André Geelen, Jacqueline Boissiere conclude 2013 season with victory in French Senior Open


    2013 ISBT #10

    2013ISBT10JacquelineBoissiereAndreGeelan.jpg André Geelen of Belgium and Jacqueline Boissiere of France (pictured, r-l) won the women's and men's title in the 10th and last stop of the 2013 International Seniors Bowling Tour to conclude the season with victory in the French Senior Open.

    The tournament was held at Planet Bowling in Lomme, just outside of Lille in France. This year it attracted 64 men and 20 women, the men's entry being considerably down on the previous year. The format for the tournament was two blocks of 6 games qualifying, 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 Turbo entries, and a desperado squad. The top eight men would have a bye for the first finals round, so securing a top eight 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.

    French bowlers occupied the majority of entries in the early squads. The first squad saw Yvon Lassal, France, take the lead in the men's section with 1406 including age bonus, with Erna Buysse, Belgium, having a fine start with 1211.

    The next squad was won by Chris Vandamme, Belgium, with 1315, who then improved in the next squad with 1389, taking second place to Ulf Lönngren, Sweden, with 1407. A second good set from Buysse of 1170 saw her establish an early lead in the overall standings.

    Squad five late on Thursday evening only had 13 entries, and was won by Robert Vallons, Belgium, with 1355. This squad also saw the first appearance of Farida Pascoal-Blom, Netherlands, who started with a comfortable 1164.

    The Friday squads saw the arrival of many of the English competitors, who took the top male places in the first squad, Ron Oldfield and Les Grant, tying with 1438.

    Liliane Vintens, Belgium, was top lady with 1170. Squad seven saw André Geelan's first entry, and what an entry it was. He averaged 244 scratch over his six games to post a huge total of 1566, which was the highest qualifying block by some distance.

    In the ladies section, more high scores were also being recorded. Jacqueline Boissiere, France, and Angie Brown, England, were bowling together and scored 1236 and 1207 respectively, with Alessandra Morra, Italy, also recording 1207 in this squad.

    Each ISBT tournament provides a difference challenge to the competitors, and this one was no exception. Carrying the corner pins proved difficult for some, but many were finding the approaches much more challenging.

    They seemed inconsistent across the width of each lane, with the areas towards the outsides being considerably more slidey that the middle sections. There were a number of slips and falls during qualification, however the worst was for Steve Wright from England.

    In this Friday afternoon squad he slipped on his approach, and felt a sharp pain in his right knee. He immediately withdrew from the competition, and a hospital visit diagnosed he had a break in his kneecap. He will be out of action for some time, particularly upsetting as he was due to bowl in the seniors' tournament in Malta the following weekend.

    The last squad on Friday was won by Joël Rost, France, with 1395, while in the ladies section, Pascoal Blom set the highest qualifying score with 1264.

    Saturday saw the last three squads, and the first was won by two English competitors. Oldfield improved with 1473, and Brown led the ladies with 1152. Oldfield was now firmly established towards the top of the qualifiers.

    Squad 10 was won by Geelan with another strong set of 1442, firmly setting him at the top of the qualification list. In the ladies section, another good set of 1256 from Boissiere established her at the top of the leaderboard.

    With only 1 squad to go, bowlers were trying to decide whether they had scored enough to guarantee qualification. A large number of bowlers took to the lanes trying to ensure they would qualify for the finals, and be rewarded with prize money, as all Sunday qualifiers would receive at least €170 from the prize fund and the additional contribution from the tour sponsor Elcomex.

    ISBT newcomer Ian Buckland, England, won the squad with 1419 to gain a top eight place and bypass the first finals round. Alain Aubert, France, tied with 1419 to also ensure his top eight qualification place.

    Brown had her best block of the tournament with 1258 to ensure her qualification, a few pins ahead of Brigitte Fievet, France, and Vintens.

    No-one was surprised to see Geelan at the top of qualification, with 3008, he was almost 100 pins clear of Oldfield in second place, with Alain Deledda, France, in third. The final qualification place at 28th went to Mo Singleton, England, with 2572, just scraping in thanks to a good block in the last qualification squad. The two male Turbo qualifiers were Ken Wray, England, and Pierre Prou, France.

    The women qualifiers were led by Boissiere, 2492, and Brown, 2465. The final automatic qualification place went to Morra with 2387, just six pins ahead of Buysse. However, Erna still qualified from her Turbo score.

    This then left the Desperado Squad. A disappointing entry of only eight men and one woman took part. As Maria Grazia Locatelli, Italy, was the only women, her qualification was automatic, but she still scored 221 to make her a worthy qualifier.

    Two men opened up strongly. Mike Halliwell, England, started with the first five strikes, but then two opens in frames seven and eight dented his qualification chances. Eric Beaujot, France, managed the first eight strikes, and then closed out for a 254 scratch game, 260 with bonus. Laya Djouad, France, managed to keep away from the splits, and just pushed past Mike Halliwell to secure the final qualification place.

    Early Sunday morning, the men qualifiers from ninth onwards bowled a block of four games, starting from scratch. The top twelve would progress to the next round. Pekka Tiironkoski, Finland, led the way with 983, a single pin ahead of Alan Jenkins, England. Final qualifier was Daniel Solheid, France, with 857.

    The twelve top players from the first final round were then joined by the eight top players from qualification. Only the top eight from this round would make the final.

    Going into the last game there were a number of bowlers battling for the last few places. Buckland had games of 258 and 267 to pull himself into fifth place overall. The round was won by Oldfield on 1550, with the cut for the top eight being Santo Provenzi, Italy, on 1401.

    On then to the finals, with eight women and eight men playing a seven game Round Robin, again the scores resetting to zero.

    In the men's section, Geelan stated strongly, with 705 scratch over the first three games to open a substantial lead over Patrick Rolland, France, and Frank Lindsay, England. No-one could match the Geelan's pace, who won five of his seven matches to finish a clear and well deserved winner, some 127 pins ahead of second place Rolland. Oldfield finished strongly to snatch third place from Lindsay.

    In the women's section, Morra started strongest, opening up a lead over Boissiere and Vintens. As the games went on, the scoring pace generally slowed, and it was Boissiere who bowled steadily to emerge the winner.

    Fievet put together some good games in the middle of the round to put herself into contention, and finished in second place, with Vintens finishing third.

    Due to the cancellation of the ISBT stop in England, the 2013 season ended in Lomme. The next event will be the first from the 2014 calendar, the Plaza Senior Open, which will be held January 23-26 in Reims, France.

    Click here for more information on the International Seniors Bowling Tour.

    Report by Tony Brown.


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    2013 French Senior Open - Men's Round Two

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    2013 French Senior Open - Men's Round One

    The top 12 advance to the second round.


    2013 French Senior Open - Men's Qualifying

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    2013 French Senior Open - Women's Qualifying

    The top 6 qualifiers plus the top turbo qualifier, Erna Buysse, and the top player of the Desperado Squad, Maria Grazia Locatelli, advance to the finals.