Team USA Extends Mosconi Cup Lead

With day three of the 2004 Mosconi Cup complete, the US team is in the drivers seat but Europe is still within striking range thanks to two Europe wins to end the day.

The day started with Team USA leading Team Europe by a very slim one point. The first match saw Johnny Archer and Gabe Owen taking on Oliver Ortmann and Thomas Engert. The match went back and forth with USA leading 1-0, then Europe taking a 2-1 lead. The US Team then climbed back into the lead at 3-2. USA got to the hill first at 4-3 when Ortmann was not able to take advantage of a miss by Owen. Ortmann made up for that with a lucky three-ball in the next game that allowed Team Europe to knot the match at 4-4. The final rack of the match was Owen's chance to redeem himself and he came through with shining colors. Owen took a shot at a 2-9 combo but had the foresight to play the cue-ball safe in case the combo missed. It did miss, but Engert was faced with a jump shot that he made but left an open table for the US team to capitalize on.

The second match of the day saw Charlie Williams and Tony Robles taking on Steve Davis and Niels Feijen. The match started slow with neither team able to get much going. The US squad took a 2-0 lead, but it was short lived as Team Europe came back to tie the match at 2-2. A miss by Feijen in the fifth rack allowed the US team back on top 3-2, and a break & run in the next rack sent the US team to the hill at 4-2. Team Europe ran the next rack to get back to 4-3, but a mistake by Feijen in the eight rack left the US team with an open table and they cleared it up for the 5-3 win and a 7-4 advantage overall.

Things went from bad to worse for the Euro squad in the final doubles match of the day. The team of Earl Strickland and Rodney Morris crushed Mika Immonen and Marcus Chamat 5-0 to earn a 8-3 lead for Team USA. The match was never really in question with both Morris and Strickland in dead stroke and Immonen unable to bring the top level game that he had displayed on Friday.

In the evening singles matches, Rodney Morris continued where he left off in the previous match and cruised to a 5-1 win over Thomas Engert. Engert was not able to get a game until Morris was already up 2-0 and was unable to apply much pressure as Morris had the match in complete control. The win brought Morris' record to 4-0 this year and his overall record to 7-1.

Just when things looked insurmountable for the Euro squad, team Captain Oliver Ortmann took matters in his own hands and sent Tony Robles back to the practice room with a 5-1 beating. The match started close with the players tied at 1-1, but Ortmann then took control and ran out to a 5-1 win.

In the final match of the night, Marcus Chamat took advantage of numerous mis-steps by Strickland to earn a 5-2 win and bring the Euro team back to within 3 matches at 9-6. Two of the five wins for Chamat were decided by Strickland scratches and a third was decided by a miss by Strickland on an open shot.

With the US team ahead by three, all of the final days matches are singles. Play will continue on Sunday until a team reaches 12 points and is crowned as 2004 Mosconi Cup Champions.

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