Just to prove that more than great cheese and cuckoo clocks comes out of Switzerland, Mathieu Berges, 26, from Lausanne,
bowled out of his skin on Sunday morning to top the field of final, stage 1, of the Brunswick Italia Challenge.
A four-game series of 957, with an opening high game of 279, gave the talented youngster a 17-pin buffer over American star Chris Loschetter when the dust of battle had settled and he is mightily pleased to be among the group that will face the elite group of the top ten qualifiers as competition enters stage 2, the 14 qualifiers from stage 1 combining with those ten for a further four games. When that stage concludes the leading ten advance to a nine-game round robin.
"This morning I had great feelings," Berges commented. "Everything I did seemed to be perfect, so I am happy with a great performance. This morning the lanes stayed the same for me except that just at the end they got a little bit drier.
"There are a lot of good players coming in the next stage so it will be a lot more difficult now," continued the Mars bar salesman. "It is great to be playing with the American stars. I am not learning anything from their technique as I focus completely on my own game."
It was fairly obvious who the top eight of the qualifiers for the next round would be, but it was nip-and-tuck for the lower positions. Hopes of Nina Flack continuing in the fray were dashed when the cut came at 856 and she missed that by around 20 pins, so eliminating the only woman. Thoughts that Danish star Thomas Larsen might make it also went down the drain. so we have nine nations from stage 1 going forward which include four Italians, pleasing the home crowd.
The focus now switches to 24 elite players aiming to make the round robin.
Top 14 Qualifiers:
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