Coventry Singles, at Tenpin Coventry on Sunday 26th January, saw a difference come to the BUTBA Tour, with tournament organisers Dan Frazer and Rachel Hodds putting down a PBA Shark pattern. Bowlers fought it out in the only combined student and ex-student event this season for a place in either the scratch or handicap sections, with 6 games qualification.
The introduction of a professional pattern was a surprise for most, however, there were a few bowlers who looked to have worked out the lanes fairly quickly, with a number of high scores going in on the first game: Ex-student Simon Bartram (232), Portsmouth’s Jon Spivey (237), ex-student Phil Manning (246) and Birmingham’s Tom Lighfoot (222) amongst others. The pattern soon took its toll on most, seeing a drop in scores as the day carried on, making the competitiveness amongst the bowlers, and for once the students and ex-students, great.
While students bowled a number of high scores throughout the day, it was ex-students who dominated the qualifying ten in the scratch section. Nottingham student, Simon Atkins, qualified in first with a total scratch series of 1179 over his 6 games, closely followed by Exeter student Iain Butler, on 1155. Atkins and Butler gained a bye for the next round, whilst the remaining eight battled it out for a remaining two places in the step-ladder finals in a one game desperado round. 3rd to 10th qualifiers were: ex-student Mark Bloor (1143), ex-student Dan Chan (1141), ex-student Damian Gray (1122), ex-student Antony Lakey (1114), Loughborough student Mark Hodds (1101), ex-student Paul Williams (1096), ex-student Simon Bartram (1088) and Birmingham student Shaun Parsons (1081).
Scratch Desperado and Finals
In the scratch desperado round it was Hodds and Bloor, on a 203 and a 202 respectively who progressed to the next round, with Lakey missing out by just one pin, bowling a 201 scratch. Hodds and Bloor came to face each other in the first round of the step-ladder finals, in which both looked to be struggling. Bloor narrowly beat Hodds in the last few frames, winning 173 to Hodds’ 153. Bloor withdrew from the next round of the step-ladders, in which he would have been bowling Iain Butler, leaving Butler to progress from the semi-finals to the finals. In the finals, he came up against 1st place qualifier, Simon Atkins from Nottingham, who stayed true to his form of the day, beating Butler 194 to 165.
Handicap Qualifiers and Desperado
Students came fighting back against the ex-students in the handicap section, with all of the top ten qualifiers being a student. Charlotte Richardson of Nottingham stormed into the lead early on in qualification, scoring a massive handicap total over her 6 games of 1631. She gained a bye into the finals, whilst 2nd place, Nottingham Trent’s Callum Clarkson, qualifying on a handicap total of 1446, gained a bye to the semi-finals of the step-ladders. 3rd to 10th place qualifiers were; Nottingham Trent’s Mike Chan (1404), Nottingham’s Mike Hales (1379), Birmingham student Jay Young (1376), Wolverhampton’s Adam Kehoe (1373), Zareen Sawant from Portsmouth (1366), Birmingham’s Mark Jeffs (1362), Nottingham student Harry Hebert (1360) and Warwick student Tom Prickett (1321). In this desperado match, it was the Midlands bowlers who picked up their scores, with Jay Young and Adam Kehoe qualifying to progress to the step-ladder finals on scores of 261 (152 scratch) and 245 (134 scratch) respectively. Fellow Birmingham student, Mark Jeffs, just missed out on qualifying by just one pin, bowling a 244 (160 scratch).
Young and Kehoe faced one another in the quarter-finals of the step-ladders, both looking to progress to the semi’s to face 2nd seed, Callum Clarkson. It was Kehoe this time, however, who scored higher, winning the match with a 273 (162 scratch) against Young’s 248 (139 scratch). Kehoe could not keep up this high scoring in the semi-finals, however, losing to Nottingham Trent’s Clarkson 248 (137 scratch) to 283 (136 scratch). Clarkson progresses to the finals to face 1st seed, Nottingham’s Charlotte Richardson. This match looked to be a close one, with both Clarkson and Richardson bowling well above their averages all day. This proved to be true, with one of the closest finals matches of the day, with Clarkson narrowly beating Richardson by just one pin to win with a 248 (101 scratch) against Richardson’s 247 (129 scratch).
In the student section, it was no surprise that Simon Atkins from Nottingham picked up most of the prizes, winning Male High Game Scratch with a 258, Male High Series Scratch with a 651, and Male High Average with a 196.1. Rachael McKenzie, bowling as an honorary for Nottingham Trent, picked up the Female Scratch prizes, despite having a difficult day to win High Game with a 219, High Series with a 492 and High Average with a 156. The handicap prizes for the event combined male and female contenders, meaning that Charlotte Richardson from Nottingham, unsurprisingly, took both Student High Game Handicap with a 312 and Student High Series Handicap with a massive 840. Richardson also picked up the very well deserved Student Most Improved prize, bowling a massive 153.8 average, 52 pins above her entering average of 102.
In the ex-student section, it was Louise Parker who picked up the Female Scratch prizes, bowling a 200 for High Game, 544 for High Series and 177.5 for High Average, a brilliant effort on such a difficult pattern. The Male Scratch prizes were shared between Mark Bloor and Damian Gray, with Bloor picking up High Average on a 189.8, Gray winning High Game with a 246, and the pair sharing the prize for their high series’ of 598. The combined handicap prizes saw Matt Warmington pick up High Game Handicap for his massive score of 272, and Jez Swann picking up the prize for High Series Handicap on a 703.
The PBA Shark pattern certainly produced an interesting competition for the BUTBA Tour, and has certainly made all bowlers much more competitive, ready for the next stop on the calendar, Leeds Met Doubles, on the 9th Febraury.