HomeAbout Billiards DigestContact UsArchiveAll About PoolEquipmentOur AdvertisersLinks
Headstring News
Shane's Masterful Jump Nets $20K
Jan 30, 2011, 12:09 AM

Van Boening went vertical to win his first Derby City Classic all-around title. (Photo courtesy David Thomson-mediumpool.com)
ELIZABETH, Ind. -- The Derby City Classic is a nine-day celebration of pool that offers just about everything a fan could ask for. Tournaments run nearly 24 hours a day. Money games run nearly as constant, with players of all types and all skills matching up for sums small and large. But at the 2011 DCC, all the festivities and all the action were summed up in one single shot.

In the case game of his 9-ball semifinal, Shane Van Boening, chasing the $20,000 all-around crown given to the top player in the banks, one-pocket and 9-ball divisions, stared down a long jump shot on the 4 ball. Hit it, and he'd be a few balls from locking up the hefty payday. Miss it, and opponent Neils Feijen would be on his way to victory, giving Alex Pagulayan the cash.

And so, the 2007 U.S. Open Champion, who has long been considered the next great American pool player in the company of Johnny Archer and Earl Strickland, stepped up and -- with his full cue, since jump cues aren't allowed at the DCC -- drained it.

With the hundreds of fans packed around the TV table in the Accu-Stats Arena erupting in appreciative disbelief, Van Boening ditched his business-as-usual attitude and flashed a wide grin on his way back to his chair to calm his nerves for the final quartet of balls. He cleared them -- and took home 20 grand .

"I didn't think too much about it," he said. "I've practiced that shot, so I knew I could make it. I'm just happy it worked out.

But that one shot, that single stroke encapsulated everything Derby. Skill? Considering jump cues aren't allowed, Van Boening jacked up with his playing cue. Pressure? Even if he couldn't admit to it, anyone in the tournament arena could attest to thickness of the air. Money? In the bank.

Unfortunately for Van Boening, the final match never matched the wattage of the semifinal. Facing Dennis Orcollo, he had little chance. The diminutive Filipino slammed the door in the race to 7 before Van Boening had a chance to catch his breath. The 27-year-old scratched on the 3 ball in the opening rack. Orcollo, who was fresh off a 7-1 dismantling of Mika Immonen in the other semifinal, cleared for the 1-0 lead. He then broke and ran the next four racks for a 5-0 lead.

Van Boening got on the board by dropping the 9 in a rather messy sixth rack, but erred on a nearly straight-in 5 ball in the next. Orcollo cleared to get on the hill and followed with another break-and-run for the 7-1 victory. The $16,000 first-place prize further established Orcollo's place among the world's elite tournament players. Already the 2010 World Pool Masters champ and 2009 Predator International 10-Ball king, the Philippines' money-game king is a good bet in any tournament, short races or not.

"I'm just so happy," he said. "Short races and 300 other players, it was good. It was good to win."

But taking nothing away from Orcollo, Van Boening proved the star of this year's Derby City Classic. After failing to cash in the banks event, won by all-around runner-up Pagulayan, he proved talent can trump experience by topping the 317-player one-pocket division. The self-professed one-pocket novice rolled into the final opposite Earl Strickland, where he won a rapid-fire showdown, 3-2.

"I don't think I've played one-pocket since last year at the Derby," he said. "I was really surprised to win, but I just played the best I could."

On the heels of that victory, Van Boening still trailed Pagulayan, who finished in third in one-pocket, by 70 points, in the running for Master of the Table. Considering a divisional win is worth 120, with second earning 100, Van Boening was undoubtedly an underdog in the race for the lucratice award.

But Pagulayan was eliminated in 14th place in the 9-ball division by Mika Immonen, setting the stage for Van Boening's late-round run. Knowing he needed to make the 9-ball final to win the all-around, Van Boening was among the final eight players, all of whom already used their buy-back options, meaning the event effectively turned into a single-elimination eight-man tournament.

In his ensuing set against Warren Kiamco, Van Boening roared back from a 4-2 deficit to win, 7-4. Squaring off against Feijen, Van Boening again found himself on the wrong side of a 4-2 score. Again, Van Boening responded by taking the next four racks to get on the hill, 6-4. A loose safety on the 1 ball, though, and Feijen cleared the table and the next to force a case game.

The Netherlander, who won the 2007 Derby City 9-Ball title, sunk a ball on the break and then played safe on the 4. That left Van Boening his do-or-die shot -- the shot that will define the 2011 Derby City Classic.