Europe 4 – 1 USA
Europe 5 – 2 USA
Gray / Ouschan 5 – 2 Van Boening / Morris
Niels Feijen 5 – 2 Mike Dechaine
Shaw / Appleton 1 – 5 Woodward / Bergman
Darren Appleton 5 – 3 Shane Van Boening
TEAM EUROPE showed exactly why they are big favourites to retain the 23rd annual Betfair Mosconi Cup as they enjoyed a convincing opening session, winning four out of the five matches to take a 4-1 lead into day two. It was the worst possible start to the event for the Americans who have not won the Mosconi Cup since 2009. Even after just one day they face a mammoth task against a European side that looked confident throughout.
Commented European captain Marcus Chamat, “The first day is always really tough. The way they put out their team, they came with their strongest but I feel there are no weak links in my team and whatever I came out with today, I had four aces.
“My point of view was to put Albin out first because he made the winning 9 last year, so I wanted to start off where we ended. That worked out well, and Mark played awesome in the match. Then Niels went to work, and he played great.
“For the day to end with Darren beating Shane, meant a lot to me, to him and to the team. The last match is always important to get under your belt. Darren fights with his heart just like I did when I was playing, I wanted it so bad and he wants it so bad too. It proved a point.
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.
With 2,000 rabid fans in the Alexandra Palace, the vast majority of them pro-European, the atmosphere was wild from the off and the show opened with he customary team match where all ten players compete in consecutive racks.
Historically it has been Europe’s strong point and once again they took the honours to draw first blood. There were some errors from the US – Skyler Woodward failed to get out with ball in hand against Niels Feijen – which allowed the Europeans the opportunities to take the point by 5-2.
Mark Gray and Albin Ouschan then made it 2-0 as they overran a weak Shane Van Boening and Rodney Morris by 5-2. The American pair missed some balls they shouldn’t have and in this exalted company it was enough for the Englishman and the Austrian to skate to victory.
Commented Ouschan, “It is incredible in the arena; I was shaking. I was going to the toilet again because I was pretty nervous! I remember it from last year and to get back here and feel this moment again is huge, unbelievable.”
Gray added, “The team match gave us great confidence, Albin played great and won two racks and I had a good out in my rack. That gave us a bit of confidence and you feel you’re in the tournament then. We were straight back on, against Shane van Boening, one of the greatest players in the world, and Rodney Morris. Shane looked a little bit shaky I thought and showed his disgust when Rodney didn’t get him into position and that gives you a little bit of confidence.
“We always say day one is critical. You can’t win it in day one but you can lose it if you have a nightmare start.”
5-2 was the repeat score line in the third game as Mike Dechaine succumbed to the relentless accuracy of Niels Feijen, who took his first point in his quest for his fifth Mosconi Cup MVP. The American looked solid in the opening exchanges as the match went to 2-2 but Feijen piled it on to take the next three for victory.
“In your first match you have to get comfortable with your stroke, with the table, and you need a little bit of luck. My tactical game was solid, it brought me back into it and I had a couple of nice run outs.
“I started nicely, I won the first rack and he ran a couple. I made a really nice run out for 2-2 and I was breaking well in the match. I created opportunities and came out and won it.
As early three matches in, the Americans were staring down a barrel as they trailed 0-3 but a stellar performance from Justin Bergman and Skyler Woodward stopped the rot as they beat Jayson Shaw and Darren Appleton 5-1. The American duo looked assured throughout as they clinically went through the racks and kept European involvement to a minimum.
In the final match of the first session, Darren Appleton piled on the misery as he got the better of an increasingly lacklustre Shane Van Boening to complete a marvellous evening for the Europeans.
Appleton looked shaky in the opening stages as he trailed 2-1 but Van Boening failed to capitalise as a scratch off the break in the fourth let the Englishman back in.
“It is like déjà vu, the last four years we have played each other in the last singles of the first day and I have won them all. He is one of the top two players in the world at this moment in time along with Jayson Shaw.
“After losing the doubles it was a big game. We had put a lot of work in to get to 3-0 and we wanted to finish the day strongly, and there is always a good sporting rivalry with me and Shane. In another event I might lose that match because I wasn’t feeling great but I dug in and kept grinding.”
Play continues tomorrow with three doubles and two singles matches.
The live stream is available from www.matchroompool.com
2016 MOSCONI CUP is sponsored Betfair. Rasson Billiards supply the Official Table. The cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue of the event and Ultimate Team Gear provide all Mosconi Cup apparel.
Luke Riches, Matchroom Sport: email@example.com
Notes: MATCHROOM SPORT is one of the world’s leading producers of televised sport and is responsible for over 1,000 hours of original programming across a range of sports. Based in the UK and chaired by charismatic founder Barry Hearn, they operate three pool events; the Mosconi Cup, the World Cup of Pool and the World Pool Masters. In addition, the company produce a multitude of events in darts, snooker, tenpin, golf, fishing, ping pong, poker and boxing.