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01/27: 2018 MCA Annual General Meeting (East)
05/05: 2018 Lee's Summit T-Bone (9WS)
06/16: Shield: OKC Central Quad (GC)
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07/28: KC Open (9WS)
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01/26: 2018 MCA Annual General Meeting (South)

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« 2016 MCA Six Ball Championship | Main | 2016 KC Open Pro/Gold Early Results »
Wednesday
Aug032016

Miller Back on Top

Paul Miller notched his first MCA tournament since 2013

Player report by Dylan Goodwin

PARKVILLE, MO -- The 2016 MCA Nine-Wicket Series continues to find ways to reach back to the 2013 season. During that historic first season, Paul Miller took both the inaugural MCA Championship tournament and GWM Pro Points Race, but since then had only been able to play in a few MCA events. His return this year netted his first tourney win since 2013 as he took down Billy Bob Breeden 32-18 in Sunday's Kansas City Open Pro Division final at Kactus Creek Croquet Club in Parkville, Missouri. That little nod to the 2013 season follows the only other tournament winner from that first year, Greg Clouse, also picking up his first MCA win since 2013 at the Missouri Open held earlier in July.

PHOTOS | OFFICIAL SCORESHEET

Besides the unique historical angles, the 2016 KC Open Pro Division delivered arguably the best top end nine-wicket field assembled (see player list below). The players did not disappoint as the action on Sunday was both elite level and interactive. On top of that the players withstood two rain delays and played in some relatively heavy rain at times, but no one had a complaint.

On the courts, block play went close to projected seedings, but Matt Griffith's rise to the top of the overall points standings meant that he drew the #1 seed and was rewarded with a first-round face-off against Paul Miller in a loaded top half of the eight-player afternoon bracket. 

Billy Bob Breeden (click to zoom)Griffith and Miller were 1-1 in previous nine wicket matchups. As this one wound down, Griffith missed a great opportunity for the win as he over-rolled the 13PW on a short split. That cost him the game and Miller advanced 20-18 to the semifinals where he would face the winner of my game with Matt Smith.

That one can be summed up easily. Smith set his black ball on the court for a blue rush on the south boundary halfway to corner four. My Chernobyl attempt slipped through, so I attacked, but drug the court and the roll off took the slow rolling yellow ball off to the right. Smith went around and set the un-hittable leave on the south boundary. I put red in the pock-marked corner three hoping he might try to pick it up.

Sure enough, he tried it as he came around and the terrain tripped him up. After setting the break, I went around with red, but botched the leave after rolling through too far on 13PW. Smith then assumed control and took the 25-14 win to advance for a marquis semifinal matchup with Miller.

That game was entertaining as both players seemed to be in a good rhythm, but Smith made some un-characteristic poor shots and Miller advanced to the final in a tight 19-18 win.

On the bottom half of the bracket, former GWM Pro Points leader Greg Clouse slipped to the #2 seed and drew Billy Bob Breeden. Breeden hadn't really yet made his mark on the MCA Nine Wicket Series, but Sunday would be different. He took Clouse down 32-3, then drew Jason Johnson in the semifinals. Johnson advanced via a hard-fought 26-20 win over Ron Millican.

Breeden started hot and cooled down enough for Johnson to get an opportunity. However, Breeden was strong enough to peg out and collect a 32-6 win to advance to his first MCA Nine Wicket Series final.

The showdown in the final featured Miller getting the first break of the day, but he had to bail off. Breeden had a shot run but broke down. Miller was able to get out to rover with his front ball. He went around later and ended up with both balls for the peg. Still, Breeden got back in the action and when Miller left a ball on court near the stake a good break took shape.

Breeden errored out on the 9PW, but actually got one final chance late, but broke down. Miller was able to pegout and take the 32-18 win for the title. 

GWM PRO DIVISION FINAL ORDER

01. Paul Miller (4-1)
02. Billy Bob Breeden (3-2)
03. Matt Smith (3-1)
04. Jason Johnson (2-2)
05. Ron Millican (2-1)
06. Greg Clouse (2-1)
07. Matt Griffith (1-2)
08. Dylan Goodwin (1-2)
09. Deborah Millican (1-1) 
10. Bill Berg (0-2)
11. Robert Fournier (0-2)
12. Greg Adams (0-2) 


GOLD FINALISTS: Winner Josh Reed (L) and runner-up Jodi Adams (R)

REED GOES FOR GOLD

In the Gold Division, four players battled it out in a block that was followed with the top two players advancing to a championship match. All kinds of storylines were in play as the day started. Josh Reed was a newcomer to the division after playing in Silver in the previous tournament where he was the runner-up. He started the day strong by knocking off Gold leader Steve Jackson 15-10 in the first game of the day.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ellie Kemp had opted to downshift to Silver play after the Missouri Open to work on her game. With the event being short, she was asked to also help fill out the Gold Division. So, Kemp got in five games on Saturday (3-2) before starting play on Sunday. 

She started with a 24-13 loss to high-scoring Jodi Adams in round one, but then came back to edge Steve Jackson 15-14 to get to 1-1. To finish off her day in block play, she would face Reed who had worked out to 2-0. Sure enough, she was up to the task and worked out a 17-16 win over Reed to get to 2-1.

In the meantime, Jackson had come in with a 9-2 record, but after two rounds found himself 0-2. Jodi Adams showed no mercy in the final round as she took a 21-20 win to get to 2-1 to match both Kemp and Reed. The tiebreaker favored Adams as the top qualifier, but the second spot camed down to one wicket as Reed edged Kemp 46-45 for the Gold Championship game berth.

Reed had taken the earlier game 15-14 against Adams, and the next one proved to be tight as well, with Reed getting a 23-21 and his first title.

Once the dust settled and the scores were all tallied, we saw that the 2016 Gold Division race has tighted up quite a bit. Jackson's rough day hurt as Adams has now closed to five points in the overall race. It should make for a great MCA Gold Championship the overall race could come down to the final game.

GOLD DIVISION FINAL ORDER

01. Josh Reed (3-1)
02. Jodi Adams (2-2)
03. Ellie Kemp (2-1)
04. Steve Jackson (0-3)

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