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Mosconi Cup Teams Announced

Promoters Matchroom Sport have announced the teams for this year’s Mosconi Cup. Johnny Archer captains the American team; he is joined by Rodney Morris, Gabe Owen, Tony Robles, Earl Strickland and Charlie Williams. Germany’s Oliver Ortmann heads up the European team, which also includes Marcus Chamat, Steve Davis, Thomas Engert, Niels Feijen and Mika Immonen.

The Mosconi Cup takes place December 16-19 at the Hotel Zuiderduin in Egmond aan Zee, Holland.

“Killer Pixie” gets shot at redemption

402aAlex Pagulayan has earned a return trip to the finals of the World Pool Championship, set for Sunday night in Taipei City, Taiwan. The fiery Filipino (now living in Canada) came up short against little-known Thorsten Hohmann in the finals of the WPC in 2003. This year, the “Killer Pixie” will meet an even more obscure opponent, 25-year-old Pei-Wei Chang from Taiwan, who shocked Johnny Archer 11-10 in the quarterfinals and then came back from a 6-1 deficit against Sweden’s Marcus Chamat to win his semifinal match, 11-9.

Check out http://www.billiardsdigest.com/tournaments/index?tournament_id=11 for BD’s on-the-spot coverage, or check out the event’s Web site at http://www.worldpoolchampionship.com

Host Country Celebrates WPC

402aThe field of 128 of the world’s best 9-ballers has been whittled to eight at the World Pool Championship in Taipei, Taiwan, and the host country has a lot to celebrate. When play begins on Saturday evening (Taipei time), no less than half the field will hail from Taiwan, including two-time world champion Fong-Pang Chao (1993, 2000). Here are the matchups for the quarterfinals, which will be immediately followed by semifinal matches:

Pei-Wei Chang (Chinese Taipei) vs. Johnny Archer (USA)
Alex Pagulayan (Canada) vs. Fong-Pang Chao (Chinese Taipei)
Marcus Chamat (Sweden) vs. Marlon Manalo (Philippines)
Po-Cheng Kuo (Chinese Taipei) vs. Ching-Ching Kang (Chinese Taipei)

Check out http://www.billiardsdigest.com/tournaments/index?tournament_id=11 for BD’s on-the-spot coverage, or check out the event’s Web site at http://www.worldpoolchampionship.com

Team USA Captures Sixth Sraight Mosconi Cup

85aAfter Team Europe drew first blood in the 2001 Mosconi Cup, Team USA won the next 12 matches to claim its sixth straight Mosconi Cup title at York Hall in Bethnal Green, England, Dec. 20-23. The 12-1 victory for Team USA is the most decisive win in the eight-year history of the annual Ryder Cup-style event, which Team USA has now won seven times.

Only the pairing of Niels Feijen and Mika Immonen was able to scratch the scoreboard with a 5-3 triumph over veteran U.S. duo Johnny Archer and Nick Varner. But from then on, Team USA dominated play. The young American pair of Charlie Williams and Cory Deuel built Team USA’s lead with two convincing victories over Steve Knight and Marcus Chamat by a combined score of 10-3. Archer and Varner then closed out the event by redeeming themselves from the Day 1 loss with a 5-1 win over Immonen and Team Europe captain Ralf Souquet.

Mosconi Cup Lineup Set

57aMatchroom Sport released its Team USA and Team Europe rosters for the popular Mosconi Cup, held at York Hall in Bethnal Green, England, Dec. 20-23. The two six-man rosters were respectively selected in consultation with the Billiard Congress of America and European Pocket Billiard Federation.

Five-time Player of the Year Earl Strickland will return as captain of the American squad, which is rounded out by Corey Deuel, Johnny Archer, Jeremy Jones, Nick Varner and Charlie Williams. All but Varner and Williams were members of last year’s Cup-winning team.

Team Europe is comprised of captain Ralf Souquet (Germany), Marcus Chamat (Sweden), Steve Davis (England), Niels Feijen (Holland), Mika Immonen (Finland) and Steve Knight (England).

World Pool Chmpionship Final Set

For the first time since 1996, a European player will take home the top prize in pool. The final of the 2001 Admiral World Pool Championship comes down to two Europeans – Finland’s Mika Immonen and Germany’s Ralf Souquet. The winner of today’s final tilt will take home $65,000, while the loser will pocket $30,000.

Souquet, who won the World Pool Championship in 1996, coasted into the final match with wins over Marcus Chamat in the quarterfinals, and later Chia-hsiung Lai in Saturday evening’s semifinal on the main table. During his two matches, Souquet outscored both of his opponents by a total margin of 22-3.

“It’s not easy to be out there in the arena and play your best all the time but I think over the years, I’ve mastered playing on the TV tables,” said Souquet, who beat Lai 11-2.

Immonen, meanwhile, had a more difficult time with his opponents on Saturday. He beat Niels Feijen, 11-7, in the quarterfinal, then rallied from a 5-2 deficit for another 11-7 win over Alain Martel in the semifinal.

“Me and Ralf have got a lot of respect for each other and he is a real gentleman,” said Immonen. “We’ll both be concentrating on our respective games and not worry about each other.”

The final match is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. EST.

“Kaiser” Rolls On; Jones Finished

Germany’s Ralf “The Kaiser” Souquet continued his torrid play at the 2001 Admiral World Pool Championship in Cardiff, Wales. He controlled every moment of his quarterfinal match against Sweden’s Marcus Chamat, and captured an 11-1 victory.

Lone remaining American Jeremy Jones was also eliminated on Saturday. Jones, who battled a slight cold the night before, dropped his first seven games against Chia-hsiung Lai of Chinese Taipei. Lai never looked back, and held on for an 11-3 win. Jones collected $8,500 for a share of fifth place.

“We exchanged safeties early,” said Jones, “The next time I looked up, it was 7-0. I wish I could have represented the country a little further. I really wanted to win this tournament.”

U.S. Surge, Regain Mosconi Cup

Unleashing its arsenal of high-powered talend, Team USA rebounded from an 8-6 deficit to win four of five matches on Sunday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to win the 2003 Mosconi Cup over Team Europe, 11-9. Cup-clinching 9 ball honors went to U.S. Open winner Jeremy Jones, whose 5-3 win over Sweden’s Marcus Chamat allowed the U.S. squad to recapture the Cup it had lost to the Euros in London last December.

After suffering through a five-match drought on Saturday, Team USA opened the final day’s action with four consecutive match wins. Cup debutante Rodney Morris opened the floodgates with a energizing 5-3 win over reigning world 9-ball champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany. Johnny Archer then tied the contest with a 5-2 thumping of Steve Davis, and Earl Strickland gave the U.S. a lead it would never relinquish with a thrilling, 5-4, win over 23-year-old Dutchman Nick Van den Berg.

The U.S. squad got perhaps its biggest boost in the next match, when Mosconi rookie Tony Robles, who had not played well through the four-day event, put together a near-perfect performance against Europe’s top player, Mika Immonen of Finland. Immonen had been unbeaten in three matches going into Sunday, and earned the MVP award as the player who scored the most match points. But Robles scored a 5-2 win to put the Americans on the hill, 10-8.

Germany’s Ralf Souquet kept Europe’s hopes alive with a 5-3 win over Charlie Williams, but Jones closed the door on Europe’s hopes against Chamat. It marks the eighth time in the 10-year history of the event that the U.S. squad came out on top.

For more Mosconi Cup highlights and photos, log on to www.mosconicup.com.

Team Europe Blitzes to Mosconi Lead

In a stunning turnaround that had members of the U.S. squad befuddled and bitter, Team Europe rolled through five straight match wins Saturday afternoon to take an 8-6 lead in the 2004 Mosconi Cup at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Trailing, 6-3, as the third day of the Ryder Cup-styled team 9-ball tournament kicked off, the Euros earned a much-needed boost when 23-year-old Nick Van den Berg scored a 5-3 win over mistake-prone Mosconi rookie Tony Robles. Then, in what may be looked back on as the event’s critical match, Germans Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann edged the U.S. duo of Johnny Archer and Rodney Morris, 5-4, to trim the overall score to 6-5 in the race-to-11.

With European fans becoming more boisterous by the game, snooker legend Steve Davis pitched an unlikely 5-0 shutout against Earl Strickland. Strickland was livid before and after the match, as Mosconi producers Sky Sports aired a pre-match promo that centered on the volatile Strickland’s actions during a match against Davis at the World Pool Championships in Cardiff in July. At that event, Strickland battled the pro-Davis crowd, the match referee, and Davis himself.

Scandanavians Mika Immonen and Marcus Chamat then topped Charlie Williams and Jeremy Jones, 5-3, in the final doubles match to give Europe its first lead of the event at 7-6. The day finished with Souquet pocketing a table-length kick at the 8 ball in the case game for a 5-4 triumph over Jones.

For more match highlights and photos from the 2004 Mosconi Cup, log on to www.mosconicup.com.

U.S. Assumes Command

On the heels of spirited and nearly flawless play from Mosconi Cup debutante Rodney Morris, Team USA won three of four matches Friday afternoon at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas to take a 6-3 lead over Team Europe in the annual Matchroom Sport-promoted team tournament.

Morris, unbeaten in his two matches thus far (one doubles win and one singles victory), made the most of every shooting opportunity and worked the capacity crowd into near hysteria while teamming with Johnny Archer in a 5-1 stomping of the German duo of Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann. Morris continually urged the pro-U..S. crowd for support during the match.

Day Two of the Ryder Cup-style event began with Jeremy Jones, who learned he would be leading off in singles competition just 20 minutes prior to the opening lag, beating Sweden’s Marcus Chamat, 5-3. Earl Strickland and Tony Robles then paired to topple Steve Davis and Nick Van den Berg by the same score. The only thing that kept Europe from squandering all four opportunities on Friday was Mika Immonen’s thrilling 5-4 win over Charlie Williams. Williams had fought back from a 4-1 deficit to tie the match, and had the break in the case game. Not only did Williams fail to make a ball on the break, but he left Immonen a 1-9 combination that sealed his doom. Because of the U.S.’s three-game lead, the promoters decided not to stage a fifth match on Friday, for fear that another U.S. win might lead to an early end to the race-to-11 tournament. In 2001, the U.S. ended the event on Saturday with a 12-1 thrashing, leaving Matchroom and TV partner Sky Sports with no Sunday programming.

For more information on the 2004 Mosconi Cup, log onto www.mosconicup.com.