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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

USA too big to end years of cup hurt with home triumph

Europe could be reliant upon Scottish ace Jayson Shaw

Shane Van Boening has again underperformed on the Mosconi stage
1 of 1

Sky Sports Action & Mix,
7pm Monday

Europe are 2-5 to win the Mosconi Cup for the eighth year running, but that looks way too short considering the strength of the team the holders have sent to play USA in Las Vegas this year.

Only one member of last year's European playing quintet who triumphed 11-3 at London's Alex­andra Palace will be involved again, Jayson Shaw – and he was one of captain Marcus Chamat's wild-card picks.

There is no Darren Appleton, Mark Gray or Niels Feijen. Shaw, crowned US Open champion in October, is a fine talent but the Scot may have to go it alone for his side, which sees 49-year-old German veteran Ralf Souquet back at the helm.

Dutchman Nick van den Berg and Spaniard David Alcaide will bring experience to the Euro mix but Joshua Filler, a 20-year-old compatriot of the Kaiser's who earned a trip to Nevada only after winning a recent event in China, may need to be something special to aid his side's cause.

Souquet will tie Johnny Archer's record of 17 Mosconi Cup match appearances but with the competition in need of some, er, competitiveness, it feels almost like Europe are fielding a weaker team this year.

USA kingpin Shane van Boening has been his own worst enemy down the years – the South Dakotan can boast only one cup win in ten appearances – but this talented performer will surely never get a better chance to add to that solitary triumph.

Kentuckian Skyler Woodward showed plenty of promise in his two previous appearances, while Dennis Hatch should get chances to improve his cup record.

Californian Oscar Dominguez could get more chances to shine on his second cup appearance and Ohio's Billy Thorpe looks a handy debutant.

Filler is 8-11 with Hills and BoyleSports to win the battle of the first-timers against Thorpe.

USA +2.5 points
2pts 10-11 Betway, Hills
1pt 9-4 general

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With the tournament in need of some competitiveness, it feels almost like Europe are fielding a weaker team in Vegas this year
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