Just two squads taking to the Red & Black Bowling Center lanes on Friday, so only six squads to decide the top 36 to find their way to Sunday's final rounds.
Ten nations had players among the 35 contestants for the 14:00 (CET) squad and among the shining stars came Dominic Barrett from England, the three-time WBW World Bowler of the Year, now looking to have recovered from his broken shoulder in the quad bike accident in Saudi Arabia. Barrett started out 2011 with wins in Sweden, Ireland and Qatar before having the enforced break due to the accident.
"This is my first big tournament back," he told us. "I've played a couple of small events. It's been three months since the accident now and the last two weeks I have been practicing a lot. My body feels good although I do have a few aches but nothing too serious.
"I'm not sure of my stamina for the whole tournament as I have already had a busy week so far in Sweden but I'm looking forward to getting back into bowling and into competition."
Also on the roster were PBA member Stuart Williams and Rob Thurlby, champion of the 2010 Brunswick Euro Challenge. another Englishman, Paul Moor, who dominated the European rankings for three consecutive years was also a strong contender for a high finish.
Come the tenth frame of the sixth game and Barrett justified his confidence and fended off worries about stamina, slotting neatly into second place in the overall standings with 1473 (high 279) to finish 14 sticks below Ronnie Russell's lead. Marcus Berndt of Sweden was second on the squad with 1422 and third Russia's Alexander Medveditskov, also on 1422 but finishing with a lower final game than the Swede. The English had four in the squad's top seven as Moor took fourth, Williams fifth and Thurlby seventh.
"Obviously, the lanes are high scoring and I think that is down to the pins," stated Barrett in his post squad interview. "The carry down is very fast and if you can use that to your advantage the ball goes through the pins pretty well. If you get the reaction right you end up with a good score."
The final squad of the day came with the 18:00 group which brought much excitement and joy, especially to Stuart Williams of England who opened his account with the tournament's second perfect game, his 51st career 300. Williams followed that with consistent bowling around the 230-mark and finished with a 258 which took him to the top of the standings, four pins ahead of previous leader Ronnie Russell.
The place to be when the dust of the qualifying rounds has settled is within the top eight positions, thereby getting a bye from the first round early on Sunday morning. Currently 1422 is needed to settle in that state but the ante could be raised with four more squads to take to the Red & Black bowling center lanes tomorrow.
Williams is truly pleased with his performance today, bowling on an earlier squad and rolling six clean games and starting out the same way on the final squad, totaling 117 frames before an open frame robbed him of another clean record.
So we currently have six nations represented in the leading octet, a nice result.
LEADING STANDINGS AFTER FRIDAY, JUNE 24:
|Qualified directly to final step 3 (Position 1 - 8)|
|Qualified to final step 1 (Position 9 - 36)|
|13||5||Jørgensen, Lars Mulle||DEN||M||1410||220||15||2||R|