Team USA collapses at Mosconi Cup

Charlie Williams

A vocal European fan contingent and an error prone US Team, helped Team Europe stage an amazing Saturday comeback and earn their first lead in the 2003 Mosconi Cup.

The day started with Team USA holding a 6-3 lead and looking to roll over Team Europe. The train got derailed in the first match as Nick Van Den Berg cruised to a 2-0 lead with a break & run followed by another table run after a Tony Robles push-out. Robles won rack three, but misses by Robles in rack four and five allowed Van Den Berg to get ahead 4-1 on his way to a 5-3 win.

Next up was a doubles rematch between Thorsten Hohmann & Ralf Souquet vs Johnny Archer and Rodney Morris. The teams traded racks for the first four games, and Team USA pulled ahead 3-2 when Ralf Souquet missed a 5-ball allowing Archer to run out. A scratch on the break by Archer in the next rack turned into a table run by Hohmann and another tie score at 3-3. Team Europe got to the hill at 4-3, before Morris evened things with a break & run in rack eight. Souquet came up empty on his break in rack nine, but Archer had no shot. Archer's decision to go for a kick-safety instead of pushing out proved to be disastrous as Hohmann ran the rack to win the match and pull Team Europe back to within one point at 6-5.

Things went from bad to worse in the next match as Steve Davis and Earl Strickland renewed their rivalry. Davis grabbed control of this match from the opening lag and never looked back. Strickland did not got a real chance at a shot until he made a ball in rack four, already trailing 0-3. Strickland ran down to the 5-ball in that rack, but got out of line and missed the ball. Davis finished off that rack and put together a great table run in rack five to score a 5-0 victory and pull Team Europe back to a 6-6 tie.

The story of the next match between Mika Immonen & Marcus Chamat vs Charlie Williams and Jeremy Jones was misses by Team USA. Williams jawed a 6-ball in rack three and scratched on an 8-ball in rack five to give Team Europe a 3-2 lead. Immonen broke & ran rack six to get to the hill at 4-2. Williams came up empty on his break in rack seven and Immonen ran out for the 5-2 win.

The final match of the day saw Ralf Souquet take on Jeremy Jones, and the US nightmare continued. Jones, a one-pocket champion, missed two bank shots and Souquet played with total confidence. Souquet surged to a 4-3 lead and was running out the 8th rack for the victory when he missed an 8-ball in the side. When the balls stopped rolling, Jones still had no shot and opted for a great safety leaving Souquet's cue-ball hidden from the 8-ball. Souquet studied the table and kicked the length of the table to not only hit the 8-ball, but make the 8-ball. The 9-ball was a simple formality from there and Team Europe pulled ahead 8-6 in the event.

Play continues on Sunday, when a winning team will be crowned. Follow all the action online at the official Mosconi Cup Website at

Photo courtesy of Holly Ryan - Pool Player Extraordinaire