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Stroke of Genius

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Video provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions

1995 Mosconi Cup

Player: Jimmy White
Event: 1995 Mosconi Cup
Location: Basildon, U.K.
Date: December

Back in 1995, the Mosconi Cup was still a new event to pool—something considered a bit of a lark but with enough big-name talent to attract international attention. It also had enough pull for British snooker pros to take a turn at 9-ball. In a doubles match, snooker legends Jimmy White and Alex Higgins matched up with Americans Bobby Hunter and Mike Massey with Team USA leading, 10-8, in matches in the race-to-16.

In the opening game of the best-of-three sets to three racks, White came to the table in the terribly unfortunate situation shown in the diagram, following a Hunter miss on the 4 ball into the bottom right corner. Luckily for the Yankees, the cue ball ducked behind the 9 ball along the footrail, blocking any direct route to the 4.

With no feasible defensive options, White had little to keep him from taking a flyer on a two-rail kick at the 4. Drilling the cue ball into the nearby rail with plenty of left English to bend its path off the left long rail, White didn’t have much room for error. Pulling the cue ball back toward him, White risked giving his opponents ball in hand by hitting the 9 ball before the 4. But the snooker pro executed the shot perfectly, rattling in the 4 as the cue ball bounced off the right long rail. That shot helped the British tandem take the first rack en route to winning the set and the match.

Getting his team back to within a point, 10-9, White proved to be the deciding factor in the entire Mosconi Cup. With the teams knotted on the hill, 15-15, the snooker pro outshot Lou Butera in the deciding race-to-4 set, 4-2, for a thrilling victory for Team Europe—the Continent’s first win and its only until seven years later in 2002.

(Video clip provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions.)

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