The opening day's play of the 2014 Mosconi Cup in Blackpool saw Europe take a hard fought 3-2 lead in to the second day.
The Opening match saw the full teams play each other and it was one-way traffic for Europe who won it 5-1 despite Corey Deuel taking the first rack to put the USA 1-0 up.
Darren Appleton and Karl Boyes faced Corey Deuel and Justin Hall in the second match in what looked like a very strong chance for Europe to go 2-0 up. Boyes won the lag and breaks off but fails to make anything on the break but Europe keeps the upper hand to force a foul out of the USA for ball-in-hand and a simple run out.
Some uncharacteristic errors by the European team hands the initiative to the USA who go in to a commanding 3-1 lead. The teams share the next two racks to make the score line 4-2 in favor of the USA.
With Eurpoe breaking to stay in the match Appleton’s break comes up dry and leaves Deuel a simple looking run-out but rattles a straight shot on the one ball in the jaws of the pocket to let Europe back in to claim the rack.
A tense safety exchange dominated the next rack after the USA break shot leaves them with no shot on the two ball after making the one on the break. Just as the Europeans gain the upper hand and force an opening a loose positional shot by Appleton knocks the 9-ball to the cushion next to the centre knuckle. Boyes makes the eight ball on the next shot and sets up a straight shot for Appleton down the rail but he catches the centre knuckle and the nine sits up for the USA to take it 5-3 to level the match 1-1.
Mark Grey was up next against John Schmidt and it was Grey who took the opening rack and maintained his advantage with both players winning with the break until schmidt drew level and 3-3. In rack seven Grey broke off and cleared up to the 5-ball but failed to make a tough 5-8 combination which allowed the American in to clear up and win the first rack against the break.
With Schmidt breaking for the match he makes two balls on the break and sees a quick finish to the match with 3 and 9-ball tied up together. He makes a straight 2-ball and then fires in the 3-9 combination to win the match 5-3 and put the USA up 2-1 in the Mosconi Cup.
Match four see's the current world nine ball champion Niels Feijen team up with Nikos Ekonomopoulos to take on Shane Van Boening and John Bergman.
Europe wins the lag with Ekonomopoulos breaking off for Europe and he smashes the rack and kicks the 9-ball in to the corner pocket on the break for a 1-0 lead.
USA level the match in the next rack after an error by Feijen but Europe hit back with the next five to take the match 5-1 and set up a deciding final match of the night with the scores level at 2-2.
The closing match of the night featured Darren Appleton and Shane Van Boening to decide who would take a slender one match lead in to the second day's play.
Appleton wins the lag for the valuable break-off that has been such an advantage over the opening matches. Both players win their respective breaking games with break-and-runs to make it 1-1 in the match.
Appleton and Van Boening share the next four racks with each one going to the breaker to set up a 3-3 match. Appleton takes the next rack with a break-and-run to move in to a 4-3 lead and leave Van Boening breaking to stay in the match but his break comes up dry and lets Appleton in with a shot at a 1-9 combination for the match but he fails to make it but it runs safe.
Van Boening facing a tough shot unluckily leaves the 1-ball over the pocket and clears up to set up a 4-9 combination that he makes for the match and a slender 3-2 for Europe in the Mosconi Cup.
Day 1 Match Results
Match 1 Europe 5-1 USA
Match 2 Appleton & Boyes 3-5 Deuel & Hall
Match 3 Mark Gray 3-5 John Schmidt
Match 4 Feijen & Ekonomopoulos 5-1 Van Boening & Bergman
Match 5 Darren Appleton 5-3 Shane van Boening
Mark Selby, last years winner is 9/2 to do it again this year!
John Higgins, runner-up last year, 14/1 to win this time!
Barry Hawkins, beaten semi-finalist last year, 33/1 to win!
Ding Junhui, beaten semi-finalist last year, 12/1 to win!
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