Blackpool’s Karl Boyes is hoping to make home advantage count as the ‘Ryder Cup of pool’ rolls into town next week.
The Mosconi Cup is the highlight of the pool calendar and is contested each year between Europe and the United States.
The nine-ball event alternates between Las Vegas and a European destination, with Blackpool Tower Circus chosen to host this year’s four-night event, which starts on Monday.
And for Boyes, who lives in the shadow of the Tower in North Shore, it’s a special occasion.
The 32-year-old former world champion told The Gazette: “To play at any Mosconi Cup is a real honour, but to play one in my home time will be extra special.
“The venue is just down the road from my house, so I’m really looking forward to it.
“I’ve recently taken my daughter there to watch the circus and have seen the Snooker Shoot-out there too. I’ve always thought it would make a perfect venue for the Mosconi.
“I can imagine what an incredible atmosphere the fans will create next week. The European crowds always like to sing and shout so it should be something we’ve never experienced before.
“Blackpool is the Las Vegas of the North, so I’m sure the Americans will feel at home.”
Twelve of the world’s top players will compete in the 21st Mosconi Cup, sponsored by PartyPoker.
Team Europe go into the tournament on a high, having won by a record 11-2 margin last year, though the American’s have won 11 of the previous 20 cups.
The cup is contested over a series of singles and doubles matches, all of them the best of nine racks. The first team to reach 11 points will be the champions.
Boyes is representing Europe for the third time, having been on the winning team on both previous occasions with 11 wins from his 13 Mosconi Cup matches.
He added: “We are confident as a team. We have the players to get the job done and if we focus on our jobs there’s no reason why we can’t.
“If we can win it on home soil, we will be up there in terms of career achievements.”
While Boyes has never played at the Tower, he’s no stranger to tournaments on Blackpool’s Promenade.
As a junior he regularly competed in the World Pool Championship at the Hilton Hotel. “I used to play for England in the World Championships, so I’ve been quite a regular here but to play at the Tower is special,” he said.
All four nights are sold out, with a crowd of 1,200 expected each evening. The whole event will be televised on Sky Sports.