USA Retains Mosconi Cup

Team USA fought off a late run by Team Europe to defend their title as Mosconi Cup Champions.

Sunday matches started with the US leading 9-6 and only needing three match wins to win the title. Those three wins would prove to be harder than expected to achieve.

Things looked good at the start of the day with Rodney Morris remaining undefeated in the event and scoring a 5-3 win over Euro star Mika Immonen. Morris took the first game of the match and Immonen was forced to chase Morris the rest of the set. Immonen won games to tie the match at 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 before Morris took control and won the final two games of the set for a 10-6 US lead.

In the next match, US Captain Johnny Archer took control quickly and raced to a 2-0 lead over Niels Feijen. Feijen then took advantage of some careless play by Archer to win five straight games and take the match 5-2 to bring the Euro squad back to 10-7.

The next match saw another 2-0 US lead with Tony Robles in the drivers seat this time. Just as before, the Euro squad came back. This time, it was Marcus Chamat who tied the match at 2-2. Robles was only able to earn one more rack before Chamat put the match away 5-3 and bring the Euro team back to within two matches at 10-8.

The pressure was obviously getting to the players in the next match as both Gabe Owen and Thomas Engert missed balls that they would ordinarily have no trouble with. Owen was able to deal with his nerves better than Engert and took the US Team to the hill at 11-8 with a 5-2 win over Engert.

The next match saw Earl Strickland taking on Euro Captain Oliver Ortmann. Strickland has pocketed his fair share of event winning 9-balls and he was looking for another chance in this match. That opportunity would not come as Ortmann played run-out 9-ball and dominated Strickland 5-1. This brought the score to 11-9 with Euro favorite Steve Davis on deck to face Charlie Williams.

Williams had struggled badly this year, but he came out like a completely different player in this match and raced to a 3-0 lead. Davis won the next two games to get back to 3-2, but Williams then took control back to win the final two games.

Delighted American skipper Johnny Archer admitted his pride with his team's performance after they retained the Mosconi Cup, defeating Europe 12-9 in Holland.

Archer said: “I'm so proud of the guys – the whole team did well and it was a great effort.

“Earl and I didn't play our best, but the new guys – you can't say anything bad about them.

“Rodney is definitely our MVP – he was awesome and Charlie's struggled the last couple of years but he showed he's a fighter.

“We're going to enjoy the moment – it was a great tournament so thanks to the fans, you bring it all out of us and also to Barry Hearn, the promoter.

“We're looking forward to having it on American soil next year – it's hard when you only have one or two fans against 500 and when they come to the States we have more fans than them so it balances out!”

Rodney Morris, who was voted the Most Valuable Player after completing the event with a 100 percent record, added: “I had a great time the whole week and it was great to win because a lot of times we play well and didn't win.

“It's an honour to win the MVP award but really it's the whole team who deserves it.”

And Charlie Williams, who potted the final 9-ball, revealed he was delighted to rest the ghosts of last year, when he failed to win a point.

“I've had nightmares for a year but this feels really good – I didn't expect to hit the winning 9-ball because I had a chance to do that before and you don't often get it twice.

“Earl said that to contribute to the team you have to have a winning record so this feels great and to hit the winning 9-ball is a dream come true.

“Everyone played their part – it was Gabe's first year and he didn't choke, he won four matches and that showed what we're made of.”

Dejected European captain Oliver Ortmann was gracious in defeat: “Congratulations to the American team, they played a great tournament. Thanks to Dutch crowd for their support, hopefully we'll beat them next year but they're a tough team to beat.

“Everyone played great and we were fighting but somebody has to win and lose, that's the way it is.”