Europeans are the team to beat taking Nation-Continental Cup

The biggest event in wheelchair cue-sports came to Escape Pool Bar in Barnsley with the inaugural Nation Continental Cup. The Nation Continental Cup is a new team event contested between Great Britain and Europe, modelled on the hugely successful Mosconi Cup, which has been promoted by Matchroom Sport and televised globally since 1994.

The hosts fielded a team made up of the top 3 in the BWPPA rankings Daniel Lee, Tony Southern and Roy Kimberley. The fourth spot went to a wildcard selected by Great Britain team captain Kimberley, former BWPPA no.1 player Aslam Abubaker was the recipient and the final spot went to the winner of a qualifying competition Dave Beaumont.

The Europeans began as favourites by way of the number of major international titles won by members of their team. Current wheelchair World 9-ball Champion Henrik Larsson took the role of captain; joining him on team Europe was Finland’s Jouni Tahti, Belgian Kurt Deklerck, Ireland’s Fred Dinsmore and a late arrival to the European outfit Kim Ronny Nygård.

Following the opening ceremony the action got underway with a team match, a format fans of the Mosconi Cup will be familiar with. All 5 members of each team played alternating shots. Home advantage may have played a part; it was the Brits who claimed the opening point with a 5-2 win. Lee and Beaumont made it 2-0, taking the first scotch doubles match of the contest with a 5-1 win over Larsson and Nygård.

The European pairing of Tahti and Deklerck came back from 3-1 down against Kimberley and Southern to take the match 5-3 and give the visitors a chance to level the scores at the end of the first session. It was singles to close the first session and Ireland’s Dinsmore beat an out of sorts Abubaker 5-1 to level the scores at 2-2 going into the evening session on the opening day.

The evening session of day 1 opened up with a scotch doubles clash. Larsson and Tahti maintained the Europeans momentum as they defeated Beaumont and Kimberley 5-2, Dan Lee then restored British spirits with a terrific 5-0 win over Nygård, only for Deklerck and Dinsmore to nudge the Europeans ahead again, this time with a 5-2 win over Abubaker and Southern. In the final match of the opening day Lee beat Deklerck 4-3. Both sides will have had reasons to believe they could have been in front. A score of 4-4 overnight reflected the opening day.

The Europeans got off to a dream start on day 2 with Tahti beating Beaumont 4-3, in a match that wasn’t without controversy. There was a huge turning point when Beaumont potted the 9-ball and raise his cue to celebrate what he thought was a massive 4-3 win over the multi world champion, only for the cue ball to come back down the table and made contact with the bridge, handing the game to Tahti, who went on to clinch the decider.

Larsson defeating Abubaker 4-2 and Dinsmore beating Kimberley 4-3, gave the Europeans a 7-4 lead. Southern gave the Brits some hope with a 4-0 victory over Nygård, only for the duo of Dinsmore and Tahti to beat Lee and Abubaker 5-2 to give the Europeans a commanding 8-5 lead going into the final day.

We were honoured to have Sky Sports walk on girl Jade Slusarczyk and Darren Appleton in attendance for the final session. There was no more scotch doubles, it was singles all the way, the ultimate pressure zone.

Southern edged Henrik Larsson 4-3 in the first of the day’s matches. If the Brits were to have any hope they had to build on this. Deklerck and Dinsmore put the Europeans 1 point away from clinching the title with 4-2 and 4-0 wins over Lee and Kimberley respectively.

Beaumont almost kept the contest alive, but he missed a 5-9 combination shot, which allowed Tahti to clear the table, wrap up a 4-3 victory and give the Europeans the title of Nation Continental Cup Champions 2017.

During the closing ceremony Darren Appleton awarded Fred Dinsmore the MVP award. Darren also announced that he would continue to work with the BWPPA to help the Nation Continental Cup grow in the future.

Everyone involved in the Nation Continental Cup would like to thank Jade Slusarczyk, Darren Appleton, George Vetters of Escape Pool Bar in Barnsley, Darryl Ellis of Tiger Leisure of Warrington, head referee Julian Roper. We would also like to thank to thank Lee Rigby for the setup and loaning of the equipment for the live stream, as well as the main commentators Ian Kimberley, Danny Luton, Gary Swift and Alan John.

A special thanks to the legend that is Jimmy ‘The Whirlwind’ White for has great donations to aid our fundraising.

Further information about the event and all the photos can be found on the event Facebook Page.