USA fightback to hold the advantage - 16/10/2011
Europe 11 – 13 USA
Europe 160 - 198 USA
Palermaa / Barrett 218 - 234 Barnes / Jones
Dominic Barrett 216 – 233 Bill O’Neill
Palermaa / Koivuniemi 239 –200 Barnes / Fagan
Mika Koivuniemi 162 – 299 Tommy Jones
Barrett / Moor 187 – 243 Jones / O’Neill
IN AN amazing turnaround, Team USA won five of the six matches in the Sunday afternoon session at the Barnsley Metrodome to turn a two point deficit into a two point lead. They now need just four more points to claim victory while Europe is facing an uphill climb.
After winning the opening game of the event on Friday night, the Americans had trailed throughout but appear to have come good at the right time, with Tommy Jones in devastating form as he missed out on yet another 300 game by a single pin.
In front of a packed crowd, the Americans got a dream start as they took the opening two matches to tie things up at 10 points apiece. Firstly they took the Baker formatted opening game in a match that both teams failed to break 200. In fact, Europe’s 160 pin tally was the lowest of the tournament.
Next, American heavyweights Tommy Jones and Chris Barnes took care of the Barrett/Palermaa axis in a tight match. A 9 spare in the eighth frame from the Europeans gave their opponents a window of opportunity and they edged forward to seal the win.
Barnes was delighted with the win; "It's nice to see some red on the scoreboard. At the start of the session, we had to get it back even and now, for the first time since match two, it's level!"
Barrett was talking a good fight though, “I don't think we're playing that well. Paul is but Mika, Osku and I haven't hit top gear but if we do then USA will be in a lot of trouble."
It got better for the Americans in the 21st game when a fired up Bill O’Neill got the better of Dom Barrett in another close encounter. There were just 17 pins in it but O’Neil closed out with three strikes in the tenth frame to seal the win.
It was the first time in the competition that Team America was in the lead and O’Neill was ecstatic; "We needed that win and we needed to get ahead. It wasn't looking good through seven but fortunately for me Dominic threw a couple of bad ones and I managed to get the win. As long as we are ahead at the end, that's all that matters."
That American lead didn’t last for long though, as the Finnish pairing of Palermaa and Koivuniemi came good at their second attempt to defeat Chris Barnes and Mike Fagan.
That put the overall score at 11-11 as the match balanced on a knife edge. The Americans got of to an awful start as they left the first two frames open and never really recovered as the Europeans ran out 239-200 winners.
Captain Palermaa was ruthless in his self-assessment; "I've been rubbish in the last few sessions so it feels good for us to get a win."
In the next match, the Weber Cup’s Mr 300, Tommy Jones, came as close as is possible to making his fourth maximum in the competition, when he recorded 11 consecutive strikes but left the 10 pin standing in the final frame.
It was plenty to beat ‘the Moose’, Mika Koivuniemi and another point in the bag for the USA though as they moved into a 12-11 lead.
"I thought I was going to bowl a big number, the crowd were getting bored of me shooting 300s so I did 299 as it was a bit different!” said Jones.
"It's one of those things but it's all about having fun and that moose now sounds like a mouse. In this environment you don't get a lot of rhythm as you don't bowl many games and don't have many chances to make 300s," he added.
There was more joy for Jones in the final match of the session as he partnered the ever-improving Bill O’Neill to a solid 243-187 win over the faltering Paul Moor and Dominic Barrett.
That was the USA’s fifth win from the six matches today and gave them a two point lead going into the final session.
"We're very confident now and the lane pattern is playing into our hands and you will see more of that now," said O’Neill.
Jones added, "That's what we needed and now they have to come and get us. I will take this guy O'Neill as my doubles partner any time and if they want to come and get some then come and do it."
Featuring a potential total of 33 matches over the weekend, the first team to reach 17 points will lift the coveted trophy. Starting in 2000, the USA has won six Weber Cups and the Europeans five, following last year’s 17-13 win at the Metrodome.