Steady Scoring at Scunthorpe:
The student bowling tour had a long and happy history of running and competing in events at AMF Hull stretching back at least 20 years, consequently we were all sad to see the bowl close, and ever since it did we have held an annual Hull Memorial tournament.
This season the Hull Memorial Handicapped Trios were bowled at 1st Bowl Scunthorpe on Saturday 26th January. This was a matchplay tournament involving a total of 18 teams, who were randomly drawn into 3 groups of 6 before the start of play. Each team then bowled a single handicapped matchplay game against every other team in their group in turn.
Teams received 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and zero for a loss, these points were then totalled and the team in each group with the most points was declared the winner, the team with the second highest number of points the runner-up and so on. In the event of a tie for any position the team with the highest handicapped pinfall total over the five games, took the higher place.
The winners and runners-up from each group progressed to the second round, along with the two highest handicapped pinfall teams from the remainder. In the second round these 8 teams were placed in to two seeded groups of 4, and again bowled one matchplay game against every team in their group (round robin format). The two group winners and runners-up (again based on points scored in the round), then proceeded to the seeded semi-finals and finals.
The semis and finals were also decided by single handicapped matchplay games, with the two losing semi-finalists meeting in a 3rd/4th playoff, whilst the victors contested the final.
Leeds Met B topped Group A with a total handicapped pinfall of 3127 and wins over Warwick A (632 to 556), Nottingham B (659 to 580), Where’s Hull? (630 to 603), and Team Sploosh!!! (632 to 596), with only Nottingham Trent (574 to 657) preventing them from getting a clean sweep! Notts Trent finished in joint second place with Warwick A, with three wins a piece, but Trent secured the Runners-up position courtesy of their massively superior total pinfall (3200 as opposed to 2919). The closest match in the group was between Warwick A and Team Sploosh!!!, with Warwick just edging it by 555 to 549.
In group two the honours were shared evenly between PTA and Nottingham A, with each team winning four out of their five matches, but PTA (3208) significantly outscored Nottingham (3084) on pinfall, and so secured the top spot. Although PTA only just sneaked through their first match (against The East Midlands Branch) by 653 to 649. The East Midlands Branch (3101) only managed to record 2 wins despite hitting the second highest pinfall total in the group as they seemed to meet all of their opponents at exactly the wrong time!
Manchester managed the clean sweep in group 3; their best performance was a 696 to 608 win over Sheffield, whilst they only just managed to eke out victories over Snowbowlers (600 to 597) and Loughborough (607 to 605), although they did have the highest total pinfall in their group 3152.
Snowbowlers and Loughborough both put in their worst performances of the group stages when playing each other, but it was the Snowbowlers (3045 in total) who got the victory (584 to 557), and took second place in the group with 4 wins, whilst Loughborough (3059) finished 3rd on 3 wins, despite their fractionally higher pinfall!
The 2 best team games bowled in the first round came from Leeds Met B 723 (556) and Where’s Hull? 722 (680) respectively, whilst the best individual performances came from Jon Atkins (Notts Trent) and Adam Leefe (Leeds Met B), with scratch totals of 1128 and 1055 respectively over the first five matchplay games.
Phil Manning (Where’s Hull?) posted the best individual game in this round with his 258, although Alex Kreloff (PTA) and Dan Frazer (Loughborough) both posted 257 games. Louise Parker (Manchester) posted the best scratch total (1033) and game (235) in round 1, with Rachael McKenzie her nearest rival with 987 and 221 respectively!
So the teams progressing to the second round were group winners PTA (3208), Manchester (3152) and Leeds Met B (3127), group runners-up Notts Trent (3200), Nottingham A (3084) and Snowbowlers (3045), with the East Midland’s Branch (3101) and Where’s Hull? (3096) taking the two highest pinfall losers spots.
In the second round PTA sailed through their group with ease, beating Snowbowlers (680 to 626), East Midlands Branch…again (715 to 622), and Notts Trent (667 to 596), picking up all 6 points and recording a pinfall total of 2062. The Snowbowlers lost all their matches, so it became a showdown between the East Midlands Branch and Notts Trent, with the former just edging the encounter by 3 pins (670 to 667!), and finishing second in the group with 2 wins and 1917 pins.
Leeds Met B were far and away the strongest team in the second group, however due to their narrow loss to Nottingham A (580 to 573), 3 teams all finished the group with 2 wins to their names, (Leeds Met, Notts and Manchester), whilst Where’s Hull? lost all of their matches! So the group winner and runner-up were determined by pinfall, with Leeds Met B finishing 1st on 1913, Manchester second on 1832 and Nottingham in third just missing out on a semi-final place on 1820!
All 3 members of PTA, James Larkin (649, 245), Paul Marks (649, 234) and Alex Kreloff (632, 258), put in great performances in the second round, for a very consistent trios series of 1930 scratch. Dave Abbott (624, 240) and Gaz Balaam (619, 213) of East Midlands Branch and Jon Atkins (614, 220) of Trent were the only other bowlers to break 600!
The semi-finals were seeded based on total handicapped pinfall over the 8 games played, which saw PTA (5270 over 8) pitted against Manchester (4984), and just sneaking the win with a score of 707 to 693 (helped by James Larkin’s 254 game); meanwhile Leeds Met B (5040) took on the East Midlands Branch (5018) and saw them off with ease 692 to 624.
In the final PTA who’d led the event from start to finish, and never put in a sub 620 handicap game, simply fell to pieces, only hitting 546, and were easily beaten by Leeds Met B (659) who were duly crowned champions! The East Midlands Branch then won the 3rd/4th play-off beating Manchester by 649 to 610.
The student men’s high average award was won by Jon Atkins (starting to show the promise that saw him get selected for the BUCS Squad) with a 217.75 average, streets ahead of his nearest competitor. The ex-student high average award went right down to the wire with all 3 members of PTA and Gaz Balaam of The East Midlands Branch in contention. After 8 games bowled, Paul Marks had 1641, James Larkin 1639, Alex Kreloff 1638, and Gaz Balaam 1637. The matter was decided by James’ 254 in game 9, although the poor finish he and all his team mates put in, almost gifted the prize to Gaz and his 227 finish in game 10! James’ finishing average was 206.4 a mere 7 pins ahead of Gaz on 205.7! Rachael McKenzie took the student ladies’ prize with her 197.4 average, whilst Caroline Turnbull secured the ex-student award with her 163.2 average.
Dan Frazer (257) and Louise Parker (235) won the student scratch game prizes, whilst Phil Manning (258) and Roxanne Turner (Team Sploosh!!! – 200) got the ex-student awards.
The handicap game awards went to Jon Atkins (269) and Rachael McKenzie (240) for the students and Alex Kreloff (276 – although he actually tied for the scratch game with Phil Manning!), and Caroline O’ Neill (Team Sploosh!!! – 239).
Compared to the ridiculously high scoring we’ve experienced at some events on tour this year, the Hull Memorial Trios was a much more subdued affair, but this was more than made up for by the drama created by a proper matchplay format…long live matchplay!