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Maria Bulanova leads top 16 women into Round 1 at European Champions Cup


2016ECCMariaBulanova2Starting the second qualifying block at the European Champions Cup in Olomouc, Czech Republic, in third place, defending women’s champion Maria Bulanova of Russia averaged more than 237 to shoot into the lead as the field was cut to the top 16 players Thursday evening at Bowland Bowling Center.

Pictured above are the top 3 of B squad: L-R Sara Xuereb, Maria Bulanova and Nicole Sanders.

2016ECCCajsaWegner2The 18-year-old right-hander (pictured right), who became the youngest winner on the European Bowling Tour in 2013 at the age of 14, started her second eight-game block with back-to-back 258 games and followed a low game of 191 with a third 258 before she closed with 224, 251, 236 and 221 for 1897 (237.13) and 3716 total and an overall average of 232.25 for 16 games.

Bulanova, who outaveraged her nearest competitor by more than 14 pins on Thursday, takes a 107-pin lead into the next round. Cajsa Wegner (left) of Sweden averaged 223 for the second round closing her 1784-block with 235, 237 and 234 to maintain second place with 3609 (225.56).

2016ECCNicoleSanders2Block 1 leader Nicole Sanders (right) of the Netherlands added 1708 to the 1851 from the first block and slipped two spots to third place with 3559 (222.44).

2016ECCSoleneGoronThere is a bigger gap between third and fourth place. Trailing Sanders by 151 pins after 16 games was Solene Goron (left) of France, who bowled a 1646 series on day two to stay in fourth place with 3408.

2016ECCSaraXuereb15-year-old Sara Xuereb (right) rolled the third-highest 1758 series, including a pair of 265 games, to jump from 11th to fifth place with 3378 (211.13). Heidi Thorstensen of Norway fell from fifth to sixth place with 3354 (209.63).

2016ECCPetraStankovaPetra Stankova (left) of Slovakia used the second-highest 1713 series in A squad behind Wegner and the fourth-best overall to move from 12th to 9th place with 3315 (207.19).

Veronique Perniaux of Belgium took the 16th and final spot to advance to Round 1 with 3144 or an average of 196.50.

The top 16 women out of 36 women from 35 countries will return on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST) to bowl eight more games before the cut to the top 8. Those 8 will bowl four more games on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Central European Time (CET) with the top 4 advancing to the best-of-three games finals.

The semi-finals (No. 1 vs. No. 4 and No. 2 vs. No. 3) will start at 11.30 a.m. with the women’s final slated for 1 p.m.

2016ECCLogoThe 39th European Champions Cup will take place from October 24-31 at 18-lane Bowland Bowling Center in Olomouc, Czech Republic featuring the men’s and women’s national champions or point ranking leaders of the European Tenpin Bowling Federation (ETBF) member federations.

Men and women compete in separate divisions. All players, including defending ECC champions, Maria Bulanova of Russia and Joonas Jähi of Finland, will roll two eight-game blocks of qualifying Wednesday through Friday on a 42 feet lane conditioning pattern.

The top 16 men and 16 women will carry over their qualifying pins into Round 1. After another eight games the top 8 will advance to Round 2. Pinfall will continue to carry over. Those 8 will bowl four more games to cut to the top 4 who will determine the champion in best-of-three games matches. In the semi-finals, No. 1 will meet No. 4 and No. 2 will take on No. 3.

Full European Champions Cup rules can be found in the ETBF Constitution (Chapter 7; pages 47 and 48). For more details on the 39th ECC 2016 read the Bulletin.

Photos Max Bulanov.

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