2022

2022 STOP #1

March 5-6

Triple Nines Bar & Billiards

Elkridge MD

 

          - 29 player field -

  1st  $700  Briana Miller

  2nd  $450  Caroline Pao

  3rd  $300  Kathy Friend

  4th  $200  Linda Shea

  5th  $130  Ada Lio

  5th  $130  Eugenia Gyftopoulos

  7th  $ 90  Judie Wilson

  7th  $ 90  Kia Burwell

 

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l-r: Briana Miller, Caroline Pao

l-r: Kia Burwell, Eugenia Gyftopoulos, Briana Miller, Linda Shea, Ada Lio, Caroline Pao, Judie Wilson, (not pictured: Kathy Friend)

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BRIANA MILLER TAKES SEASON OPENER ON J. PECHAUER NORTHEAST WOMEN’S TOUR

 Skip Maloney, AZBilliards

  March 8, 2022

She’s back. After almost three years in which she had failed to record any sort of a payout in any pool tournament (that we know of), Briana Miller returned to Pennsylvania from St. Charles, MO, where she’d attained a degree in finance, thanks to a pool-related scholarship to Lindenwood University. She got a job upon graduation and then, later, just beyond the height of the pandemic, was allowed to transfer and do that job remotely, back at home in Allentown, PA. Just this past weekend (March 5-6), Miller went undefeated to chalk up her first win on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) in five years. Her last two recorded payouts came during the 2018 and 2019 Super Billiards Expo’s Women’s Championships, in which she finished 9th and 5th, respectively.

Miller’s last win on the JPNEWT, in November of 2017, featured two, back-to-back victories (hot seat and finals) over Tour Director Linda Shea. In a circumstance that at the time, we described to be “as rare as a teenager that doesn’t play video games,” Miller shut Shea out in both matches. Like that event, the tour’s 2022 season opener, with its 29 entrants, was hosted by Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.

“It’s great to see her out and playing again,” said Shea after this past weekend’s event. “I loved it. She’s all grown up now; nice and settled and doing well. Her game showed it. She shot the lights out.”

It was, all told, a big come-back weekend for Miller that happened to accompany a turning point for the JPNEWT, as well. Their season opener capped an overall effort to revitalize the tour. Their 2022 season has begun with a new ‘look.’ They’ve partnered with a new streaming company – TTMD Streaming (ThinkTechMD) – which has brought a degree of professionalism and new vitality to the streaming services, including such improvements as multiple camera angles, the ability to do instant replay and steady commentary from the familiar face and voice of pool instructor George Hammerbacher and Wayne Everhart, owner of TTMD. The company has also undertaken to improve the tour’s presence on varied forms of social media and have been instrumental in creating a new tour Web site.

“They were very professional,” noted Shea of TTMD Streaming’s presence at the tour’s season opener, “and I’m looking forward to a great union with them.”

“Not only that,” she added, ‘but feature this: we held an amateur event, as well, for 450 and below Fargo rates that I’ve been trying to grow for two years. TTMD’s on board for our first event of the season and they get 25 women to participate. The most I ever got was eight. They worked that very hard and for sure, get all the credit for that 450 and under event. They even put four players in the main event, sponsored them.”

The winner of the ‘450 and under’ event was Lynn Richard, who came from the loss side (three matches) and claimed the title, with Linda Cheung as runner-up. There was also a preliminary, 17-entrant ‘chip tournament’ on Friday night, March 4, with races to one that proved immensely popular.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Shea. “Only 17 people (mixed genders, won by Pete Boyer), but it was a blast and they want it to come back every week.”

In the main event, Miller runs a gauntlet of some of the better-known competitors on the tour. In spite of what Miller encountered as a lot of new faces, she ended up facing people that she knew,

beginning with Lai Li and following with Judie Wilson and Linda Cheung, which brought her to a winners’ side semifinal against another familiar face, Eugenia GyftopoulosKathy Friend, in the meantime, got by Melissa Jenkins, Alyssa Solt and survived a tough double hill challenge by Caroline Pao before advancing to her winners’ side semifinal against Ada Lio.

Friend downed Lio 7-3 and met up with Miller, who’d sent Gyftopoulos to the loss side by the same 7-3 score. Miller claimed the hot seat, her first in a long while, 7-2.

On the loss side, Lio picked up Linda Shea, who’d lost her opening match to Shanna Lewis and embarked on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that was almost derailed by Melissa Mason’s double hill challenge in the second, losers’ side round. Shea survived that, advancing to eventually eliminate Linda Cheung and Kia Burwell. Gyftopoulos drew Caroline Pao, who, following her defeat at the hands of Friend, had eliminated Lewis 7-4 and Judie Wilson 7-1.

Pao defeated Gyftopoulos 7-5, as Shea was busy getting by Lio 7-3. It set up a classic JPNEWT quarterfinal match between two of the tour’s most enduring event champions; Pao and Shea. Pao won this round of that ongoing rivalry 7-4 and then, dropped Friend 7-3 in the semifinals.

The finals of the 2022 season, pitting Pao against Miller, was, by almost any standard, a classic of the tour’s long-standing and still ongoing history. Behind them, at this event, were quite a few former JPNEWT champions; Shea, Burwell, Friend, Lewis, Lai Li and in absentia, the memory of Karen Corr. Ahead of them, as is always the case, was the table in front of them. Miller completed her undefeated run with a 7-4 victory over Pao to reclaim her spot among the tour’s best.

She’d taken a break and had now come back, to her hometown and pool. “After I graduated (in 2018, from Lindenwood), I felt like a needed a break,” she explained. “I’d been playing since I was eight (but) felt as though I wasn’t having as much fun anymore. So, I shifted my focus to other things.”

As for future plans, she’s keeping her expectations and specific plans on a ‘tight rein,’ so to speak. A sort of one day at a time approach.

“I think I’m going to stick with the JPNEWT for right now, to get back into the swing of things,” she said, adding that her ‘future’ eye is extended forward a little, toward future WPBA events and CSI’s Predator Pro Series, as examples. She’s considering attending this year’s Super Billiards Expo, but more likely as a spectator and to get reacquainted with some of the women she’d come to know over the years. “I might just go and say ‘Hi’ to everyone.

“I’m not at that level of play (to be) in a Pro event yet,” she added. “I’ll just get out there when I’m ready. Right now, I’m just playing pool to have fun.”

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Cues, ThinkTechMD for their streaming and social media services, as well as Gina Cunningham (real estate agent of Keller Williams Integrity) and George Hammerbacher.

The next event on the JPNEWT, scheduled for April 9-10, will be hosted by Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.

2022 STOP #2

April 9-10

Markley Billiards

Norristown PA

 

          - 21 player field -

  1st  $500  Briana Miller

  2nd  $325  Kia Burwell

  3rd  $200  Linda Shea

  4th  $150  Nicole Nester

  5th  $100  Anna Marks

  5th  $100  Alyssa Solt

  7th  $ 65  Carol V. Clark

  7th  $ 65  Linda Cheung

 

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l-r: Briana Miller, Kia Burwell

MILLER WINS HER SECOND STRAIGHT ON J. PECHAUER NORTHEAST WOMEN’S TOUR

 Skip Maloney, AZBilliards

  April 12, 2022

In the wake of winning the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour’s season opener last month (March 5-6), after being away from the tables for about three years, Brianna Miller commented that while she hoped to be increasing the frequency of her competition in the weeks and months ahead, she was going to “stick with the JPNEWT for right now, to get back into the swing of things.” She took a ‘swing’ at Stop #2 on the tour this past weekend (April 9-10) and as she did in March, so, too, in April. She went undefeated to claim her second straight 2022 tour title. The event drew 21 entrants to Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.

 

Absent from the entrant list this time around were Miller’s season-opening hot seat opponent (Kathy Friend) and finals opponent (Caroline Pao). In as clear an indication of “out of the frying pan, into the fire” imaginable, she faced tour director Linda Shea in the hot seat match and Kia Burwell in the finals.

Following victories over Gina Cunningham 7-3, Susan Kimble 7-1 and a shutout over Ada Lio, Miller faced Anna Marksin one of the winners’ side semifinals. Shea, in the meantime, got by Suzzie Wong 7-4, Jolene Retallack 7-2 and Carol V. Clark to face Nicole Nester in the other winners’ side semifinal. Nester had just sent Kia Burwell to the loss side in a rare shutout against Burwell.

Shea downed Nester 7-3 and turned to a hot seat match against Miller, who’d defeated Marks 7-3. Miller claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Shea and waited for Burwell to get back.

Burwell took her opening, loss-side round versus Suzzie Wong 7-5 and then, in something of a response to her winners’ side shutout loss, advanced to the quarterfinals, with two straight shutout wins over Carol V. Clark and fresh from the winners’ side, Marks. Nester picked up Alyssa Solt, who’d lost her opening round match against Linda Cheung and embarked on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Ada Lio 7-4 and, in their rematch, Linda Cheung 7-3.

Nester stopped Solt’s loss-side run at four, downing her 7-3 on Saturday night. Nester was unable to return on Sunday for a rematch against Burwell, who leapfrogged over the quarterfinals and downed Shea in the semifinals 7-5. Miller completed her second straight undefeated run on the tour with a 7-3 victory over Burwell in the finals.

 

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Cues, ThinkTechMD for their streaming and social media services, as well as Gina Cunningham (real estate agent of Keller Williams Integrity) and George Hammerbacher. The next event on the JPNEWT, scheduled for May 21-22, will be hosted by On Cue Sports Bar & Grill in Front Royal, VA.

2022 STOP #4

May 21

On Cue Sports Bar & Grill

Front Royal VA

 

          - 12 player field -

  1st  $500  Linda Shea

  2nd  $300  Kia Burwell

  3rd  $200  Kelly Wyatt

  4th  $100  Kari Anderson

  5th  $ 75  Anna Marks

  5th  $ 75  Melissa Jenkins

 

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l-r: Linda Shea, Melissa Jenkins, Kelly Wyatt, Kia Burwell, Anna Marks, Kari Anderson

SHEA GOES UNDEFEATED TO CHALK UP HER FIRST 2022 WIN ON THE JPNEWT

 Skip Maloney, AZBilliards

  May 23, 2022

Tour director Linda Shea and Kia Burwell have been the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour Champion and runner-up for three of the last six years. They have met countless times at various stages of any given stop on the tour over those years and this past weekend (Saturday, May 21), they met once again in the hot seat and finals of 2022’s Stop #4, an event which drew 12 entrants to On Cue Sports Bar and Grill in Port Royal, VA. Shea won both matches to claim the event title.

“She’s been nipping at my heels over the past few years,” said Shea. “Sometimes, it may seem like it takes forever to get into the next level, but she has, and her game continues to increase along with her devotion to the sport.”  “I look forward to battling with her in the coming events,” she added.

The nature of the bracket (upper and lower matches) set them on a course to the hot seat match, right from the get-go. Shea opened her campaign with a shutout over Taylor Perkins, before moving into a winners’ side quarterfinal versus Alyssa Solt. Solt battled Shea to double hill before Shea prevailed, moving into a winners’ side semifinal against Kari Anderson, who’d also faced a double hill challenge in her winners’ side quarterfinal against Melissa Mason. Burwell, in the meantime, got by Kelly Wyatt 7-4 and Ashley Kaas 7-2 to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal against Melissa Jenkins.

Burwell sent Jenkins to the loss side 7-2 and was joined in the hot seat match by Shea, who’d defeated Anderson 7-3. In their first of two, Shea claimed the hot seat 7-3.

On the loss side, Jenkins and Anderson ran into competitors who’d both won all (2) of the matches they’d played on that side of the bracket. Kelly Wyatt had eliminated Melissa Mason 7-4 and Alyssa Solt 7-5 to draw Jenkins, while Marks was working on the elimination of Ashley Kaas 7-4 and Carol V. Clark 7-2 to pick up Anderson.

Anderson and Marks fought to double hill before Anderson prevailed, advancing to the quarterfinals. Wyatt joined her after winning a match that came within a game of double hill at 7-5. Wyatt downed Anderson in those quarterfinals 7-4, before having her brief loss-side journey ended by Burwell, who gave up only a single rack in the semifinals that followed.

It was the sixth time that Shea and Burwell had met in the finals of a JPNEWT stop since June of last year. Burwell had won four of the five. Shea’s win in their fourth 2021 final occurred in the same location (On Cue Sports Bar & Grill in Port Royal, VA) where she won their sixth final this past weekend. Shea completed her undefeated run with a 7-2 victory over Burwell.

 

“I can’t say enough about this room,” said Shea of On Cue. “Great room, great equipment and their staff is the best.”

In the absence of Brianna Miller, who won the first two events of this year’s tour, Shea moved into the top slot in the tour standings. Burwell’s runner-up finish put her in third place, just behind Miller, at the ‘quarter-pole’ of the 11-stop 2022 tour.