Prestige, pride, and glory: all at stake each year at the Mosconi Cup, undoubtedly one of the most exciting events in professional billiards for both players and fans. For top professional players from the U.S. and Europe, making it to the top of the rankings and earning a spot on their Mosconi Cup team is the ultimate achievement, the pinnacle of each year.
The location of the event alternates each year between a location in the UK (where event producer Matchroom Sport is based), and a U.S. location, namely Las Vegas. This year, the Cup will return to London’s York Hall on December 10-13.
For U.S. fans, there will be a combination of both the old guard and the new guard on Team USA in 2012. Entering his 16th straight Mosconi Cup appearance will be BCA Hall of Famer Johnny Archer…while the team’s second-most seasoned player will be none other than the recently-crowned US Open Champion, Shane Van Boening. Van Boening’s recent triumph is sure to add another element of excitement to the four-day event.
Virginia-based pro Brandon Shuff is this year’s Mosconi rookie on Team USA, as he prepares to make his first-ever appearance on the team. In recent years, Brandon Shuff has risen to become one of the most prominent names in pool on the East Coast, and has now broken through to the top of the BCA rankings, earning him his first shot on the USA Mosconi Cup team.
“All my hard work is beginning to pay off,” said Shuff, “Earning my spot on Team USA is my greatest achievement to date. It’s every American pool players dream to play on the Mosconi Cup. So for me, its a dream come true. The Mosconi Cup is one of the most prestigious events in the world, and for me to accomplish this goal, sets me in very high spirits of getting the job done and helping bring back that Cup. Our team will be a force this year. I think this is one of our best teams yet. WE GOT THIS!” To learn more about Brandon Shuff, check out his Facebook fan page.
The Northeast will be well-represented at this year’s Mosconi Cup, as “Fireball” Mike Dechaine of Maine will be returning for his second consecutive year, and New York’s Dennis Hatch will be back for his third appearance.
Veteran American pro C.J. Wiley is also making a return to the Mosconi Cup as the 2012 USA captain, after a 16-year hiatus from the event. Wiley’s last appearance was in 1996, when he both played and led the team to a victory as captain.
Get more details on the 2012 Mosconi Cup Team USA below in the news releases from Matchroom Sport…
Shane Leading the London Charge
FOLLOWING on from his undefeated run through the recent US Open 9-Ball Championship, SHANE VAN BOENING cemented his place at the head of the American 2012 PartyPoker.com Mosconi Cup rankings to secure his spot on the team as one of the top two automatic spots.
“I’m so happy to be on my 6th appearance as Mosconi USA team member. As I just won the US Open, I know I’m playing well this year and will try my best to help the team take home the title!”
Such was Van Boening’s dominance of the five event series that he beat the second placed player MIKE DECHAINE by an incredible 218 points. In his previous five Mosconi Cup appearances, the South Dakota Kid sports a record of 12 wins from 26 matches.
For second placed Dechaine it will be a return to the team following on from his debut in Las Vegas last year and he will be relishing the chance to show what he can do in front of a partisan, sold-out crowd at the York Hall, London from 10th – 13th December.
“I am very excited to compete in my second consecutive Mosconi Cup, especially with this one being in London. With the crowds being heavily in Europe’s favour, this is without a doubt the team I’d want going against it and I’m very confident that we will bring home the gold,” said Dechaine.
The first of the remaining three wildcard picks is Virginia’s BRANDON SHUFF who caps off a fine season to make his Mosconi Cup debut at the age of 29. “When I was growing up, it was an American pool player’s dream to play on the Mosconi Cup. This is definitely a blessing and hard work is paying off and I’m excited for this accomplishment and I’ll be training hard to help our team bring that Cup back where it belongs,” said a delighted Shuff.
Back for his third Mosconi Cup is DENNIS HATCH. An MVP on his debut in 2009 when his gung-ho team spirit and never-say-die attitude helped propel the team to victory, Hatch will be hoping for a successful return to the York Hall where he made his last Mosconi Cup appearance in 2010.
Hatch is up for it as ever; “It’s always an honour and privilege to represent the USA, and with that said, I am so fired up and hungry that the only thing I plan on tasting while in Europe is VICTORY, because I believe this is one of the best teams yet!”
The final spot in the team is filled by Georgia’s JOHNNY ARCHER who will be making a record-breaking 16th consecutive Mosconi Cup appearance. Sporting a 53% win record, The Scorpion made his debut at the event in 1996 and has been an ever-present since.
“It is an honour to represent the USA team for my 16th straight year and I will do whatever it takes to help the boys take that cup from York Hall and bring it back to America where it belongs,” he said.
The Final Ranking
1. ( – ) Shane Van Boening - 546
2. ( – ) Mike Dechaine - 328
3. (1) Brandon Shuff - 244
4. (1) Dennis Hatch - 230
5. (2) Oscar Dominguez - 214.5
6. (1) Stevie Moore - 208
7. (2) Shawn Putnam - 203.5
8. (2) Rodney Morris - 198
9. (1) Corey Deuel - 196
10. (1) Johnny Archer - 187
11. (3) Mike Davis - 171
12. (1) Earl Strickland - 134
13. (3) Tom D’Alfonso - 130
14. ( – ) Louis Ulrich - 124
15. (3) Jeremy Sossei - 92.5
Wiley Gets the Nod as USA Skipper
FOLLOWING A 16-year absence from the event, winning 1996 Mosconi Cup player/captain CJ Wiley returns to London this December as skipper of the American team at PartyPoker.com Mosconi Cup. The 47-year-old Wiley from Texas was in charge of the side in London in 1996 and had the honour of potting the winning 9 ball in a 15-13 victory.
After a highly decorated spell at the top, including winning the ESPN World Championship, Wiley wound down his career in the 2000′s, choosing to focus on a successful business career. He’s now back and will be facing one of the toughest challenges of his career as he attempts to rally his side and try and turn their recent Mosconi Cup fortunes around.
“It’s an honor to be chosen to represent the USA Team as Captain in 2012,” said Wiley.
“I have been honored with the ‘Player of the Year’ award and won major championships; however being chosen to represent my country and its best players in the Mosconi Cup is something I value as an even greater personal accomplishment.
“I know that the European Team has dominated us over the past 6 years and I know it’s going to be especially challenging to go into York Hall in front of a highly enthusiastic home crowd and win the Mosconi Cup.
“This year however, is going to be different. The USA team will be young, ambitious and hungry for this victory. I, as captain will make sure they are all on top of their games both mentally and physically.
“This is more than just a pocket billiards match, this is for patriotic pride. This is for the right to say WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS and take the Mosconi Cup back to America, where it belongs,” added an ebullient Wiley.
The PartyPoker.com Mosconi Cup takes place from Monday 10th to Thursday 13th December at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, London. Tickets are available exclusively from www.seetickets.com.