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Appleton, Rossman Elected To BCA HOF

Darren Appleton was already 30 years old when he made the move from English 8-Ball to American Pool, and soon thereafter from Yorkshire, England, to the United States. But in 11 short years, the doggedly determined former boxer made an indelible mark on the game, winning three world championships in three different disciplines and nearly a dozen more major titles. For his efforts, Appleton has been elected into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame, the BCA announced today.

Appleton, 41, who will enter pool’s most prestigious hall in the Greatest Players wing, is joined in the Class of 2017 by trick shot impresario and enthusiastic pool ambassador Tom Rossman. Rossman, 69, was elected into the Meritorious Service category. Voting was conducted by the United States Media Association. “It’s amazing to know that I’m in the BCA Hall of Fame,” Appleton said. “I can’t really put it into words. There is no bigger honor for a pool player. This is the pinnacle.”

“I’m humbled and honored to be elected into the BCA Hall of Fame,” Rossman concurred. “The Hall of Fame designation is extra special in so many ways. When a person connects with his or her dreams, visions, blessings and passions in a heartfelt manner, he or she may truly rack up a victory in the game and, more importantly, in life.”

After a decade during which he was the world’s top-ranked English 8-Ball player seven times, Appleton made his move to American Pool in 2006. After honing his skills in the Philippines over the course of the next two years, Appleton shocked the pool world by winning the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) World 10-Ball Championship in 2009. Over the next five years, Appleton would add the WPA World 9-Ball Championship (2010), the World Pool Masters (2009), World Games gold medal (2013) and back-to-back U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships (2010, ’11), International Challenge of Champions (2011, ’12) and World Tournament of 14.1 (2013, ’14) titles to his collection. In 2015, Appleton won his third WPA world title when he captured the Chinese Pool World Championship.

Rossman has been one of pool’s leading trick shot experts, teachers and ambassadors for nearly 40 years. He is considered the founding father of the “Artistic Pool” movement, and is credited with getting the discipline accepted by the WPA. Rossman logs tens of thousands of miles each year putting on exhibitions and teaching junior players and new enthusiasts.

Appleton was named on a whopping 87 percent of the ballots in Hall of Fame voting, easily outdistancing Women’s Professional Billiards Association champion Gerda Hofstatter. Hofstatter was named on 47 percent of the ballots. Vivian Villarreal, Jeremy Jones and Shannon Daulton were also on the ballot. Rossman was recommended by the Meritorious Service Committee, and was confirmed with 90 percent approval by the Hall of Fame Board.

Appleton and Rossman, the 69th and 70th members of the BCA Hall of Fame, will be formally inducted during ceremonies later in the year.

Fisher Wins 46th WPBA title

Allison Fisher, “The Duchess of Doom,” fended off some hungry foes and battled some personal demons, but managed to pull off her 46th Women’s Professional Billiard Association tournament win at the Great Lakes Classic stop of the WPBA’s 2006 season, March 8-12 in Michigan City, Ind.

Fisher suffered defeat in her very first match of the tournament, by Chinese up-and-comer Xiaoting Pan. Pan, age 24, speaks little English, but surely knows how to use the technique of the same name. With a fluid stroke and precise ball placement, she defeated her childhood idol, 9-7.

“She didn’t think that she could beat Allison Fisher so early, she didn’t expect it at all. It was a boost of confidence,” Pan communicated through her interpreter.

Fisher dropped down to the losers’ bracket where she had a near-fatal match against Wendy Jans. A 22-year-old Belgian that plays far beyond her years, Jans’ solid play found her leading Fisher, 7-5. Jans’ felt the pressure in the final games, however, dogging a 9-ball, followed by a scratch on a crucial play. Fisher closed out the match, 9-7.

“I just couldn’t finish it today. I had my chances, so actually I should’ve won, but I didn’t,” Jans said .

That win put Fisher in the final eight of the distinguished one-loss side, among Ewa Laurance, Vivian Villareal, Monica Webb, Jeanette Lee, Laura Smith, Kim White, and Alice Rim. Following a new format for 2006, the final eight submitted to a blind draw of the winners’ bracket players for single-elimination games. The winners’ side represented a melting pot of players including Pan, Karen Corr, Gerda Hofstatter, Ga Young Kim, Kelly Fisher, Helena Thornfeldt, Jennifer Barretta and Belinda Calhoun.

White, of Houston, has been struggling to recapture her top 16 ranking after an injury in 2004. The confidence boost of being recently elected WPBA president for 2006-07 was apparent in her play as she defeated veteran Calhoun, 9-5, and then squashed the steady advance of Alice Rim, 9-1, to land her in the semifinal, her first televised match and best finish to date.

Villareal was uncharacteristically quiet, but her play was unpenetrable as she whipped Kelly Fisher, 9-3, to meet Korean Ga Young Kim in the semifinal. Kim, who had just defeated Webb, fell victim to the “Texas Tornado,” 9-6.

Pan put away Smith, 9-4, but despite her earlier brilliance, could not make a run against Lee, who eliminated her, 9-2.

Meanwhile, Fisher drew the formidable Corr, who was coming off a big win at the first WPBA tour stop two weeks prior. The format dictated that one of the top two players would not make it to the semifinal. That unfortunate player was Corr, whose defensive play couldn’t slow down Fisher. Her sniper-like jump shot at hill-hill might have been the tournament-winning shot.

The semifinal matched Lee vs. Villareal, Fisher vs. White. Villareal’s patient defensive play against Lee eventually afforded her a win in the lengthy battle. White came out strong against Fisher, 2-0, but made a few untimely errors that allowed Fisher to heat up an run away with the 7-4 win.

In the final, Fisher looked fatigued against Villareal and made several uncharacteristic errors, but the former snooker player’s safety play took the wind out of the “Texas Tornado.” “I might as well just play with my jump cue,” said Villareal of her frequent escape attempts.

Fisher made it to the hill, 6-1, and despite Villareal’s best efforts, coming back 6-4, “The Duchess” eventually administered her doom, sinking the final 9 ball.

The semifinals and final game of the Great Lakes Classic will be aired on ESPN in April. Check back with HeadString News for specific air dates and times.

Ga Young Kim Snaps Off Nationals

Rising Korean superstar Ga Young Kim won the WPBA National 9-Ball Championship, Nov. 9-13 in Lincoln City, Ore. This is Kim’s second WPBA title. “I am so happy and I want to say a lot of things and I don’t know how!,” gushed the giddy champ, for whom English is her third language.

Kim bested Vivian Villarreal in a hill-hill final match, 7-6, and collected $16,000. Kim came through the one-loss side after losing to Villarreal the first time around. Kim beat Monica Webb, 7-4, to advance to the final.

White Upsets Corr in WPBA Nationals Round Three

In round three on the winners’ side of the Women’s Professional Billards Tour’s Cuetec Cues National 9-Ball Championship, newly elected WPBA President Kim White, ranked No. 41, upset No. 2 Karen Corr, 9-6.

The year-end event, being held at the Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City, Ore., Nov. 9-13, is down to eight women on the no-loss side going into round four Saturday morning. Sixteen players remain in the one-loss bracket.

At 11am today, the one-loss survivors will duke it out. Melissa Little plays Julie Kelly, Tracie Hine faces Jennifer Barretta, Jennifer Chen faces Megan Minerich and Sarah Rousey plays Karen Corr, among other matches. At 2:30 this afternoon, the winners’ brack will be reduced to four players. Those matchups are Allison Fisher against Tiffany Nelson, Kelly Fisher against Monica Webb, Ga Young Kim against Gerda Hofstatter and Vivian Villarreal against the rampaging White.

“Rocket” Lone US Medal Hope

Rodney Morris overcame an early 4-1 deficit against Germany’s Thomas Engert Friday evening to win 11-8 and advance to the semifinals of the men’s 9-ball division at the 2005 World Games in Duisburg, Germany. With the ousters Friday of Charlie Williams and Vivian Villarreal, Morris is the only U.S. contestant remaining in the four cue sport medal categories.

Morris will face former world 9-ball champion and reigning Billiard Congress of American Open 9-Ball Champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany on Saturday for the right to play in the Gold Medal game. Hohmann squeaked past Sweden’s Tom Storm, 11-10, to earn his semifinal spot. The other Saturday semi in the men’s division will pit China’s Pei-Wei Chang against surprising Vangelis Vettas of Greece. Vettas, who shocked Germany’s Ralf Souquet in the opening round of the 16-player single-elimination field, dumped Williams, 11-7, on Friday. Chang, 2004 World Pool Championship runnerup, beat Holland’s Niels Feijen, 11-7.

In Women’s 9-Ball, Korea’s Sung-Hyun Jung beat Villarreal, 11-8, to earn a spot in the semifinals. She’ll be joined by Jennifer Chen, who upended Allison Fisher, Jasmin Oschan of Austria, and Norway’s Line Kjorsvik.

Two Turks, Semih Sayginer and Murat Coklu, earned semifinal spots in the Men’s Carom discipline, along with Dick Jaspers of Holland and defending champion Danny Sanchez of Spain.

Men’s Snooker saw 18-year-old Jun-Hui Ding post a 138 clearance enroute to a 3-0 win over Germany’s Lasse Munstermann. Ding reached the semis along with Amateur World Champion Mark Allen of England, countryman Gerard Greene and Belgium’s Bjorn Haneveer, who overcame a 2-1 deficit to beat England’s Gavin Pantall, 3 sets to 2.

World Games Quarterfinals Set

Americans Rodney Morris, Charlie Williams and Vivian Villarreal will take U.S. medal hopes into quarterfinal matches today at the World Games in Duisburg, Germany.

In men’s 9-ball, Morris, who routed Aruba’s Roland Acosta, 11-4, on Wednesday, will face Germany’s Thomas Engert, and Williams, an 11-7 winner over Japan’s Massashi Hoshi, will battle Vangelis Vettas of Greece. Vettas shocked Germany’s Ralf Souquet, 11-10, in the opening round of the 16-player single-elimination event.

Villiarreal, the lone U.S. competitor in the women’s 9-ball division, faces Korea’s Sung-Hyun Jung. Defending champion Jeanette Lee pulled out of the competition at the last minute because of impending back surgery.

Sweden’s Tom Storm, Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann, Holland’s Neils Feijen and Chinese star Pei-Wei Chang round out the final eight in the men’s division.

Top-ranked Allison Fisher, Taiwan’s Jennifer Chen, Italy’s Tiziana Cacciamani, Austria’s Jasmine Ouschan, Japan’s Yukiko Hamanishi and former WPBA regular Line Kjorsvik of Norway make up the remaining women competitors.

Men’s carom billiards and men’s snooker is also being contested at the international sports festival, which is seen as an important stepping stone for the cue sports’ Olympic Games hopes. Two high-ranking officials, Kelly Fairweather, Sports Director of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Ron Froelich, President of the International World Games Association (IWGA), were on hand at the Saalbau arena in Bottrop for the opening matches of the billiard competition.

Morris, Williams and Villarreal Cue Up at World Games

DUISBURG, Germany, July 20 — The billiard portion of the 2005 World Games kicks off today with men competing in three disciplines (carom, snooker and 9-ball) and women in 9-ball only. Rodney Morris and Charlie Williams will represent the U.S. in 9-ball on the men’s side, and Vivian Villarreal will cue up for the American women.

The finals in all four groups will be played on Sunday, July 24. Billiards Digest staff will have regular updates here on Headstring News from the competition.

From July 14-24 at the World Games, Duisburg and partner cities Bottrop, Oberhausen and Mülheim an der Ruhr are expected to welcome 500,000 spectators in 27 venues, plus host the over 3,500 athletes from 100 nations who will compete in 40 sports and 177 disciplines.

Fisher – No, Not That One – Takes WPBA Title

Snooker-champ-turned-9-ball-pro Kelly Fisher won the Women’s Professional Billiard Association’s Mueller Recreational Products West Coast Classic at Viejas Casino in Alpine, Calif., Mar. 30-Apr. 3. The outcome was a shocker. It was Kelly Fisher’s first pro 9-ball title, and she was joined in the television rounds by Gerda Hofstatter (who took second), Vivian Villarreal (third) and Karen Corr (fourth place).

What was most surprising, however, was who did not make the TV rounds. Super-dominant top-ranked Allison Fisher (no relation) was relegated to tie-for-fifth, after being knocked into the one-loss bracket by Hofstatter and then eliminated by Corr. Kelly Fisher took home $10,000 for her win; Hofstatter settled for $7,000.

Allison Fisher Locks Up First and Throws Away The Key

Allison Fisher continued her domination of the Women’s Professional Billiards Association’s Classic tour at the Mueller Recreational Products Great Lakes Classic in Michigan City, Ind., March 2-6.

While Fisher’s continuing reign at the top of the rankings is far from unexpected, other pros made waves at the Great Lakes, too. Most notable was Fisher’s final-match opponent, Tiffany Nelson, who’s last trip to the television rounds was in 1994, when Nelson was just 14 years old.

Nelson defeated Texas tornado Vivian Villarreal in a television round in order to get to the final. In the final, Nelson played well and looked cool and unflustered under the lights, but she couldn’t get a look at the 1 ball after her breaks in the alternate-break format. The result was a 7-1 win for Fisher.

Fisher collected $10,000 for first prize, while Nelson settled for $7,000. Villarreal took home $5,500 for third place, and snooker import Kelly Fisher collected $4,500 for a fourth-place finish.

Julie Kelly Triumphs in Windsor

Julie Kelly finally broke through for a WPBA title win.

Julie Kelly finally broke through for a WPBA title win.

Julie Kelly has broken the Allison Fisher/Karen Corr stranglehold on Women’s Professional Billiard Association titles.

The ebullient Irishwoman took a 7-5 victory over perennial top-ranker Fisher at the Cuetec Cues Canadian Classic in Windsor, Ontario, Oct. 6-10. Kelly lost to friend and road partner Corr in round four and went to the losers’ side, defeating Gerda Hofstatter, 9-8, Romana Dokovic, 9-3, Vivian Villareal, 9-7, and Hsin Huan, 7-2, to earn a semifinal rematch with Corr, who she dismissed handily, 7-4, to move forward into the final and trump Fisher.

Kelly was ecstatic after her long-awaited win, and took the opportunity to thank members of her family back in Ireland, as well as Corr, for their help and support in reaching her goal.