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Sweden’s Wegner, Wetterberg lead European Champions Cup after Round 1

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Cajsa Wegner and Mattias Wetterberg of Sweden led the women’s and men’s division at the 40th European Champions Cup after the first round of qualifying Wednesday at Plus Bowling in Vienna, Austria.

2016 ECC champion Wegner took the early lead in the women’s division posting 260 in the opening game. She fell behind due her low game of 145, the first of three games under 200 in the eight-game block, but regained the lead thanks to a huge 274 in game seven.

Despite a 188 closing game, the younger sister of 2016 World Cup champion Jenny Wegner hit 1700 on the nose to lead the first of two qualifying blocks with an average of 212.50.

Laura Beuthner of Germany, who led the field of 39 women most of the time, was second with 1688. Beuthner, the 2015 European Bowling Tour point ranking leader, was the only woman who had only one game under 200.

Third place belonged to Nicole Sanders of the Netherlands with 1673. Sanders won her first European Bowling Tour title in the Scheveningen Dutch Open one month ago.

Pictured above from left: Laura Beuthner, Cajsa Wegner and Nicole Sanders.

Wegner’s fellow countrywoman Filippa Persson was further nine pins back in fourth place with 1664. As the defending women’s champion, Sweden is allowed to have to players in the event.

With eight of 16 qualifying games in the books, Miluse Novakova of the Czech Republic is the cut in 16th place with 1534 and an average of 191.75.

On the men’s side, Mattias Wetterberg (right) of Sweden averaged 241.50 for his eight games to lead the 43-player field with 1932 total. Fresh off a 9th place finish in the Norwegian Open Wetterberg rolled games of 225, 279, 229, 226, 194, 279, 257 and 243 and out averaged his nearest competitor, Svein Åke Ek by more than 16 pins.

The Norwegian (left), who won the 2010 ECC in Ankara, Turkey, was 129 pins off the lead in second place with 1803, an average of 225.38. Ek had six games between 258 and 222 and low games of 176 and 188.

Catalin Gheorghe (right) of Romania was mere two pins behind Ek in third place with 1801, including a 287 in game three, the highest game of the day.

Defending champion Jaroslav Lorenc of Czech Republic averaged 208.88 for the day to sit in eighth place with 1671. His compatriot Marek Talpa holds the 16th and last spot to advance to the next stage as qualifying has reached the halfway point.

Despite rolling three games under 200, including a 143 opening game, Talpa managed to work his way back to 16th place with 1643 and an average of 205.38.

All players will return to the lanes on Thursday for the second eight-game block before the cut to the top 16. The men will start a 9 a.m. Central European Summer Time and the women will follow at 2 p.m. CEST.

The 40th European Champions Cup 2017 takes place from October 23-29 at 32-lane Plus Bowling in Vienna, Austria, featuring men’s and women’s national champions or point ranking leaders of the European Tenpin Bowling Federation (ETBF) member federations.

The ECC drew 43 men from 42 countries and 39 women from 38 countries, including defending ECC champions Cajsa Wegner of Sweden and Czech Republic’s Jaroslav Lorenc.

Men and women compete in separate divisions. All players will roll two eight-game blocks of qualifying on Wednesday and Thursday before the cut to the top 16 men and 16 women.

The Round of 16 will consist of an additional eight games to determine the top 8 players who will bowl four more games to cut to the top 4 who advance to the match play finals in best-of-three games format. In the semi-finals, No. 1 will meet No. 4 and No. 2 will take on No. 3. The winners of the semi-final matches will bowl for the title.

For more information on the 40th European Champions Cup, click here.

Photos: Georg Gemeinböck.

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Author: Herbert Bickel
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