After a 5-1 thrashing of the European quartet by Chris Barnes and his merry men last night, the schedule moves into a different mood, featuring the usual opening of a Baker team match then alternating doubles and singles for five matches. The doubles are played as a scotch doubles, players alternating shots through the game.
Yesterday's show with the highlights of a pair of perfect games and a 7-10 split conversion had the crowded Barnsley Metrodome raising the roof. The single lane installation bordered each side by around 600 seasoned spectators is an annual feature that sells out over a month before the tournament dates.
"We couldn't be happier," commented Chris Barnes when discussing his 5-1 lead after session one. "We had a little struggle at the beginning when we were trying to figure it out, which options to use, so to get as big a lead through the session is a huge bonus for us. The 300s were nice, but they still only count for one point. Today the pattern will change, a lot longer, so we will have to make some more adjustments, but we are really happy about the way the first squad turned out. I really didn't anticipate having this lead. After the Europeans won the opening Baker, which has traditionally been the USA strong point, it didn't look as though the points would be anything close to 5-1. We were looking at 3-3 when we got out of the gates. When the Europeans hit 250 we thought we were in a whole lot of trouble."
Opposing captain Mika Koivuniemi is disappointed to lose all the singles matches. "I am happy about the way we are bowling but the biggest difference is how Team USA get their balls to go through the pins and strike much more than we do. So we have to figure out something that is part of the game. There is a different lane condition today. Yesterday it was 38 feet of oil, today it is 43, so it is going to play a little bit different."
Team order of play: Europe - Mika Koivuniemi, Dominic Barrett, Martin Larsen, Stuart Williams. USA - Chris Barnes, Tommy Jones, Bill O'Neill, Mike Fagan.
POINTS: USA - 5; EUROPE - 2
The Barnsley clocks struck one and the eight players faced the opening team event. Would the bell toll for Europe or USA?
It is not often that the European quartet manage to win two consecutive Baker team matches. Memories are searched for such an occasion without result. They opened their account with the team win last night and have done it again this afternoon.
Things were going quite well for the Americans until Chris Barnes stepped up for the fifth frame and was shocked to be faced with a 3-7-10 split. He managed to take just two pins from that setup and the Europeans took over the advantage with four strikes and an eleven point win.
POINTS: USA - 5; EUROPE - 3
Hmmm! Europe on the comeback trail and they are doing it in style, not only beating the fearsome American duo of Jones and Fagan but hitting the opposition with a 279, all strikes except for a nine-spare in the third frame.
The surprise of the match was Tommy Jones leaving the 4-10 split in the seventh frame and that turned out to be the watershed, shifting the power to Europe and that duo never looked back, comfortable with each and every ball thereon in th strike 'pocket'
Next up the first singles match of the day, Williams against Jones and what a thriller that is billed to be.
POINTS: USA - 6; EUROPE 3
POINTS: USA - 7; EUROPE - 3
Splits reared their ugly heads in this second doubles match, three of the lesser liked kind for the Europeans and just one for the visitors, throwing the impetus across the 'pond' and the duo took good advantage of the situation to pick up yet another point and get back to a four point lead.
POINTS: USA - 7; EUROPE - 4
Another ray of hope for the Europeans after a great win for Martin Larsen over Bill O'Neill, bringing the European's deficit down to three points. As Larsen stroked the strikes O'Neill fished for a line to the pocket, ball after ball tracking right of his target.
POINTS: USA - 7; EUROPE 5
A superb improvement by the European quartet for this afternoon's session of the Weber Cup, sealed by the final doubles match in home favor to bring the points back to 7-5, although till two in favor of the Americans.
The next session takes to the lane at 18:00 BST (13:00 EST) with the usual Baker team opener followed by five singles.
For further information, contact Keith Hale, firstname.lastname@example.org
See also: www,webercup.com