Europe Charge Ahead

Darren Appleton celebrates his comeback from 4-1 down.

USA 8 – 6 Europe

Hatch/Van Boening 5 – 4 Appleton/Van den Berg
Archer/Morris 4 – 5 Boyes/Souquet
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 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."