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More than 200 players to compete in 30th Anniversary Irish Open Championships

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Close to 225 players from 19 countries will take to the lanes next week in the European Bowling Tour’s Irish Open Tenpin Bowling Championships 2018, in association with Storm Products.

The 30th anniversary edition of the Irish Open, which is the third stop on this year’s Tour, will take place from January 14-21 at Leisureplex Stillorgan. Some of the world’s best bowlers will travel to Dublin looking for their share of the 20.000 Euro prize fund.

Irish players with aspirations of taking the €4.000 first prize include Christopher Sloan (left), Ireland’s only professional bowler, Barry Foley, who remains the only ever male winner of the tournament after his victory back in 2013, Alan Bride, Colm Cloake and Jason Byrnes.

Five-time EBT champion Tore Torgersen (right) will be on hand to defend his title. The Norwegian standout defeated Keira Reay of England in the 2017 championship match, 503-415, to win his second Irish Open title after 1996.

Of the ladies, Amanda Larkin will be hoping to go one round further than her best previous finish, when she made the top four a couple of years ago. She will be up against one of the strongest ladies’ fields in the history of the Irish Open, with Poland’s Daria Pajak (below right), Professional Women’s Bowling Association champion and current PWBA rookie of the year, the standout attraction of a stellar group.

Qualifying (six games, unlimited re-entries) starts on Sunday, Jan. 14, and concludes Saturday, Jan. 20, with squad 14 followed by the one-game Desperado Squad slated for 7.30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Women receive 8 pins handicap each game (up to 292 – maximum score is 300), an equality handicap provided to women in all EBT events.

Total 62 athletes will advance to the finals, including the top 53 from the overall qualifying standings, the top 6 in a separate standing including squads 1-4 who are not among the top 53, plus the top 3 from the Desperado Squad.

The top four qualifiers receive two byes while qualifiers 5-8 get a first-round bye. The remaining 54 finalists bowl three games, starting from scratch, with the top 28 advancing to the second round.

32 players bowl another three-game block, starting from scratch, after which the field is cut to the top 12. Those 12, seeded 5-16, and the top four qualifiers, seeded 1-4, bowl four rounds of single-elimination match play with the two-game total determining the winner.

In each round, the highest seeded player bowls the lowest seeded player, the second highest seeded player bowls the second lowest seeded player, and so on. The field is trimmed to eight, four and then two players who bowl for the title and the 4.000 Euro top prize.

The 2018 European Bowling Tour features 13 tournaments in 10 countries including two “platinum”, two “gold”, three “silver”, three “bronze” and three “satellite” events, which will offer total prize fund of more than 560.000 Euro.

The top 50 men and the top 50 women in each event receive ranking points. Those points will be tabulated throughout the season to determine the top 8 men and top 8 women, who will be eligible to compete in the 12th EBT Masters July 8, 2019 at Bowling Chamartín in Madrid, Spain.

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