BUTBA’s third Order of Merit (OoM) tournament of the 2012-3 Season was the Imperial Scratch & Handicapped Trios, which was bowled at The City Pavilion (Rollerbowl) Romford on 18th November 2012.
This was the first ever BUTBA event held at Romford, but I’m absolutely certain that it won’t be the last, as apart from some generally high scoring, the event saw not one, but two 300 games bowled in it!!!!!
The format sees each trios team bowling a 6 game qualification round (over two 3 game squads), at the end of which the top 4 placed teams on scratch will proceed to the scratch semi-finals, whilst the top 4 placed handicap teams from the remainder progress to the handicap semi-finals. In both the scratch and handicap sections the top placed finalist gets to choose their semi-final opponent (whilst the 2 remaining teams will form the other semi-final), an innovative twist on a tried and tested format! The winning semi-finalists then progress to the final, to determine the winner of both the scratch and handicap sections.
The same format was used for both the student and ex-student tournaments, which were run alongside each other, but were kept completely separate!
Notts Trent A (Tom Chuter, James Madden, Curtis Berry) made the best start in qualification in the student section, hitting 1759 scratch (1957 handicap) in their first series, thanks to Tom’s 663 scratch series, keeping them just ahead of Portsmouth A [Jon Spivey (657 Scratch), Chris Hunnisett, Adam Lucas] on 1723 (1918) with Loughborough [Dan Frazer (614), Mark Hodds, Matt Harris] 3rd on 1669 (1930).
The best handicap totals for the 1st series were posted by Imperial B (Gabriel Lim, Xin Yan Goh, Gavin Lai – 1952), Imperial A (Kelvin Wong, Raymond Yang, Sam Chan – 1934) and Manchester (Louise Parker, Paul Symons, Harry Herbert – 1915) respectively.
In the second set Portsmouth A blew away all the competition hitting a very impressive 1907 scratch series (2102 hcp), courtesy of both Jon Spivey (268 game and 740 series) and Chris Hunnisett (240, 666) going ballistic! Loughborough managed the best response a 1762 (2023) with solid performances across the team (the best a 608 from Matt Harris), with Notts Trent A only third 1697 (1895) despite Tom Chuter hitting a consistently high scoring 694.
The handicap scores also improved significantly from the first set, with all the B teams leading the way Portsmouth B (Jamie Kingston, Rachael Sargent, Tim Motterhead – 2066), followed by Imperial B (2038) and then Notts Trent B (Jon Atkins, Mikey Chan, Kirsty Ralph – 2029).
Notable individual performances came from Jeremy Swan (Leeds) 601 (748), Jamie Kingston 584 (764), Louise Parker 556 (649), Harry Herbert 550 (718), Gabriel Lim 549 (732), and Rachael Sargent 539 (680).
The four best student teams in terms of scratch pinfall over the 6 qualification games were, Portsmouth A with 3630 (4020), Notts Trent A on 3456 (3852), Loughborough on 3431 (3953), and Manchester on 3206 (3866). Portsmouth A unsurprisingly chose Manchester as their semi-final opponents, leaving Notts Trent A to compete against Loughborough!
This left Imperial B (3990) as the best handicap team in the competition, the merest smidgen ahead of Portsmouth B (3980), with Notts Trent B (3800) in third, and Nottingham A (James Harris, Matt Plato, Rob Humphries – 3791) taking the last semi-final place. Again the team with the choice went with the formbook, with Imperial deciding to bowl against Nottingham A in their semi-final, leaving Portsmouth B and Notts Trent B to duke it out in the other.
After averaging in excess of 20 pins per person per game more than Manchester throughout the tournament, Portsmouth A somehow contrived to lose to them in their semi-final (or Manchester found a way to best them?), in a match that finished 527 to 517 in Manchester’s favour! With Louise Parker’s 188 being the top score of the match!
Conversely the second semi-final saw the meeting of two teams who’d been in step with each other all day, so a close match seemed to be on the cards, but no, Loughborough ran away with it, beating Notts Trent A soundly by 622 to 547 (Dan Frazer top-scoring with a 224)!
Both surprise results can largely be traced to the two best bowlers in qualification (Jon Spivey and Tom Chuter) having a massive dip in form (by their standards) in the semi-finals…did the lanes change markedly between the qualification and the finals?
In contrast the handicap semi-finals stayed true to form, with Imperial B (688) sailing majestically past Nottingham A (561), thanks in no small part to Xin Yan Goh’s impressive 196 (260) game, whilst Portsmouth B (589) proved to be just too strong for Notts Trent B (558)!
The final of the student scratch section, was perhaps the most mismatched final in the entire history of BUTBA, mostly due to a certain Mr Daniel Frazer (Coventry University…but an honorary member of the Loughborough Tenpin Bowling Club) deciding that the final was the perfect time for him to roll his first ever perfect game! Dan’s 300 was ably supported by his two teammates to give Loughborough a scratch total of 691,a mere 211 pins more than Manchester could manage, back on 480!
The student handicap final was a much tighter affair with the ladies in both teams being the star turns, but despite Xin Yan Goh improving on her semi-final game 200 (264), and outperforming her opposite number Rachael Sargent 194 (241), it was Portsmouth B that put in the better team performance in the final, winning the match and the tournament by a 653 to 633 victory over Imperial B!
In what is fast becoming a foregone conclusion, High Men’s Scratch Average went to Jon Spivey with a 226.2 (7 games), as did the High Scratch Series award for his 740, but the High Game award obviously went to Dan Frazer for his 300! Louise Parker had all the female awards sown up, with her 175.1 average, 556 series and 208 game. Honourable mention should also go to Tom Chuter and Dan Frazer for their 216.1 (7) and 215.5 (8) averages respectively.
The High Handicap Series awards went to Jamie Kingston (764) and Rachael Sargent (680), whilst the High Handicap Games were rolled by Gabriel Lim (275) and Xin Yan Goh (264).
In the ex-student tournament JBL Balls (Jess Davidson, Antony Lakey, Matt Bailey) got off to a cracking start, with an unbeatable first series of 1961 (2255), with Team Hung (Dave Abbott, Darren Ellis, Rich Balaam) their closest rivals back on 1858 (1978), just ahead of Dream Team – Grant (Alex Kreloff, James White, Dan Martin) with 1847 (2027). Jess started off the tournament with an incredible PB series of 258, 243, 246 for a 747 (822 hcp!!!) certainly the highest series bowled by a female at any BUTBA event I can remember (and I’ve been involved with the tour since 1995!), and very likely the best female performance EVER on our tour!
Alex Kreloff also got off to a fantastic start with a 690 (786) including a 268 game, as did Dave Abbott 653 (701) and Antony Lakey who hit a 279 to start, but only managed to hold on for a 613 (706).
Marks’s Magic (Miles Girdlestone, Paul Marks, Hooman Behnia – 2064) were the best placed of the handicap teams, ahead of Jen’ll Fix It! (Katie Taylor, Tony Hickman, Jen Van Der Ree – 1971), and Peach and the Plumbers (Chris Herbert, Charlie Baldwin, Caroline Rawson – 1918). Miles Girdlestone and Matt Bailey were the stand out handicap players on 527 (731), and 601 (727) respectively.
In the second set, Team Hung 1958 (2078) posted up a total to rival JBL Balls 1st series effort, thanks to a 682 (including a 255) from Rich Balaam, and another 653 from Dave Abbott (with a 268 game this time), with Darren Ellis also making a good contribution with his 623. Every member of Team Hung bowled back to back 600 series (Darren started with 605, and Rich with 600 dead), which is a pretty impressive feat in itself!
Their nearest rivals in the second set were Dream Team – Grant on 1814 (1994), and JBL Balls on 1808 (2102), with Jess understandably having a bit of a reaction to her stunning PB! Rob Goodwin (Big Gay Rob’s Throbbing Gristle) found some form in this set with an impressive 679 (763) as did Matt Bailey 666 (792), James White 656 (674), Antony Lakey 632 (725) and Paul Marks who followed up his 615 from the first set with a 616 in the second!
Jen’ll Fix It! (1984) put in the best hcp score in the second set, with Marks’s Magic (1969) and Peach and the Plumbers (1930) keeping them in sight, with Tony Hickman posting the most notable individual score 550 (736).
Team Hung finished top of the ex-student scratch section on a very impressive 3816 (4056) with JBL Balls in close order behind on 3769 (4357), Dream Team – Grant 3rd on 3661 (4021) and Marks’s Magic taking the final scratch position on 3355 (4033)…although I’m sure they’d have preferred to end up in the handicap section! Team Hung chose to bowl against Marks’s Magic in their semi-final, leaving JBL Balls and Dream Team – Grant to fight it out in the other semi.
The best handicap team from those remaining was Jen’ll Fix It! (3955), with Peach and the Plumbers (3848) in second, Big Gay Rob’s Throbbing Gristle (Rob Goodwin, Paul Williams, Dan Vanniasingham – 3694) were third, with I Am Sam (Matt Warmington, Emma Liddington, Sam De’ Athe – 3686) just behind in 4th! Jen’ll Fix It! decided to bowl against Big Gay Rob’s Throbbing Gristle in their semi-final, so Peach and the Plumbers and I Am Sam met in the other one.
As expected Team Hung found their match with Marks’s Magic fairly easy going, triumphing by 602 to 514, but surprisingly JBL Balls found it just as easy going against Dream Team – Grant in their semi, romping home by 600 to 508, with Jess returning to form with another 246 game.
I’m sure that Jen’ll Fix It! rued their decision not to bowl against the lowest qualified team in the semi-finals (I Am Sam), as Big Gay Rob’s Throbbing Gristle brushed past them with contemptuous ease 642 to 582 on handicap, helped by a timely 233 (249 hcp) game from Paul Williams. Especially so, when they realised that I Am Sam posted a lower total in their semi-final than Jen’ll Fix It! had! Peach and the Plumbers eased their way into the final beating I Am Sam by 633 to 578, with Charlie Baldwin hitting his third 200 of the tournament at just the right time a 212 (254) game.
Unbelievably the Ex-student Scratch Final also saw a perfect game bowled by one of the competitors, a certain Mr Matthew A. Bailey (formerly a member of the University of Portsmouth’s Tenpin Bowling Club and since graduating in 2009, a regular ex-student member of our tour!). Matt like Dan Frazer also decided to roll his debut 300 in the scratch final at Imperial Trios (I want to have whatever they were drinking!). Team Hung bowled a 580 dead in the final with their low man on a 184, whilst neither of JBL Balls’ other 2 bowlers could muster a 180, so Matt probably had to bowl something like a 300 to make sure of the victory, as even with his 300 JBL Balls only hit 633, but that was more than enough to claim the victory!
The handicap final saw Big Gay Rob’s Throbbing Gristle bring all their many years of experience to bear, to come through a close encounter and emerge victorious, beating Peach and the Plumbers by 545 (621) to 468 (588).
As well as taking the High Scratch Game prize with his 300, Matt Bailey also finished on the high male average of 220.9 (8 games), although the high series prize went to Alex Kreloff for his 690. Jess Davidson cornered all of the ladies scratch prizes, with an average of 210 (8), a series of 747, and a high game of 258! Honourable mention should also go to Dave Abbott for his 216.8 (8) average.
The High Handicap Game awards went to Antony Lakey (310!!!) and Emma Liddington & Caroline Rawson (246), whilst the series awards went to Matt Bailey (792) and Katie Taylor (678). That’s Lakey’s second handicap trophy in two events, methinks he might just be starting to regain some of that form that saw him dominate the BUTBA tour as a student!
Bowler’s are always going to enjoy a high scoring centre, so with 5 bowlers averaging in excess of 215 and two perfect games bowled, it’ll come as no surprise that the feedback from our members about this event has been overwhelmingly positive, so we will definitely be visiting Romford again next year!