Team Europe require just two more points for a fourth successive Duelbits Mosconi Cup title after taking the spoils on day three of the 30th anniversary staging.
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Overall Score after Day Three: Team Europe 9-2 Team USA
Match 9: Jayson Shaw & David Alcaide 5-2 Skyler Woodward & Shane Wolford
Match 10: Shaw 5-1 Woodward
Match 11: Shaw & Francisco Sanchez Ruiz 3-5 Woodward & Fedor Gorst
Heading into Friday night's action at an electric Alexandra Palace, the hosts and Mosconi Cup title holders boasted a commanding 7-1 lead - an all-time record-equaling advantage after day two.
The visitors surely had to hit the ground running in the opening tie of the night if they harboured any hopes of a colossal comeback; a doubles encounter featuring Jayson Shaw & David Alcaide against Skyler Woodward & Shane Wolford - the four cueists that didn’t play on Thursday.
But it was Team Europe who got away quickly. Shaw made his presence felt early on as he nailed a long bank on the 3-ball as the duo won the opening rack before break clearing in the second to double their lead. And, after two-time MVP winner Woodward miscued in rack three, the boys in blue soon found themselves 3-0 ahead.
The Stars and Stripes showed heart as they claimed the following two racks – punishing a missed 3-9 combo from Alcaide in rack five – but momentum soon shifted again as the Europeans compiled their second break run of the meeting before clearing up in rack seven to stamp the point after Cup rookie Wolford failed with a tricky pot on the 2-ball.
Reverting to the singles format for match ten, Shaw – facing his first solo assignment of the week – and Woodward stayed out in the arena.
Off the back of winning all three of his singles matches in Las Vegas last year, an effervescent Shaw entertained the home support in North London. The recently crowned Hanoi Open champion dealt with a 3-9 combo in rack one and break cleared in rack two to double up.
Woodward found a ball of his break in the third but missed an awkward pot on the 1-ball, inviting ‘Eagle Eye’ to the table to eventually make it 3-0.
Appearing in his eighth consecutive Mosconi Cup campaign, Shaw impressively cross-banked a 3-ball en route to a fourth rack-in-a-row before Woodward avoided the discomfort of back-to-back singles whitewashes with the second golden break of the event in rack five.
However, roared on by the majority of the near 2,200 fans in attendance, Shaw got the job done in style with his second break and run of the encounter to push Europe even further ahead at 9-1.
Pretty much at the point of no return, Team USA would finish the night on a positive note as they enjoyed the undisputed highlight of their week so far, as Woodward & Fedor Gorst combined to defeat Shaw and Francisco Sanchez Ruz in match 11.
The Americans established 2-0 and 3-1 leads - the first time this week they held an advantage of two racks - prior to the defending champions leveling at 3-3.
Players and fans in red, white, and blue were not to be denied their second point of the campaign, though, as Woodward struck his second golden break of the evening in rack seven before the pairing fully capitalised on a overcut 3-ball from World Champion Sanchez Ruiz in the eighth rack for a morale-boosting 5-3 victory.
Written by Michael Day