Session 1 – Friday 19:00

by Bob Johnson 0

All Set and Rarin' to Go

The much-traveled American stars Chris Barnes and Tommy Jones, completing their odyssey somewhat alike the journeys of Marco Polo, taking in Cyprus, Thailand, France, Austria and here to England, all within a month, now face the annual battle between Europe and the United States for the prestigious 888pokerWeber Cup. Barnes and Jones are joined by Mike Fagan and Bill O'Neill as they confidently expect to defend their 2011 win.

Neither Barnes or Jones have been away from home for such a long period since their days on the earlier PBA Tours. Barnes did see his wife, Lynda, during the Vienna Open in Austria for a few days, but she flew home after that tournament, so Barnes still misses seeing his two boys. We asked them both whether they would go through this punishing schedule again and both replied that they would have to think hard about it.

The Americans face a changed European quartet, Stuart Williams taking the place of popular leftie Paul Moor, with captain Osku Palermaa lining up with Mika Koivuniemi and Dominic Barrett.

This evening's session will be a 'Baker' team and then five singles matches and the line-ups will be decided when the players have enjoyed their practice sessions.

TeamEurope (click to enlarge)

Order of play:

Baker - Team USA: Mike Fagan, Tommy JOnes, Bill O'Neill, Chris Barnes.

Team USA (click to enlarge)

Team Europe: Osku Palermaa, Mika Koivuniemi, Dominic Barrett, Stuart Williams

Singles 1. Mike Fagan vs Mika Koivuniemi

Singles 2: Chris Barnes vs Osku Palermaa

Singles 3: Bill O'Neill vs Dominic Barrett

Singles 4: Tommy Jones vs Stuart Williams

Singles 5: Captain's pick.

Team USA posted their first point of the 2013 888poker Weber Cup with a Baker team win over Europe, 197-184.

All went swimmingly well for both teams for the first five frames, then a 7-10 split reared it ugly hed for Koivumiemi in the sixth frame. O'Neill suffered an open in frame 7 to open the door for a European comeback, but that was nullified when Williams also got the 7-10 treatment in frame 8. All looked lost for the Europeans until Jones left the 2-10 in the tenth, meaning Koivuniemi had to at least double in the tenth frame and then take four pins to win. Alas, a 10-pin spoilt that endeavor, so the Europeans suffered yet another Baker defeat, their Achilles heel in the Weber Cup affairs.

Things looked good for Europe in the opening singles match, especially when Fagan left the dreaded 7-10 split in the sixth frame and trailed Koivuniemi by 21 pins, but then the tall Finn chopped the 6-pin off the 10 for an open frame. He followed that with a 7-spare, strike and had to strike with his final ball of the tenth to win the match, shutting Fagan out. That he did, so the points now are 1-1 and all to play for.

Singles Match2 saw thependulum swing back into theAmerican's favor, now 2-1in the points tabl;e, as the clash of the captains saw Barnes reign supreme over Palermaa. Barnes had a trio of spares from frames four to six but otherwise his life was all strikes. Palermaa had a 6-washout in frame three and after that he was out of the race. Advantage USA, 252-221.

Honors even once again as Barrett pulls back a solid point with a convincing win over O'Neill. "It's back to the drawing board for the Americans," said Simon Golding, the TV commentator. Barrett looked as comfortable as a pig in clover and stroked his ball nicely into the 1-3 pocket, despite a hiccup in the fourth frame, leaving a 6-7-10 split. But five strikes in a row settled the issue and now the points are 2-2.

Wow!! What a fourth singles match and a true masterclassof tenpin bowling. Both started with five strikes and then the pressure got to JOnes first, heft the 10-pin in the sixth frame. Williams continued his strikefest and kept that up until the seventh and then he too left a 10-pin. In the ninth frame it was a 219 tie. Jones finished first and posted 279 as the targer for Williams. The Englishman had a truly lucky double in the tenth and then left four pins, finishing four pins behind Jones, 279-275. Scores now 3-2,advantage America.

The fifth and last singles match of this first session is the unique captains' pick, chosing one of the opposing team, and Palermaa has chosen Barnes, Barnes chose Koivuniemi.

We question Palermaa's choice of Barnes as an opponent for Koivuniemi, especially as the American had bowled 252 in his first game. Barnes bettered that with a 268 to destroy the tall Finn and bring the scores to 4-2 in favor of the Americans. "I was surprised Palermaa chose me," commented Barnes. "In fact, I was a little offended, so I made him pay."

The opening session brought all the thrills and spills so prevalent in the Weber Cup and brought a packed house of knowledgeable spectators. Action contines at 13:00 on Saturday, once again opening with a Baker match, then singles and doubles.



Name Nat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
USA  9/  X  7/  X  X  X  53  X  X  8s1
 20  40  60  90  115  133  141  169  188  197  197
Europe  X  9/  X  X  9/  8S1  X  8s1  X  9/X
 20  40  69  89  107  116  135  144  164  184  184
Name Nat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
 Mike USA  9/  9/  X  9/  9/ 8s1  X  9/  9/  XX9
iFagan  19  39  59  78  96  105  125  144  164  193  193
 Mika Europe  9/  X  9/  9/  X  X  81  7/  X  9/X
 Koivuniemi  20  40  59  79  107  126  135  155  175  195  195
Name Nat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
 Chris USA  X  X  X  9/  9/  8/  X  X  X  XX6
 Barnes  30  59  79  98  116  136  166  196  226  252  252
 Osku Europe  X  X  6w2  X  X  X  X  9/  X  9/X
 Palermaa  26  44  52  82  112  141  161  181  201  221  221
Name Nat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
 Bill USA  X  9/  X  9/  6s1  9/  9/  X  X  X8s1
 O'Neill  20  40  60  76  83  102  122  152  180  199  199
 Dominic Europe  X  X  9/  7s2  X  9/  X  X  X  XX9
 Barrett  29  49  66  75  95  115  145  175  205  234  234
Name Nat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
 Tommy USA  X  X  X  X  X 9/ X  X  X  XXX
 Jones  30  60  90  119 139  159  189  219  249  279  279
 Stuart Europe  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  9/  X  XX6
 Williams  30  60  90  120  150  179  199  219  249  275  275
Name Nat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
 Chris USA  X X  9/  X  X  X  X  X  X  X9/
 Barnes  29  49  69  99  129  159  189  219  248  268  268
 Mika Europe  6s3  X  9/  X  X  8/  X  X  X  9/X
 Koivuniemi  9  29  49  77  97  117  147 176  196  216  216

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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