Blackpool’s Karl Boyes is preparing to help his European team avenge back to back Mosconi Cup defeats when the prestigious nine ball pool competition heads to Alexander Palace in London.
Team Europe have a change in their coaching team this year after two defeats to Team USA on the bounce with the Americans winning last year’s competition 11-8.
Dutchman Alex Lely has replaced Swede Marcus Chamat as captain with Karl Boyes drafted in as Vice-Captain having himself played for Team Europe winning the Mosconi Cup four times.
Preparations for this year’s four-day event which starts on the 1st of December have been hit heavy by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The US 9 Ball Open and the World Masters were both postponed this year.
However, vice-captain Karl Boyes is still confident that his team have prepared well going into the tournament.
“We have actually done lots on zoom which has been really good,” said Boyes.
“Pool players are used to no crowds in other events, so I think all the guys will be fine with that I just think the pressure of the Mosconi cup is the pressure and it’s as simple as that, it’s pretty much the only time of the year you’re playing for other people and not just yourself”
The biggest threat on the table last year for Europe was American Skyler Woodward. The 27-year-old from Kentucky is one of the best singles players in world of pool and won six out of his seven matches at last year’s Mosconi Cup meeting in Las Vegas.
His threat on the table saw him awarded the MVP award (Most Valuable Player), however this year he was picked as the wildcard for TEAM USA.
Despite the aggressive style of pool Woodward plays, Boyes is confident that his team can maintain their game against him.
“I suppose over the last two years you would say Skyler is their strongest player, but we are not concerned at all,”
“I really like the fact we have Albin Ouschan back in the team his calm approach is very calming and he’s very good in doubles play so he can spur the lads on.
Europe’s average age of their squad is 24 years, with current nine ball World Champion Fedor Gorst set to make his debut at the Mosconi Cup aged just 20.
Boyes is pleased to have the Russian onboard and knows that the youngsters commitment and hear will be key to the Europeans success.
“Well as the current world 9 ball champion he clearly has heart, which is what you need to play for Europe,” added Boyes
“He also has very good fundamentals so that will stand him in good shape, his future is very bright”
Despite having an ageing team, the US have one of the most experienced players in their ranks in the form of Shane Van Boening.
The 37-year-old will be making his 14th Cup appearance this year and is the oldest member of the playing team.
Meanwhile, Chris Robinson will be making his debut at the Cup at the age of just 22.