Oiled Down Warwick

The 2012-3 BUTBA season got underway with its first OoM Tournament, the Warwick Scratch Matchplay Doubles, on Saturday 20th October at 1st Bowl Nuneaton. This is the only Scratch OoM tournament that we run, and as such has a habit of throwing up some impressive scores, but unfortunately this season it will be remembered more because of the controversy surrounding it, than because of the events of the tournament itself.

Unfortunately the lane oiling machine broke down before a single lane had been oiled, and after exhausting all possible solutions to the problem, the lanes were eventually oiled by hand, and the tournament finally got underway 2 hours after the scheduled start. During the first round of the tournament, the lane technicians managed to get the machine working again, and so for the rest of the tournament the lanes were oiled by the machine.
The tournament format saw 32 teams of doubles (there were only 28 entries, so we had to include 4 blinds, all of which were drawn in the same 1st round group), randomly drawn into 8 groups of 4, and then each team bowled 1 matchplay game against all of the other teams in their group, a total of 3 games (Scoring was a version of the Petersen Points system, where each team scored 1% of their pinfall + 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss!). As we were only using 16 lanes, only 4 groups of bowlers could play a match at any one time, so everybody bowled in alternate games (so one game on and one game off), which was quite challenging, and made people feel like they’d bowled a lot more games than they actually had!
After the first three games, the top 2 finishers in each group on points entered the Cup section of the tournament, and the bottom 2 entered the Plate section! Bowlers were then randomly drawn into groups of 4 again (4 groups in cup, and 4 in plate), and again played 1 matchplay game against each of their group opponents using the same scoring system, and again bowling one game on and one game off!

At the end of this round, the 4 group winners (over the last 3 games) in both the Cup and Plate sections went through to their respective stepladder finals, where they were seeded on the basis of their total team pinfall over the whole day! Prizes were awarded to the 3 top placed teams in both the Cup and Plate at the conclusion of the stepladders.
Due to a shortage of ex-student entries, this tournament was run as a mixed event (whereby student and ex-student teams compete directly against each other!), however students and ex-students can’t join together to form teams at this type of event.

In the first round the toughest group to find yourself in was Group A where the first games saw Rachael McKenzie (When Leeds Met Bruce) striking out the tenth to snatch victory away from Ex-Trent (James Larkin & Dan Chan) by a single pin, 404 vs 403, whilst in the same group Loughborough B (Aiden Wright, Matt Harris) came through a grudge match with Loughborough C (Rachel Hodds, Matt Fidget), winning by 414 to 380. Rachael McKenzie got off to the best start with a 233 game, but was ably supported by her partner Matt Anniss.
The group finished with 3 teams each recording 2 wins, When Leeds Met Bruce finished top by virtue of their pinfall of 1158, just pipping Ex-Trent on 1155, with Loughborough B 3rd on 1122, and Loughborough C (1056) finishing bottom without a single victory to their name.

The closest match-up in Group B occurred in the second game with Trent B (Karl Gaughan, Jon Atkins) narrowly sneaking the victory over their varsity opponents Nottingham (Saiful Salihudin, Amirul Hakim Noor Haizat), by 356 to 351, after dropping almost 100 pins from their first game high of 451 (courtesy of Jon Atkin’s  255 game).

Unsurprisingly with scoring like that it was Trent B that topped the group with 3 wins and a total pinfall of 1187. Mark’s Magic (Paul Marks, Bob Nethersole) came second with wins over both of the other teams in the group (total pinfall 1151), with Nottingham 3rd courtesy of a single victory and 1132 pins, and Portsmouth C (Jon Spivey) bottom due to only having one bowler in the team!

In Group C, Leeds (Alex Fitzpatrick, Paul Turner) made all of the running, defeating all comers, although their first match against Diligaf (Nicky Donowski, Phil Manning) was a tight affair that finished 365 to 351 in their favour (their total pinfall was 1089). Diligaf waltzed through their other matches overpowering Trent C (James Madden, Kirsty Ralph) by over 100 pins with a 439 team game (courtesy of a 237 from Nicky) on the way to finishing second (with 1147). Trent C finished 3rd courtesy of their single win over Portsmouth A (Rachael Sargent, Jamie Kingston) in 4th, who themselves couldn’t secure a victory.
Warwick B (Jack Adams, Alex Minns) also pulled off the trick of being a long way off the best pinfall score in their group (D), and yet managing to secure all 6 points and the win, with a great piece of matchplay in game 3, beating Unknown 2 (Jess Davidson, Tom Nurse) by 374 to 341, but only hitting 1030 overall. Unknown 2 had won their two previous matches by 71 and 167 pins respectively, hitting a 422 game in the latter thanks to Jess’ 230 game, so were probably expecting an easy ride, but had to be content with 2nd despite their score of 1135. Third place went to Manchester B (Alan Stokes, Harry Herbert) who proved too strong for Trent D (Will Beeson, Chris Nelson) in their match-up, and so Trent D had to settle for 4th!

Group E was dominated by the Mighty Crooks (Brothers Danny & Joe Crook) winning their first 2 matches by approx 30 pins before smashing Warwick A (Sean Oliver & Rebecca Symmonds)  in the 3rd by 424 to 307, finishing top with an impressive pinfall total of 1189 (no real standout games just consistently good scoring!). The remaining places were hotly contested with Portsmouth B (Edward Rees, Chris Hunnisett) just managing to secure 2nd place with narrow wins over both Manchester A (Paul Symmonds, Louise Parker) and Warwick A. Whilst Warwick A in turn just managed to sneak 3rd place with a 357 to 349 win over Manchester A who finished 4th.
Loughborough A (Mark Hodds, Daniel Frazer) were another team who proved to be a class apart from the teams in their group (F), and were deserved victors with 3 wins and 1172 pins to their credit. Their first match was the only close one a 20 pin victory over Leeds Met. B (Terri-Anne Falconbridge, Mark Bott) 396 to 376; their second was a 426 to 355 drubbing of Columbi (Dave Abbott, Jez Knight), helped by a 236 game from Dan Frazer.  Columbi finished 2nd after beating both Manchester C (Sammer Sharif, Sheng Wei Will Wayne) and Leeds Met. B, hitting 432 in the latter encounter (Dave Abbott hitting 235) for a total of 1144. Leeds Met. B finished 3rd with their single win over Manchester C, who themselves finished 4th!

Group G saw Trent A (Tom Chuter, Curtis Berry) triumphing with a trio of solid victories and a total pinfall of 1123, in what has to be said was perhaps the easiest first round group (but as always you can only beat the teams that are put in front of you on the day!). Death Warmed Up (Sam De’ Athe, Matt Warmington) won their first two matches quite comfortably before encountering Trent in the third game, so finished in a worthy 2nd place. Third place went to Pinball (Charlie Baldwin, Wing Lai) courtesy of their 308 to 295 win over Unfortunate (Chris Wragg, Abdullah Al-Tamimi) who had to settle for 4th.

The 1st & 2nd placed teams in each group entered the “Cup Section” (forming groups S, T, U & V), whilst the 3rd & 4th placed teams ended up in the “Plate Section” (forming groups W, X, Y & Z), but both sections were run in exactly the same manner as each other, and both were more or less a carbon copy of round 1 (although this time there were two blinds in each section, so 2 out of the 4 groups in each competition contained a blind team!). At the end of this round the four group winners (in each section) progressed to a step-ladder final.
Group S was won by Ex-Trent (with 1177 pins) who managed to fight their way through some tough matches to finish the second round unbeaten! They overcame Loughborough A 412 to 379 (thanks to a 225 from Dan Chan), Portsmouth B 381 to 368, and Diligaf 384 to 311 (despite Phil Manning hitting a very consistent 628 “series”). Loughborough A finished 2nd with 2 wins and 1147 pins to their name.

When Leeds Met Bruce (1140) romped home to victory in Group T (due To Rachael McKenzie improving on her 595 in round 1, with a 601 in round 2), beating Trent A 363 to 342, Unknown 2 by 367 to 324 & Death Warmed Up by 410 to 361. Trent A and Unknown 2 both scoring over 100 pins less than they had in round 1 on the hand oiled lanes!
Columbi (1049) also managed a trio of wins in their group (U), despite not topping the overall pinfall. They secured victories over Warwick B 365 to 332 & Leeds (who hit their worst game of the day) 345 to 330. As well as being awarded an automatic win over the blind. Leeds (1081) finished second by virtue of their 403 to 318 destruction of Warwick B in game 1. Alex Fitzpatrick was the only person in the group to break the 200 barrier, which he did in style with a 239 game.
Group V ended in a 3 way tie in terms of points won, with all 3 (manned) teams recording a single victory to add to their automatic wins over the blind. The Mighty Crooks hoodwinked Trent B by a single pin in game 1 (382 to 381), Trent B then beat Marks’ Magic 364 to 344 in game 2, whilst in game 3 Mark’s Magic beat the Mighty Crooks by 397 to 380. So the group was decided by total pinfall over the 3 games, and due to the massive score Trent B posted in game 3 against the blind, a 469 team scratch game (Jon Atkins hitting a very nice 256 to complement his earlier 255), they finished top of the group with a pinfall of 1214. The Mighty Crooks could only post a total of 1157 and Mark’s Magic 1119.
In the plate section, Loughborough C (1233) completely steam-rollered Group W, with convincing wins over Nottingham 469 to 375 (thanks to Matt Fidget kicking off with a 268 game), Manchester C 401 to 221 (courtesy of Matt’s 234), and Trent D 363 to 288 (Matt only hit a 215…slacker!). Matt Fidget obviously preferred the machine oiled lanes to the hand oiled ones, jumping from a solid 550 series in round 1, to a truly impressive 717 “series” in round 2! Nottingham (992) was the only other team that had a bowler who hit any game in excess of 170 (a very decent 215 from Amirul Hakim Noor Haizat) and they secured second with wins over both Trent D (830) and Manchester C (720).
Group X saw Manchester A (1130) cruise to victory with wins over Portsmouth C (Jon Spivey + 0 Blind) 381 to 211, Manchester B 356 to 321 (bit of a grudge match there!), and Pinball 393 to 333. Said victories were helped by Louise’s 100+ pin improvement between sets to a very solid 585 “series”. Pinball (1001) finished second courtesy of Charlie Baldwin’s 564 “series”, whilst Jon Spivey just bowling for pride and OoM Points hit a nice 610 “series”.

Loughborough B (1123) encountered absolutely no resistance in Group Y, breezing past Trent C 397 to 291,  only hitting 307 against the blind, then smashing Portsmouth A (despite them hitting their best game of the day) 419 to 341; with Aiden Wright hitting 216, 175, 243 for a nice 634 “series”. The best game any of his opponents could mount in response was a 189 from Jamie Kingston (Portsmouth A), which was enough to grant his team 2nd place.
Group Z, the final plate group was the closest, by virtue of the fact that the pinfall gap between 1st and second place was only 101 pins! Leeds Met. B (1026) still won all of their matches though, beating Warwick A 339 to 215, Unfortunate 327 to 278, and hitting 360 against the blind! Unfortunate triumphed over Warwick A 366 to 231 to gain the second spot, with both Abdullah (197) and Chris (167) hitting their highest scores of the day in their last game!

The placings for the two 4-team step-ladder finals, were determined by total scratch pinfall over all games bowled on the day so far. In the Cup section Trent B (2401) were placed 1st, Ex-Trent (2332) 2nd, When Leeds Met Bruce (2298) 3rd, and Columbi (2193) 4th.  For the Plate Loughborough C (2289) were first, Loughborough B (2245) 2nd, Manchester A (2166) 3rd, and Leeds Met. B (2049) 4th.

When Leeds Met Bruce were soundly beaten by Columbi 402 to 321, so Ex-Trent were denied the chance to get their revenge for their single pin defeat in game 1, and instead had to try to find a way past Columbi to set up a final showdown between the newly reformed Trent club, and the old guard of that fine institution. It was a tough prospect, but where there’s a will there’s a way and Ex-Trent won the match by 399 to 375 due to an excellent 233 from Dan Chan. Unfortunately the final was rather less competitive than one could have hoped, with Trent B storming to victory (helped by Karl Gaughan’s 229) with a winning score of 432 to 358 (Ex-Trent’s worst game of the day!). This was the first tournament on our tour that Nottingham Trent has attended in almost 5 years, so to come away with the victory was a truly remarkable achievement!

In the Plate step-ladder, 4th seed again beat 3rd, with Leeds Met. B saving their best game of the day for the step-ladder and beating Manchester A by 382 to 339. Leeds Met. B then managed to bowl even better in their next match hitting a 393, only to run into Loughborough B bowling a monstrous 460 game (Matt Harris finally came to life with a 246 game), and so had to bow out in 3rd.  This set up a grudge match of almost as much import as the one that decided the Cup, as Loughborough have been pretty much the strongest team on tour in recent years, so pitting two Loughborough teams against each other in the final, ought to have led to some fireworks. Unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to its billing, as despite Matt Fidget putting in a 235 game, neither team could find their best form, although Matt did enough to ensure that Loughborough C claimed the final victory by 387 to 351 (with Loughborough B 2nd).

In a first for a BUTBA OoM event, cash prizes were awarded to the winners and highest achievers, rather than the usual plastic trophies and booze/chocolate etc. The winning teams in both Plate and Cup received £50 cash, 2nd place £30, and 3rd place £20. The Men’s high average went to Matt Fidget with a 214.57 (along with a £20 note), whilst Rachael McKenzie took home the ladies’ prize by virtue of her 193.71 average. Matt secured another Tenner with his high game of 268, whilst Nicky Donowski’s 237 ensured she took home £10 too. The High Team Game was shared between Loughborough C and Trent B with a 469, both of whom won a fiver (well £2.50 per bowler!).

We pride ourselves on running tournaments with about the lowest feasible entry fees, hence the very small prize fund compared to some events, but let’s not forget that to a student £2.50 is a whole lot of cash to have in your hands at any one time!

All in all the Warwick Doubles was a very well run tournament, and despite some difficulties, a lot of fun was had by all…which is what it’s all about really!

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