Pool: Gray gunning for more Mosconi Cup success

Mark Gray plays in the Mosconi Cup competition.
Mark Gray plays in the Mosconi Cup competition.
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Local pool ace Mark Gray will be out to impress the nation next week when he takes part in the prestigious 2014 Mosconi Cup competition.

Gray (41), from Baston, is in the Europe team that takes on USA in the annual event dubbed the ‘Ryder Cup of pool’.

The action starts at the Tower Circus in Blackpool on Monday (December 1) and runs until Thursday (December 4) and there will be live footage on Sky Sports every night.

It will be Gray’s second appearance in the Mosconi Cup having played in Malta in 2008 when Europe beat USA 11-5.

There have been 20 Mosconi Cup clashes so far with USA holding an 11-8 advantage with one match drawn.

In recent years though Europe have held the upperhand. They won 11-2 in Las Vegas last year.

Accompanying Gray in the Europe team are England’s Darren Appleton and Karl Boyes, current world 9-ball champion Niels Feijen from Holland and Nikos Ekonomopoulus from Greece.

In the 2014 PartyPoker World Pool Masters two weeks ago Feijen and Appleton both suffered shock first round exits but Ekonomopoulos and Gray both did well in the event at the Portland Centre in Nottingham.

Ekonomopoulos looked very good on his way to the final but he was crushed 8-2 by USA Mosconi Cup man Shane Van Boening in the decider.

Gray impressed on his way to the quarter-finals . . . but then came up against Van Boening and lost 8-4.

Gray clinched his place in the Europe team through the European Tour after accumulating the most points in the last five events.

Gray said: “I’m over the moon to be playing in the Mosconi again as it’s only my second time on the team. Playing in 2008 in Malta was a great experience but I’m sure playing in Blackpool will be an even greater experience.

“For me it’s one of my biggest achievements to get in the team this year as I have finished third, ninth, fifth, fifth and first in the last five Euro Tour events to cement my place in the team.

“Also, I’m currently ranked number one on the GB9 Tour and number two in Europe so I’m really looking forward to taking this form on to the big stage.”

Gray, who is being sponsored in the Mosconi Cup by Travis Perkins, is the resident professional at Bourne Snooker Centre and often represents them in the Spalding & District Snooker League.

Professional snooker stars to have played in the Mosconi Cup include Alex Higgins, Jimmy White, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Steve Davis and Tony Drago.