By Markus Hegnelius
Partille, outside Gothenburg, regained the throne as Sweden’s best bowling city after this weekend’s Swedish League playoffs. In front of a massive, singing, jumping and drumming crowd the Team Pergamon men and the Team X-Calibur women won the Swedish eight-player Team Championships Sunday at Baltiska Bowlinghallen in Malmö.
The star-studded Team Pergamon (featured photo) featuring three players from the top five in the World Bowling Tour ranking (Jesper Svensson, Dominic Barrett and Martin Larsen) were the favorite to win the men’s title.
But the way they did it impressed everybody, including their opponents in the final, the champions in 2016. Team Clan from Nässjö, spearheaded by Swedish national team member Pontus Andersson and Irish star Chris Sloan.
“They (Team Pergamon) are so good. It feels like the distance between the best team in Sweden and the second best has increased since last year,” Andersson said.
“Bowling’s Real Madrid”, as they are dubbed, flew past Team Clan, 19-1, in the first game in the best-of-three games format. In the second game Team Clan got to choose the pattern, but their game plan didn’t work as Pergamon won the second game 13-7 and took the gold medal, two-games-to-none.
Team Pergamon featured Robert Andersson, Benjamin Jonsson, Dominic Barrett, Mattias Olsson, Mattias Wetterberg, Jesper Svensson, Jesper Larsen, Francois Louw, Kim Bolleby, Daniel Fransson, Osku Palermaa, and Martin Larsen.
“We showed how good we are as a bowling team,” said seven-time PBA champion Jesper Svensson. “The lanes got really tough, but we found a solution. We have too much competence in this team that it doesn’t bother us. We showed that we are the best team in Sweden.”
On the women’s side the crowd got to see the closest battle for the women’s title in a long, long time. All four teams had a chance to win the title but when the dust had settles, Spader Dam (pictured above) from Helsingborg and Team X-Calibur advanced to the finals, like they did in the last five years.
“I don’t think it has ever been this close between all four teams here,” said Team X-Calibur’s Joline Persson Planefors.
And the final was as close as in the semi-finals. Spader Dam, the two-time defending women’s champions, won the first game, but X-Calibur countered to tie the match at a game apiece.
After three out of four games in the deciding third game, the score was 7-7, and after the whole season the champion was decided in the very last game.
“We were really good at striking in the final frames,” said 27-year-old Persson Planefors, who finished with a 256 game, helping her Team X-Calibur to win the last game 3-1 for a 10-8 win and a 2-1 victory.
“I don’t think I have words to describe how good this feels,” Persson Planefors stated. Her team mate Diana Alfredsson added: “It’s amazing to be on the winning side in such a close game”.
Team X-Calibur featured Lisa Björklund, Diana Alfredsson, Hanna Engberg, Nina Flack, Josefin Hermansson, Victoria Johansson, Rebecka Larsen Sr., Cathrine Lindström, Sofia Myllymäki, Mimmi Persson, and Joline Persson Planefors.
As usual, the Swedish League playoffs were a fantastic success recorded by Swedish national television which was on-site to capture the unbelievable atmosphere created by all the team supporters three days in a row to support some of the best bowlers in the world. It’s truly the world’s greatest playoffs.
“Our fans make this experience what it is, they are our 10th, 11th and 12th players,” said Jesper Svensson. “They make us want to do even better on the lanes.”
2018 Swedish League Playoffs
Baltiska Bowlinghallen in Malmö, Sweden (May 11-13, 2018)
Men’s Championship Round:
1. Team Pergamon BC
2. Team Clan BK
3. BK Jösse and IS Göta
Semifinal Match 1: No. 1 Team Pergamon def. No. 3 BK Jösse, 4-0 (14-5, 11-9)
Semifinal Match 2: No. 2 Team Clan def. No. 4 IS Göta, 4-0 (12-8, 13-7)
Championship Match: Team Pergamon def. Team Clan, 4-0 (19-1, 13-7).
Women’s Championship Round:
1. Team X-Calibur BK
2. Spader Dam
3. B-K Eva, Stockholm, and BK Högland
Semifinal Match 1: No. 1 Spader Dam def. No. 4 B-K Eva, 5-3 (10-10, 4-16, 13-6, 3-2)
Semifinal Match 2: No. 2 Team X-Calibur def. No. 4 BK Högland, 5-1 (10-10, 13-7, 12-8)
Championship Match: Team X-Calibur def. Spader Dam, 4-2 (5-15, 11-4, 10-8).