The Russell Saga

by Bob Johnson 0

One of the biggest talking points of this year’s excellent Brunswick Italia Challenge has been the failure of last year’s finalists,

Ronnie Russell

Ronnie Russell of the United States and Austria’s Thomas Gross to make the cut, which, at the final qualifying squad, stood at 1319.
Just how could that situation arise?

Well, both bowled the afternoon squads and again failed to make the grade, so it came down to the final Saturday night squad to see if the grade could be made.

When the total pins were counted after four of the six games, Russell had really found his form and was on course not only to make the cut but in line to break into the top ten. He needed just 383 over the final two games to place himself among the elite and that score was easily surpassed to bring him up to eighth place overall.

But the news was not good for the others, none of whom will be in tomorrow’s finals.

“I think the temperature had a lot to do with it,” said the happy American. “Tonight I was throwing the same ball and using the same line, but somehow my ball pushed through a little easier, so I got easier carry instead of leaving a lot of single pins.”

That carry brought him a total score of 1416, way above his previous scores and the benefit of a bye in final stage ne Sunday morning.

Saturday night came to a close with the Desperado squad and just two from that join the fray from that, advancing to the tail of stage one.

Full tournament information on

Top 10 Qualifiers:

1 Williams, Stuart ENG M 1492 198 19 2 R
2 Ciminelli, Ryan USA M 1483 276 13 3 L
3 Andersson, Kim SWE M 1453 226 13 1 R
4 Barrett, Dominic ENG M 1448 279 23 4 R
5 Rash, Sean USA M 1442 206 11 2 R
6 Larsen, Martin SWE M 1427 233 19 2 R
7 Valenta, Brian USA M 1423 258 19 3 R
8 Russell, Ronnie USA M 1416 268 25 5 R
9 Vezis, Daniel ENG M 1390 211 23 4 L
10 Pirozzi, Massimo ITA M 1388 268 08 2 R

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.