Sunday, April 10th, 2022 – Shane Van Boening (SVB) just won his first World Pool Championship title 13-6 against Albin Ouschuan, breaking a 20 year drought for any USA player to win the event since 2002, when Earl Strickland defeated Francisco Bustamante to take the title – catapulting SVB atop the world Pool rankings at #2 worldwide, and making the case for SVB to have superseded Reyes as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Times); And SVB was near elimination earlier in the event, just before the final 16, almost being defeated by Mika Immonen, coming back from down 10-3 in the race to 11, winning in a 11-10 thriller to hang on to his hope of taking his very first world title.
And, SPM (Sneaky Pete Mafia) is lucky enough to have a play by play account of this event, documented by none other than billiards aficionado Jennie Ann, life partner of legendary player Keith McCready – who was featured in the 'Color Of Money,' playing a contributing role as fictional character Grady Seasons. (Perhaps SPM can get the exclusive Keith McCready interview soon from this reporter's perspective.)
"It's show time at the World Pool Championship final. 128 players started and only 2 remain. Defending champion Albin Ouschan v. Shane Van Boening." – Jennie Ann Posts with a picture of the marquee event.
Suffice it to say, the atmosphere of the event was electric. I could feel it from Jennie Ann's account on Facebook, and as friends gave me updates, while history was being made.
"When Shane walked out, the lights changed from blue and yellow, supporting Ukraine, too red, white, and blue, as the music 'Born in the USA' by Bruce Springsteen played. <3" – Jennie Ann.
It was a tight race early on, with SVB getting the first rack to set the finals tone…
"Shane breaks first, pockets two balls, and leaves two duck shots. 3 sitting in front of the side and drops. Jeremy said he went to a meal with Shane before this final, and said he feels Shane feels more nerves now, but he doesn't mind it that much. It's just different. Kelly said sometimes the nerves can be a good thing or a detriment. It's all about finding the balance. Shane draws first blood, 1-0." – Said Jennie Ann on her post about the contest, providing players like myself who couldn't watch the event an excellent play-by-play account of this Clash Of The Titans event!
Early on there was a back and forth exchange between Albin Ouschuan and SVB – a tug-of-war contest that ultimately ended in SVB breaking out, after he and Ouschuan stood locked at 6-6.
These are the events leading up to the above:
"Shane breaks and 3 balls drop. Big shot here on the 2, and he misses, a long way off target. Here comes Albin. He calls an extension. 2 ball long and dirty." – Jennie Ann reported back to her Facebook page following on the second rack.
"Albin banks the 3 in the side. He's on the move. 4 balls left on the table. Down goes the peach-colored ball, whatever number that is. Purple in the corner. Green ball and 9-rock left. Down goes green and the 9. Albin ties, 1-1." – Jennie Ann said.
Then, tied at 1-1, Albin breaks the next rack, "Albin breaks and 4 balls drop. Wow! Beautiful stage…1-ball is funny, an odd cut shot. He makes it using inside english to get on the 2…He stuns the ball and gets perfect on purple ball. It's easy peasy from here and he takes the lead, 2-1. Kelly said he looks comfortable." – said Jennie Ann, providing a well-documented account of this, the pool story of the last two decades.
Then, in the fourth rack…
"Albin breaks, drops a ball, but he's snookered on the 1. Very difficult to roll out, the layout of the table…Shane takes the roll-out and snookers Albin…Albin goes for a jump shot, makes a good hit, but he misses. Now comes Shane to the table…Shane calls an extension, and he misses, leaving a combo on the 1-6 for Albin. Albin shoots and makes the easy 1-6 combo shot. 1 is a few inches from the pocket…I love this snooker ref, Marcel from Germany. He's great. Albin is running out…Albin studying the layout of the table, 8 in the side, 9 in the corner, and he scores. 3-1, Albin in the lead." – Jennie Ann sums up the score ending 3-1, after 4 racks of play (Her followers on Facebook commenting and thankful to her of her accounts and updates.).
Then the two players go back and forth in a tough contested billiards battle for the ages, until the breaking point where they stood locked at 6-6 just about one hour ago Central Time US.
Jennie Ann's account of the nail-biting race, ending with a 6-6 tie at that point, keeps her followers glued to her thread, so many unable to watch the event live for various reasons.
On Rack 13:
"Shane switches side again for the break. He pockets two balls but the 1 is funny. After studying it, Shane pushes out, and Albin accepts…Albin plays a safety. Shane hidden…On a good note, Shane makes a good hit. Albin can see the 1, though, and now he calls an extension…He tries to hide 1 ball but no good. Shane makes it…Shane's making some beautiful shots now. Jeremy says he thinks Shane is starting to feel okay now. Kelly agrees. :-p … Shane chalking fast and furiously after each shot. :-p … Shane more than halfway to victory. Van Boening 7, Ouschan 6. The drama continues. [Commercial break.]" – Jennie Ann, providing an expert, inside account of the event, unlike many good reporters could duplicate.
At 7-6 was when SVB began to break away, culminating in a 13-6 trouncing of the former world champion, Albin Ouschuan, and history being made.
"Here's the shot of the match made earlier, the Impossible Dream shot. Shane is hidden on the 1 and somehow kicks the 1 in the far corner shot. I mean, if I was in the audience, I'd have been jumping out of my chair. Dancing in the aisles! :-D" – Jennie Ann reports of a shot earlier in the match, highlighting the level of play SVB elevated his game to, taking this epic title by storm, like a hurricane of billiards brilliance.
"Karl Boyes now in the booth along with Jeremy Jones…Shane breaks and two balls drop…Down goes the 3, and he's can see the peach-colored ball in the side. Down it drops. 4 ball can go in the side, I think. Can Shane pull out ahead by 2 games? Stay tuned." – Jennie Ann continues.
"Jeremy said he thinks Shane is working out the nerves. Karl says you can see Shane wants this badly. You can see it in his face. Shane getting closer to 13 with a 2-game lead. It's now 8-6…A nice break by Shane, with two balls dropping. Shane has made 4 break-and-runs and Albin has had two break-and-runs in this final…Uh-oh. Shane got funny on the 2. Calls an extension. He snookers Albin…Albin attempts a soft kick and makes a good hit. However, it could be a 2-6 combo here. Nope. He plays safe. Safety battle in progress…Albin makes as great hit but leaves Shane a duck 2-ball. The big news is Shane is now at the table. Let's see what he can do. Man, my teeth hurt from grinding them from nerves. Shane surges forward, tightens his grip on the lead, 9-6…" – Jennie Ann.
"Ooh! Shane breaks, 1 in the side, but the 2 lays funny…Shane calls an extension. A dicey shot on the 2. Oh, man, he makes it, but he's only got a slight edge on the 3 in the opposite corner. He hits it sweet, like really sweet. Peach ball goes down. 4 balls left on the table. Shane is feeling every shot, so much body language. Each ball is just a little step towards the final stage of his journey to become a world champion. 10-6. Shane needs 3 for the win. 5 in a row for Shane." – Jennie Ann.
"Shane Van Boening closing in on his dream. A ball drops, but he has a horrible leave on the 1. It drops. Wow! … Shane is still on the move. Almost misses the 3 in the corner. It wriggles in, though, and he's still shooting. Peach ball goes in the side. Shane is talking to himself. Jeremy thinks he's still going through nerves. Two more balls to go, and away we go. It's no 11-6. Shane on a roll…[Commercial break.]...Shane breaks, 1 in the side. He makes the 2. The 3 went in like it had eyes. Shane calls an extension. What a sweet shot on the peach ball in the corner. 4 balls to go…Shane is now on the hill, 12-6. My heart is pounding." – Jennie Ann.
"Albin can only sit back and watch Shane run out. Shane is now chewing gum. 😛…Biggest shot of his life. Shane breaks on the hill…Albin gives it back. Shane shoots and leaves the 1 hidden, but it is a doable jump shot, I think…Karl says Albin is a big favorite to make the 1 ball, and he was right. Albin made it…Man overboard. White ball goes off the table. Shane has ball in hand…Destiny is calling. Five more balls to go…My heart is pounding…6 goes down. 3 balls left…Down goes the 7…OMG!...2 more balls to go…Please, please, please. 8 drops…Straight-in on the 9…Shane returns to his chair…He's feeling the heat…Shane calls an extension…I'm crying already. Shane wins." – Jennie Ann, concludes, giving such a detailed, play-by-play of the event, documenting well SVB's rise atop the pool world, and legendary player made the big-time on the world stage, the first time in 20 years a US player has won the event! Incredible! What a run! What a player!
SVB now stands as arguably the greatest pool player in the history of the game with this landmark victory.
Thanks to Jennie Ann for capturing it all for all the fans everywhere and agreeing to allowing us to quote her first-hand account here.