Monday, September 17, 2007

World Cup Qualifier.....South Pacific CLassic

Last weekend i competed in Australia's world cup qualifier, the South Pacific Classic (SPC). It's supposed to Australia's biggest and best event, but for some reason, the last few years, entries have gone down and the atmosphere inside the bowl has dropped to an all time low.

There are a million reasons why i think this has occured, but i think that chat is for a different time and place.

On to the story........

12 games qualifying (split over 2 days, so 6 and 6) top 24 coming back on the Sunday morning to bowl another 6 games qualifying, with carry over pinfall, then the top 12 play a 11 man round robin. The winner will be who ever knocks over the most pins over the whole weekend, a proper event.

The condition was the hardest i have seen in Australia for quite some time. It was a 41 ft pattern and the carry down occured quick and very inconsistant from lane to lane and pair to pair.
220 was a great game.
I started the first of 6 games with 180 something and 150 something, then followed it by another 180 something. It was the worst i have bowled in about 5 years.
I couldnt get close to hit my target and even if i did, i chose the wrong ball and was playing in the wrong part of the lane. My next 3 games were 230, 220 and 170. i finished -51 for the 6 games and was 270 off the lead.
I was extremly upset with my performance and knew i needed to change a few things if i was even going to make the first cut to 24 bowlers.
I was sitting in 48th and needed a big 2nd day.

I changed the surface to a few of my bowlings balls to try and get the ball to read the lane much more consistant.
It worked wonders. my next 6 games were 254, 243, 215, 222, 194 and 247.
I jumped into 4th place, only 170 off the pace. I felt with 6 more games of qualifying and 11 games of matchplay, i could catch the leaders and win the event.

The Sunday morning did not go to as planned. I bowled 20 over for 6 and bowled much better than my score said i did. A bunch of pocket 7-10's and solid 9's and 7 pins cost me dearly. But thats ok, i still had 11 games and with 20 pins bonus for a win i had plenty of games up my sleeve. Only 220 off the pace i was right where i wanted to be (to use a Tim Mack quote there)

Matchplay started and i was in trouble early. 180 and 204 to start. My reaction was awful and the leaders still looked great. I made a drastic move and started to play the right gutter, harder, faster and more direct.
Why didnt i move there earlier?????
I had a great reaction, 230, 230, 250 and 260 were the games to follow, and because the scoring pace was so low, and i won all my games, i leaped into 2nd, only 40 off Paeng Nepomuceno from The Philippines.
5 games to go and it was game on.... The lead swapped between us a few times and then it came down to the final game.
I was on 5 and 6, he was on 3 and 4.
He was 36 pins ahead, so it was vital that i won my match and he didnt. Then all i would have to do is beat his score by 17 and i would be the champ.
One good thing though is 3rd place could not catch me, so either way i would be able to represent Australia in St. Petersburg, Russia for the world cup, because Paeng is not Australians there for can not win the spot for the world cup.
I needed a strike in the 9th and all 3 in the 10th to shut Paeng out. I stuck on the approach in the 9th, made a spare, then missed left a touch in the 10th and it had no chance of striking, another spare. Now i finished with a game of 220, got my bonus pins and had to wait for Paeng to bowl. He needed a double in the 10th to win the event, he nailed the first, then split the 2nd shot. He had thought he had won, someone then told him that he must win the game and get his bonus befor he could get excited about winning, his opponent, also needed a double to beat Paeng.

I couldnt watch, if Bruno (Paeng's opponent) strikes twice i win. The first was BLACKJACK!!!! Only one more, i turned away, then looked back again just as he let the ball go, it got stuck on his thumb and looked to be going brooklyn. It hit high and the 10 pin was the last pin standing, it wobbled but not enough to fall. Paeng won the SPC for a 2nd time in his career and i came 2nd again for the millionth time in my career.

I was happy with my result considering how i started, but to get the chance to win and not take it, upsets me a little.

Ah well, now i get to focus on the World Cup and try and win that...... I sure hope i do.

Ill be in Japan and Panama for the next couple of weeks and will update you how those trips go!!!!



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