The 2017 Mosconi Cup – the grandest festival in 9-Ball Pool – is thankfully underway at Las Vegas.
The event is known as the “Ryder Cup of Pool” and brings together all the finest cue stars from Europe and the USA to battle it out for the coveted trophy over the four-day event.
Since its inception in 1994 the tournament is tied between America and Europe in head-to-head 11 wins all, with a single tie taking place in 2006. However – like the Brexit negotiations – the competition has been totally dominated by team Europe in recent years as they’ve taken the last seven on the bounce.
Famous names like Steve Davis, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White, Alex Higgins and Tony Drago have all featured for Europe’s line-up, but there’s only one name that stands above all the rest in terms of the Mosconi Cup – Earl ‘The Pearl’ Strickland!
It’s really wouldn’t be this festive time of year without some crazy antics from Strickland. So, we’ve find the five best moments of the Mosconi Cup and of course, he features very prominently.
5. Strickland breaks his cue – 2006
Playing Thomas Engert in the drawn Mosconi Cup Earl snapped his cue after missing a regulation 7 ball into the corner.
4. Darren Appleton’s miracle comeback – 2010
With the overall scores locked at 6-6, the USA’s Dennis Hatch looked like he had his game with England’s Darren Appleton wrapped up thanks to a 4-1 lead in the race to five. Appleton had other ideas and launched into a stunning comeback to win 5-4 – watch out for a masterstroke on the 8 ball.
3. The Pearl sticks it in Team Europe’s faces – 2003
After winning a critical game to make it 9-8 to team USA, Strickland proceeded to treat the crowd to a few celebratory hip thrusts! Then after being collared by Sky’s Dave Clark for an interview Earl didn’t spare his opponent Nick van den Berg in the slightest.
2. Steve Davis beats Strickland in the last rack to claim the Mosconi Cup – 2002
With Europe a point away from their first victory in seven years, Strickland look set to extend the pain by beating six-time World Snooker champion Steve Davis in a final rack decider. Just when it seemed over, Earl lost position on the 6 ball and handed the Mosconi to Davis on a plate.
1. Nick van den Berg’s jump shot heard around the world – 2012
Quite simply the greatest shot in the history of the competition. Dutch dynamo Nick van den Berg managed to sink the 5 ball from the rail after hopping over the 8 ball in the way. All this with just two seconds left on the shot clock!
Ah what the hell! Here’s some more Strickland for you…
Also there’s this beauty from the 1995 version of the Mosconi Cup. It features Alex ‘The Hurricane’ Higgins at his brilliant best.
Not only is the shot unreal, but you just have to love the celebration with the fag and a pint at the end.