top of page

Happy 30th Birthday Team Europe, USA Come Bearing Gifts

Mark White Logo
By Mark White

Mosconi Cup 30th Anniversary
Lets Go!

Mosconi Cup 2023 Day 1

The Duelbit-sponsored Mosconi Cup returned to London's Ally Pally for its 30th anniversary

and day one of pool's equivalent to golf's Ryder Cup would have the European fans shouting 'Fore' albeit with a slightly different spelling.

The press conference the night before was quite a laid-back affair compared to other years. Jayson Shaw, usually the protagonist and leader of the banter, was unusually low-key, the promised insult hurling never materialised and it seemed Jayson was more content to let his carbon fiber cue do the talking. He was first up against Captain America, although SVB has won 3 Mosconi trophies, and this was his 17th appearance. It looked like he would get Team USA off to a flying start until what seemed a guaranteed 9 ball never even threatened the pocket. Shaw's only previous shot was the lag, which he lost, and when he came back to take his second, he was faced with a long straight-in shot close to the rail but stroked it in to take the first rack in the team's race to 5.

Much improved Tyler Styer and Mr dependable Sky Woodward won their next racks as they

punished scratches from their opponents FSR and Josh Filler, but the first golden break of this year went to Hanoi Open runner-up Albin Ouchan. The Austrian was back in the arena for the next team game, which was the first Scotch doubles of the night, and was joined by his Hanoi open adversary, Jayson Shaw. They are a great pairing and seemed to be enjoying themselves in front of the 2,500 partisan crowd, even finding time for a quick game of rock-paper-scissors to decide who would shoot the first shot. I do like it when the players are mic'd up. It's a shame they never hired an interpreter, though, so we could understand what Jayson was saying. Jayson and Albin were oceans apart from Tyler and Shane, and Albin's superior safety game was the real difference, as Europe cruised to a 5-2 lead to make it 2-0 overall in the race to 11 points.

Twice Mosconi MVP Skler Woodward was up next, looking to get the USA their first point on

the board, but he was up against arguably the best in the game right now, Joshua Filler, also

a 2 time Mosconi Cup MVP winner. Josh cut in a great 2 ball but, for the second time, scratched off the blue 2. But Skyler didn't punish the mistake as rack after rack, the German milked every rack by geeing up the crowd, and after completing a 5-0 win over the Bluegrass Badass from Kentucky. Screams of boom accompanied the posse, which you'd expect from a heavyweight boxer as he flexed his muscles, all 140 pounds of him. He may be a lightweight in the boxing world, but he is definitely a heavyweight in the pool world. Filler actually beat Sky by the same scoreline in the 2020 Mosconi Cup.

The 2 Amigos were up next in the final showdown of Day One against the 2 'Rookies,' new

kid on the block, Shane Wolford, and the new kid from the previous Eastern block, Fedor Gorst. I thought this was a smart move from team captain Jeremy Jones to put them together. Gorst is not a total rookie, having played in the lockdown event behind closed doors during COVID-19, but an empty Ricoh arena in Coventry is a completely different beast from a packed palace. Although the new partnership seemed to work well at times, it was the camaraderie and telepathy-like understanding between the Brothers from other Mothers that won the match. Including a fifth-rack safety battle on the 5 ball that lasted 13 minutes, that's roughly how long it took Josh Filler to whitewash Woodward. FSR didn't look totally comfortable with his new Cuetech equipment, having only had it a few weeks. I have a question: did anyone else think his cue sounded a bit funny, clonky, hollowish? His break cue was working as well as ever, though, and they ran out 5-3 winners to complete a very good day 1 for team Europe. Europ potted 154 balls

USA potted 93 balls

4 fouls for each team

The worst breaker on the night was SVB, with a 50% success rate, and Skyler 67%

Pool Stats
Thanks to my friend Michael Sammon, the ‘Pool stats guy’ for the graphic

Mosconi Day 1 scores
4-0 a dream start for Europe, a nightmare for USA

So, to sum up, I thought Shane (Wolford) was the star of Team USA on day 1. Fedor seemed a little nervous, but then even the SVB looked very anxious. Tyler played well in patches, and I think Skyler will just put his singles match down to a brilliant performance and a few rolls at the right time he will take some pleasure from having beaten Filler in the team singles, but all in all, a disappointing night for the team who traveled across the pond.

Team Europe did enough, and they nicked the opening point hill-hill in the first match of the night after 'Those misses' on the 7 and 9 ball by SVB. Team America needs Captain America to step up tomorrow, and team Captain Jeremy Jones will need to show all his fight and leadership to raise the stars and stripes spirits. If I were JJ, I would be buying Billy Thorpe a jacket and telling him to pack those dungarees. Billy, your country NEEDS YOU NOW, in the bleachers at the very least. I don't think the USA is looking like a team; there just isn't that chemistry that you sense from the European team.

Other positives from Mosconi are, as always, the production is second to none, the after

match interviews at the table are an absolute must for every tournament, not just the Mosconi. I thought Scott Frost was a great addition to the commentary tea. I like his honesty, even though he is pulling for his homies. He calls it as it is and doesn't pull his punches. The arena looks magnificent as always; just one request, not a criticism, before you all start Facebook bashing me, yes I'm a commentator and would certainly never put myself in the same category as JJ or Scott Frost, but please, when the teams are mic'd up and talking can we please hear them, and, please find a Spanish interpreter and a Scottish one.

For team Europe, everything is Och aye the noo!

Day 2 schedule
Day 2

Tomorrow starts at 18.00 in London 13. EST

Still, all to play for on a very crucial day 2

Available on DAZN

Sky Sports Arena

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page