2nd December, 2013 PartyPoker.net Mosconi Cup
Europe rampant after day one white-wash
USA 0-5 Europe
USA 3-6 Europe
Morris/Strickland 3-6 Appleton/Boyes
Shane Van Boening 5-6 Mika Immonen
Archer/Hatch 3-6 Feijen/Souquet
Rodney Morris 4-6 Darren Appleton
TEAM EUROPE created the biggest first day lead in PartyPoker.net Mosconi Cup history as they won all five matches at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas to establish a 5-0 lead and give the USA a huge mountain to climb.
A win in the team game got things underway, before two doubles victories and singles wins for Mika Immonen and Darren Appleton piled on the misery for the Americans. The much-vaunted change in the break rules saw an inordinate number of dry breaks and it was the Europeans who played the better pool and made the least number of mistakes to build up a mammoth lead.
Commented European captain Johan Ruijsink, “It has never happened before and it is such a huge lead that you cannot be anything other than delighted. I expect the Americans will bounce back but 5-0 is great.
“We prepared well, we were ready to fight, ready for battle, ready for war. I think that showed immediately in the team match where we showed dominance and we kept that going for the whole session. I am really delighted.”
For American captain Johnny Archer, there were few rays of hope, ““We got out broke, they made balls, we didn’t get chances. It seemed like in every match we were behind early and it was hard to keep going. We showed a lot of fight, you saw with Rodney Morris fighting there towards the end. All we can do is sleep on it tonight and come out tomorrow and fight again.
“We have to start all out tomorrow, no matter what. We have to get behind every player, really fight hard and we can have the same day that they had today. We will try and relax tonight and work a little more on our break. We will try to get a good night’s rest and come out tomorrow fired up.”
Europe won the first point of the 2013 PartyPoker Mosconi Cup as they took the team match with Mika Immonen dropping the winning 9 ball. With a capacity crowd on full tilt, the atmosphere was electrifying as the ten players entered the arena. With all players completing a rack at a time it was the Europeans who held it together better to win.
The second match was a doubles affair, and a missed 1 ball from Karl Boyes, partnered by Darren Appleton, allowed the American pair of Strickland and Morris to take the opener. Boyes broke dry in the next and a missed bank shot from Appleton allowed the Americans to make it 2-0. The large American crowd was up for it but they were increasingly quietened as Appleton and Boyes clawed back the racks and then moved into the lead.
They reached the hill at 5-2 as Strickland ranted at the crowd but the fiery American pulled the eighth game out the bag as a jump shot on the 2 ball and then an excellent bank on the pink 4 won them the rack. That was to be it though as the English pair took the ninth rack to establish a 2-0 overall lead.
“We got off to great start in the team match and we wanted to follow that up. We were very nervous from 0-2 down we played perfect’” said Appleton.
“I’ve played before in 2010 and had a good Cup. I was a bit on edge in the team match and cleared the table and that settled me down. I was slightly over-confident but to win from 2-0 down against Earl and Rodney was good,” added Boyes.
“This is the best crowd the US has ever had; it’s an amazing atmosphere and they really want it back. We’ve got our own fans here though who’ve travelled a long way and we won’t let them down,” added Appleton.
The USA was now up against it and they suffered more heartbreak in the next as Shane Van Boening lost to Mika Immonen from a winning position. To compound the misery, victory came from a golden break as the 9 was kicked in by the 2 ball and that made the overall score 3-0 in favour of the Europeans. It was perhaps the most critical point of the day.
“It was pretty sweet. I was breaking well earlier but wasn’t getting results and my team mates gave me some advice to move the cue ball a little bit towards the centre. I moved it, hit it square and I got rewarded.
“Johan has been good at getting us prepared for the pressure and the overwhelming support of the American camp. I tried to stay cool, calm and collected and not expect anything – just take the table as it comes.
In the next game, Archer and Hatch, now under extreme pressure, shared the opening four racks with Niels Feijen and Ralf Souquet before a nice run out resulted in a 3-2 lead. Archer missed the brown 7 trying to force a difficult positional shot and to make matters worse, the cue ball rolled into the corner pocket.
With ball in hand the Europeans made it 4-2 and it soon became 5-2 as Souquet dropped the 9 ball.
Feijen though scratched in the middle pocket of his break shot in the next. Hatch though missed the 2 ball but it rolled out of danger and with so much at stake a safety battle ensued. It was one that the Europeans won and it was Feijen who let out a ‘Come on!’ when he pocketed the 9 for victory.
Feijen said, “Ralf said to me, the match Mika won with the 9 on the break was the biggest momentum killer. The Americans have a big task ahead.“
Souquet added, “We won most of the matches dominantly, except Mika’s match which could have gone the other way. We are playing okay, not making many silly mistakes but the Americans are missing balls. We got some good rolls here and there but that is what you need.
“Nobody expected this score but we take it and now there is a lot of pressure on the Americans because they need to come back as soon as possible in order to have a chance otherwise it could be a disaster for them.”
In the final match of the afternoon Rodney Morris recovered from a poor start to get to 4-5 against Darren Appleton but the Englishman composed himself to take the final rack and leave the USA in a seemingly impossible position.
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Luke Riches, Matchroom Sport: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes: Matchroom Sport are one of the world’s leading producers of televised sport and are 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, the Mosconi Cup is one of a stable of pool events that include the World Pool Masters and the World Cup of Pool.