The University of Nottingham kick start the 2013/14 BUTBA season with a memorable first weekend of bowling…
Nottingham Trios (Saturday 2nd November)
For photos from this event click here
For the first competition of the season, BUTBA members made the all too familiar journey to MFA Bowl Nottingham to kick start the season. However, this year it was not for the all too familiar competition. An interesting twist this year saw BUTBA’s first ‘weekender’ where the annual Nottingham Fives competition (Sunday 3rd November) was preceded by the new addition of Nottingham Trios (Saturday 2nd November). The trios competition, having the added rule of each team must include a Fresher, brought a surprising number of new bowlers to the table, reflected in the turn out for the fives competition the following day, where the number of new entrants was much larger than previous years.
With the new addition to BUTBA tournament rules, the introduction of a 100% handicap created one of the closest competitions we have ever seen in a BUTBA event. All teams started by bowling a qualifying three games, looking to make the top 8 to go through to play in a one game match knock-out finals. Birmingham C’s team of Sam Bond, Justin Suter and Julia Greenwood looked set to be high up in the tables, with all three bowlers bowling highly above their average in the first game with a team handicap score of 743. Wolverhampton A’s team, however, a new club to the BUTBA Tour, showcased themselves with a bang, putting in a massive handicap score in the first game of 735, with Adam Kehoe bowling true to form, and his team mates, Nathan Whiting and Stephen Wyeth bowling over 30 pins above average each.
By the second game, however, Nottingham’s B team of Tom Chester, Sean Khua and Aiman Buhlaiquah, had set their sights for gold, with Sean bowling a massive 79 pins above average, shooting a 248 scratch game. By qualification, Nottingham B had secured their place at the top, with Birmingham E and Portsmouth qualifying second and third, respectively, which was no surprise given their consistently above average performances throughout the qualifying three games.
The qualification, as follows: 1st – Nottingham B – Tom Chester, Sean Khua and Aiman Buhlaiqah (2183); 2nd – Birmingham C – Sam Bond, Justin Suter and Julia Greenwood (2111); 3rd – Portsmouth – Jamie Kingston, James Horwood and Zareen Sawant (2057); 4th – Wolverhampton A – Nathan Whiting, Adam Kehoe and Stephen Wyeth (2046); 5th – Nottingham A – Adam Maxwell, Jeff Daniels and Simon Atkins (2038); 6th – Sheffield B – Simon Parker, Alex Parvanov and Matt Scott (2026); 7th – Imperial – Gavin Lai, Xin Yan Goh and Brian Siu (2018); and 8th – Cambridge – Amirul Hakim Bin Noor Haizat, Kah Wei Goh and Terence Kwan (2015). The introduction of the 100% handicap meant the competition for qualification to the finals knock-out round was extremely close, therefore mentions must go out to Birmingham’s D (Mark Jeffs, Kian Mistry and Lewis James) and E (James Rothwell, Tom Lightfoot and Jay Young) teams who missed out on the cut by just 1 and 4 pins respectively.
Birmingham, however, could put faith in their C team, qualifying second and grazing past Imperial in the first round of the knock-out’s, winning 657 to 654. Sticking to their winning streak, Nottingham B secured an almost 80 pin win over Cambridge, winning 728 to 645. The middle of the table qualifiers both experienced close matches, with Nottingham A winning 666 to 660 over Wolverhampton, and Portsmouth beating Sheffield B 703 to 690. The second knock-out stage became much more interesting, as Portsmouth and Birmingham C both picked up their games and gave everyone an interesting match to watch, with Portsmouth picking up in the last few frames to secure a 721 to 692 win. In the other match, the atmosphere was much more friendly, with both Nottingham qualifiers facing each other. Nottingham B, however, kept their game faces on, winning 682 to 673. Not ones to let their reputation down, Nottingham B made the most of the home crowd, going into the finals against Portsmouth. The first couple of frames looked to favour Portsmouth, until the Nottingham team massively fought back to win 736 to 637.
With a huge congratulations to Nottingham B, keeping their top of the table position throughout the whole day and Portsmouth who showed that even after travelling over 3 hours before even bowling, they were not going to go down without a fight. Team prizes were not the only on offer, with individual prizes showing that Nottingham truly were the ‘on-form’ university of the day. Men’s High Game Scratch went to Nottingham’s Adam Maxwell with a massive 278 (coming off a 180 average) and Men’s High Game Handicap going to fellow Nottingham bowler, Sean Khua with a 299 (248 scratch). The women’s prizes saw High Game Handicap going to another of Nottingham’s team, Charlotte Richardson with a 270 (144 scratch). Imperial’s Xian Yan Goh cut through Nottingham’s winning streak, taking Ladies High Game Scratch with a 183. It was not, however, long lived, as Nottingham B’s team once again stole the show, with Tom Chester winning Most Above Average, bowling a massive 32.3 pins above his entering average of 126. A mention must also go out to Birmingham’s Saqib Shabbir, who just missed out on the prize, bowling 30.3 pins above his 93 average.
Nottingham Look Set to Dominate the Weekend
Overall, the competition was a great success, introducing a large number of new bowlers to the tour, which will hopefully mean a much more interesting season for BUTBA, and definitely setting a high standard for the Fives competition the following day. But, can Nottingham keep up their winning streak?
Nottingham Fives (Sunday 3rd November)
For photos from this event click here
The day of Nottingham Fives saw each and every team in high spirits after either competing in or hearing about the number of new bowlers from the previous day, especially Nottingham, but on a new day and a new format, everything was to play for. The morning of the fives saw many returning from the previous day to fill out the centre, though everyone was happy to see the return to the season of the Ex-Students, who this year, looked to field a very strong selection of bowlers. The day started with the doubles and trios; the trios looking set to be a tough match, bowling downstairs, whilst the doubles played above.
Nottingham, Imperial and Portsmouth bounced off their brilliant performances from the day before to take an early lead in the doubles section, though the introduction of Loughborough’s Mike Hurst and Nottingham Trent’s Curtis Berry, both on 200+ averages, meant the competition was much stiffer than the day before. All three however managed to battle through, Nottingham making no haste in continuing their winning streak from the day before with their B team doubles of Andrew Harvey and Aivero Romero taking first place with a handicap score of 1473. Imperial (Gavin Lai and William Pearson) followed close behind with a 1385, just ahead of Portsmouth’s Jonathan Spivey and Jamie Kingston on a 1337. Nottingham’s A team fought back, but just missed out of a trophy, with a team game of 1297, including an impressive first series from Jeff Lasher (704).
Competition after the doubles on the ex-student side looked to be setting up for a much more closely matched day, with only 64 pins separating third and first. The Sultans of Swing opened up the doubles with a massive handicap score of 1453, with Allan Pearson shooting 642 and a massive 811 from Dan Chan. The ever imaginatively named Sam 1 team of Sam De’Athe and Matt Warmington came a close second with a team series of 1425, with Sam looking like the one to watch, along with Dan Chan, on a 785. New to the ex-student side, Jack Adams burst through the ex-student scene on a 659, along with his team mate, ex-Portsmouth bowler, Antony Lakey, together scoring 1389 and securing third place in the doubles.
Downstairs in the trios, Nottingham, Imperial and Portsmouth continued to prove that they were the flavour of the day at MFA Nottingham, with Nottingham’s A team this time securing first place, almost 50 pins ahead of second. Their team of Grant Rayment (659) and Simon Atkins (664) were bumped up by Sean Khua’s (winner of the Men’s High Handicap Game the day before) 818. Portsmouth (Renee Santos, James Horwood and Zarren Sawant) secured a place in the top three again, coming second with a 2093. It was Warwick, however, that knocked Imperial’s Gabriel Lim, Xin Yan Goh and Kevin Wong down to fourth, with an impressive performance from BUTBA regulars Tom Prickett, Alex Minns and Gerard Colston, just missing out on second by 24 pins with a 2069. Imperial, however, didn’t go down without a fight, scoring 2040 ahead of both Nottingham Trent teams, Nottingham B and Loughborough.
On the ex-student side, things, once again were must closer at the top, with Sam 1’s trios long time BUTBA veteran Charlie Baldwin, Wing Lai and Neil Brown clinching top position by just 4 pins ahead of Ex-Notts Simon Wilkins, Poppy Girdlestone and James Harris on 2135. New team to the block, Be The Ball (Chris Lane, Ollie Lush and John McOmish) shot an impressive 2078, knocking previous victors, Sultans of Swing off the podium. Their team of Lee Burrows, Phil Manning and Ex-Student President James ‘Thumper’ Larkin, were just two pins behind. The competition was still stiff all the way down to fifth place in the ex-student section, with Mark’s Magic’s Andrew Wilson shooting a 734, proving all was still to play for with three more series to go.
The tables turned for both student and ex-student bowlers in the singles. The students saw Nottingham be overthrown by derby rivals, Nottingham Trent, with their B team player, Will Beeson, scoring a massive 763, bowling way above his average. Warwick and Imperial fought back against top of the table Nottingham and Portsmouth also, to secure second (Gerard Colston, 712) and third (Kevin Wong, 692) respectively. Nottingham managed to nudge their way into fourth by just 6 pins over Nottingham Trent’s A team, with Adam Maxwell scoring 664 to Alex Girling’s 658. Portsmouth took a different approach to singles, fielding their scratch bowler, Jonathan Spivey, who despite a valiant score of 643, could not compete with the handicap bowlers, finally settling in 7th place.
Team Awesome, long known ex-student table toppers, came back with force in the singles, with John Plumridge scoring a massive 721, just ahead of Ex-Notts’ Simon Wilkins on a 700 dead. Turkey Dove Turkey Ghost finally edged their way into the top three, just missing out on silver with Lee Rigby shooting a 692. Mark’s Magic team captain, Paul Marks, just missed out on the top three once again by just 17 pins on a 675. The tables in the ex-student section appeared to have been completely flipped from the doubles and trios, with President Obamas Big Black Cactus, Sam 1 and Sultans of Swing now down at the bottom of the table, but could this just have been due to the ex-students fielding mostly scratch bowlers, as opposed to the students mainly handicap bowler approach?
Upstairs, the quads was underway, proving for the ex-students at least, loosing out on a few points from the singles was worth the risk, with Be The Ball’s Louise Parker, Chris Lane, Ollie Lush and John McOmish storming the quads with a massive 2594, closely followed by President Obamas Big Black Cactus’ 2553 (Jack Adams, Anne Windess, Antony Lakey and Mark Sorrell). Turkey Dove Turkey Ghost secured third place again, with their team of Pete Gould, Mike Hilton, Andy Gould and Stew Baker scoring 2509. The difference between third and seventh was one of the most marginal of the day, with only 67 pins separating the five teams. Team Awesome (Paul Williams, Rob Goodwin, Darren Milner and Aiden Wright) and Ex-Notts (Poppy Girdlestone, Tom Chuter, Matt Kokolski and James Harris) were unfortunate to all bowl close to average and just miss out. At the bottom of the table especially, it seemed to be the general consensus that the hook bowlers were suffering due to no re-oil between the doubles and quads upstairs.
The student, it appeared, were not affected by this lack of re-oil, taking the dry lanes in their stride, with Loughborough finally topping the tables with a 2840 from their quads team of Phillipa Relf, Mark Hodds, Nikki Stam and Mike Hurst (finally living up to his reputation with a huge 765 handicap series). Nottingham Trent slowly made their way up the tables once again, to secure second place, with their B team (Nikolaos Varaourakis, Kirsty Ralph, Ben Williamson and Jonny Walker) almost all bowling 700+ series to field a team series of 2763. Nottingham denied Nottingham Trent’s A team third place also, taking third and fourth with their A team (Grant Rayment, Jeff Lasher, Simon Atkins and Sean Khua) in third on 2753 and their B team (Marie Smith, Andrew Harvey, Sammir Radha and Alvero Romero) in fourth on 2661. Warwick knocked Nottingham Trent’s A team (Curtis Berry, Rachael McKenzie, Deivdas Misevicius and Ashley Diggle) down another peg to sixth on a 2650, with their team of Tom Prickett, Alex Minns, Syahmi Nasil and Felix Lee closely securing fifth on a 2655. Imperial and Portsmouth seemed to have lost their winning streak for the day, securing seventh and eight place respectively, but all was still to play for with the main event of the fives still to come.
After a much appreciated re-oil, the fives was underway, with 17 teams bowling upstairs. Despite the quads looking to have Portsmouth and Imperial knocked out of the running for a medal, they fought back in the team event, with Portsmouth securing fourth on a 3351, just behind Imperial on a 3379. Nottingham once again topped the table, with their B team coming first with an impressive 3552, including two 700+ series from Andrew Harvey (725) and Alvero Romero (794). Warwick slotted into second on a team series of 3456, fielding three 700+ series (Tom Prickett’s 708, Gerard Colston’s 743 and Syahmi Nasil’s 702). Loughborough managed to secure fifth place on a 3305, however, the lanes didn’t appear to suit Nottingham Trent’s teams, who fell at the last hurdle, coming 7th and 8th.
Team Awesome, once again, bought back their fighting spirit from previous years, securing another first place in the fives, with Aiden Wright shooting 276 and 279 (scratch) in the first two games, securing a massive 826 series handicap (790 scratch). Mark’s Magic fought back, now with their full team (Paul Marks, Andrew Wilson, Pete Thornley, Rebecca Wilson and Luke Johnstone) together, to finally make it into the top three, coming second on a 3483, with two of their players scoring 700+ (Pete Thornley’s 722 and Andrew Wilson’s 749). Sam 1, Be The Ball and Sultans of Swing, however, couldn’t answer to the newly found enthusiasm of Team Awesome and Mark’s Magic, falling short with team series’ of 3174, 3142 and 3033 respectively. Sam 2 looked set by the second game to keep the team Sam’s in the race, scoring a team series of 3239, however, just lost out on the last game to President Obamas Big Black Cactus, helped by Mark Sorrell’s impressive series of 754.
Nottingham Dominate Once Again in the Prizes
In the student section, Nottingham once again proved to be the university of the weekend, securing an impressive number of prizes, firstly in Men’s High Game Scratch, with a 264 from Sean Khua, closely followed by possibly the favourite of the day for scratch prizes, Loughborough’s Mike Hurst. Nottingham also managed to secure Men’s High Game Handicap (Alvero Romero, 306), Men’s High Handicap Series (Sean Khua, 824) and Men’s High Average (Sean Khua, 224.3), proving Nottingham, and especially Sean are the ones to watch in the men’s rankings this year. Nottingham lost out however, on many of the female scratch prizes, which were, quite sorely for Nottingham, won by Nottingham Trent with Rachael McKenzie picking up High Female Scratch Game, Scratch Series and Average (168). Zarren Sawant picked up High Female Handicap Game for Portsmouth with an impressive 272, as well as a huge series of 744 in the trios, securing her High Female Handicap Series also. Loughborough finally for a look in when Mike Hurst broke through to win Men’s High Series Scratch for his massive series of 708 in the quads.
Ex-Students Steal the Show on Individual Prizes
The ex-student section saw a much more varied selection of prize winners. Competition for Men’s High Game Scratch was fierce in the ex-students, though, unsurprisingly, Aiden Wright of Team Awesome picked up Men’s High Game Scratch with his 279, sharing with Lee Burrows from Sultans of Swing who shot the first 279 of the day in second game of trios. Men’s High Handicap Game was taken by President Obamas Big Black Cactus’ Chris May with a 296 (still an impressive 244 scratch game), just pippin Tom Nurse from Sam 2 to the prize. Aiden, after a series of games of 276, 279 and 235, possibly one of the highest BUTBA has ever seen on tour, took Men’s High Series Scratch with a 790, with Dan Chan of Sultans of Swing in second with a series of 739. Dan, however, secured Men’s High Series Handicap, with his 739 becoming a 811 from the doubles. The battle for Men’s High Average was tough, with the top 7 hitting a 200+ average, however it was Sultans of Swing who took the title with Lee Burrows’ 215.7 average, closely followed by team mate Dan Chan on a 212. The female prizes were dominated to new ex-student bowler, Rebecca Wilson from Mark’s Magic, winning Female High Game Scratch (247), Female High Series Scratch (631) and Female High Average (194.8). President Obamas Big Black Cactus’ Anne Windess took Female High Game Handicap with a 283, but couldn’t compete with ex-Portsmouth bowler Rachael Sargent for Female High Series Handicap, who shot a 737.
Team Prizes Show Very Close Competition
The team sections were dominated by Nottingham in the student section, who’s B team picked up first place for the Doubles (1473) and Fives (3552) and who’s A team placed first in the Trios (2141). The Singles and Quads were won by a mile by Will Beeson of Nottingham Trent’s B team (763) in the Singles and the Quads by Loughborough with a 2840. The overall winners, however, by no surprise, were Nottingham’s B team of Marie Smith, Alvero Romero, Andrew Harvey, Mike Hales and Sammir Radha, all bowling well above their averages to secure first place by 120 pins with a 10256. Second and third place were as close as you can get with Warwick (Tom Prickett, Alex Minns, Gerard Colston, Syahmi Nasil and Felix Lee) on a 10136 and Imperial (Gabriel Lim, Gavin Lai, Xin Yan Goh, William Pearson and Kelvin Wong) on 10134, just 2 pins behind.
The ex-student section told a very different story, with no team looking like they were set winners from the get go. Team Awesome clawed back near the end of the day to secure first place in the Singles with a 721 from John Plumridge, setting them on a precedent to win the Fives also, with the team feeding off John’s victory in the singles to knock out a 3514. In the morning, however, it was Sultans of Swing who looked to be the better team, winning the Doubles with a 1453. They, however, missed out narrowly on a top three spot in the Trios upstairs, losing out to Sam 1, winning the section with a 2139, just ahead of Ex-Notts on a 2135. The Quads showed another change in table toppers, this time going to Be The Ball with a team series of 2594. Towards the end of the day it looked to be a free for all for the top place overall in the ex-student section, and despite a huge final series from Team Awesome’s Aiden Wright, this was only enough to push them up to second place, even after a record team game in the second game of 1152 scratch, 45 pins behind victors President Obamas Big Black Cactus, 9880 to 9925. Sam 1 managed to keep their top three spot with an overall series of 9845, knocking Mark’s Magic out of the running once again with their 9809 overall series.
A Promising Start to the BUTBA Season
After a brilliant and highly eventful first weekend at Nottingham, this year’s BUTBA season looks to be one of the most competitive yet. The weekend has definitely set the standards high and shown universities and ex-students alike who the ones to watch are. The next competition sees BUTBA travelling to the centre of the country once again to MFA Banbury on the 17th November to compete in Warwick Doubles. This time round, however, the competition turns to matchplay, so the ball is definitely in anyone’s park.