Alessandra Morra, Gunther Schollen start 2013 ISBT with victory in Plaza Senior Open


    2013 ISBT #1

    Plaza Bowling in Reims, France (Jan. 23-27, 2013)

    2013ISBT01AlessandraMorraGuntherSchollen.jpgAlessandra Morra of Italy and Belgian Gunther Schollen (pictured left) won the women's and men's title at the Plaza Senior Open 2013. The first stop on the 2013 International Seniors Bowling Tour was held Jan. 23-27 at Plaza Bowling in Reims, France.

    This was the second running of this tournament, which last year also hosted the ISBT Masters. For the 2012 season, the Masters will be held during the Italian Senior Open in Bologna in early June.

    Plaza Senior Open 2013 attracted 69 men and 21 women from 12 countries - Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Jersey, Malta, Romania, Russia and Sweden.

    The qualifying format was two blocks of 6 games with the lowest block optionally being replaced by a better re-entry score. For those not able to qualify through the main leaderboard, there were additional opportunities through Early Bird squads, Turbo entries, and a desperado squad.

    The top four men and two ladies would have a bye for the first finals round, so securing a top place meant not only a later start on Sunday, but guaranteed higher prize money. Age bonus started at age 51 (1 pin per game), then increased a pin for every additional year of age with no limit. As with all ISBT events, there was a separate division for ladies.

    2013ISBT01GuntherSchollen.jpgThe lane pattern was selected by ISBT board member Ernst Berndt as being a slightly modified Brunswick Edge pattern. This is a sport pattern with 1.8:1 ratio, and is totally flat inside of the fifth board. This was quite a radical selection, as traditionally ISBT tournaments have provided reasonably open conditions, allowing all participants to score reasonably well.

    The opening squads showed just how tough this condition was, with very few bowlers managing to achieve 1200 scratch (even, based on a 200 average). However, a few bowlers showed that it was possible to score well on the condition, and Gunther Schollen (right), Belgium, was one of them with a fine 1390 scratch in Squad 3 for 1492 with age bonus.

    Another, who found the condition very scoreable, was Austrian Berndt with 1413 scratch (1491 with bonus).

    In the ladies section, very few were able to cope with the conditions, one who could was Yvonne Murrath, Belgium, who posted a fine 1189 (1255) on her third entry. The scoring was definitely showing that given time, the top bowlers could work out the best way to play the lanes.

    At the end of men's qualification, Berndt was top with 2844 including bonus, closely followed by Schollen on 2832, Roger Pieters, Belgium, on 2804 and Peter Knopp, Germany. These four would receive a bye for the next round.

    2013ISBT01AlessandraMorra.jpgThe cut for the top 38 fell at Gert Gröpler, Germany, on 2329 including bonus, probably the lowest ISBT first round cut ever. In total, only 13 men averaged over 200 for their 12 qualifying games.

    In the ladies section, Murrath had looked likely to stay at the top of the leaderboard. However, newcomer Alessandra Morra (left) of Italy learnt from her first entry, and then posted 6 games blocks of 1376 and 1288 to have a commanding lead at the top of the table. This was achieved without any age bonus.

    At the opposite end of the age scale, Ruth Stander, England, put her 29 pins per game age bonus to good use, to finish tying with Murrath for second place. Murrath joined Morra in missing the next round due to the higher scratch total than Stander.

    To those that had qualified through the main rankings were then added 8 men and 5 women from Turbo and Early Bird squads. 12 men and two ladies took part in the one-game Desperado Squad, fighting for two final places in the men's division and one in the ladies division.

    The two men qualifiers were Michelangelo Chiale of Italy (218) and Frank Lindsay, England, (204), who squeezed in by a single pin. Dane Else Skovgaard was the last lady qualifier with 177.

    The men then had an early start at 8am on Sunday morning to see who would progress further. Herman Wimmer of Germany led the way with 1380 over the six game block, with the cut for 18th place being Laya Djouad, France, on 1235.

    2013ISBT01MenFinalists.jpgAll the remaining men then bowled another six-game block to see who would make the top 8 and progress to the final.

    The photo on the left side shows the top 8 men's finalists.

    Swede Ulf Lönngren was top qualifier on 1469, some distance ahead of Belgium's Roger Pieters (1400) and Ron Oldfield, England (1381). The cut fell at Chris Vandamme, Belgium, on 1295.

    2013ISBT01WomenFinalists.jpgIn the ladies section, 14 players were bowling to make the last 8, the clear leader in this squad was Christiane K√ľhn, Germany, on 1346, 135 pins ahead of Liliane Vintens, Belgium (1211), who was another 85 pins ahead of Ruth Stander (1126). Jan Hodge, England, was the last qualifier on 1096.

    The photo on the right side shows the top 8 women's finalists.

    2013ISBT01RogerPietersGuntherSchollenErnstBerndt.jpgFor the men's final, 50% of the score from the previous round carried through. After three games, Ron Oldfield was in the lead. However, he was unable to maintain his early scoring pace, and slipped down the leader board. Gunther Schollen (center) kept scoring well, and emerged the final winner ahead of Roger Pieters (left) and Ernst Berndt (right).

    2013ISBT01ChristianeKuhnAlessandraMorraYvetteMurrath.jpgIn the ladies final, Angie Brown, England, got off to the best start, and had a clear lead after three games. Just as with Oldfield in the men's section, Brown couldn't maintain the scoring pace, and drifted down the leader board.

    Throughout the final, Alessandra Morra (center) found her line again with games of 270, 192, 247 and 218 to finish as the clear winner. Christiane K√ľhn (left) bowled steadily to take second place with Yvette Murrath (right) in third.

    The second stop for 2013 is a return to Osnabr√ľck in Germany from the March 12-17 for Arthur's Senior Open.

    Report and results by Tony Brown.


    2013 Plaza Senior Open - Men's Finals (Final Standings)


    2013 Plaza Senior Open - Women's Finals (Final Standings)


    2013 Plaza Senior Open - Men's Round Two

    The top 8 advance to the finals.


    2013 Plaza Senior Open - Men's Round One

    The top 18 advance to the second round.


    2013 Plaza Senior Open - Women's Round One

    The top 6 advance to the finals.


    2013 Plaza Senior Open - Men's Qualifying

    The top 38 qualifiers, eight players from Turbo and Early Bird squads and two players from the Desperado Squad advance to the finals. The top four players received one bye.


    2013 Plaza Senior Open - Women's Qualifying

    The top 10 qualifiers, five players from Turbo and Early Bird squads and one player from the Desperado Squad advanced to the finals. The top two players received one bye.