Americans triumph in 12th Weber Cup



    Claim their seventh victory with 17-15 win over Europe

    2011WeberCupLogo.jpg The team from the United States has won the 12th Weber Cup Sunday evening at the Metrodome in Barnsley. The head-to-head competition went down to the penultimate game of the 33 match series after Europe had mounted a stunning comeback when looking dead and buried.

    It was Chris Barnes who sealed the winning point as he saw off Osku Palermaa in a clash of the captains. The final two matches of the competition saw the two captains choose who would be playing for the opposition and ironically, they both picked each other. Earlier, Europe had won four straight matches as the USA sat one away from victory.

    "I thought we showed a lot of heart tonight," said Barnes. "Hats off to the Europeans as they were left for dead with four or five games to go and not many teams could've fought back the way they did.

    "We had cause for concern near the end but this time we got the fortunate breaks at the end and we took advantage of it.

    "We had a couple of rookies in the team and we're just glad it didn't turn into another difficult time.

    "Year after year Tommy makes a 300 or a run for it and you can't afford to not have him in your team," he added.

    For Europe it was an unsatisfactory end to what looked like a promising weekend as they lead by two points going into Sunday's matches.

    "It's disappointing to pull it back but still lose in the end," said Paul Moor.

    "We needed six points and had no pressure so just went out and tried to enjoy it and then we were confident we could win as we had the momentum. Chris Barnes had a couple of lucky shots but that's bowling.

    "We should never have got into that position and it was all our fault as we should've won some of the matches that we lost. It would've been harder to take if we had lost 17-11 as we're better than that and at least we put up a fight and didn't disgrace ourselves.

    "Osku decided (to put in Barnes in match 32) and I let him make the decisions on who he put in and in what order.

    "But there was no way we were going to pick Tommy and Mike Fagan had come off a loss but changed his ball near the end and looked good so it was always between Bill and Barnes.

    "If Osku had beat Barnes then Bill would have played the other match but to pick one of the four is a difficult choice and they're all capable of getting big scores - there were no weak links so you couldn't guarantee that anyone else wouldn't have bowled well," he added.

    The USA had won five of the six matches on the Sunday afternoon to take as two point lead into the evening session and in a high quality Baker match, they moved one step nearer their goal as they edged the Europeans by a single point.

    It was Mika Koivuniemi who was the villain of the piece as needed a 9-spare for victory at the close but only managed to knock down eight. Again, Tommy Jones did the damage for the USA, bowling three strikes in the 10th frame to set the target.

    Skipper Barnes was fulsome in his praise of Jones; "Winning is a good habit to get into. There are a lot of good bowlers on both teams but only one is the best closer in the game and he is on our side."

    Mike Fagan, who had failed to record a singles point in the tournament, came good at the right time as he went past an out-of-sorts Osku Palermaa by 40 pins to put the USA within two of glory.

    "It's a big relief for me and the pressure had been mounting as I kept losing doubles and singles matches but it feels really good to get the monkey off my back," said Fagan.

    "I needed to go back to basics, practice and get going again. I can't be happier with how our team is performing and I'm glad to be able to contribute to that."

    Barnes piled on the misery in the next game as he pounded Moor by 259-203 to leave the Europeans reeling on the ropes and the USA just a point away from their seventh Weber Cup.

    An open frame in the sixth followed by two spares derailed Moor's challenged as Barnes was at his impervious best.

    "That was by far my best singles performance. We knew Paul Moor would be the toughest to play and I thought I might have to play my best game so it was a good time for it," said Barnes.

    "When you get on a run like this you feel everything is going to go right for us but when we were on the other side you're looking for things to go wrong. I've now beaten all four of the European guys," he added.

    Koivuniemi was scheduled to compete in the next match but was out of action after injuring his hand, punching a chair after the Baker match. Instead, Dominic Barrett took his place.

    "In the Baker match against USA after my second bowl I got mad with myself. I walked back and hit a chair quite hard. Sometimes I get mad with myself," said the big Finn.

    Barrett gave his team mates a stay of execution as he put in a blistering performance to defeat Barnes. 251-194 was the score and it was amazingly Europe's first singles point of the day.

    The Englishman started out with five strikes as Barnes struggled to hit top gear after his excellent show in the previous match. Barrett faltered at the mid-point with an open frame but regained his composure to get back on the strike trail and comfortably take the match.

    "They've got to get over the line and it's not going to be easy. We all know how hard it can be getting over the line. We're in a bit of a hole and momentum is a funny thing. We had it a couple of days ago, they have got it now but who knows where it's going next," said Barrett.

    Moor recorded the second highest score of the event as he put on a master class to defeat Bill O'Neill. Moor spared the opener and followed that up with 11 strikes for a fantastic score of 290. O'Neill played well himself with a score of 236 but Moor had too much.

    Euro skipper Palermaa, who looked out of sorts earlier, knuckled down and put in a solid performance to get the better of Jones and keep his team's hopes alive. They still needed to win the next three matches to avoid defeat and successfully defend their title, but the momentum had certainly swung in their favor.

    Five strikes in a row from Palermaa help him to a 233-185 victory. Jones' hopes of pushing USA over the line ended with a run of three spares and two open frames in a five-frame period.

    Koivuniemi defied any pain to put in his best show in a singles match as he beat Fagan to reduce arrears further. In fact, he had the crowd on the edge of their seats as he delivered seven strikes to open up a 60 pin lead. He faded in the closing strait but had already done enough to secure an excellent victory.

    Finally it was the two captains who squared off and it was Barnes who was victorious so see his side through to their seventh Weber Cup.


    Final Standings after 32 matches: USA defeats Europe, 17-15

    Europe 247-248 USA
    Palermaa 192-232 Mike Fagan
    Paul Moor 203-259 Chris Barnes
    Dominic Barrett 251-194 Chris Barnes
    Paul Moor 290-236 Bill O'Neill
    Osku Palermaa 233-185 Tommy Jones
    Mika Koivuniemi 245-216 Mike Fagan
    Osku Palermaa 237-248 Chris Barnes


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