Here is my report of the Cream of the Crop tournament held at the Langlo Lanes in New Port Richey in FL. This isn't a PBA tournament, but many PBA members bowl in these tournaments. There is a men's doubles tournament, a men's singles, a women's singles and a mixed doubles event. New Port Richey is about 30 miles northwest of Tampa.
The men's doubles tournament was first. The event had a rule that prohibited 2 PBA members from bowling together. Jeff Bellinger was a very good bowler on tour for many years. However several years ago he was in a bad car accident and wasn't able to bowl, so he dropped his PBA card. In the last year Jeff started bowling again and we decided to get together to bowl.
Everybody bowled together on the same squad which meant 3 teams (6 players) per pair. The format was 10 games total pins and a step ladder to follow. However the leader of the event has another advantage in that they have to be beaten twice. The lanes were oiled with a fairly flat pattern. However, the lanes tend to break down rather quickly. Most of the players started to play around 3rd or 4th arrow with Jeff and myself playing around the 4th arrow.
I started using a reactive ball  (#0059) along with my plastic ball (#3937) for spares.
In the first game Jeff bowled a nice game of 231 and I managed a 206. I moved in a couple of boards the next game and found a nice reaction. I shot 258 while Jeff struggled shooting a 165. In the 3rd game I started with the first 9 to shoot a great 279 while Jeff shot a very nice 244. The 4th game wasn't quite as good with me having a 212 and Jeff a 201. By the 5th game I was playing the 6th arrow and shot another great game of 269 while Jeff shot 206. There was a break for about an hour for dinner and the heads to be re-oiled.
The lanes didn't seem to be playing much different after the oiling and I decided to try another reactive ball (#0921) which was shinier and went down the lane a bit better.
I started the 6th game thinking I was lined up, but I was going high for the first few frames until I was back in at the 6th arrow. Fortunately I was able to get lots of strikes and shot 243 while Jeff struggled with a 196. The next game wasn't quite as good as I shot 205 and Jeff had a 217. In game 8 I shot 231 with Jeff getting a 213. I was playing around the 7th arrow at this point and starting to run out of room as I don't loft the ball much past the dots. I struggled shooting a 192, but Jeff bowled a great 269 with the help of a couple of key cross over shots. We both decided to move right and play around the 2nd arrow in the last game. However I had a little trouble with the left lane leaving a washout which I missed and a bucket. I managed a double, but in the 10th frame went a bit high leaving the 4-6-7-10 and shot 178. Jeff ended up moving back inside, but he also struggled to a 188 game. Fortunately for us most of the other players were struggling also and we ended up being the leaders.
In the step ladder we met up against Mike Sealey and Tony Gonzales. They were both lofting the ball past the arrows playing around 35 (the 7th arrow). Both Jeff and I figured we weren't quite able to get deep enough as we don't loft the ball that far so we decided to play around the 2nd arrow. I played around 13 with Jeff going up 8. We bowled a great game as I never missed the pocket, starting with the first 4, picking up the 4-9, leaving the fast 8 (4-7) another turkey before leaving a weak 10 to shoot 246. Jeff bowled a solid game starting with a double before leaving the 3-10 which he missed and then missing the head pin which he spared. He came back with a 4 bagger to shoot a 224. Meanwhile Mike bowled a great game shooting a 235, but his partner had a little trouble getting the ball right enough leaving a couple of 6-7's to shoot a 180 game.
Step ladder match:
The singles was bowled using a similar format as the doubles. There was 5 and 6 players per pair with 5 games being bowled before a break with the heads being re-oiled. There was to be a step ladder also in this event for the top 5 and the leader having to be beaten twice.
There was a bit of an outside shot and I felt really comfortable with it. I used the same ball (#0921) I finished with in the doubles and my spare ball (#3937). I played around 6 at the arrows going out to about 3 with plenty of speed. I started with a 10 pin and followed it with 8 strikes before leaving a 7 pin for a 269. The 2nd game I left 10 pins in the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th and 9th frames to shoot 217. In game 3 I started with 4 strikes before leaving a 10 pin. A strike was followed by a 4 pin a double and a solid 9 to shoot 238. In the 4th game I started with a turkey before leaving a 10 pin. I then doubled and left a 4 pin and a 10 pin before striking out to shoot 247. In the 5th game I started with a solid 9 and a 10 pin. I doubled and then left a 4 pin. A 4 bagger was followed by another tap to shoot 237. After the 5 games I was in the lead, but not by much.
In the 6th game I started with a turkey and then left a 7 pin and a 10 pin. I struck and then left a 2 pin (my first missed pocket) before striking out for a 248. In game 7 I started with a strike and a 10 pin. I then had a 5 bagger before going high and leaving a 4 pin. I then had a turkey before going high leaving the 6 pin for a 258. I started game 8 with a 10 pin, a turkey and a 10 pin. I then struck 6 times before finishing with a 10 pin and a 268 game. In game 9 I went strike, 10 pin, strike, 4 pin, double, 10 pin, and a strike. I then pulled the ball a bit with extra speed and less rotation so that the ball went light in the pocket just nipping the 2 pin leaving the 4-5. I missed the spare and struck out for a 207 game. The last game was started with a 10 pin followed by a 6 bagger. I then tugged the ball to go very high leaving only the 4 pin. I struck out for a nice 269 game and the lead in the tournament. In the title match of the step ladder I bowled Tommy Jones. Tommy Jones had a great reaction playing around 20 while I was playing around 5. I had a little bit of trouble on the right lane and in the first game I had a light 7 pin, strike, solid 8, strike and then the big 4 (4-6-7-10) which I missed. Tommy started with a 5 bagger before leaving the 2-4-6-10. I had a turkey and then a 2 pin. Tommy struck, left a 4 pin and then struck. I doubled in the 10th frame and then tried a different shot on the fill for the other lane and left the greek church (4-6-7-9-10). Tommy needed a 9 count on 2 shots and left the 4-7 which he spared. Since I was the leader Tommy needed to beat me twice. In the 2nd match I moved on the right lane and hooked it a bit to get a different reaction and played the left lane the same as I did in all of the other games. Tommy started with a 4 pin and a 4-7 which he missed. I started with the first 10 strikes before leaving a light 7 pin to shoot 289 to win the game and the tournament.
In the mixed doubles I bowled with Paula Carter. For those of you who didn't watch women's bowling in the early to mid 70's, Paula was one of the top bowlers. She was Paula Sperber back then before getting together with Don Carter. That was the other nice thing. We had Don Carter cheering for us. I was really looking forward to bowling with Paula. We had a lot of fun and even threw a few strikes.
Paula is left handed and was playing a pretty good hook around the 2nd arrow. I started playing up 10 and gradually moved to around 7 but I struggled the first game shooting 183 while Paula shot a great 232 game. In the 2nd game Paula struggled and shot 163 while I got lined up and shot 258. In the 3rd game she shot 211 while I continued striking with a 269. Game 4 was awesome as she shot 247 and I had a couple of fortunate strikes for a 255. The 1next pair hooked a bit and I ended up moving inside to around 20. Paula also struggled also and she shot 176 while I only managed a 192. We were +186 after the 5 games and just out of the top 5 which was at +197.
In the 2nd block I decided to try and hook the ball around the 4th arrow while Paula was staying around the 2nd arrow. I kept having the ball hook a bit on a few shots leaving splits, but I had enough strikes to shoot 206 while Paula hot 202 in game 6. In game 7 Paula shot 237 while I shot 212 after having splits in the 2nd and 3rd frames. In the 8th game Paula bowled a pretty good game, but a 6-8 split and a rip 7-10 kept her score down to a 183 while I started striking with a 258. Paula bowled a great 9th game except for her 2 missed 7 pins as she never missed the pocket for a 202. And I started with a the front 10 before going high leaving the 6-10. Paula had a couple of opens in the 10th game with a couple of doubles for a 188 while I continued striking for a 259. We ended up qualifying in 3rd place with +421.
In the step ladder match we bowled against Lisa Wagner and John Hough.
Paula struggled early but came through at the end with 6 great strikes. I had a couple of bad shots in the middle of the game and had a chance in the 10th frame when I left the 4-6 on what I thought was a good shot off of my hand. John started with the front 5 but missed a couple of 6-10 at the end of the game to give us a chance while Lisa bowled a steady game. We ended up finishing 4th.
Full results are at http://www.leaguesecretary.com/john/OtherTournaments.asp