Europe 5-1 USA
Europe 194-174 USA
Martin Larsen 265-216 Parker Bohn III
Dom Barrett 181-205 Wes Malott
Stuart Williams 237-200 Tommy Jones
Osku Palermaa 258-170 Bill O’Neill
Dom Barrett 254-175 Bill O’Neill
TEAM EUROPE recorded their best ever start to the Dafabet Weber Cup as they won five of the six opening night matches to lead 5-1 over Team USA. In fact, only once before has a team led 5-1 on the opening day and that was the USA in 2013 and ironically they went on to lose the match in a tight finish.
The European captain Dom Barrett wasn’t underestimating the Americans though, “We have been in their position plenty of times so we know all about it. This is the first time we have been leading by this amount in a first session but it is a new day tomorrow. Everything we have done tonight has been fantastic and the guys on the team helped me in that last match because they could see I was struggling.
“The whole American team will step it up tomorrow; we know that, so we need to keep our foot on the gas. This is the first session of five and we have won the session comfortably and we need to keep doing that. We will sleep better than those guys in the red for sure but tomorrow is a new day and we need to keep going.”
In front of a solid Friday night crowd at the Metrodome, Europe got the opening point as they took the Baker format game after looking second best in the early stages. That became 2-0 as Martin Larsen gave Parker Bohn III a torrid baptism to win by 49 pins. The 53 year-old Hall of Famer from New Jersey was making his belated debut in the event but the Swede was on top of him throughout to take the win.
The US got their first point as Wes Malott, the burly Texan, carried on where he left off last year to overcome an out of sorts Dom Barrett who was captaining Team Europe for the first time. It was a big point for the Americans as a three match deficit so early in the proceedings would have been a body blow.
Commented Malott, “My goal was to come away with a win and I stayed out of trouble and made the spares. After the late selection (Malott replaced an injured Chris Barnes) I didn’t feel I had a point to prove, I just came out here to help the team.
“The crowd are a little loud and it’s our job to quieten them down. They’re great though, they respect us and know we’re great players and that’s all I can ask for,” he added.
With things hotting up, the two most combative players in the event, Tommy Jones and Stuart Williams met and it was Williams who secured the point by a 37 pin margin. Formerly of Cheshire but now living in Arizona, Williams reactivated his Weber Cup career in 2012 after making his debut in 2005 and he had too much for Jones as the score moved to 3-1.
There was more American woe in the next as Osku Palermaa made a return for Team Europe after dropping out of the side following the crashing defeat of 2012. The two-handed Finn took full advantage of a poor Bill O’Neill performance to make the score 4-1 to Europe.
The final match saw the two captains select who they felt was the weakest link on the opposing team and not surprisingly Europe called O’Neill back into the fray. With the worst performance in the singles matches, Euro captain Dom Barrett got the nod from the USA.
It was Barrett though, who redeemed himself with a dominating performance to set Europe on their way to a best-ever first day lead.
Tommy Jones, the American captain struggled to put any gloss on the day’s events, “It wasn’t a very good session for us. Some of it was us; we didn’t make very good shots and they lined up on the pattern the whole time and didn’t take their foot off our throat.
“Everybody is pretty down but we will talk about it and change the pattern up and hopefully come tomorrow and to the 5-1 thing to level it up. You still have to get to 17 and it doesn’t matter if you get there in the last match or with a session to spare.
“Wes is bowling well. He seemed to have the best of it out of all of us, so we will try and get the other three of us to help him out when we come back tomorrow.”
Taking place at the Metrodome in Barnsley from Friday to Sunday 16th to 18th October, a win for Europe would tie the overall Weber Cup score at 8-8. There is one change to last year’s victorious side as Mika Koivuniemi steps down as his career moves in the direct of coaching. He is replaced by former captain Osku Palermaa (Finland) who last played in 2012.
Captaining the side is England’s Dom Barrett and he will be once again joined by PBA star Stuart Williams and Sweden’s Martin Larsen.
Weber Cup XVI commences at 7pm (UK time) on Friday, October 16 with sessions at 1pm and 6pm on both Saturday, October 17 and Sunday, October 18. The entire tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, ESPN3 in America and ESPN Latin America.
Tenpin fans around the world can enjoy the full HD production online at www.webercup.com with a season pass to watch the entire event costing just $19.99. To register for the live stream visit www.webercup.com/watch-live and follow the instructions.
Live streaming is not available in the UK and Ireland via webercup.com. Sky Sports subscribers can watch online and mobile devices via Sky Go. Non Sky Sports subscribers wishing to watch the Weber Cup live can purchase a Now TV Day or Week Pass from www.NowTV.com. (Note the first two hours of Saturday’s afternoon session and the first 75 minutes of Sunday’s afternoon session cannot be viewed on Now TV).