PoolRoom

U.S. Takes Early Mosconi Cup Lead

A surprisingly large and boisterous turn-out greeted Team USA and Team Europe on Thursday when the Mosconi Cup team tournament made its U.S. debut at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas, and the players didn’t disappoint. In a five-match mix of singles and doubles play, the U.S. squad closed out the opening day with a 3-2 advantage in the race-to-11 tournament.

Uncertain of how the Mosconi Cup, wildly successful for nine years in London, would fare in America, promoter Barry Hearn of Matchroom Sport was overwhelmed by the 300-plus fans that filled the arena for the 11 a.m. opening lag. “This is absolutely fantastic,” said Hearn, who hopes to switch the Cup to a home-and-home series from this point on. Bouyed by nearly 100 Euros who made the pre-Christmas trek to Las Vegas, the first day featured raucous cheering for the two sides.

The opening match featured Johnny Archer, pool’s hotest player, against reigning World Pool Champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany. Archer jumped to an early lead, and held on for a nerve-wracking 5-4 win in a match that lasted some 90 minutes.

Europe tied the match when the Scandanavian duo of Marcus Chamat and Mika Immonen rolled to a 5-1 win over Tony Robles and Charlie Williams.

The U.S. took a 3-1 lead after Rodney Morris made an impressive Mosconi Cup debut with a 5-3 pasting of Ralf Souquet, and the team of Earl Strickland and Jeremy Jones squandered a 4-0 lead, but outlasted Steve Davis and Nick Van den Berg, 5-4.

Europe stayed within striking distance of the Americans when Immonen topped Archer, 5-3, in the day’s final match.

For more information and photos from the 2004 Mosconi Cup, and match-by-match updates, go to www.mosconicup.com.

MGM Grand To Host Mosconi Cup

As promised by Brit pool promoter Barry Hearn after Europe upset the mighty U.S. squad in the 2002 Mosconi Cup last December, pool fans in America will get their chance to play the boisterous hosts when the 2003 version of the raucous Europe vs the U.S. team event comes to the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Dec. 18-21.

“The Mosconi Cup in Las Vegas is something that the world of pool has been collectively dreaming about for a long time,” said Hearn, the former snooker promoter, whose Matchroom Sport sports promotion company launched the Ryder Cup-style 9-ball tournament in 1994. “I’m delighted to say that it is now a reality.”

Hoping to create the type of interest that Americans developed for the America’s Cup sailing race after the U.S.’s years of dominance was ended, shockingly, in the early ’80s, Hearn plans to hype the 2003 Mosconi Cup to pool fans and general sports fans in the U.S. According to Matchroom publicist Luke Riches, a 30-second commercial promoting the Mosconi Cup will air some 100 times on Fox Sports World during broadcasts of the World Matchplay Darts tournament (a Matchroom promotion) in September.

Additionally, said Hearn, Matchroom will be offering special fan packages to pool followers in both Europe and the U.S., in an attempt to recreate the wildly enthusiastic soccer-style fan atmosphere that has rattled the rafters of York Hall for the past five years.

“We want as many fans as possible to come and join in this celebration of the great game,” Hearn commented. “We’ll be announcing some very affordable travel packages very shortly.”

Matchroom also announced that, for the first time in the event’s history, the teams will be led by non-playing captains, similar to the Ryder Cup golf format. While teams have yet to be confirmed, it is expected that Team Europe will return almost intact, with Germany’s Ralf Souquet, Sweden’s Marcus Chamat, Nick Van den Berg of the Netherlands, England’s Steve Davis and Finland’s Mika Immonen defending their crown. It is anticipated that newly crowned world champion Thorsten Hohmann, of Germany, will be added to the squad, replacing countryman Oliver Ortmann. Ortmann, captain and emotional leader of the 2002 champions, may be tabbed as the team’s non-playing captain in 2003.

According to Riches, the American squad is still taking shape, and a final announcement of the six-man team is not likely before the United States Professional Poolplayers Association (UPA) Atlanta Open in mid-October.

Mosconi Cup First Day: Europe Sweeps America!

The Mosconi Cup matches held in London today had a surprising outcome: Europe, which suffered a crushing 12-1 defeat last year, has leapt to a 3-0 lead on the first day of this year’s competition.

In the first matchup, Team Europe team captain Oliver Ortmann and fellow German Ralf Souquet took on American team captain Johnny Archer and veteran pro Nick Varner. Team Europe took first blood with a 5-2 victory.

In the second match of the opening session, Scandinavians Mika Immonen and Marcus Chamat faced American young guns Cory Deuel and Charlie Williams. Immonen won the lag and ran out to take a 1-0 lead, and that set the tone for the match. Europe picked up another point with a 5-1 victory.

In the final matchup of the evening, American spirits were flagging, and the European support was growing stronger by the minute as home-team favorite Steve Davis and fresh-faced rookie Nick van den Berg faced Americans Earl Strickland and Jeremy Jones. This match was closer, 5-4, but with the same outcome: Europe took another point.

The Mosconi Cup will head into its second day with Europe holding an unprecedented shutout advantage. Check our live-coverage link at the top of the page for on-site coverage, or visit www.mosconicup.com.

Mosconi Cup Gets First-Ever U.S. Airtime

Expect to see Johnny on your television at the end of December.

Expect to see Johnny on your television at the end of December.

The Mosconi Cup will be broadcast for the first time in the United States this year courtesy of ESPN2. Coverage, which will feature tournament highlights, will run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. EST on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2002. The Mosconi Cup takes place Dec. 19-22 in London.

Matchroom Sport Chair Barry Hearn said, “This is great news for American pool fans who will at last get the opportunity to sample the unique atmosphere of the sport’s greatest event.” Hearn voiced the hope that the event would draw large numbers of non-pool-playing viewers.

Hearn also discussed the possibility of moving the Mosconi Cup to the United States in the future. “Hopefully this will be the start of a beautiful relationship that will see the Mosconi Cup taking place in the United States and being broadcast live from coast-to-coast.”