UPDATED 5-21-02
Here is my report of the PBA regional tournament from Franklin, VA. Franklin is a small town in southern VA about 60 miles from the Atlantic ocean.

There were 2 squads of players bowling 8 game sets. I was on the 'A' squad which started at 9 am on Sat. 'B' squad was scheduled to start at around 2 pm. The lanes were stripped and re-oiled so that the players on each squad were playing under similar conditions. Entries were a bit lower so most pairs had 3 on a pair. The cut to match play was to the top 16. Again the scores were pretty low as 8th place on 'A' squad was +58. 'B' squad ended up only having 7 players in the finals so it ended up taking +47 to make the cut. Doug Palmer led the qualifiers with +212. In the practice session I didn't care for the reaction that I had playing on the outside of the lanes like I did the week before in Matthews. Even though the lanes were oiled using a very similar pattern the very outside (1 & boards) of the lanes were very dry and the ball would 'bounce' to much if that part of the lane was hit. This leads to a wet/dry condition which most pros really don't like to bowl on.

   I started the first game trying to play around 3 and 4 going straight up with a shiny particle ball (#0201).

Of course I also used a polyester ball (#3937) for most of my spares.    

I didn't have much luck the first game as I had 3 splits for opens with one of the them being a rip 7-10. I also didn't carry very well having one double and shot 173 with 3 missed pocket shots. I moved a pinch left a tried playing up 5 the next game and had another split which I missed to go along with a chopped 6-10. At least this game I managed two doubles to shoot 191 even though I missed the pocket 4 times. I moved left some more and ended up playing up 8 in the 3rd game. I had a 4 bagger even though I missed the pocket 3 times and shot 227.

In the 4th game I moved in a bit more and was playing up 10. I only missed the pocket twice this game and a 5 bagger at the end of the game helped me to a 237. Things were starting to come around. In the 5th game I made several bad shots as I ended up missing the pocket 4 times, but a turkey combined with no missed spares gave me a 215. In the 6th game I threw the ball great. I started with a double and then left a solid 8. I followed that with 6 strikes before leaving a solid 10. I threw a bad shot on the fill, but I already had my good game to shoot 255. The 7th game was very fortunate as I started with a turkey with the 3rd strike being a tripped 6-10! I compensated on the next shot only to leave the 2-10 which I missed. I came back with a 7 bagger in which I crossed over on one of the shots. My fill ball was also high, so I missed the pocket 4 times and shot 264! In the last game of the block I moved into 11, but I kept going high leaving another split which I missed. A solid 9 in the 10th kept me from shooting a 200 game as I had no doubles for a 182. I again missed the pocket 4 times in this game, but my good fortune didn't stay with me.

Altogether I was very happy with my scores. It seemed that when I was able to make a decent shot I was able to get the ball to the pocket and strike a fair amount of the time. I qualified 5th with +144. In the finals this weekend they are trying a different match play schedule. This one has the top 8 qualifiers bowling the bottom 8 in the first 8 games. Then the top 8 bowl each other in the last 7 games while the bottom 8 also bowl each other. Basically the #1 seed starts with #16 and moves up the seeds until he bowls the #2 seed in the 15th game. Hopefully I will throw a few more better shots in match play as I think that I can.

729/ X9/81 X81 X9/XX9 173
9/9/ X8/81 X X81 XX9/ 191
7/9/ X X X X9/ X8/9/X 227
8/ X9/ X9/8/ X X XXX9 237
X9/ X X X9/9/9/ X6/8 215
X X9/ X X X X X X9/7 255
X X X81 X X X X XXX8 264
8/9/9/7/ X728/8/ X9/X 182

I had 49 strikes in 91 shots. (I had 3 strikes when I missed the pocket, all 3 were very high or crossed over).
My strike % on pocket shots was 46 of 66 or 70%.
I had 6 opens. 5 splits (2-4-10, rip 7-10, 2-10, 6-7, 2-10, and a 4-6-7) and I chopped the 6-10.
I did miss the pocket 25 times, which wasn't too bad considering what most of the players were doing. But I do think that I can do better and I feel better about where I think I should be playing the lanes.

Match Play:
I started playing up 13 with the same ball (#0201) as I used in qualifying. It seemed like the lanes hooked a pinch more and I felt that moving a few boards left of where I played the day before wouldn't be a bad idea. I also used my spare ball (#3937).

My 1st match was against Randy Weiss. We both bowled great games. I started with a 4 bagger and then a double. Randy started with a turkey followed by a 4 bagger. Randy had the lead going into the 10th frame and left a solid 10 pin to shoot 248. I needed 2 strikes to win the match in the 10th frame. I struck with a shot which was a pinch light. I felt like I should get the ball a little bit higher into the pocket and pulled the next shot to leave the 3-9-10 and lose 244-248. We both missed the pocket once in that 1st game. The next match was against Ryan Smith. Ryan bowled a very good game. He had 3 taps and 3 doubles. He picked up the 1-2-4-6-10 washout in the 9th frame and left the 2-8 on his fill ball. I was rather fortunate. I missed the pocket 3 times including a 3-10 which I missed, but I struck every time I did hit the pocket to win 235-221. Match 3 was against Kip Roberts. Kip had a bit of trouble hitting the pocket missing it 6 times, especially on the tighter right lane where he left a couple of 2-10 combinations. I also missed the pocket 4 times, but I managed to strike on most of my pocket shots including one strike which didn't hit the pocket to win 234-169. At this point I was in the lead and I bowled Mike Webb who was struggling and near the bottom. Mike managed a 5 bagger and a turkey finish after leaving the 4-6-7 in the 2nd frame and the 1-2-4-6-10 which he spared. I threw several bad shots and wasn't able to get the strikes and lost 194-233. Game 5 was against Jonathan Thaler. Jonathan had quite a bit of trouble against me while I bowled a very good game that didn't strike much. I won 217-159. In the 6th game I bowled Gilbert Solang. Gilbert missed the pocket 5 times while I missed it 3 times. Gilbert picked up all his spares including a 2-10, but he didn't get a string of strikes. I managed to get a turkey at the end of the game to win 211-193 when Gilbert didn't strike out. In the 7th game I bowled against Chuck Gardner. Chuck bowled a very good game only missing the pocket twice, once being a nose shot which struck in the 10th frame. He did miss a 4 pin in the 2nd frame, but still won when I wasn't able to strike out in the 10th frame 235-221. The last match of the morning was against John May. He bowled a great game having a 7 bagger to help him win 253-236. I was only able to win 4 of my 8 matches even though I had the most pinfall for the block. Ken Simard was leading after the morning while I was in 2nd.

I started the afternoon block using the same two balls (#0201, #3937). The lanes also seemed to be hooking quite a bit more than when I left them an hour previous. In the morning squad I did play a few games around 10, but moved inside of 15 on my last game. In the afternoon I started playing 20 on the left lane and 18 on the right going with a fairly straight delivery and decent speed.

My 1st match of the afternoon was against Ken Simard who is the current Southern PBA Regional Player of the Year and the current leader of the tournament. I had a little trouble getting lined up on the left lane even with the 10 minutes of practice as I just didn't think that it hooked that much and I left the greek church (4-6-7-9-10) in the 2nd frame. I carried a nose shot in the 4th frame to help me get a turkey. Ken started with a double, but kept getting tapped except in the 6th frame when he went light leaving the 2-8 for a spare. I went light in the 6th frame leaving the 2-4-5 which I spared and then struck out for a 243-195 win when Ken missed a 7 pin in the 10th frame. My next match was against David Watson and I carried very well striking on 11 shots and missing the 3-10 on my only shot out of the pocket. David couldn't get anything going his way as he had 4 splits (one of them a pocket 7-10) and one double for me to win 266-157. The next game was against Scott McLean who was one of the two left handers to make the top 16. Scott had trouble hitting the pocket, but did manage to get a turkey with the help of a couple of cross over hits after he opened in the 1st frame. I bowled a very good game, but wasn't able to strike much. I opened on my only missed pocket hit and managed to strike out in the 9th and 10th to win 207-202. I bowled Doug Palmer the next match and after he opened in the 2nd frame he had a 6 bagger. I bowled a very solid game never missing the pocket, but only managing a double and a turkey for a 226. Fortunately for me Doug opened in the 9th and 10th frames to lose with a 212. In game 13 I bowled David Martin. He had trouble hitting the pocket. I also had trouble hitting the pocket, but I managed a 6 strikes in the last 7 shots and one open to win 214-171. In game 14 I bowled Bob Learn Jr. I bowled another solid game and got some good carry as I only missed the pocket once and had a turkey and a 4 bagger. Bob missed the 3-10 in the 1st frame and left several 10 pins for a frustrating loss to me 248-217. I bowled Tommy Jones in the next game and I bowled my worst game of the weekend missing the pocket 6 times. Tommy bowled a solid game missing the pocket 2 times and striking out from the 7th frame to beat me 246-183. In the position round I bowled Ken Simard. He was 70 pins ahead of me so I needed to beat him by 41 pins to take the lead. Ken had a 4 bagger early, but left a 4-6, missed the 3-6-10 and a 4 pin to shoot 192. I managed to grind out a 209 with one double to qualify 2nd. Ken Simard lead with Tommy Jones in 3rd, Randy Weiss in 4th and Bob Learn Jr. in 5th.

Bob Learn Jr. won the 1st match over Randy Weiss 245-225. Bob then beat Tommy Jones 245-225. Since I was not very happy with my reaction the last couple of games I decided to try something different. I had moved into about 23 and 22 at the arrows still going fairly straight.
I decided to try a different ball   (#0059) which is a reactive ball and grabs the lane just a bit more. I also moved way left and put as much side roll on the ball as I can. I ended up playing just right of 30 going right. Apparently the lanes broke down after Bob's win as he went high on several shots. He struggled to a 185 game while I finished strong with a 236. In the match with Ken, he also had trouble getting lined up while I was in the pocket most every shot. After Ken had a couple of opens he started striking, but I had enough of a lead to win the match 236-211 and win for the 2nd week in a row!

WRW X X X X9/ X X9/ XX72 244
RW 9/ X X X9/ X X X X9/X 248

RS X9/ X X9/ X X9/5/XX8 221
WRW X X9/81 X X X X9/XXX 235

WRW 7/9/7/ X X X9/9/ XXXX 234
KR 8/ X9/9/8/ X72 X71X62 169

MW X715/ X X X X X7/XXX 233
/tr>
WRW X9/ X X9/7/ X8/ X72 194<

WRW 9/8/ X9/ X9/ X X9/XXX 217
JT 9/ X X9/ X8-81819/8- 159

GS 8/ X9/7/7/ X8/9/ X9/X 193
WRW 9/9/ X9/8/8/9/9/ XXX8 211

WRW X X7/ X9/8/ X X X9/7 221
CG 9/9- X X9/8/ X X XXXX 235

JM 9/ X X X X X X X8/9/6 253
WRW X8/ X X X X X9/7/X9/ 236

KS X X9/ X9/8/ X9/ X9- 195
WRW X53 X X X7/ X X XXXX 243

WRW X X X X81 X X X XXXX 266
DW 9/538/ X7281819/ XX9- 157

SM 54 X8/ X X X9/8/9/9/8 202
WRW 8/ X81 X9/ X9/9/ XXXX 207

WRW 9/9/9/ X X9/ X X X9/X 226
DP X81 X X X X X X7272 212

WRW X9/818/9/ X X X9/XXX 215
DM 8/ X819/9/819/9/9/X63 171

BL 819/ X9/9/ X X X9/XXX 217
WRW 9/ X X X9/ X8/ X XXX9 248

WRW 9/72 X7/ X9/8/ X8/9/X 183
TJ X9/8/ X X8/ X X XXXX 246

KS 9/ X X X X81 X729/9- 192
WRW 9/ X9/ X X9/ X8/ X9/X 209


Stepladder games:
BL 8/9/ X8/ X9/ X81 X8/8 185
WRW 9/ X X9/9/ X9/ X XXX8 236

KS 9/718/ X X819/ X XXXX 211
WRW X9/ X9/ X X X X X6/X 236


I had 127 strikes in 207 shots in the 18 games. (I had 5 strikes when I missed the pocket, all 5 were very high or crossed over).
My strike % on pocket shots was 122 of 166 or 73%.
I had 7 opens. 6 splits (3-10, 4-6-7,4-6-7-9-10,3-10,4-6,2-10) and one missed spare, 2-5-8.
I did miss the pocket 41 times, which was pretty good. Fortunately I didn't have many opens.

My opponents had 102 strikes in 202 shots in the 18 games. (They had 5 strikes when missing the pocket).
Their strike % on pocket hits was 97 out of 131 or 74%.
They had 26 opens. 14 splits (2-4-10, 2-7-10, 4-6-7, 2-10, 4-6-7-9-10, 4-6-7, rip 7-10, 2-10, 4-6-7, 3-10, 4-6, 3-10, 4-7-9, 6-7) and 12 missed spares (5-9, 1-2, 3-6, 4, 7, 3-5-6-9-10 (L), 3-5 (L), 2-4-8 (L), 3-6, 2-5, 3-6-10, 4). And they picked up 7 splits and washouts: 1-2-4-6-10 (twice), 2-10, 3-10, 2-10, 3-10, 3-10.

Walter Ray