Fingernails were bitten almost down to the bone for many watching the four games of stage 2 of the 2012 Brunswick Italia Challenge final, the meeting of the top ten qualifiers playing with those fortunate enough to qualify from the four games of stage
Odds were in favor of leading qualifier Stuart Williams of England but he failed to continue his run of big games so is no longer taking part in the proceedings. Neither is another fancied kegler from Sweden, Martin Larsen, although his Pergamon team-mate, left-hander Peter Ljung bowled well to make the cut.
Three American pro bowlers, Chris Loschetter, Ryan Ciminelli and Sean Rash took the 1-2-3 positions when the heat of battle had dissipated and Dominic Barrett of England, three-time Bowler of the Year slotted neatly into fourth. Last night's wunderkid, Ronnie Russell, the defending champion, took fifth spot.
So with five of the ten spots filled, who of the remaining group would be good enough to compete for the 2012 title?
'Twas a fair tussle to get into those five spots and eventually a quintet from four countries made the grade, headed by Sweden's leftie Peter Ljung, just ahead of another southpaw, Paul Moor. Places seven to ten went to Daniel Vezis, Erik Marrone and Petteri Salonen, England, Italy and Finland respectively.
Chris Loschetter, last year's finalist, was certainly pleased with today's performance. "I've struggled pretty badly over the past couple of days," he told us. "I had trouble sleeping last night, so I used that time to think about my new strategy today and so far it seems to be doing what I want. Today I used a lot more loft and tried to play a bit straighter. I'm not playing down and in but around 10-11-12. I've been having trouble getting carry, so I decided to stay right today.
"I was using a really strong ball. It seemed the other guys were having more trouble with carry-down but because I was lofting the ball I didn't see that quite as badly.
"I stayed with the same ball. I was lucky enough in the first squad this morning to experiment a little bit and I realized that moving left was not going to be the answer so this time I was firm with my commitment to stay with the same ball and it held up pretty well. It was the Brunswick doube X Nexus, the red one."
Our leading group of ten will take to the lanes at 15:30, CT, for a nine-game round robin. There will not be a stepladder final this year. Pins from the four games of stage 2 will be carried forward and 20 points will be added for a win and a further ten points for games over 250.
TEN ROUND ROBIN COMPETITORS:
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