USA Take Early Lead as Cup Hots Up
USA 2 – 1 Europe
USA 5 – 6 Europe
Hatch/Morris 6 – 4 Souquet/Van den Berg
Corey Deuel 6 – 4 Mika Immonen
TEAM AMERICA took the early lead at the 2010 PartyCasino.com Mosconi Cup as Corey Deuel and earlier Dennis Hatch and Rodney Morris gave them two points after Europe had won the earlier team match.
It was solid start from Nick Varner’s men but with only three of the four scheduled matches played, due to the length of the opening match, there is everything to play for.
It was an excellent win for Deuel over Mika Immonen as he had trailed 3-0 and with a big first day crowd getting increasingly exuberant, he did well to take the match 6-4.
Earlier, Europe got off to the perfect start as they inflicted a come-from-behind win over the Americans to draw first blood at the 2010 Partycasino.com Mosconi Cup. It was the opening five man team match and America looked favourites for the point with a 5-4 lead but with two balls left on the table, Dennis Hatch left Rodney Morris hooked behind the 9 ball and the Hawaiian failed to make contact. With ball in hand the Europeans levelled it.
Having lead 4-2 this was a great chance for Europe and it was Karl Boyes who made the critical shot after Souquet had left him with a tough one on the green six. He made it rail first to set Europe up for a 6-5 victory, with Mika Immonen downing the final 9.
“When they announced Team Europe I walked up the stairs and nearly fell over. But the atmosphere and to win a point like that is absolutely awesome,” said Boyes.
“There was definitely pressure on the final 9-ball and you don’t want to take anything for granted. I felt like we came from nowhere as they had it all in their hands but then that one shot from Dennis Hatch put them in the dark,” added Immonen.
Hatch recovered from his gaffe in the second match as he and Morris looked the business as they overcame Nick Van den Berg and an out-of-sorts Ralf Souquet to level the score at 1-1.
The American pair were clearly enjoying every minute of it as they moved into a convincing 5-0 lead. That lead began to evaporate as the European pair clawed back the racks assisted by a bit of luck. They reduced the deficit to 4-5 before a failed cross table bank by Van den Berg let the Americans in and they ran out for the win.
“It was great to win coming off a loss and you have to show a lot of heart. But as I’ve said we’ve got more heart and we’re going to show it, “said Morris.
“I like the crowd and it’s a different atmosphere to last year as they’re not for us but against us. I can’t be as emotional as I was in Las Vegas but I’m still not going to sink back into my chair. I’m still going to try to get my team riled up,” added Hatch.
USA Maintain Lead but Only Just
USA 4 – 3 Europe
Archer/Van Boening 3 – 6 Appleton/Boyes
Johnny Archer 6 – 5 Ralf Souquet
Deuel/Morris 5 – 6 Appleton/Souquet
Shane Van Boeing 6 – 5 Nick Van den Berg
IT WAS all square in the Friday night session of the 2010 PartyCasino.com Mosconi Cup as both teams scored two points apiece. That leaves the USA just a single point ahead and the feeling is that this year’s event will go down to the wire.
Three of the four matches were decided by the single rack as if to emphasise the closeness of the competition. The final match was a high-quality encounter which saw Shane Van Boening edge past Nick van den Berg in a match that either player could have won.
It all came down to the final rack when Van den Berg got to the table but was forced to play safe after a poor positional shot. Van Boening blasted the cue ball across the table and managed to fluke the two into the middle pocket. One pot and a 3/9 combination and it was all over and America went to bed as Mosconi Cup leaders.
In the barn-storming show-opener, Dynamite Darren Appleton and Karl Boyes raised the roof of the York Hall as they overcame Johnny Archer and Shane Van Boening to level the overall score at 2-2.
6-3 was the score and it was a match full of nerves, atmosphere, misses and some brave shot-making – mainly from Darren Appleton. His match-winning shot was indicative of his play in general as he slam-banked the 9 ball back up table.
Boyes enjoyed some traditional Mosconi Cup banter with Dennis Hatch who was sitting in the stands and at times the crowd got over-exuberant but it was a typical York Hall Mosconi Cup match of days gone by.
Boyes who made his fair share of mistakes, including a 9 ball to win the match was honest in his assessment; “That shot was down to nerves. With some of the balls I missed my mindset was not right but for that 9-ball I thought this place will go crazy instead of focusing on the shot, but it’s all a learning curve.”
Appleton was delighted with his form, “I’ve been playing really well for the last couple of months. Last year I didn’t win a point. But here the crowd is amazing and a major help. I like to play in teams with Karl and he’s a good friend and has been for 15 years so this is a dream. We knew we were a great team so to get a point on board for the guys is amazing.”
In the next match, the captains’ pick where the respective skippers select their opponents’ players, it was Johnny Archer and Ralf Souquet who took to the arena. Presumably, both players were there for their shakier performance on day one but it turned out to be another thriller.
Archer took a big 4-0 lead as Souquet looked once again out of sorts, but ‘the Kaiser’ found some form out of nowhere and before long the score was 5-4 in the German’s favour as Archer looked shell-shocked.
The miracle comeback was not to be though as the Scorpion took the next two racks to restore the USA’s one point lead.
“Ralf is one of the best players in the world so it didn’t surprise me that he came back. I didn’t do that much wrong or make too many mistakes but he just played well and did what he does to put himself in a position to win,” said Archer.
“It’s hard out there and just different to normal. I would like it a lot more if the crowd was on my side but they’re there for their team and having a good time so I can’t say anything bad about it.
“But the crowd boo me during the match but after it’s over they give me respect and that makes me feel better. You know it’s not just you, they’re just rooting for their team.”
There was another towering performance for Yorkshire’s Darren Appleton in the third match of the evening as he and Ralf Souquet nicked a point from Rodney Morris and Corey Deuel to once again level things.
Appleton who has a miserable time of it last year in his Mosconi Cup debut in Las Vegas, is fast becoming the heart and soul of the American side as he came with the critical shots at the right moments.
The win was also a terrific boost for Souquet who had been on the wrong end of two narrow score lines and looked to be short on confidence.
In a nip and tuck affair, the USA reached the hill first and breaking for the match, Deuel delivered a good one. Their visit came undone though as Deuel played an inexplicable shot and massively overran the cue ball. Morris’s attempt at a safety left everything on for Europe and they took what was a thrilling match to the hill.
In the final break of the match, Appleton delivered a pearler as three balls dropped and there was a clear shot on the two ball. They completed the run out for the win and Appleton danced with delight, even planting a kiss on Souquet’s cheek.
Boyes Buoyant in Bethnal Green
USA 5 – 5 Europe
Hatch/Archer 1 – 5 Immonen/Boyes
Archer/Deuel 5 – 2 Immonen/Souquet
Rodney Morris 2 – 5 Karl Boyes
KARL BOYES was the man at the Partycasino.com Mosconi Cup on Saturday afternoon as he got Europe on level terms twice; first with a 5-1 win in the company of Mika Immonen over Dennis Hatch and Johnny Archer and then a 5-2 victory over Rodney Morris in the singles.
That made the overall score a finely-poised 5-5 as the action moves into the Saturday evening session. Boyes was clearly motivated by Dennis Hatch’s earlier claims that he was the weak link in the European line-up.
“It’s unbelievable. That’s for Dennis Hatch. If he’s about or listening, that’s for you, pal!
“I was in the practise room and watched the match before where Mika and Ralf had some bad rolls but I just tried to block everything out in my match.
“The team is playing well, it’s only 5-5 and we’re fighting. The crowd are behind us so let’s kick on from here now.
“Everyone is shouting for us and that makes you feel alive. We’re relaxed and having a good laugh!” he added.
Boyes, in the company of Mika Immonen, helped Europe level things in the opening match of the session, beating Hatch and Archer 5-1.
With the races reduced from six to five due to time constraints, the pressure was even more intense for the players. Add to that the full-to-the-rafters crowd and the scene was set for a test of nerves.
It was the Europeans who won that particular battle as the Americans, particularly Hatch, struggled.
Boyes and Immonen were flawless though and they ran out easy 5 – 1 winners to make it 4-4.
“It’s a good win and there was a lot of pressure on us as we didn’t want to go 5-3 down. But obviously we played really well and the crowd was different class,” said Boyes.
“Practising on the table upstairs it’s getting battered so every time you have to hit hard but out here you just have to play a bit softer.
“This is the first time I’ve played at the York Hall and when you walk down the stairs into the arena, the atmosphere is so good you think you’ll fall down the stairs,” he added.
“Mika believes in me as do all the team and we have a great spirit so let’s hope we can win it.”
Archer had the opportunity to redeem himself in the second match and he enjoyed some huge slices of luck as he and his partner Corey Deuel beat Souquet and Immonen 5 – 2.
“We’re keeping the pressure on them and just played solidly so we will just keep the heat on them.”I remember when I was the rookie and it’s a shock. I know Dennis has said Karl Boyes (who will be playing next) would be the weak link but I think he’s a good player. But Rodney is playing great so Karl will have a tough match.”
“I was very lucky and missed a couple of shots. We had a few rolls that went against us yesterday but got lucky today,” said Archer.
“I would rather be seven up but leading is much better than losing. But this is going to be a dog fight and I expect it to go to the end.”
It was Boyes though who dented those hopes in the final match of the session as he beat Rodney Morris against the odds. That made it three wins from three matches for Boyes.
Europe Charge Ahead
USA 8 – 6 Europe
Hatch/Van Boening 5 – 4 Appleton/Van den Berg
Archer/Morris 4 – 5 Boyes/Souquet
Dennis Hatch 4 – 5 Darren Appleton
Van Boening/Deuel 1 – 5 Immonen/Van den Berg
IN AN UNBELIEVABLE night of drama at the York Hall, Europe took down three of the four matches to take a two point lead into the final day, and now need just three wins to regain the PartyCasino.com Mosconi Cup.
The venue was sold out six weeks ago and with over 500 people crammed into the historic East London venue, the atmosphere was like nothing seen in the world of pool.
In an evening of high spots, the high spot was probably Darren Appleton’s come-from-behind win against Dennis Hatch which sparked scenes of celebration never seen in this event.
It was Nick Van den Berg and Mika Immonen who delivered the crushing blow though, as they hammered Van Boening and Deuel 5-1 to give their side a two point cushion.
The evening started brightly for Team USA as Dennis Hatch and Shane Van Boening pulled the first point of the evening right out of the fire as they came from 4-1 down to take the match in the final rack.
Hatch was fired up as usual and played some outstanding jump shots under pressure and Van Boening was his imperious best.
It was a bitter blow for the Europeans who had yet to take the lead since the opening team game. Hatch, who barely completed an interview with Sky Sports Andy Goldstein last year without the tears flowing, was no different this time.
“In that match I was a little bit nervous but to come back from 4-1 down and make outs like we did was crazy and that might’ve taken something out of their sails” said a jubilant Hatchetman.
“Representing my country means more to me than anything. I’m fighting for my country, with my family back home watching I want to perform – the tears are coming.
“The adrenaline is going crazy and my brain is numb and my body is numb. You can’t ask for a better ending than and if we win or lose I’ll always remember this match.”
Europe’s win the second match was almost predictable as they squared the scores for the fifth time in the competition. It was that man Boyes again who grabbed the point along with Ralf Souquet as they got the better of Rodney Morris and Johnny Archer.
It was another tough match when many of the shots were pure pressure. The Englishman though, who many thought may have struggled with the atmosphere of the Mosconi Cup, did nothing of the sort once again as he recorded his fourth win out of four matches.
The score was 5 – 4 but Europe were 4-1 ahead and let the racks slip away before Souquet slammed home a decent break shot in the decider to leave a decent layout which the Europeans completed.
“It’s nice to be able to do a TV interview as I haven’t had the best of Mosconi Cups,” said Souquet after the match.
“But we’ve got a great team spirit and it’s amazing the support we get from the fans. There’s nothing better than to have a straight 9-ball to win so I was 1,000 per cent sure Karl would make it, that’s why I celebrated early.
“Whatever we do goes wrong and Nick and Darren played a great match in the one before, didn’t do anything wrong, were 4-1 down but still couldn’t win.
“We’re at 6-6 and haven’t managed to get many rolls so that’s a big achievement and as soon as we get some rolls we will be up.”
Next, the Darren Appleton and Dennis Hatch singles match was nothing short of sensational. It had everything that a pool match could have as Hatch came out the traps fast and once again built up a 4 – 1 lead.
In the Mosconi Cup though, that often doesn’t count for much and Appleton who looked in a bad way in the early stages, mounted a comeback. He got the score to 4-4 as Hatch broke for the match.
He had a long shot on the 1-ball and made it and got position for the tricky looking 4-ball. The hyped up American looked good for the win but amazingly left a thin part of the 9 ball obscuring the 8.
He tried to swerve round but failed to pot the ball leaving a tough 8 ball up table for Appleton. He downed it and screamed out in excitement jumping round the table.
He pocketed the 9-ball, dropped his cue on the floor, ran around the table, jumped high in the air into the arms of his team-mate Karl Boyes, then into the arms of captain Johan Ruijsink!
It may well have been the most exuberant celebration in Mosconi Cup history. The shaft on Appleton’s cue got broken in the melee and Europe took the lead at 7-6, the first time they had lead since 1-0.
It was then left to Van den Berg and Immonen to add the final point of the evening to seal a great night for the European team.
“I’m over the moon,” said a delighted Van den Berg.
“We just played very positively, went for every shot and made everything we went for. We’re very pleased to have the lead at the end of the day but we’re not there yet.
Immonen added “I was born in London and feel at home here. This crowd is great. Watching Darren win the last match we just wanted to keep it going. With the emotion that came out of Darren we were all on a high and just wanted to continue in the same way.”
USA 8 – 9 Europe
Rodney Morris 1 – 6 Mika Immonen
Johnny Archer 6 – 5 Karl Boyes
Dennis Hatch 6 – 5 Nick Van den Berg
THE 2010 PARTYCASINO.COM Mosconi Cup is finely poised as it enters the final session of the competition. Europe lead by a single point, but it was Team USA who have the momentum following successive final rack wins by Johnny Archer and Dennis Hatch.
Shane Van Boening and Darren Appleton will be first out, followed by Ralf Souquet v Corey Deuel and should things still be alive, there will be two captains’ pick matches to decide the destination of the trophy.
Trailing by two coming into the afternoon session, the USA got off to the worst possible start as Rodney Morris bit the dust, a 6-1 victim of Mika Immonen as the races returned to six. That meant that Europe were within two points of regaining the Cup.
The flying Finn, making his 14th Mosconi Cup appearance, put in his most assured performance of the event so far while Morris, by contrast made too many mistakes to have a realistic chance of it.
Immonen enjoyed a couple of crucial flukes too, including an outrageous piece of luck on the green 6 in what was the final rack. He had hooked himself and slammed a hit-and-hope kick shot which saw the 6 go up and down the table and then fall into the side pocket.
Immonen offers his hand in apology but that will be of no comfort to Morris. From there he completed the rack for a very valuable point.
“The crowd is definitely helping us, there’s a great atmosphere and my brothers and one sister are here and I’m very happy for them to witness the madness,” said a delighted Immonen.
“We’re on a great run and I hope it continues – I managed to control the cue ball better on the break.
“Rodney had to push out three times and that didn’t help him. He seemed very tense, more tense than usual and I saw some nerves in his face and I used that for my own confidence.
“I knew a lot of pressure was on my shoulders to keep the lead and if they close the gap then they could be unstoppable so it was important to come out with all guns blazing.
“I’m honoured by my coach to be picked first and I’m glad I came through.
Johnny Archer kept the US hopes alive in the next as he took away Karl Boyes unbeaten tag in another thrilling encounter at the York Hall. Boyes looked dead in the water at 5 – 1 down, but as we have seen so many times before, no match is won here until the final 9 drops.
Boyes looked composed as he got the match back to the inevitable 5-5 scoreline. Full credit to Archer though as he held his nerve and ran out the final rack from the break to keep his team right in it.
“We’ve been fighting all week and it’s tough. A couple of times I didn’t get shots off the break but a couple of times I did and then the bottom fell out of it,” said an honest Archer.
“The pressure doesn’t compare to anything. The Mosconi Cup pressure is something you never get to experience unless you’re in the team.
“In the first few years I was very nervous but now I’m not quite as nervous as I just try to cherish every moment as I might not qualify to get back.
“We aren’t out of this. Nick Varner said to us you are down 9-6 in a race to 11 and have you been in that position so we said ‘yeah’. Then he said have you won from that position and we said ‘yeah’!”
It was the big man Dennis Hatch, last year’s MVP, who got his side to within a point of the Europeans with another final rack win, this time over Nick Van den Berg.
Hatch lead 4-0 but a spirited comeback from the Dutchman saw him reach the hill first. Hatch levelled it and they both had chances in the final rack before the American prevailed.
“I was shaking like a leaf and it’s hard to control your emotions as it can get to you really quickly,” said Hatch.
“I think we’ve played horribly. We were supposed to have won almost every match. The only match we were supposed to lose was me and Johnny in the partners match but the momentum is now going our way.
“Playing terribly has nothing to do with the crowd. I like it when people want me to lose as that makes me want to win even more. But the table is playing differently to last year and the balls are sliding and the rolls are really fast if you catch it wrong.”
Europe Storm to Mosconi Cup Triumph!
USA 8 – 11 Europe
Shane Van Boening 2 – 6 Darren Appleton
Corey Deuel 4 – 6 Ralf Souquet
EUROPE are the 2010 PartyCasino.com Mosconi Cup champions after Darren Appleton and then Ralf Souquet took the requisite two points to see their side over the line for their third triumph in four years.
It was Souquet who downed the winning 9 ball – a repeat of the 2007 event when he beat Rodney Morris for an 11-8 win. This time his victim was Corey Deuel and the York Hall erupted as the German’s team mates charged into the arena for some wild celebrations.
“This is the greatest feeling on earth to make the final 9-ball and make us win, “said a jubilant Souquet.
The MVP Award went to Darren Appleton who won the hearts of the crowd with a string of marvellous performances filled with superb shot making under pressure. His record of two singles and two doubles points with a single defeat was unmatched by any other player in the event.
“You can’t win the Mosconi Cup without playing like a team and the lads have been amazing,” said Appleton.
“I played really well but a massive part of it has been down to the crowd and it was very easy to feed off the crowd – the bigger the crowd the better I play.
“We had a lead overnight and that set us up for today and the guys played awesome. The emotion is just crazy. We had a great spirit in the camp, the crowd were fantastic and were our sixth man.
“When we came here you just think about playing well for the team and win it for your team and your nation. You don’t think about yourself but obviously it’s a great bonus to win the MVP so I’m very happy with how I played.
“It’s really difficult to get into the European team as there are that many great players. It’s really hard to make the team but hopefully winning the MVP gives me a chance of getting in next year’s event as well.”
For captain Johan Ruijsink, it was his third Mosconi Cup following a win in Vegas in ’07 and a draw in Rotterdam in ’06.
“I haven’t lost one yet and it’s an honour to be the European captain, but I would like to thank Matchroom for staging such a great event again and thank you to the opponents.
“If they weren’t such worthy opponents it wouldn’t have been such a great Mosconi Cup. Last of all I would like thank my team. They stuck to the plan and we did it.”
England’s Karl Boyes, who was the only rookie in the event, completely dispelled any doubts about his ability to handle it with a string of match-winning performances.
“I’ve watched a lot of Mosconi Cups being a sports fan and everyone has always said Bethnal Green is the place it should be. On the first night I saw the crowd shouting and chanting and it was just unbelievable. Everything has just been awesome,” said Boyes.
The teams entered the evening session with Europe needing two points and the Americans three, and it was Darren Appleton who fired Europe within one point of victory with a stunning performance that put him right in line for the MVP award.
He beat Shane Van Boening 6-2 in what was a 50/50 match on paper but the man from Pontefract put in his best show of the week to put his team on the hill.
Appleton played some magnificent shots under pressure including an eye-catching table length draw shot as he over-whelmed Van Boening. That set the scene for Souquet to bring the Cup home for Europe.
It was a disappointing weekend for the Americans who were always in it but fell away in the critical closing stages.
“They played well so congratulations to the Europeans. They outplayed us all week and we just have to take it and wait for next year,” commented Rodney Morris.
Luke Riches, Matchroom Sport: email@example.com
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 nine 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 Cup of Pool and the World Pool Masters.
The 2010 Mosconi Cup is sponsored by PartyCasino.com, the world’s leading online casino. Tables are supplied by Brunswick Billiards, cloth by Iwan Simonis, Super Aramith balls by Saluc and the Official Cue is Predator.