Monday, 1 December 2014
Mosconi Cup Starts Today!
By: Erik Hjorleifson
It's that time of year again as The Mosconi Cup is set to get underway in Blackpool, England! Play will kick off Monday at 2.pm eastern time and can be viewed live on ESPN 3 at watchespn.com. This will be the 21st edition of the wildly popular team event that features five players from the U.S. against 5 players from Europe in a race to 11 format that sees scotch triples, doubles and singles play.
Here are the lineups for both squads in 2014:
Shane Van Boening, Corey Deuel, John Schmidt, Justin Bergman and Justin Hall
Darren Appleton, Karl Boyes, Nikos Ekonomopolous, Mark Gray and Neil Feijen
The U.S is going with a different approach this year bringing in two new members, Justin Hall and Justin Bergman and also bringing back John Schmidt for the first time since 2006. There have been many opinions since the announcement from first time team captain Mark Wilson that there was a group of 7 players that would be vying for the opportunity to represent the U.S. in 2014. Shane van Boening was the only player that was guaranteed a spot and the others were chosen from a pool that included the four other members along with Jeremy Sossei, Oscar Dominguez and Brandon Shuff. Many people were surprised that Mosconi Cup veterans like Rodney Morris, Johnny Archer, Dennis Hatch and Earl Strickland were not a part of the selection pool but it has been made clear from the beginning that the U.S. is looking for a new youthful approach to the competition. It cannot be argued that the recent teams fielded by the U.S. have not been very successful as Europe has won 6 of the last 7 years and this was accentuated by an 11-2 drubbing last year on home soil.
One Big factor for the U.S will be the performance of Mosconi Cup rookies Justin Bergman and Justin Hall both players are not necessarily household names but they have had a lot of success on U.S. soil. Hall recently had a 7th place finish at the U.S. Open with some strong wins along the way, he is also regarded as one of the top one pocket players and bank pool players in the world. Bergman had an impressive second place finish at the Memphis Open in July, this was a race to 21 ten ball event and there was no luck involved in the result. Both players are very active on the regional tournament scene and keep themselves busy with challenge matches throughout the year. The one worry is that neither player has ever competed in a WPA event and has never played in a tournament overseas. It is safe to say that this will be the biggest stage they have ever played on and it will be interesting to see how they handle it.
On the European side all players have past Mosconi Cup experience and on paper it seems like they are set to take their fifth Mosconi Cup in a row. The main advantage the Europeans have going for them is that they all regularly compete in WPA events and under professional settings mainly on the Euro Tour. Because they compete together so often it seems that they have all become good friends as well and that always bodes well for team events. This year the event will be held in their backyard and for anyone who has watched the Mosconi Cup in the past we all know how enthusiastic their fans can be. It will be very Important for the U.S. to get off to a good start otherwise it will be a long up hill battle for them.
The first day of play features a scotch triples match-up to get the competition under way that will be followed by two scotch doubles matches and two singles matches between Mark Gray and John Schmidt. The last match of the day will be a marquee match-up between Shane van Boening and Darren Appleton. All Matches are a race to six and the nine will once again be racked on the spot in an attempt to cutback on the break and run offense.
Stay tuned to cuesportnation.com for all the updates