Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Belgium Open Finals

I was a little worried about getting the 1 bye in the morning.
After shooting 1513 in qualifying i was ranked number 1 and the top 6 got byes right into the matchplay side of things.
I am more of a bowler who likes to start early and get on a roll, so the early morning games can sometimes be a bonus, but i was told that you should always take a bye and be happy with it.
The reason i am worried about the 'morning off' is a few times in my European career i have had byes and my first few games out are well short of where i want to be, in a best of 3 match, 2 games is sometimes all it takes to get knocked out (it has happened to me in France earlier in the year and also in Germany).
This time though i had my cheer squad with me.....KIMBERLY. Every strike was followed by either a "Aussie Aussie Aussie" cry or a extremely loud whistle.
Its funny how the nerves go away when you some some familiar support. I played Kirsten Penny in the first match.
Ladies get a bonus 8 pins, beating her scratch is hard enough, but now i have to give her 8 extra pins.
I came out of the gate quick and shot 280 to her 202, then my reaction got a little weird and and going into the 10th i needed a double to win the match. I threw it good and left the 2-8-10.
The final match I needed a strike in the 10th to shut her out and i nailed it. 245 to her 228.

My next match was against Eric Kok of the Netherlands. He is a older guy who plays very straight off the corner and is a great spare shooter. I was happy to play the guy because I thought with my rev rate i would burn the lane up and he would have to move in, if that happened I would for sure strike more and win the match.
The first game was a nail biter, I had a chance to double in the 10th to shut him out, I hit the first and then stuck on the appraoch a little and missed well left. NO GOOD.
He now needed a double and dead smacked them both. I lost 256-254. But like I thought, he had to start moving inside more and more and his reaction was getting worse and worse, where mine was getting better and better. My next 2 games were 279 and 238 allowing me to advance to the round of 8.

The next guy i had to play was Robert Anderson of Sweden. One of my great mates, aldo one of my team Pergamon mates, Robert is very hard to beat. He throws it great when he has to and can strike just as much as anyone.
The first game i hit my straps early and finished 265 to his 221. The next game though was awful for me. Robert looked a million dollars. he only bowled 216 because he threw off the last couple of frames when he knew i could not win.
The last game was going to be 50/50 after 8 frames. He opened twice early but came back with strikes from frames 6-9 and I started with a 4 bagger but then left 3 10 pins and 2 7 pins. I needed a double to win and i did just that.

Only 4 left and I had to play probably one of the most experiance bowlers i know. Jouni Helminen from Finland.
To play anyone from Finland is never a good draw but Jouni is so good it made it just a little worse. We drew a pair which i was bowling great on and the format for the semi finals and final was 2 total pinfall.
I had a 50 pin lead after the first game, with the help of a few massive messengers and shot 278. Jouni is a guy though who can string a bunch of strikes together so i was still pushing just in case. Lucky for me a few early opens from him and the match was over before the 6th frame.

This win lead me to my first final (since my move) in as many attempts. I had to play Martin Larsen of Sweden who just beat fellow 2 hander Osku in a close one. I played Martin in the final in Kuwait and beat him there was i was feeling great about the match,
We started the match and I was having some serious problems with my slide and threw 3 awful shots to lose the first game 214- 237. I changed balls and moved in a little deeper and started with the front 4 and was in the lead. I really thought I was going to win, but a solid 9 and a ringing 10 in frames 8 and 9 gave Martin the upper hand again. I smashed all 3 in the 10th to forsce Martin to spare and he struck.
One thing I have learnt about the Europeans, you can never give them the chance to win. They will take it many more times than they will miss it.

He won the final 473-458 and I was a little shattered. I really wanted to win my first event, in front of Kimberly and even more because to make the final in Europe does not happen so often, so when you get there you must take it every time.
2nd though is still a great effort and I am happy with how i bowled. I averaged 240 over my 11 games and 9 out of 10 times you will win a tournament with those numbers,

Next stop for me is the USA, where i will bowl in the PBA Summer Series. I leave in a few days so I'll be sure to let you know everything about that.

Be good


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