Team Europe are marching towards a fourth consecutive Duelbits Mosconi Cup glory as the hosts extended their lead in the 30th anniversary of the transatlantic spectacle after winning day two at the Alexandra Palace.
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Overall Score after Day Two: Team Europe 7-1 Team USA
- Match Five: Joshua Filler 5-2 Fedor Gorst
- Match Six: Francisco Sanchez Ruiz 5-4 Fedor Gorst
- Match Seven: Sanchez Ruiz & Filler 4-5 Shane Van Boening & Gorst
- Match Eight: Albin Ouschan 5-0 Tyler Styer
The title holders completed a clean sweep of victories during the opening session on Wednesday, and they continued their relentless pursuit of a 16th overall win in the competition by claiming three of the four points on offer throughout Thursday to move 7-1 up and just four points away from the target of 11.
Jeremy Jones’ USA outfit were desperate for a fast start, but things went from bad to worse for the visitors during the first half of the session.
Fresh from his swashbuckling whitewash singles win the night before, Joshua Filler was on singles duty once again to break off the action in North London. The 26-year-old – winner of his second MVP award last year – carried on from where he left off as he raced into a 4-0 lead against Fedor Gorst.
New USA acquisition Gorst avoided a bagel by taking rack five before threatening an unlikely comeback when making it 4-2. However, following a tactical duel in the seventh rack, he failed to escape from a snooker and Filler deposited a 2-9 combo to swell Europe’s advantage to five.
Gorst stayed out to play back-to-back singles matches – a bold move from captain Jones – where he faced current World Champion and World Nineball Tour No. 1 Francisco Sanchez Ruiz.
The Spaniard chalked up the opening frame, but Gorst managed to find a rhythm as he established leads of 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3; the first time that Team USA had reached the hill first in a fixture this year.
Sanchez Ruiz – despite looking edgy on occasions during the tie – managed to peg his opponent back again to force a deciding rack where it looked like Gorst would construct a break and run for Team USA’s first point. Under the intense pressure and expectation, though, the 23-year-old ran short of ideal position for the 7-ball and missed the subsequent pot to allow his opponent to step up and put the Europeans 6-0 ahead.
Surely a huge setback to their hopes of a recovery, Gorst then paired up with Shane Van Boening in the only doubles encounter of the night where they showed grit and determination to finally get The Stars and Stripes on the scoreboard.
Playing the points-winners from earlier in the night – Filler & Sanchez Ruiz – the first four racks went against the break before the USA crafted a classy and morale boosting break clearance to take the lead.
A tie featuring four world champions, Europe turned the tables and got on the hill first, but SVB and Gorst reverse ran rack eight after Filler got kicked in-off the break, and then punished the German when he played a poor safety shot in rack nine by holding themselves together to stop the rot and secure their opening win.
Any feel-good factor that the USA did have was very short-lived, though, as two-time World Champion Albin Ouschan produced a pool clinic as he inflicted a 5-0 defeat on Tyler Styer to reassert Europe’s six-point cushion heading into Friday’s day three.
The Austrian struck a break and run in rack two on his way to a 4-0 lead, and when Styer found gravity with the cueball on his break in rack five – having potted four object balls – Ouschan ran out the remaining balls to give Ralph Eckert’s side the final say of the session.