The Mosconi Cup returns with Team Europe riding the crest of a wave and they will be aiming to pocket one of pool’s most prestigious prizes once again between December 1-4, exclusively live on Sky Sports.
Now in its 21st year, the tournament billed as the ‘Ryder Cup of pool’ will take place at Blackpool’s iconic Tower Circus, where the hosts have the chance to claim their fifth consecutive title.
Pitting Europe’s five best players against America’s top pool stars, the Mosconi Cup features a number series of singles and doubles encounters of the course of the four-day event; and much like golf’s Ryder Cup, it’s a good time to be a European fan.
Last year’s glory in Las Vegas, a stunning 11-2 thrashing from Europe that included the competition’s first ever opening day whitewash, was their sixth Mosconi Cup win in seven years, which followed an atmospheric 2012 victory in York Hall, Bethnal Green, the last time the tournament was staged in the UK.
Known as the Las Vegas of the north, this year’s Mosconi Cup host city Blackpool is a place accustomed to the bright lights and dizzying pomp of its American neighbour.
Anybody who has been to watch the World Matchday darts in Blackpool in the summer can vouch for the unique atmosphere in which sport is revered and the Mosconi Cup will be no different.
No less than 1,200 fans are expected to pack into the Tower Circus every day of the competition so expect raucous chanting and vociferous celebrations galore if Europe successfully defend their title.
The Las Vegas demolition 12 months ago saw Europe celebrate their eighth success overall and they’ll be confident of adding to that tally this time around, especially with reigning World Nine-Ball Champion Niels Feijen among their ranks.
The Dutchman earned his spot after topping both the World Ranking list and the list which combined both Euro Tour and World event points.
The current world number one, ‘The Terminator’ Feijen, has won Most Valuable Player in the 2011 and 2013 Mosconi Cups and the Dutchman is Europe’s most obvious weapon.
Also in the frame to help Europe secure a fifth straight Mosconi Cup success is the Iceman’ Mika Immonen, who has also racked up two MVP awards and has represented Europe in all but five Mosconi Cups.
Englishman Mark Gray and Greece’s Nick Ekonomopoulos were the other two automatic qualifiers for this year’s tournament, while the team was recently rounded out by wildcard picks Darren Appleton and Karl Boyes.
Everpresent Appleton will be making his sixth straight appearance since 2009, while Blackpool local Boyes will no doubt relish playing in front of his home fans.
American captain Mark Wilson has been tasked with stopping the rot and he’ll be hoping his new-look team can do just that.
While Corey Deuel and Shane Van Boening are veterans of the tournament, John Schmidt has just one previous appearance under his belt and both Justin Hall and Justin Bergman will be making their debuts.
After Europe thrillingly conquered Las Vegas to beat the USA to the Mosconi Cup last year, they are faced with defending it on home soil. Can Europe repeat the shocking 11-2 victory in Sin City in 2013?
The Americans have been shaken up under Mark Wilson’s leadership but the atmosphere in Blackpool may be different to anything they’ve experienced.
The Tower Circus in Blackpool will hold 1,200 rabid fans for each of the four days, but if you’re not lucky to be one of them, you can still enjoy the action from home with Sky Sports.
Watch the best pool players in Europe take on the USA in the 2014 edition of the Mosconi Cup live on Sky Sports.
Coverage starts at 6.00pm each night, kicking off on December 1 on Sky Sports 3, with the next two days on Sky Sports 1, and the final day’s play on December 4 will be shown on Sky Sports 2.
Andy Goldstein introduces the action across all four days alongside fellow commentators Jim Wych, Jerry Forsyth, Phil Yates, Jay Helfert and Ted Lerner.
Further features, interviews and video highlights can be found on the Sky Sports website, with additional, behind-the-scenes updates via Twitter – @SkySportsPool – while subscribers can watch every match wherever they are via Sky Go.
Monday 1st December
DAY 1: EUROPE v UNITED STATES
LIVE: 6.00pm-11.00pm Sky Sports 3
Tuesday 2nd December
DAY 2: EUROPE v UNITED STATES
LIVE: 6.00pm-11.00pm Sky Sports 1
Wednesday 3rd December
DAY 3: EUROPE v UNITED STATES
LIVE: 6.00pm-11.00pm Sky Sports 1
Thursday 4th December
DAY 4: EUROPE v UNITED STATES
LIVE: 6.00pm-11.00pm Sky Sports 2