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Headstring News
Unlikely Heroes Bouy U.S.
Dec 17, 2004, 4:37 PM

Backed by the solid play of Charlie Williams and Gabe Owen, Team U.S.A. took a 5-4 lead after Day Two of the 11th Mosconi Cup in Egmond aan Zee, Holland, Friday night.

With the race-to-12 transatlantic team 9-ball tilt tied 3-3 going into singles play, the U.S. took a calculated risk, opening with captain Johnny Archer and following with Williams and Owen. Williams had lost his previous six Mosconi Cup matches, and Owen is a Mosconi debutante. And when Archer fell, 5-3, to Team Europe's Mika Immonen in the Friday night opener, with Dutch hero Neils Fiejen and unflappable Cup veteran Steve Davis on deck, the Euros appeared poised to take control.

But Williams played superbly in a 5-1 thrashing of Feijen and Owen looked anything but a Mosconi Cup rookie in edging Davis, 5-4, to put the Yanks in front, 5-4, entering Saturday's matches.

Things looked grim for Owen when an unfortunated scratch off the 5 ball allowed Davis to take a 4-3 lead. But Owen broke Davis' serve in the alternating break format after the snooker legend missed a touchy 3-6 combination to knot the match. Facing a tricky opening shot in the case rack, Owen eschewed a safety and fired his way to the win.

"Sure, I thought about the safety in the last rack," said Owen. "But I got here playing my game. And my game told me to shoot that shot. I'd rather sell out shooting than sell out ducking. So I shot."

The happy ending put the U.S. ahead, with the final three doubles matches slated for Saturday afternoon, followed by a trio of singles matches Saturday night.


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