4th December, 2013 PartyPoker.net Mosconi Cup
It’s Europe in a landslide
USA 2-11 Europe
Strickland & Hatch 3-6 Appleton & Souquet
Earl Strickland 4-6 Karl Boyes
Hatch & Morris 4-6 Immonen & Feijen
TEAM EUROPE completed their finest ever PartyPoker.net Mosconi Cup win, as they beat the Americans 11-2, the second biggest winning margin in the 20 year history of the event. Needing three more points going into the third day, they reeled off the first three matches to hand out a humiliating defeat to the USA.
It was Europe’s fourth win on the trot and their sixth in seven years. With a star-packed team, many felt that this was the Americans best chance in a while but after losing the first day 5-0, the writing was on the wall. America won two points on Tuesday but all in all it was a lame performance that will leave many questions.
It was Niels Feijen, partnered by Mika Immonen, who downed the winning 9 ball and the final point of this year’s event gave the Dutchman his second Most Valuable Player trophy in three years.
European captain, Johan Ruijsink was thrilled with his fifth victory at the helm; “I am very, very proud of my team. They played like lions all week, they came out of the starting blocks really heavy on the Americans and I don’t think they recovered. I am really sorry for my buddy Johnny Archer because it is his first time as a captain in the modern age and I think he deserved better than that. He is a great captain, a great motivator, and I feel sorry for him because 11-2 doesn’t reflect the difference in quality.”
Despite his obvious standing as a captain and motivator, Ruijsink was quick to put the credit where it was due; “I have a great team, world class players, and the only thing I need to do is channel their energy and quality into the right direction.
“The other wins have been more tense but I think the quality we put up every year is a guarantee for us to have a certain level of play.
“This is a game of details and as soon as the Americans don’t have their details in order you can get beaten by this. I don’t think the score is a reflection of the quality because they are much better than 11-2. “
For Johnny Archer it was a bitter pill to swallow; “Everything went wrong. We didn’t break the balls as well as they did, they played better, they were more of a team.
“The first day just killed us. We got behind really badly the first day and we were really search from there and it was very hard. They kept coming out and they won a couple of close matches.
“It is very disappointing and the whole team is really disappointed right now. All we can do is take a year to try and figure it out. It might be different players, all kinds of different things.
“I definitely think we need to improve on being more of a team like the European team. That is the number one thing right now and that is what we have to do.”
Going into the third day, with three points required, the European pair of Darren Appleton and Ralf Souquet got the best possible start as they beat a talkative Earl Strickland and Dennis Hatch to get within two points of victory. The start looked so promising for the Americans especially when Dennis Hatch’s golden break put them into a 2-0 lead but after the European pair reeled off the next four, it was the beginning of the end.
The end came via a 3/9 combination as Appleton took his time using the rest and clipped it home for victory.
Strickland was back in the fray in the next as came up against Karl Boyes in a singles match and was soon 2-0 down, and complaining about pretty much everything. Boyes took the next but a well executed run out from Strickland reduced the deficit.
Boyes took the next after mistakes from both players and when Strickland failed to make contact with the 1 ball the Englishman took full advantage to clear the table for 5-1. Strickland received a warning from referee Ken Schuman for his incessant talking but held himself together to take the next.
Some more fluid play from Strickland saw him move the score to 3-5. The verbose legend seemed to be hitting his stride as he made another superb clearance to get within one of Boyes. The Englishman though got back to the table and made a great shot pocketing the 2 ball and holding position. From there he composed himself together to make a great out and put Team Europe on the hill.
Rodney Morris and Dennis Hatch had the job of keeping America in the Mosconi Cup, while in the other corner, Niels Feijen and Mika Immonen were looking to become only the second doubles pair to bring home the Mosconi Cup.
Hatch and Morris gave it a go and got the score to 4-4 but the Europeans took the ninth game and then picked their way through the final rack to spark scenes of celebration in the arena.
A delighted Feijen, “I was on the team when we lost 12-1 and when it went to 5-0 on day one, that was already a record. On day two it was 8-2 and could have been 9-1 or 10-0 and from there on it was like, ‘what is going on’?
“The first day we walked in and there was 650 people going nuts for the USA and we thought it would be intense. All of a sudden it was 5-0, 8-2, so we said today we just wanted to win the session again – that is all you can do.
“Karl played a great match against Earl, and then we finished it off. It was unbelievable. I won the MVP but it is such a team thing this. I think Europe in the last few years has been so good at having a team spirit, sticking together, supporting each other and that is all because of Johan. I want to thank him for all the effort he has put in over the years and I hope he will be back.”
Ralf Souquet’s Mosconi Cup has come full circle. He was in the losing side in the inaugural event in 1994, and 20 years on he played a full part in a great victory.
“It feels great, a little unexpected score-wise because nobody ever dreamed of beating such a great American team 11-2. On the other hand we played great, took advantage of their mistakes and didn’t make too many mistakes ourselves.
“I think if somebody had bet money on that score line he would have made a lot of money. I was on the 12-1 losing team several years ago so at least I got a little payback time on this year. I am happy for us, for the team. We have a great team spirit and it was a great team effort. Now it is time to celebrate.”
The 2013 Mosconi Cup is delighted to work with our valued sponsors –Diamond Billiards: Tables; Iwan Simonis: Official Cloth; Aramith: Official Balls and Predator: Official Cue.
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.