Sasaki, Wakata claim the titles at NHK Cup 46th Japan All-star Invitational Championships

    05/22/12

    Japan

     Japan national team member Tomoyuki Sasaki (pictured right) of Kanagawa and Ayami Wakata (left) of Hiroshima won two matches each in the live TV stepladder finals of the NHK Cup 46th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships en route to capture Japan's most coveted individual bowling titles.

    Click on the image to enlarge it.

    Sasaki, seeded second in the three-player championship round, flew past two college students to win his second career NHK Cup title after 2006. In the opening match, Sasaki eliminated last year's first runner-up Yuki Tsutsumi, 233-181, before he wrapped up the title with a 247-175 victory against top seeded Yuto Hiraoka.

    In the women's finale, Wakata, the No. 3 seed, posted back-to-back 250-plus games to cruise to her first career NHK Cup victory. In the opening match, Wakata ousted second seeded Junko Harigaya of Chiba, 259-220, to bowl long-time Japan national team member Haruka Matsuda of Hokkaido for the title.

    Matsuda, who lost last's years title match to Hikaru Takekawa, 257-227, posted a 204 game and had to watch Wakata also throwing a 257 game to seal her fate. Defending champion Takekawa missed the cut to the top 6 despite having the sole 300 game of the championships.

     258 players - 155 men and 103 women - participated in the most important annual championships, which were held from May 18-20, 2012 at JFE Chiba River Lanes, a 64-laner with Brunswick wooden lanes in Chiba-Shi, Chiba-Ken, Japan.

    Pictured right are the top six men. Click on the image to enlarge it.

    All players bowled nine games of qualifying with the top 40 men and the top 28 women advancing to the next round to bowl another six games. The top 12 men and women after 15 games qualified for round robin match play. Players received 10 pins bonus for each win and 5 for a tie.

    The top 3 players in each division advanced to the TV stepladder finals (No. 2 vs. No. 3, winner vs. No. 1, one-game matches). The top six men and the top six women were the prize winners.

     Only elite players such as previous champions, adult and youth national team members, players who represented Japan in WTBA or ABF official championships, prize winners in official Japan Bowling Congress championships and bowlers, who bowled more than 1000 games in JBC approved tournaments within the year, are qualified for the prestigious championships in the following year. The men’s and women’s champions are considered the best bowlers in Japan.

    Pictured left are the top six women. Click on the image to enlarge it.

    The NHK Cup 46th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships was the 24th event since the Japan Broadcasting Corporation NHK (Nihon Hoso Kyokai), a quasi-national broadcasting corporation, granted the Cup. Both championship matches - men and women - are broadcasted nationwide by NHK every year.

    This is the only bowling tournament that is broadcasted live in Japan. The championship rounds will be rebroadcasted by NHK’s satellite TV one week later in a two-hour program.

     


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    NHK Cup 46th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships - Men's Division


    Championship Round:
    1. Tomoyuki Sasaki, Kanagawa, 480 (2 games)
    2. Yuto Hiraoka, IBAJ, 175 (1 game)
    3. Yuki Tsutsumi, IBAJ, 181 (1 game)
    IBAJ = Intercollegiate Bowling Association of Japan

    Playoff Results:
    Semifinal Match: No. 2 Sasaki def. #3 Tsutsumi, 233-181
    Championship Match: Sasaki def. No. 1 Hiraoka, 247-175.

     


    Men's Division - Top 6 after Match Play


    Five games plus position round (2 games). Players with position, province, pinfall, bonus and grand total. The top 3 advanced to the stepladder final.

     


    NHK Cup 46th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships - Women's Division


    Championship Round:
    1. Ayami Wakata, Hiroshima, 516 (2 games)
    2. Haruka Matsuda, Hokkaido, 204 (1 game)
    3. Junko Harigaya, Chiba, 220 (1 game)

    Playoff Results:
    Semifinal Match: No. 3 Wakata def. No. 2 Harigaya, 259-220
    Championship Match: Wakata def. No. 1 Matsuda, 257-204.

     


    Women's Division - Top 6 after Match Play


    Five games plus position round (2 games). Players with position, province, pinfall, bonus and grand total. The top 3 advanced to the stepladder final.

     


    High Game/High Series Awards


     Women High Game Award:
    300 - Hikaru Takekawa (right), Gifu

    Women High Series Award:
    751 - Ayami Wakata (left), Hiroshima

    Click on the image to enlarge it.

     


     Men High Game Award:
    Men: 289 - Kazuki Ishikawa (right), Yamanashi

    Men High Series Award:
    Men: 757 - Masaaki Takemoto (center), Osaka and Nobuhito Fujii (left), Kanagawa

    Click on the image to enlarge it.