Today team Europe shocked their opponents from the United States. Starting into the day with a 2:1 lead, the score board now displays a score of 7:1 for Europe after 5 matches from today. A total disaster for the US contingency.
The day started with two scotch doubles. The boys opened up the fight at 15:00 CET. Europe was represented by the two Polish lads Wiktor Zielinski and Daniel Maciol while USA entered the arena with Nathan Childress and Manny Perez. The first four racks of that match were quite exciting since team USA took a 1:0 and 2:1 lead. But Europe tied the match at 2:2 and turned the double into a one sided affair. Quick play and insecure safety shots determined the US game while the Europeans kept calm and played up to their ability. Zielinski and Maciol took four consecutive racks and won the match with 6:2 over Perez and Childress. That turned the overall score to 3:1 for Europe.
The next match was the girl’s scotch double between Kristina Tkach and Kamila Khodjaeva for Europe and April Larson sided by Sierra Reams for the USA. Like in the match before, the encounter was exciting in the early stage. Europe was clearly ahead after three racks with a 3:0 lead. The the US girls got momentum and won the next two racks to turn the scoreboard to 3:2. In rack six, Sierra Reams was at the table and the layout was quite ok. She lined up her shot on the 4-ball but fouled by touching the 8-ball with her shirt. Khodjaeva and Tkach took the chance and ripped the rack off the US girls for a 4:2 lead. In rack seven, USA again had the chance to clear the table but Reams went for a safety attempt instead pocketing the 5-ball. She failed and left a makable shot for Khodjaeva who pocketed the 5-ball and left a nice combination shot for her teammate Tkach. The Russian legally pocketed the 9-ball with a combo and Europe was on the hill with a nice 5:2 lead. The increased the pressure on the US girls. However, they stood the heat and won the next rack to get to 5:3. Rack nine saw the European Khodjaeva breaking the balls. The balls were pocketed and Tkach missed a makable 6-ball. Then, Larson pocketed the 6-ball and lined up a nice shot on the 7-ball for Reams who made the 7-ball. Now only the 9-ball was on the table. April Larson missed an easy shot on the 9-ball. That was a drama for the US girls who provided a good fight to the Europeans. Khodjaeva played a safety and place the cue ball close to the head rail with the 9-ball at the foot rail. Reams went for the bank shot and missed it. Tkach finished the rack and the match to win with 6:3. That brought team Europe a 4:1 lead and finished the afternoon session.
The evening began with an individual match between Ricky Evans for the USA and Maksim Dudanets for Europe. That match turned out a catastrophe for Evans. The young American missed three 9-balls in that match and fully deserved lost with 6:1 to Dudanets who played as solid as a rock. The score was now 5:1 for Europe.
The next match saw Germany’s Patrick Hofmann duel with Shane Wolford. Just like in the afternoon matches, the early stage of the match was quite open but after an intermediate score of 2:2, Wolford could not get momentum and get into his game. Hofmann to the contrary got into the flow and pocketed all possible shots, winning the match with 6:2. That was Europe’s 6:1.
The final match of the day way the encounter between Russia’s Kristina Tkach and her US friend April Larson. This time, Larson looked like the clear winner in the beginning. She dominated the match in the first part and took a 4:1 lead over Tkach. Then the Russian girl pulled back rack after rack from Larson who seemed to lose her focus. Tkach even went on the hill and could have finished the match but she missed and easy 9-ball. Whether it was negligence or nerves that caused this huge mistake can only be guessed here. However, Larson tied the match at 5:5 with her own break shot coming up. She had the 1-ball down and could see but not pocket the 2-ball. However, it was an illegal break and Tkach came to the table. Tkach went for the 2-ball but missed it, leaving a shot for Larson. But April Larson missed it as well. Both players struggled a bit but Larson made the deciding mistake. She hooked herself behind the 8-ball when trying to play position for the 5-ball. She went rail first and kicked into the 5-ball but left a shot for Tkach. This time, Kristina Tkach kept her focus and cleared the table, pocketing the remains 4 balls and winning the match 6:5 over Larson. That completed the disaster for the US team today since Europe took all five matches away from them to extend their lead to 7:1.
Another impressive news are the numbers of viewers on Facebook Live for this event. So far, the organisers have reached over 780.000 people to get their attention in one way or another. Matches were watched, Fotos shared and emotions were told by many pool fans from all over the World.
The Atlantic Challenge Cup continues tomorrow at 14:00 CET with the next session featuring scotch doubles in the boys and girls. Europe only needs four more points to defend their title and keep the cup in Europe.
The complete event will be streamed for free on www.kozoom.com. Additionally, all matches will be shown LIVE on the EPBF Facebook page.