|Champion Alex Pagulayan, Photo by Anick Cadorette|
This past weekend September 30- October 1 the 3rd edition of the Archer Cup was played. This event is the brainchild of Marco Sanschagrin and the entire EvenTime Production team. For Sanschagrin Johnny Archer is a close friend but also his favourite player. Recognizing that Archer is a true legend of the sport winning everything at one time or another including World Championships multiple times, he wanted to honour him by hosting a world class event in his name.
Over the years stars such as Jayson Shaw, Alex Pagulayan, Mike Dechaine, John Morra, Mika Immonen have all made appearances. This year was no different as the field boasted two World Champions Johnny Archer and Alex Pagulayan. To go along with them was world class players Mike Dechaine, John Morra, Alain Martel and Danny Hewitt. Overall 56 players came from all over Québec, Ontario and the U.S.
With staggered entry fee's it was the amateurs who showed up in large numbers that really brought this tournament over the top. The Archer Cup was a seeded event with a group stage. Most groups had 4 players in each group with the top 3 qualifying. However some groups had only 3 players with all of them automatically qualifying.
Throughout the group stage there was not too much out of the ordinary to happen, as all the favourites found their way into the final 32. Those who finished first in the group automatically qualified for the top 16. There was few things of note however that did happen before we got to the final 32. Local AA ranked player Dominic Byrne shocked the entire room when he defeated arguably the number one player in Québec and former 4th place finisher at the World Championships Alain Martel 8-5. Another notable performance was that of Waleed Hashem from Mississauga, Ontario.
In Hashem's group a local legend who was Alain Martel idol at one time Gaston Leblanc made his first appearance on the scene in 16 years. Leblanc now older and maybe out of practice still showed his level. However Hashem beat him 8-1 in the group stage and 8-7 in the round of 32. This match was a little contentious as Leblanc was visibly bothered by Hashem's pace of play and Hashem was bothered as he found Leblanc being unsportsmanlike. In the end Martin Daigle ended his impressive run in the final 16 in a close match 9-6. Hashem split the $300 prize of top amateur in Guillaume Beaudet who lost out to Joey Cicero in the same round.
It was the top 8 where things really got interesting as it was only the cream of the crop left in the field. Joey Cicero eliminated Martin Daigle 9-3. Luc Salvas to the delight of the crowd eliminated Johnny Archer 9-8 in a thrilling match the final rack can be seen here.
Archer was really playing on top of his game and I picked him as a favourite to make the final. However he ran into a hot Luc Salvas and was the victim of a couple bad rolls that ended his bid.
On the other streamed table local up and coming pro Dany Nguyen continued his impressive showing after eliminating John Morra in the round of 16 9-6. This time he was up against former Mosconi Cup team member Mike Dechaine. This was another close affair as Nguyen edged him out 9-8, this video can also bee seen below.
In the last match of the top 8 Alex Pagulayan made quick work of Danny Hewitt. Pagulayan then went on to eliminate Nguyen to be the first to earn a spot in the final. Luc Salvas had to fight off the other up and coming pro in Québec Joey Cicero. This was a close match with Salvas getting the 9-7 win to face Pagulayan.
Salvas who has been back in action over the last few years playing Turning Stone and the Falcon Tour, looked to be back in form making his first final in a major event in sometime. However Pagulayan is one of the all time greats who is still in his prime and playing consistently proved to be too much for Salvas as he went on to win the final easily 11-5. Congratulations to all the winners this weekend. It should be noted that in a field with Archer, Morra, Dechaine Pagulayan it was 3 players from Québec who made the final 4, which again goes to show you the overwhelming talent in La Belle Province.
I would like to thank Marco Sanschagrin, Michel McCutcheon and the entire EvenTime Production team for hosting a world class event. There was a concern about attendance for this event however in the end most of the top local players came through. In the future I do not see it being a problem if there was a enough notice and fair entry fee's why an event like this could not see 96 to 128 players.
Finally I would like to thank my sponsors for this event; Tailgators Pool Hall, Rack-M-Up Billiards, The Winning Stroke Touhey Management, EvenTime Productions and www.chalkbegone.com. Without people like this behind me who not only value what we do here at www.cuesportnation.com but understand the importance of it, our travels and coverage would be impossible. To see our full coverage which includes more videos and picture please visit the Cue Sport Nation Facebook Page.
1. Alex Pagulayan $3500
2. Luc Salvas $2500
3/4 Dany Nguyen & Joey Cicero $1500