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U.S., Europe Fit To Be Tied!
Dec 10, 2006, 6:34 PM

As a stunned partisan crowd looked on at the Cruise Terminal in Rotterdam, Holland, late Sunday night, American Cory Deuel fired home the final 9-ball of the 2006 PartyPoker.com Mosconi Cup, earning Team USA a 12-12 draw with Team Europe. The incredible draw allowed the American squad to retain the coveted team cup.

The ending, which saw Deuel top Spanish rookie David Alcaide, 5-2, was as unlikely as it was anticlimactic. With the best-of-24-match tournament tied at 10-10, Team Europe reached the hill with incredible back-to-back wins by Ralf Souquet over Johnny Archer, 5-4, and young Dutch hero Nick van den Berg over Earl Strickland by the same one-game margin.

Needing one win to earn the Mosconi Cup for just the third time in its 13-year history, the Euros sent seasoned ace Mika Immonen of Finland against lightly-regarded U.S. rookie Mike Davis. Immonen looked loose and comfortable, forging leads of 3-0 and 4-1, but Davis, the 33-year-old from College Park, Md., toughed his way through a difficult run-out to trim the margin to 4-2. An Immonen miss and a Davis run-out in the alternate break race-to-5 match tied the score, 4-4. Immonen faced a relatively easy layout in the case rack, and was a single ball from victory when the cue ball bumped the 9 along the bottom rail and left him with no shot. With his Team Europe teammates poised to charge into the arena, Immonen and Davis traded long shots at the 9, before Davis tucked the 9 into the side pocket to pull the Americans to within one match, 12-11.

Deuel then played a near-perfect match against the green Spaniard, seizing on two Alcaide mistakes to give the U.S. its unlikely tie.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of Mike Davis and Corey Deuel,” a relieved Archer, the U.S. captain, said. “Earl and I let everyone down today, and we really felt terrible. But they showed so much heart, winning those last two matches to retain the Cup.

“I’m not going to lie,” Archer added. “The Europeans outplayed us this week.”

“We just didn’t finish the job,” said Euro captain Ralf Souquet. “It’s disappointing, but we’ll be back.”