THE AMERICANS FIGHT BACK
BY LUKE RICHES
(Las Vegas)--TEAM USA recovered from a first day hammering at the PartyPoker.net Mosconi Cup as they put themselves right back into contention, winning three matches to Europe’s two at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Stellar performances from the Americans saw them level the match at 4-4, before the Europeans derailed their momentum to take the final two games and move into the fourth day with a two point lead.
There was plenty of Mosconi Cup drama as debutant Mike Dechaine overcame Ralf Souquet 6-1 and Rodney Morris had an outburst that he will be happy to forget in a hurry. However, coming into the day three points down, Team USA will be happy to have reduced the deficit.
The opening match of day two was a must-win situation for the Americans and win it they did as Johnny Archer and Shane Van Boening edged past the Dutch duo of Feijen and Van den Berg. With the racking changed from the opening day – a regular rack was used instead of the Magic Rack – the balls were spreading nicely and both pairs took advantage with succession of break and runs.
With the USA having won the lag, they reached the hill first and had a great chance to win 6-4 but Van Boening left Archer in the lurch with just the 8 and 9 balls left on the table and the Dutchmen eventually took the rack to make it hill hill.
Archer dropped four balls into the pockets from his break shot and himself and Van Boening went on to claim a nerve calming win.
“We’re not doing anything different. Our execution yesterday meant we over ran a few shots and we’ve just tightened it up. We had chances to win matches yesterday,” said Archer.
There was more USA joy in the second match as Mike Dechaine – a heavy underdog – put in a perfect performance to overturn Ralf Souquet by 6-1 and reduce the European lead to just one point.
The 24 year-old Dechaine looked a bundle of nerves and adrenaline prior to the match but he made it all work in his favour as he ran through his racks with precision and cashed in on a couple of errors from Souquet.
“This is definitely one of the best moments of my life. I’m having a great time and everyone has a positive attitude, even though we were 4-1 down after the first day,” said a delighted Dechaine.
“We had a couple of unfortunate events yesterday but today we’ve put up a good line-up and it’s going to be a great day.”
There was plenty of drama and controversy in the next match as Team USA drew level, winning their third consecutive match of the day as Rodney Morris and Shawn Putnam beat the English pair of Melling and Appleton.
6-5 was the score line as the US stole it at the last when Appleton left Melling a tough pink 4 ball and he overcut it to give the table and subsequently the match to the Americans.
The real drama came at the start of the sixth rack when Morris’s temper boiled over and he used some regrettable language. Some of the rowdier elements got to him and he told Darren Appleton, in no uncertain terms, to tell them to be quiet. It then escalated as Morris then audibly offered the Englishman to step outside.
Things calmed down as the Americans went on to take the match and afterwards Morris was highly embarrassed by his outburst as well as apologetic.
In the fourth match of the day, Nick Van den Berg put in a superb performance to beat Johnny Archer 6-1 and restore European supremacy. Similarly to Mike Dechaine’s defeat of Ralf Souquet, it was the underdog who came with all the shots, taking full advantage of a tired-looking Archer.
“Today’s been awful – we wanted to go and win the session but we were 3-0 down. When it’s like that you’re just trying to give your best and I didn’t make a mistake.
“Johnny Archer was probably the best American player so far but he didn’t get a chance so I’m very happy with the way I played. We tried to keep our heads up.”
In the final match of the session, Chris Melling and Ralf Souquet reinforced European supremacy as the played excellently to defeat the Shane Van Boening / Rodney Morris axis 6-2.
That left the Europeans with a two point lead going into day three of the event but the Americans still have every chance.
Europe 6– 4 USA
Van den Berg / Feijen 5-6 Archer / Van Boening
Ralf Souquet 1-6 Mike Dechaine
Appleton / Melling 5-6 Putnam / Morris
Nick Van den Berg 6-1 Johnny Archer
Souquet / Melling 6-2 Van Boening / Morris