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07/27: KC Open Pro (9WS)
07/28: KC Open Gold (9WS)
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« 2016 MCA Six Ball Championship: October 9 | Main | 2016 MCA Championship Early Results »
Sunday
Sep252016

Drama to the End

BELTON, MO -- Finally, two of the MCA Nine Wicket Series races lived up to the hype and played out on the final Saturday of the season at Markey Park in Belton, Missouri on September 17, 2016. The GWM Pro Series race saw Matt Griffith come into the MCA Championship Saturday with a narrow 16-point lead over Greg Clouse. The MCA Gold Series was even closer with Steve Jackson clinging to a five-point lead over Jodi Adams. That set the stage for a dramatic finish to the 2016 season.

PHOTO GALLERY | OFFICIAL SCORESHEETS

At the Pro level, there was an interesting twist in that the playoff bracket favored Clouse as Matt Smith slotted into the top half of the bracket as a five seed with a 9-1 record. That indicated Griffith would likely have to take on Smith in round two, while Clouse was set for a much easier path in the bottom half of the bracket.

2016 GWM Pro 9WS Champion Matt Griffith (L). Click to ZoomAs it worked out, Griffith dispatched #8 Deborah Millican 20-13 and Smith advanced past #4 Greg Adams 32-12. Clouse advanced on the bottom half with a 19-13 win over #7 Jason Johnson. So after round one, Griffith's lead over Clouse stood at 17 points. 

Clouse faced off against #3 Ron Millican and took a 21-10 win. Griffith and Smith faced off in what turned out to be the best pro game of the day. It was a back and forth battle that ended with Smith leaving Griffith with a 60-foot roll-up on the super-slow court as his only real option with the last ball of last turns. Griffith made a valiant attempt, but couldn't pull off the miracle and Smith took a close one 21-18. 

That closed the gap for Clouse to 14 points and Griffith would have to watch from the sideline as Clouse and Smith squared off in the final.

Everything went close to the standard script as Smith got the first break, but failed to get his leave set properly after going around. Still, he didn't leave much and Clouse was never able to mount much of a threat. The only real excitement occurred with the last ball as Clouse made a push to collect the 15 points needed to take the overall points race and the $200 first place check. Unfortunately, just as the two-ball break was starting to come together, Clouse broke down and Smith claimed the 2016 MCA Championship Pro Shield with a 23-8 win.

For the GWM Nine Wicket Series, Griffith tallied 427 points and Clouse had 421 for the closest finish in MCA Pro 9WS history. Griffith took the $200 first place check while Clouse took the $100 second place prize. The rest of the GMW Pro Points top five lined out with Matt Smith ($50) in third place,  Ron Millican ($30) in fourth place and Greg Adams ($20) in fifth place.

Gold Shield Champion Jodi Adams (L). Click to ZoomSTRONG FINISH FOR ADAMS

The Gold Division had a last minute line-up change as Josh Reed had to drop out due to a back injury. That essentially left a four-player bracket with #2 Jodi Adams and #3 Ellie Kemp squaring off in one semifinal, while #1 Steve Jackson would play #5 S. Jason Cole. Adams and Kemp played early in a high-scoring affair with Adams winning 28-23 to advance to the final and also take the overall points lead.

Jackson and Cole played in the afternoon in a grinder and Cole pulled off a 13-12 upset to end Jackson's bid for the overall Gold points title.

The Gold Final played alongside the Pro Final with Adams taking a 24-16 win to claim the Gold Shield and overall Gold Points Race with a Gold Division record of 318 points on the season. Jackson finished with 283 points on the year.

REPEAT TOURNEY WIN FOR MARCINIAK

Six players squared off in the morning action to battle for the Silver Shield. The overall Silver Points Race was already decided as Gabe Airrington's 314 points were enough to mathematically clinch the title. Airrington along with Bryce Millican had to skip the event due to fall sports. The division also lost last year's Silver Shield winner Darin Watson as he had a travel commitment.

Silver Finalists Brevin Millican (L) and Justin Marciniak (R). Click to ZoomThe day started with a minor upset as #6 Cade Millican took down last year's overall Silver points champion and #3 seed Di Berg 10-8. Cade then went on to the semifinals to challenge #2 Brevin Millican in a nail-biter with Brevin holding on for a 13-12 win.

Number one seed Justin Marciniak came in as the clear favorite after notching another win at the KC Open in late July, but he did suffer a near-death experience in the semifinal versus #4 Wanda Jackson. He had to hit a six-yard roquet on the challenging surface to force the last turns session to another round. There he had the advantage as Jackon's earlier safe play at the south end of the slow court made it a challenge to partner up. Marciniak took advantage and closed with a short run at the turn stake to get a 14-10 win to advance.

As expected Brevin and Marciniak played a close one in the final, but Marciniak held on for a 14-12 win to claim the Silver Shield and his third Silver Tournament win. That ties him with Airrington for Silver tournament titles.

NOTES

--Shari Cullinan won the 2016 Bronze Points Cup based on her 53 points for the season. Unfortunately, the 2016 Bronze Shield Championship had to be cancelled due to a lack of participants, 
--Over the four seasons of MCA 9WS play, players on the Series have scored 19,805 wickets. The Pro Division alone has totalled 11,650 wickets
--The MCA has played 535 official games over four seasons
--Jodi Adams finished with a season record of 318 points, surpassing Taylor Airrington's mark of 212 in 2014. Technically, Steve Jackson broke the record first when he surpassed the mark during the Missouri Open. He finished with 283 points.
--Greg Clouse set a new Pro Record with 23 games played in one season, breaking Dylan Goodwin's record of 21 from 2014
--The Six Ball Championship was cancelled on the Friday night preceding the event primarily due to the effect of the steady all-day rain on setting the courts. No make-up date has been set. 
--The 18 participants in this year's event represented the lowest entry number for an MCA 9WS event since the 2014 season. 

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