Barcelona – Stepladder Final

by Bob Johnson 0

It was an all-Team Pergamon semi-final as eed two and three, Robert Andersson and Martin Larsen faced off for the privilege of going up against top seed Mika Koivuniemi in the final.

Larsen with Diana and Isabella (plus trophy)

It was near enough youth versus experience as Andersson, 24, bowed low to his team captain Larsen, 31. It was a nip and tuck affair by the fifth frame, Larsen two pins ahead, 116-114. Then Larsen stamped his authority with a double and kept that margin as Andersson suffered a 5-washout. Larsen the victor, 245-192.

Onto the stage came ‘Major’ Koivuniemi, heralding what we thought would be a masterclass finale to a fantastic 33rd Barcelona tournament.

Once again, Larsen put his foot down with a heavy hand, opening with a double as the Finn had a 9-spare and then ran into trouble with the ‘big four’. He recovered with a couple of doubles but trailed Koivuniemi 146-127 by the sixth frame. Then depression reared its ugly head. Koivuniemi missed the 7-pin, then the ‘big five’ then chopped the 2-pin from the 2-5 and a baby split remained unconverted. The masterclass fizzled out, Larsen the victor, 203-146.

When was the last time we saw a score less than 150 in a stepladder final, we asked ourselves.

Larsen with CBF president Joan Ricart

“Mika (koivuniemi) has been bowling unbelievably for I don’t know how long,” commented Larsen, “and today he just killed us (in final rounds). He was running us over. The only way I thought I had a good chance to beat him was that the lane pair was so different. I bowled the semi-final against Andersson and I thought he might not find the line as I found it and that was pretty much what happened. he left lane hooked too much and it took Mika too long to figure it out. Lane six is really tight. I played the pair differently and luckily got away with it. for the final I was the one who noticed it more and that is why I won.”

Enthusiastic supporters of Larsen were partner Diana and new baby Isabella, born on January 1.

So ended yet another Ciutat de Barcelona, one of the most popular tournaments on the European Bowling Tour, centainly that applies to Martin Larsen. Can you name a more popular Swede?


Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.