. His chances of regaining full vision in the eye are uncertain.

According to Davenport, an avid golfer who sports a 3 handicap, a lawn mower kicked up a golf ball, which ricocheted off a metal post next to Davenport’s practice tee, and struck him directly in the eye.
“It knocked me right to the ground,” said Davenport. “I didn’t know what happened. I couldn’t see a thing, and I was scared to death. An ambulance came and rushed me to the hospital.”

A CT scan eliminated concern over possible bleeding in the brain, but severe bleeding left Davenport completely blind in the eye for more than a week.

“The doctors don’t know what will happen,” said Davenport, who has regained some of the vision in his eye since the accident. “They don’t think I’ll ever get 100 percent of my vision back, and they’ve discussed a cornea transplant. They won’t really know what the options are until January.”

The setback comes during a period in which Davenport had regained a spot in the men’s top 10 rankings. He’s posted four top-10 finishes in 2002, including the Sands Regency title in June.

“I’ve been playing well,” Davenport said. “But if I never get to play pool again, I’ve had 17 great years. It’s just a bad roll. A nice sunny day that went dark.”

Bustamante Wins Las Vegas Invitational

Bustamante zeroed in on the title in Vegas.

Bustamante zeroed in on the title in Vegas.

“He just plays great against me. It makes me a little sick sometimes,” said Ralf Souquet after the finals of the Gabriels Las Vegas Invitational, August 23 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino. By Souquet’s reckoning, it was the 26th or 27th time Francisco Bustamante had defeated him in a finals match. Bustamante was characteristically humble about the win. “The only reason I beat him is in the beginning he never made a ball [on the break].”

Bustamante won $7,000 for first place, Souquet took $3,800 home. While some of the top names (such as Johnny Archer and Earl Strickland) were absent from the 37-man, one woman field, a full complement of Filipino players and such heavy hitters as Rodney Morris, Cory Deuel, Kim Davenport and the tournament promoter himself, Allen Hopkins provided entertaining action for the hard-core pool fans and handfuls of American Poolplayers Association members who were there for their national team championships running concurrently next door.