Fight to the Swiss

by Bob Johnson 0

Just to prove that more than great cheese and cuckoo clocks comes out of Switzerland, Mathieu Berges, 26, from Lausanne,

Mathieu Berges

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:

1. Berges, Mathieu SUI M 279 198 245 235 0 957 R
2. Loschetter, Chris USA M 258 245 233 204 0 940 R
3. Olsson, Mattias SWE M 200 209 268 246 0 923 L
4. Loos, Michael AUT M 257 179 256 226 0 918 R
5. Moor, Paul ENG M 235 257 201 212 0 905 L
6. Maddaloni, Domenico ITA M 207 223 211 258 0 899 R
7. Suslov, Andrey RUS M 194 192 237 269 0 892 R
8. Wetterberg, Mattias SWE M 226 232 211 222 0 891 R
9. Salonen, Petteri FIN M 232 212 179 258 0 881 R
10. Ponti, Francesco ITA M 226 232 234 187 0 879 R
11. Stott Jnr, Paul IRL M 226 236 162 253 0 877 R
12. Marrone, Erik ITA M 204 222 212 234 0 872 L
13. Ljung, Peter SWE M 197 257 163 244 0 861 L
14. Zucchinelli, Enzo ITA M 191 258 213 194 0 856 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.

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