US grabs Mosconi Cup lead

Earl Strickland and referee Scott Smith

Day one of the Mosconi Cup is complete and the US team has ended the day with a 3-2 lead.

Johnny Archer drew first blood with his 5-4 win over reigning champion Thorsten Hohmann. Archer led the match 4-1, but a couple a couple careless shots allowed Hohmann to tie the match at 4-4 before Archer won the deciding game.

The second match saw the Euro team of Mika Immonen and Marcus Chamat roll over Tony Robles and Charlie Williams from the US. The Euro team jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Immonen kicked in a 1-ball and ran out the rack. Mika almost broke and ran the second rack, but a missed 9-ball allowed the US to tie the match at 1-1. That would be the last rack the US would win in that set, as Immonen and Chamat won the next four games for the 5-1 win.

Rodney Morris got things moving in the right direction for the US again when he defeated Ralf Souquet 5-3 in match three. Both players won on their break until Ralf won the fifth game to grab a 3-2 lead. A jawed 6-ball by Ralf in game six allowed Morris to even things again at 3-3. Morris broke and ran the next rack to get to the hill and then kicked in a 4-ball and ran out the final rack for the match win.

Match four was a see-saw battle between Earl Strickland and Jeremy Jones vs Steve Davis and Nick Van Den Berg. Strickland and Jones came out firing and raced to a 4-0 lead. A couple errors by team USA then allowed the Euro team to get going and they knotted the match at 4-4 with Van Den Berg breaking. Van Den Berg came up dry on the break and Strickland ran out the rack to pull ahead 3 matches to 1.

Match five started between Archer and Immonen with the US team shooting for a 4-1 lead at the end of day one. Things came undone right off the bat for Archer though, as he made what appeared to be the shot of the day, a full ball jump/bank on the three ball. Before the crowd had stopped applauding the shot, referee Michaela Tabb said Archer's cue ball touched the 7-ball and awarded Immonen with ball in hand. The shot was shown over and over on the video screens and the shot appeared to be a legal shot, but American captain Nick Varner said that he watched the shot in super-slow motion and the Tabb's call was correct.

Archer's concentration appeared to be shot after Tabb's call and Immonen raced to a 4-1 lead. Archer tried to get back into the match but scratched during a gutsy run attempt in the 8th rack and lost the match 5-3.

Play continues on Friday with five more matches. Follow all the action on the official site for the Mosconi Cup at

Photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe