Squad A and first block leader James Gruffman
of Sweden and squad B leader Jaroslav Lorenc
of Czech Republic continued to lead the men’s division at the 39th European Champions Cup as the 40-player field from 39 countries was trimmed to the top 16 Friday afternoon at Bowland Bowling Center in Olomouc, Czech Republic.
Trailing Gruffman (left) by just 10 pins after the first eight games block (1954 to 1964), Lorenc (right) fired games of 237, 256, 216, 248, 225, 258, 214 and 279 for 1933 or an average of 241.63. Lorenc, who was the only player who reached the 1900-plateau in the second block, topped Gruffman by 40 pins to move to the top of the leaderboard with 3887 total and an average of 242.94 for 16 games.
Gruffman, who won the vent in the year 2012, led squad A with 1893 (236.63) but slipped one spot to second place with 3857 and an average of 241.06. Places 3 to 5 also belonged to a squad bowlers. Valentyn Kucherenko (left) of Ukraine was third with 3747. Antonino Fiorentino of Italy was just two pins behind Gruffman with 1891 to leap from 7th to fourth place with 3726.
Hadley Morgan (right) of England, the defending champion in the Sofia International Open which will start on Saturday in Sofia, Bulgaria, was only 28 pins off the pace for the top 4 in fifth place with 3698.
Arnar David Jonsson of Iceland added 1882 to the 1801 in the first block to finish as the second-best bowler in B squad with 3683, good for sixth place overall.
Defending men’s champion Joonas Jähi (pictured right with 2015 women’s ECC champion and qualifying leader, Maria Bulanova, Russia) made the first cut in 11th place with 3549, an average of 221.81, including blocks of 1761 and 1788.
Glenn Robson of Wales and Catalin Gheorghe of Romania (pictured left, r-l) produced the day’s top highlights by recording the first and second 300 game of the tournament. Robson accomplished the feat in game 5 on his way to a 1769 series and 3486 total to leap from 18th to into 15th place. Gheorghe achieved perfection in game 7 and posted an 1875 series to jump from 23rd to 12th place with 3532.
Rok Kostric of Slovenia hit the cutoff number for 16th place with 3484 or an average of 217.75.
The top 16 will return to Bowland Bowling Center on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST) to bowl eight more games before the cut to the top 8. Those 8 will bowl four more games on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Central European Time (CET) with the top 4 advancing to the best-of-three games finals.
The semi-finals (No. 1 vs. No. 4 and No. 2 vs. No. 3) will start at 11.30 a.m. with the men’s final slated for 2 p.m.
The 39th European Champions Cup will take place from October 24-31 at 18-lane Bowland Bowling Center in Olomouc, Czech Republic featuring the men’s and women’s national champions or point ranking leaders of the European Tenpin Bowling Federation (ETBF) member federations.
Men and women compete in separate divisions. All players, including defending ECC champions, Maria Bulanova of Russia and Joonas Jähi of Finland, will roll two eight-game blocks of qualifying Wednesday through Friday on a 42 feet lane conditioning pattern.
The top 16 men and 16 women will carry over their qualifying pins into Round 1. After another eight games the top 8 will advance to Round 2. Pinfall will continue to carry over. Those 8 will bowl four more games to cut to the top 4 who will determine the champion in best-of-three games matches. In the semi-finals, No. 1 will meet No. 4 and No. 2 will take on No. 3.
Full European Champions Cup rules can be found in the ETBF Constitution (Chapter 7; pages 47 and 48). For more details on the 39th ECC 2016 read the Bulletin.
Photos Max Bulanov.
James Gruffman averages over 240 to lead men’s qualifying
Nicole Sanders sets the pace in women’s qualifying at European Champions Cup
39th European Champions Cup kicks off today in Olomouc, Czech Republic
Joonas Jähi, Maria Bulanova shoot big games to win 38th European Champions Cup
2016 ECC – Men’s Division after Qualifying (16 games)
Top 16 advance to the next stage
2016 ECC – Men’s Qualifying (2nd Block Results)
300 games (2) – Glenn Robson, Catalin Gheorghe.