Europe Close In On Historic Win

Europe Close In On Historic Win

Europe 7 – 2 USA

Feijen / Gray 5 – 2 Van Boening / Woodward
Jayson Shaw 3 – 5 Rodney Morris
Ouschan / Appleton 5 – 4 Dechaine / Bergman
Mark Gray 5 – 1 Justin Bergman

TEAM EUROPE piled the misery on a floundering American side to take a five point lead into the third day of the 2016 Betfair Mosconi Cup at the Alexandra Palace in London. They won three of the four Wednesday night matches to leave the USA a mountainous task if they are to win the Mosconi Cup for the first time in eight years.

European captain Marcus Chamat was in no doubt as to how the day had gone; “What can you say, I thought today I would relax, watch some games, but it is very hard not to get involved in every game – the games are so tough and my players are playing so good so I am over the moon, and especially with a score like this.

“The mood in the group is electric and we feel like we are on top of the world. The confidence in the guys and the charisma everybody has, it is a dream team.

“I played the Mosconi Cup for so many years and I know a lot of things can take turns, anything can happen at the Mosconi Cup. Today we showed how well the guys are playing and how well the team is grouped together.

“We will go back to what we discussed before we started – we are here to make history and tie the cup overall and for that we need to win every match, played like the score is 0-0.”

For American captain, Mark Wilson it was another draining day that saw his team fall further behind; “We are a little disappointed because we came over here playing well and we are expecting to win. We have trained and worked hard all year, prepared to win and now we feel like we still deserve to win. We have to come out and win tomorrow. To win the Mosconi Cup you have to dominate a day so we will have to make that day tomorrow.”

The Betfair Mosconi Cup is the annual Europe v USA 9 ball showdown. It runs from Tuesday 6th to Friday 9th December with all sessions getting underway at 18.30 GMT. There are a potential 21 singles and doubles matches with the first team to reach 11 carrying off the famous trophy.

The opening match saw Shane Van Boening continue his miserable run of form as, in tandem with Skyler Woodward, the US went down 5-2 to the accuracy of Niels Feijen and Mark Gray. Trailing 1-4 from the opening day, every match was a ‘must win’ for the US but this was one they didn’t as both Americans missed balls and the European pair looked solid throughout.

Feijen said, “It was a dream start for us. In the practice room we focussed on starting with a fresh day, I have been on the team when we were down 4-1 and the next day we could have gone up 6-4 so we didn’t want them to do it to us. We had to come out strong, we knew the first point was a big one and I am glad we took it.”

In the second game, Rodney Morris dug in to upset Jayson Shaw and give the US some hope as the second day unfolded at the Ally Pally. A win was essential given the result of the opener and Morris delivered after looking a little shaky in the opening racks. Shaw’s downfall was a couple of dry breaks that gave Morris the opportunity to get to the table.

“It feels good to win that point. I won the lag, we haven’t been winning those and when the other team gets the first shot it feels like you’re on your heels. I broke and ran the first game so the heat was on him, so that was massive. Jayson is the hottest guy on the planet, it doesn’t matter where you go – he is the man.

“Being here wasn’t the reward for me; it was the beginning of a massive week of work. I wanted this; I played all year to get back here. I am retiring at the end of next year so if this is my last Mosconi Cup I want to enjoy it.”

The second doubles match was arguably the best of the tournament as Darren Appleton and Albin Ouschan enjoyed a hard fought contest as they overcame Justin Bergman and Mike Dechaine in a final rack decider. The momentum was swinging the USA’s way when Dechaine locked up the Euros in what looked like a match-winning safety.

Appleton though, kicked out of the snooker and pocketed the 3 ball to set up a run out for victory and a 6-2 lead.

The Englishman commented, “I made a mistake in the first rack but after that we played perfect. Mike missed one or two easy chances which gave us a chance to get back in the game. At 4-2 you think you will win but Justin especially played a couple of great shots – I think he has been by far their best player.

“We were praying to get an opportunity in the last game because it was their break and they were unlucky not to get a shot one the 1 ball. Albin played a good push out, they put us back but Albin tied up the 3 and 5, which was our insurance. Mike played a good safety and I kicked in the ball but when I looked at the 4 ball for the next shot, I thought it was impossible to make it and get shape on the 5. When he made it, potted it clear and landed perfect, it is one of the greatest shots I have ever seen!”

In what was the final match of the evening, Mark Gray looked excellent in recording his second win of the evening, beating Justin Bergman 5-1. The American, wearing his baggy shirt outside of his trousers, carelessly gave away ball in hand in the opening rack as his shirt touched a ball while cueing over the table.

Amazingly he didn’t tuck it in, and he took the next to level things. Gray though didn’t really make a mistake as he won the next four to dash American hopes.

Gray said, “I have played in three Mosconis and I have played well in the other two but my stats are pretty poor but for me, that is the performance of my Mosconi career and especially against the guy who has probably been their best player.

“You can tell the future of American pool, especially at the Mosconi, is going to be Bergman and Woodward and some of the youngsters that are coming through. I knew I was in for a tough time and maybe on paper he is slight favourite but I have really produced.

“I love the big stage with the bigger crowds, and you don’t get much bigger than Ally Pally with 2,000 screaming fans going wild. If you can’t play well here then you aren’t going to play well anywhere.”

Play continues tomorrow with the doubles match that was to have taken place on the Wednesday evening.

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