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Team Europe Blitzes to Mosconi Lead
Dec 21, 2003, 12:36 PM

In a stunning turnaround that had members of the U.S. squad befuddled and bitter, Team Europe rolled through five straight match wins Saturday afternoon to take an 8-6 lead in the 2004 Mosconi Cup at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Trailing, 6-3, as the third day of the Ryder Cup-styled team 9-ball tournament kicked off, the Euros earned a much-needed boost when 23-year-old Nick Van den Berg scored a 5-3 win over mistake-prone Mosconi rookie Tony Robles. Then, in what may be looked back on as the event's critical match, Germans Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann edged the U.S. duo of Johnny Archer and Rodney Morris, 5-4, to trim the overall score to 6-5 in the race-to-11.

With European fans becoming more boisterous by the game, snooker legend Steve Davis pitched an unlikely 5-0 shutout against Earl Strickland. Strickland was livid before and after the match, as Mosconi producers Sky Sports aired a pre-match promo that centered on the volatile Strickland's actions during a match against Davis at the World Pool Championships in Cardiff in July. At that event, Strickland battled the pro-Davis crowd, the match referee, and Davis himself.

Scandanavians Mika Immonen and Marcus Chamat then topped Charlie Williams and Jeremy Jones, 5-3, in the final doubles match to give Europe its first lead of the event at 7-6. The day finished with Souquet pocketing a table-length kick at the 8 ball in the case game for a 5-4 triumph over Jones.

For more match highlights and photos from the 2004 Mosconi Cup, log on to www.mosconicup.com.

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