Around the Mosconi Cup – Day One

Day One of the Mosconi Cup is now in the books and went about as expected. It has become almost a tradition that Team Europe goes to bed after the first day with a lead, and they now hold that lead 3-1 after having their way with the American side to open the competition. The Euro's won the first three contests (5-3, 5-3, 5-1) while the yanks pulled out a victory (5-3) in the final contest of the evening.

If all goes according to the ways of past Cups then the American side will come charging back on day two and we will be near level again going into day three. I went out to dinner after the matches with the American side and they are in no way depressed about the current score and believe that most of the scoring was the result of a few good or bad rolls that turned the games in the favor of the European side. Captain Nick Varner even feels that the score may prove a disadvantage for the Euros as they come into day two a bit overconfident and allow the Americans to press on and make the scores they now require.  

It was just past midnight when we ventured out for dinner. The original plan was for a quick pizza but that place was closed and so a quest for food became the order of the evening. Restaurant after restaurant was shuttered at this hour and we wound up at a Tapas place that we located down a side alley. We were a bit nervous about this place, a literal hole in the wall that was just a wooden table set out in the chilly open air with a small bar and kitchen set into the stone of the building that rose above the street. It was a one-man affair, with the cook taking our orders, making our change, and then setting about the preparation of our pizzas, fajitas and other concoctions of meat and bread.

He managed to pull all of our varied orders together at once and when we sampled that first nervous bite were all quite pleasantly surprised. Very tasty stuff. We ate as if we had not seen food for days, washed it down with Carlsbergs and felt much better for our quest. The rains of the day had lifted for our journey out and our sidewalk meal, but returned with strong winds for our walk back to the hotel. By the time we got back to the lobby it was nearly 2 AM and the lobby had been darkened. Sleep came easily.  

The maid awakened me with a knock some eight hours later and when I glanced at the clock I realized I only had ten minutes to make it downstairs before the breakfast room closed. I threw on my clothes from the night before and dashed downstairs, ordered an omelet, grabbed some pineapple and kiwi fruit, orange juice, and sat down with Shane Van Boening and Christine De La Garza to begin the day. Shane was his usual low-key self, but his attitude shone through as it had the night before. I am always amazed at the positive attitude that the champions possess. Here I am with a man whose team is down 3-1 and he is as confident as if the score were reversed.

Well, we have a day to kill. The next match isn't until 7 PM and the weather misery of yesterday has passed and the sun is bright outside and the sea that had pounded the shore yesterday has calmed again into pleasant low surf. Everyone seems headed in different directions to kill the time. Some are off to Mdina, an ancient city nearby,  a few will make donations to the Casino, others will stroll the shops nearby and still more plan to just walk the beach and relax at the hotel.

Despite the high spirits on the American side I have to believe that they know the importance of tonight's matches. They cannot afford to allow the Euro's too far out front. In fact, the very first match will be critical. If they can bring the scoreline to 3-2 there then the immediate danger will have passed. If not, it will be time to scramble and the nerves will heighten and harm. Keep your browsers pointed to AZBilliards and follow along as the Americans and the Euros fight on in their hunt for the Cup.