Comment & Analysis @RazMirza
The annual Mosconi Cup is into its 27th year with USA leading 13-12, with one tie; it couldn’t be closer! Jeremy Jones’ Team USA are looking for a three-peat. Alex Lely’s men in blue will be quietly pleased with overnight lead despite SVB’s late brilliance
Last Updated: 02/12/20 12:55am
Team Europe took a slender 3-2 lead over USA on a nerve-jangling opening night of Mosconi Cup action at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.
The men in blue appeared to be heading for a healthy overnight lead after opening up a 3-1 lead, but 37-year-old Shane Van Boening showed all of his years of experience to help drag Team USA back into the contest to leave it finely balanced.
The annual Europe vs USA 9-ball showdown opened, as is tradition, with a team match featuring all five players.
And it was Europe who made an electrifying start by surging into a 3-0 lead in the race to five. However, the defending champions hit back following an unfortunate foul by Eklent Kaci which set USA in motion and there was no looking back.
An outstanding bank from rookie Chris Robinson helped secure an outstanding first point on the board.
“I grew up watching it and I’ve always wanted to be a part of it. I’ve just got to do the most with every opportunity and see what happens,” said the 22-year-old. “I was nervous for sure but everyone else is too so it kind of helps me out a little bit.”
Doubles action followed with Germany’s Joshua Filler and Russian rookie Fedor Gorst defeating experienced American duo Van Boening and Corey Deuel to level things up at 1-1.
World champion Gorst announced himself on the big stage by nailing a stunning 9-ball bank to complete a fine 5-2 victory over Deuel and SVB.
Eklent Kaci headed out for Europe in the first singles match of the competition as he went up against Robinson.
The debutant looked to be heading for victory at 4-2 but Kaci won the next then caromed the 9-ball to take us to our first hill-hill game which he won after Robinson failed to take his opportunity.
Albin Ouschan and Jayson Shaw faced Skyler Woodward and Billy Thorpe in the second doubles match.
A lapse in concentration cost the Americans when Woodward failed to declare a push-out to give ball in hand to the Europeans who ran out comfortable 5-2 winners with one left to play.
The fifth and final match of the evening saw ice-cool Austrian Ouschan return to the baize against five-time US Open champion Van Boening.
Veteran SVB found himself 3-4 down but he used all his prowess around the table to secure a valuable point to leave a titanic contest beautifully balanced heading into night two.
Catch all the action from 6.30pm on Sky Sports Mix. We start with a singles match, which will be the fan’s choice. That will be followed by doubles, singles, doubles and singles matches.
Night One Results
Team Europe 3-5 Team USA
Filler/Gorst 5-2 Van Boening/Deuel
Eklent Kaci 5-4 Chris Robinson
Shaw/Ouschan 5-2 Woodward/Thorpe
Albin Ouschan 4-5 Shane Van Boening
For those on the move, we will have the 2020 Mosconi Cup covered via our website skysports.com/more-sports, our app for mobile devices, and our Twitter account @skysportspool for latest news and reports from Tuesday, December 1 until Friday, December 4.