There is no history of this tournament and a chance for our Team England players to write our first appearance in the history books for a newly formed championships from the ETBF. The very first edition of the ESC will be hosted at Plus Bowling in Vienna from Thursday 23rd January to Sunday 2nd February 2020.
Meet the players
Preparation done it was time to get started and first up in the Men’s doubles we had Kevin Pilley (1143) and Paul Cosgrove (1309). Kevin starting with a shaky 165 but improving game on game with 188 and 190 before a shock 148 took the wind out of the sails. A great recovery by Kevin though saw him bounce back with 218 and 234 for 1143 (190). Paul looking solid from the start hit games of 207,244,202,216,220 and 220 for 1309 (218) and into 5th in the men’s All events standings. The pairing also placing 5th in the squad.
At the top of the standings it was the Dutch pair of Jan van Baest (1219) and Nico Thienpondt (1377) firing 2596. In second were Italy’s Luciano Marsero (1206) and Marco Reviglio (1374) with 2580 and third were Austria’s Robert Fuerst (1186) and Manfred Panzenboeck (1357) with 2543.
Speaking after the block we got some insight from Paul as to how the day had gone for him.
With a 4to1 ratio the oil pattern certainly looks like you can score decent numbers but the lanes here are quite old and some have strange topography so hitting the pocket wasn’t the problem, that old little devil called carry was . This exasperated by the use brand new twister pins… wow ! knocking down all ten was difficult !!! … . Used all 6 balls in my bag and played around 12th board out to about 8th board at the break point, anything outside that would guarantee a 10 pin and anything inside would almost guarantee a split…Us oldies like to trip the 4 pin but I only saw it happen twice … most of the time it was a 4 -9 split, lots of 10pins, 9 pins and ringing 7 pins so you had have a lot of patience, get your spares and hope you could string more than double and move on.
Kim Johnson (1275) and Geoff Brown (1263) were next up in the afternoon and despite a below 200 each in the first game, both battled well on the lanes and it was hard to see what more they could have done as they hit team games of 386,420,441,433,407 and ending with 451 as they chased down a top four place. The lowest game was 190 and highest was 238 and although the pair ended third in the squad and 6th overall they only missed out by 39 pins and both placed nicely in the top 24 for the masters. England’s other pairing of Paul and Kevin placed 12th.
At the end it was France with Frederic Cosquer (1361) and Pierre Luc Sanchez (1360) on top with 2721 followed by Scotland’s Bernie Matthews (1263) and Andy Gillespie (1314) in second with 2577, third going to England’s Kim Johnson (1275) and Geoff Brown (1263) on 2538 and putting both squads together we had France, The Netherlands, Italy and Scotland in the semi finals.
Monday and time for the ladies to get on the Austrian lanes and first up for England was Gaye McCully and Kimberley Oakley. A nervous first game for Gaye with 151 and steady 193 from Kimberley was followed by a more settled 187 from Gaye and 191 from Kimberley. 344 and 378 so far but soon to improve as the pair hit 443 in game three and Gaye beginning to fly with 238 and Kim with 205. Games of 400 and 391 followed and the pairing found themselves in first place in the standings with a game to go. 391 with 167 from Gaye and 224 from Kim kept them in first place with a squad to go on 2347 (195).
Next up we had Angie Brown and Jan Hodge with the latter starting well with a 225 and 175 for Angie. Game two it was reversed as Angie hit 221 and Jan with 155 but 401 and 376 on the board and keeping the finals pace. Game three saw our pairing losing ground as Jan struggled to 159 and Angie with 141 and the duo in 8th place. The next two games saw more improvement with 365 then 424 as Jan hit 231 and Angie on 193 and up to 7th but a placing was looking unlikely as we closed in on the last game. That last game being 331 and Jan with 1174 and Angie with 1023 for a team total of 2197 for 7th in the squad and 11th overall. A silver lining though as Gaye and Kim were pushed to 4th place overall but into the semi finals.
A semi final against the number one seeds Germany awaited Gaye and Kimberley. Whatever happened now our duo would be taking a medal home, it was just a question of which one. Martina Beckel and Bianca Volkl-Brandt would not make this an easy tie. That proved to be the case as just six pins separated the two teams and joy for England as Gaye hit 200 and Kimberley 214 for a 414-408 win and a shot at Gold.
Final time against Finland and it was to be Gold or Silver. Another close one as Gaye hit 172 as Janna Taavitsainen hit 193 in reply and Kim added a solid 212 but Reija Lunden added 217 meaning it was to be Silver as Finland took the Gold with a 410-384 win.
Playing Line up – Paul Cosgrove, Kevin Pilley, Kim Johnson, Geoff Brown
A steady start in game one as the team scored 751 with all the men just a spare each off the lead but in 17th place. Highs from Kevin with 197 and Geoff with 195. Game two much better and 821 as Paul found his line for 202 and both Kim and Geoff hitting 214 and the team up seven places to 10th.
Game three saw Paul ended with 197, Kevin with 203, Kim with 191 and Geoff with 184 and holding 10th overnight with three game on Wednesday. 2347 for the block and work to do in the second block.
The men had some work to do if they were to break into the top 4 and it looked promising as the team moved up to 6th after games of 773 and 831. Stand out player was Kevin with 215 and a fine 264 with all our men not too far from the pace. It was sadly not to be and the gap was too much in the end despite a valiant effort with 879. A fine 258 from Paul, 215 from Kevin, 180 from Kim and 226 from Geoff left the team 90 pins off 4th and a finals place. All was not lost as Paul would sit in 12th in the all events and 42 pins off the top 8 cut with singles to go. afterwards Paul stated, Well that’s the team event done. We came up a bit short in 5th. It was tough out there and we didn’t get the rub of the green but I’m proud of the way we fought for each other to move up from 10th to 5th…. Kev played really well which was great to see.
A fantastic start for our ladies team as they raced to 1st place in game one with 822 and 37 ahead of second place. Doing most of the damage was Angie with 238 as Gaye hit 211. Jan with 183 and Kim with 190 making it a promising opening.
Game two saw Gaye steady at lead off with 202 but 137 from Jan and 160 for Angie before Kim rocked up with 238 to keep the team in first place with a 737 game.
Game three saw a drop in scoring sadly and positions as a 697 placed the team in third but overall a great position to be in.
168 from Gaye, 148 for Jan, 182 for Angie and 199 for Kim rounded out day one and three games more on Wednesday.
Hopes were high in game 4 to keep inside the cut for the finals but hopes began to fade as the team started with 72o which not a bad game saw teams passing them with higher games.
A solid 226 from Gaye and 202 from Kim were promising. Game two and 692 as the team struggled but again Gaye and Kim higher with 192 and 196 as Angie and Jan tried to find the pace. Game three and sadly out of the top four with a 726 and 4394 overall, missing out by 90 pins. Not all sad news though as Kim moved up to second in the all events and Gaye in 16th but only 50 pins off the top 8 cut with singles still to go.
Gaye happy in 16th explained the two team days more… It was a good first day on the lanes for me with a 581. The team finishing off the day in 3rd position. Today we bowled the last of the 3 games and again, I was happy with my performance 596, sadly, it wasn’t to be and we finished just out of the medals in 5th position. The mens team bowled really well today in the 2nd block and clawed their way from 10th to finish in 5th position too. Sad to not have been in the finals but pins were just not falling our way.
Conditions are not that easy and a real challenge as you can tell by the closeness of all the scores, but rewarding when you do match up right.
Kev and Geoff first up in the morning on Thursday for the singles and a player going well and one finding the pace. Kevin started brightly with 222,194 and 256 pushing himself up to 4th place but a 149 and recovery with 186 and 200 lowered what was already a good pace, but 1207 is a good score on these Austrian lanes. Geoff starting with 188 rolled through the decades with 170,166,158,183 and 173 for 45th place at the end.
Kevin’s great play today pushing him up to 14th in the all events and with a squad to go a shot at the top 24 for the masters.
Squad two had Paul Cosgrove and Kim Johnson back on the Austrian lanes and a final push at a singles medal and places in the masters at stake. Kim started best as he tried to break into the top 24 with early games of 190,200,215 and 193 as Paul struggled to catch the bigger scores with 188,179,196 and 204. A push was needed for the last two to stay inside the top 24 and Paul stepped up when needed with 201 and 241 for 1209 but more important 22nd and inside the cut.
Kim ending with 159 and 207 for 1164 and 33rd in the all events. Kevin placed 28th and 77 pins off with Geoff in 53rd place.
A delighted Paul said afterwards, Wow what a grind … tried everything to kick out the corners but just couldn’t find reliable carry on the fresh. Got slightly better after transition but by that time my singles event was over and I was in a fight to make into the masters. Had to dig deep, got mad and found out a few things about myself … thanks to my teammate Kim Johnson for putting up with my tantrums and to the rest of the team England squad for getting me over the line ..phew.
Ladies Singles day and first up we had Jan and Angie. Jan who by her own high standards had been behind the pace suddenly found it and raced into the lead with games of 234 and 224 as Angie struggled to find the scores with 169 and 147. Game three things turned for both players as Jan hit 155 and Angie on 181. Jan sadly could not keep the good games coming in , hitting 172,180 and 183 for a good 6th in the squad and Angie just got better as she went adding 208,199 and 203 to move back up the standings to 9th place.
Kimberley and Gaye back on the lanes in the afternoon to complete the singles and hope still for a medal placing in both singles and for Kim in the all events. The squad started well for both players as Gaye hit 213,200 and 192 as Kim shot 188,214 and 204. Sadly a 137 put paid to a singles place but she was still chasing down a masters place. Kim still steady with 212,192 and 234 at the end grabbing a singles place in third with 1244 but more important a Bronze medal in the all events and her second medal this week. Gaye ending with improvement and games of 186 and 180 to join Kim in the Masters in 15th place. Even more good news as despite a bad start to the Week, Jan Hodge was the comeback queen and qualified for the masters in 23rd.
Two games between a possible Gold, Silver or one game and Bronze for Kim Oakley and up first would be Italy’s Elga Benedetto. A close fought match saw Kim close to advancing but it was the Italian winning though 206-192 and a second Bronze of the day and third medal this week for the UK Tenpin Hall of Famer with the Masters still to play.
Follow the results here
Men’s All Events
Paul became our only male in the masters in 22nd as Kevin and Kim both came close.
22nd Paul Cosgrove 1334, 1150, 1228 3712 (207)
28th Kevin Pilley 1143, 1285, 2107, 3635 (201)
33rd Kim Johnson 1275, 1154, 1164, 3593 (199)
53rd Geoff Brown 1263, 1180, 1038, 3481 (193)
Ladies All Events
Kim, Gaye and Jan all making the masters and special shout out to Jan on an amazing comeback in the singles to grab a late masters place.
3rd Kimberley Oakley 1197, 1218, 1244, 3659 (203)
15th Gaye McCully 1150, 1175, 1108, 3433 (190)
23rd Jan Hodge 1174, 968, 1148, 3290 (182)
33rd Angie Brown 1023, 1033, 1107, 3163 (175)
One more push for medals on Saturday but sadly we lost three in round one as Paul lost 2-1 and by just 7 pins as Jan also lost 2-1 and by just two pins. Gaye with two solid games and loosing by just 3 pins and 9 pins 0-2.
Masters Round 1 Matches
Paul Cosgrove vs Manfred Panzenboeck (Austria)
Game 1 Paul 257 – 223 Manfred
Game 2 Paul 215 – 231 Manfred
Game 3 Paul 210 – 217 Manfred
Paul looses 1-2
Jan Hodge vs Maria Angeles Sanchez (Spain)
Game 1 Jan 175 – Maria 193
Game 2 Jan 201 – Maria 195
Game 3 Jan 196 – Maria 198
Jan looses 1-2
Gaye McCully vs Linda van Kerckhove (Belgium)
Game 1 Gaye 210 – Linda 213
Game 2 Gaye 202 – Linda 211
Gaye looses 0-2
Kimberley Oakley our seeded last player standing would meet Germany’s Renate Heeg in round 2 and it was the German taking the first game 211-189.
Game two and all or nothing to stay in the masters and Kim dug deep to take the second game with a slightly improved 191 to Heeg’s 178 setting up a final game to advance to round 3.
Game three and joy for England as Kim steps up a gear and hits 203 as Renate can only manage 183 and a 2-1 win and into round three.
Next up in the last 8 was Valerie Murat from France and thanks to Françoise Augustin a live stream of the match. Game one and a close affair but for a split from Kim in the closing frames could have been a point won. Sadly it was a split and 198-184 to the Frenchwoman to go one up.
Game two and Kim fighting back with strikes and spares but matched by Valerie who was now looking to end the tie and the pressure showing for both players. A single pin miss from Murat and an opening for Kim in the middle of the game and the opening got bigger with a split from Murat and we closed in on the final frames. Another split from the Frenchwoman and this was going to a decider. Kim taking the game 194-173 to level the match.
Game three and not for the first time Kim had gone a game down and come back to win. Confidence was high as she struck a few times early in the match to take an early lead. Valerie Murat was not giving up though but Kim was stringing the strikes now and the win looking good. A split from Murat in the closing frames and this was all but done but the French lady spared it but it was over and Kim winning 243-221 and 2-1 to make the last four and semi finals.
Summary from Jan Hodge
The end of a very interesting week with a few downs but many ups, learning more about myself and bowling. Would like to say a big thank you to the TEAM, Gaye McCully, Kimberley Oakley, Angie Brown, Kim Johnson, Paul Cosgrove, Kevin Kev Pilley and Geoff Brown not forgetting coaches, officials and supporters, Steve Thornton, Ian Oakley, Dave Steiner, Hazel Brown, Tony Brown, Diane Johnson and of course my husband Keith Hodge. I would like to make a special mention for the performance of Kimberley which was great to watch although at times very nail biting. It has been a well run tournament by Plus Bowling and the ETBF and I can’t wait to try for this all over again.
Results will appear first on the official website here