Mosconi Cup Goes Back to Its Roots

Mika Immonen

MATCHROOM SPORT can announce that the 2010 Mosconi Cup will be taking place at the fabled York Hall, Bethnal Green, London from Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th December.

Home to the event for a six year period, the Mosconi Cup was last played in the famous East London boxing venue in 2002, when Europe won the trophy following six years of total domination by the USA.

Following a multi-million pound refurbishment of the York Hall, the Mosconi Cup returns for its first UK appearance in eight years.

One man delighted by the event's return to London is Finland's Mika Immonen. A five-time York Hall loser in previous years, Immonen has now established himself as the world's leading player and will be a front-runner for a berth on the 2010 Euro team.

‘I love the fact that we are going back to the York Hall. What could be a more perfect setting for the Mosconi?' said Immonen.

‘No memories in my pool career compare to the York Hall. The atmosphere was electric, and I can't wait to see how it is now. It has been my dream to go back there...bring it on..!

Matchroom Sport chairman and Mosconi Cup promoter, Barry Hearn, is looking forward to recreating the wild atmosphere that made the East London venue so charismatic.

‘The York Hall has a special place in the history of the Mosconi Cup and it's fair to say that at times, it was the game's most intimidating arena,' commented Hearn.

‘It certainly got rough and rowdy in there and it said something about the American teams of the late ‘90's and early 2000's that they were able to shrug all of that off and triumph five times out of six.

‘That said, it is home to one the great Mosconi Cup moments when Steve Davis stole what was the final rack off Earl Strickland in 2002 to bring the Cup home for Europe for the first time in seven years.

‘I think Mosconi Cup fans from Europe and America will be very excited at the prospect of coming to the York Hall for what could be the greatest Mosconi Cup of them all!'

Triumphant 2009 USA captain Nick Varner has plenty of experience of the York Hall, having played there four times.

‘I will never forget playing two matches against Ronnie O'Sullivan in 1997. Every time he potted a ball, the crowd went wild; it was like Europe won the Cup every time he made a shot. He was so popular with the fans.

‘One of the other American players was supposed to play him but didn't want to fade the heat from the crowd. So I took the match and found it exhilarating. I loved it.

‘The York Hall brings back fond memories of winning except for 2002. In one year we went from winning 12 in a row and winning the Cup 12-1 to losing it the next year.

‘The European fans get a little rowdy and boisterous which can test your composure, especially the later it gets at night. As the fans have a few pints, the atmosphere can get real noisy.

‘After the great response of the American fans in Las Vegas last year, going back to the York Hall will be a shocker for the players who haven't played there before. In fact going back to the York Hall seems a little scary to me!' added Varner

Live in its entirety on Sky Sports in the UK, the Mosconi Cup features two five-man teams representing Europe and the USA doing battle in a series of singles and doubles matches. Now in its 17th year, the Americans hold an 11-4 lead following their victory in Las Vegas last December.