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Engert Masters Another Field

Thomas Engert can’t explain why, after years of playing in the shadow of his internationally successful countrymen Oliver Ortmann, Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann, he’s suddenly title-prone, but he’s not arguing.

“I can’t explain it,” said the 38-year-old German after coming from behind to beat Ortmann, 8-6, in the finale of the World Pool Masters in Egmond aan Zee, Holland. “But it’s okay with me.”
Engert, who picked up $50,000 in August at the International Challenge of Champions, earned another $20,000 at the Matchroom Sport-run World Pool Masters. The reigning European 9-Ball Champion may even have earned a spot on Europe’s 2004 Mosconi Cup squad with the win.

Engert led most of the match against Ortmann, but trailed 6-5 before rattling off the final three racks for the title in the 16-player international field.

World Pool Championship Highlights to Air on Fox Sports Net

August 11, 2004: Matchroom Sport, promoters of the World Pool Championship announced that Fox Sports Net, America’s widest reaching sports network, will be broadcasting four one-hour highlight programs of the 2004 World Pool Championship throughout October. The WPC features 128 players from over 40 countries competing for pool’s most coveted title.

Fox’s broadcast represents the most extensive coverage yet in America. The Championship gets aired at 6:00 pm on Sunday evenings throughout October. Program one goes out in Sunday the 10th and action continues on the 17th and 24th, culminating in the closing stages on Sunday, October 31st. *

Commented Matchroom Sport Chairman Barry Hearn, “After showing a one-hour highlight of the Mosconi Cup earlier in the year, Fox have caught the pool bug. With a regular time slot in October I am sure that the World Championship can attract the type of viewing figures that will lead to more and more quality pool on the network.”

Fox Sports Net to air Mosconi Cup on April 4

Matchroom Sport, producer of The Mosconi Cup, has taken another step forward in its mission to pave inroads for pool in major media outlets by striking a deal to air a one-hour highlights package from the 2003 Cup on Fox Sports Net.

The program will air at 5 p.m. in all time zones on Sunday, April 4.

The move is significant for big-time tournament pool, which until this deal with Fox Sports Net had relied almost exclusively on the ESPN family of networks for national TV exposure. Fox Sports Net reaches 81 million homes, according to a release from Matchroom.

“This represents real progress for the Mosconi Cup and men’s pool in general,” said Matchroom Chairman Barry Hearn. “This is Fox Sport Net’s first broadcast of one of our pool events, and they’ve started with the very best.

“Hopefully, this will be the start of something big, and we will be coming up with some more ideas for Fox Sports Net to look at in the future.”

“I am happy to be in business with Barry Hearn and Matchroom Sport,” said George Greenberg, Executive Vice President of Programming and Production for Fox Sports Net. “It is a great opportunity to get world-class events that will make for wonderful programming on FSN.”

With a ten-year history behind it, The Mosconi Cup has developed into one of pocket billiards’ most exciting events, as two six-man teams from Europe and America go head-to-head in a Ryder Cup-style format.

Following nine successful years in London, the 2003 Mosconi Cup was staged at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev., where it was received by sell-out crowds, including some representatives of Fox Sports Net.

Featuring legends of the game such as Earl Strickland, Steve Davis, Johnny Archer and Ralf Souquet, the contest went right down to the wire before Team U.S.A. pulled out an 11-9 win.

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).

Snippets… Euro stars in nookie ban

In a desperate attempt to regain the Mosconi Cup, European Team Captain Ralf Souquet has slapped a sex ban on his team for the duration of the Mosconi Cup which starts on Thursday.

In a strongly worded letter, hard-line Souquet, dubbed ‘The Kaiser’, warned his teams against the perils of carnality.

Order for all members of the European Mosconi Cup Team: “There is a strict prohibition for having sex and/or sexual activities with effect from December 11th 2000. This rule applies particularly to the German player Thomas Engert, who is bringing his wife with him. There have even been some thoughts, whether to book two single rooms for him and his wife!”

“As captain of the European Team, it is my first and utmost priority to take care of the players and prepare them for optimal performance at the tournament. Not only from my own experience I know that having sex at an inappropriate moment can paralyse body and soul of a player. Concentration, mental force and attitude towards the game could be weakened and negatively influenced.”

“Remember there is only one goal – to win the Mosconi Cup!”

Finnish ace Mika Immonen learned of the ban on arriving in London this morning and was reported to be “gobsmacked”.

ESPN Delays Mosconi Cup Airing

Pool fans who tuned in to ESPN2 Sunday afternoon, Dec. 28, expecting to see six consecutive hours of the 2003 Mosconi Cup instead found a string of Trick Shot Magic reruns.

Blame it on Eminem.

ESPN public relations spokesman Nate Smeltz said that the 2003 Mosconi Cup, staged Dec. 18-21 at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas, had “production problems” that prevented it from airing in its assigned time slot. Smeltz went on to say that the Mosconi Cup would, indeed, air on ESPN2 in the near future, but that definitive dates have not been established.

According to Matchroom Sports, producers of the Mosconi Cup, the crux of the problem was music (including rapper Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”) that Matchroom’s United Kingdom television partner Sky Sport uses during player introductions and taped promotional segments.

“Sky Sports has copyright to run whatever music they want in the U.K.,” said Matchroom’s Luke Riches. “In the U.S., ESPN has to clear the rights to the music, or edit songs out of the program and replace them with music that they hold rights to.”

According to Riches, Sky Sport edited and produced four hours of programming from the 2002 Mosconi Cup, which aired on ESPN2 Dec. 29, 2002. In 2003, however, ESPN assumed the task of editing the footage into six one-hour shows. (All 20 matches of Team USA’s 11-9 win over Team Europe were aired live in the U.K. on Sky Sport.)

“Apparently,” said Riches, “ESPN couldn’t clear the music or re-edit the tapes in time.

“I guess this kind of thing can happen,” Riches added. “But it’s something of a disaster for our sponsors who bought commercial time and expected the commercials to air on Dec. 28.”

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.