Alessandra Morra, Alan Jenkins start 2015 Senior Tour with victory in 4th Plaza Senior Open


    2015 ISBT #1

    Plaza Bowling Thillois in Reims, France (January 22-25, 2015)

    2015ISBT01AlessandraMorraAlanJenkins.jpgAlessandra Morra of Italy and England's Alan Jenkins (pictured left, l-r) started the 2015 International Seniors Bowling Tour with victory in the women's and men's finals in the 4th Plaza Senior Open January 25 at Plaza Bowling Thillois in Reims, France.

    The first stop on the 2015 ISBT tour was the fourth running of the Plaza Senior Open and drew 115 competitors, 91 men and 24 women, from 13 countries, slightly up on the previous year, although the entry was slightly weakened due to the Senior England squad being away in Gibraltar on a training weekend.

    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 Early Bird squads, Turbo games and a Desperado squad. 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.

    The pattern used during the 2015 Plaza Senior Open was the Brunswick version on the Kegel Middle Road pattern. This is from the Challenge series of patterns, scoring showed that some were to indeed find this a challenging pattern.

    The first squad was led by Alain Aubert, France, with 1459 with bonus, some distance ahead of the rest of the squad. Sylvie Bornet opened her account with a good 1176 on her first entry to lead the ladies section.

    In the second squad, the scores were lower, with Gilles Poncet, France, leading with 1347, and Alessandra Morra having 1168. The next day saw Finnish bowler Petri Keitura lead squad 3 with 1350, with Morra improving slightly with 1202 to now lead the ladies qualifying list.

    After squad 4, it was still Aubert as the only bowler to crack the 1400 barrier, the lead in this squad was taken by a single pin by 2014 Plaza Open winner André Geelen, Belgium, with 1356 from Alan Jenkins. Gisela Insinger, Germany, led the ladies squad with 1211.

    The fifth squad finally saw another score over 1400, this time from Mo Singleton, England, with 1419. Nadia Goron, France, was top in a low scoring ladies squad with 1095.

    Squad 6 saw another dip in the men's scoring, Wilfried Riesmeir, Germany, was top with 1330, but in the ladies section there were three bowlers over 1200, led by Martina Beckel, Germany, on 1305.

    Saturday saw the final three squads, and high scores were still difficult to achieve. Helmut Ulber, Germany, took squad 7 with 1365, and Beckel won her second squad with 1227 to go firmly into the lead in the ladies qualification.

    Squad 8 finally saw more scores over 1400, this time there was a tie for the squad win between Alan Keddie, Scotland, and Dave Montgomery, England, both on 1408. Hillevi Huhta, Finland, had a fine 1281 score to claim a good position in the overall standings.

    The ninth and last squad saw a final 1400 set, this time for Pekka Tiironkoski, Finland, with 1405. Morra won the final women's squad with 1208, to improve her qualification total slightly.

    In the men's section, top qualifier was Alain Aubert with 2777, closely followed by Mo Singleton (2774) and André Geelen (2728). The top six would miss the first finals round, sixth place being Dave Montgomery with 2711. Last qualifier from the overall standings in 18th place was Gilles Poncet with 2607.

    The eighteen qualifiers from the overall standings would be joined by two bowlers from the early bird squads, six turbo qualifiers, and two desperado qualifiers. 12 men competed in the Desperado squad, and in a close finish, Pierre Prou (223) and Bernard Roirand (217) added two more Frenchmen to the final stages.

    2015ISBT01WomenFinalists.jpgMartina Beckel lead in the women's standings on 2532, ahead of Hilleve Huhta (2499) and Alessandra Morra (2410). The top six qualified directly to the finals, last qualifier was Nicole Pujol with 2387.

    To these six were added an early bird qualifier, Daniele Guigon, and Marie-Annick Brancourt, France, from the Desperado squad. Pictured left are the eight finalists.

    Sunday morning saw the start of the finals for the men, with all scores resetting to zero. The men bowled four games starting from scratch in the first final round, with the top 16 progressing to the second final round, where they would be joined by the top six qualifiers.

    2015ISBT01MenFinalists.jpg2015ISBT01PatrickRolland.jpgFormer World Champion Patrick Rolland (left), France, was top on 1010, helped along by a perfect 300 in game 3. The cut for the second final round was Pekka Tiironkoski on 808.

    Scores then again reset to zero, and the 16 who made it through were joined by the top six from qualification for a further four games.

    Alain Aubert continued his good form to win the squad with 953, just ahead of Alan Keddie. Eighth place and the last bowler to make the finals was Dave Montgomery with 899. Pictured right are the eight finalists.

    2015ISBT01AlainAubertAlanJenkinsDaveMontgomery.jpgOnto the final, and the eight men round robin started with half the pinfall from the previous round. It was close at the top for much of the round, and in the end Alan Jenkins (center) squeaked a narrow victory by just 8 pins from Alain Aubert (left), with Dave Montgomery (right) in third place.

    Alessandra Morra, who won the 2013 Plaza Open and finished second in last year's event, got of to a strong start in the ladies final with a 222 game, and as the matches were played it became a battle between her and Nicole Pujol.

    2015ISBT01NicolePujolAlessandraMorraMartinaBeckel.jpgIn the end, Morra (center) hung on for the victory, just 15 pins ahead of Pujol (left), with Martina Beckel (right) in third place.

    ISBTLogo_small.jpg The next stop is a return to Osnabr√ľck in Germany for Arthur's 10th anniversay Senior Open at Vegas Bowling. The tournament runs from the March 7-15, 2015.

    Full details are available at the ISBT website.

    Courtesy of Tony Brown.


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