UPDATED 5-14-2002
Here is my report of the PBA regional tournament from Matthews, NC. It is a beautiful bowling center with 36 regular lanes and 24 additional lanes used mainly for cosmic bowling.

There were 2 squads of players bowling 8 game sets. I was on the 'B' squad which started at 4 pm on Sat. 'A' squad started at 9 am. The lanes were stripped and re-oiled so that the players on each squad were playing under similar conditions. Since we only access to 36 lanes and there was over 160 entries, there were 5 players on most of the pairs which slowed the pace of play a bit. Also with over 144 players in the field the finals was cutting to the top 24 instead of the normal 16. Again the scores were pretty low as 12th place on 'A' squad was +18. Our squad bowled better and ended up pushing the finals number up to +48. Patrick Allen led the qualifiers with +273.

The lefties were doing pretty well, but I had a pretty decent reaction going up 3 with a shiny particle ball    (#0201). The 1st game I missed the pocket in the 2nd frame leaving the 2-5-8 which I chopped. I then had a 4 bagger followed by a rip 7-10. A turkey and a 4-9 in the 10th frame gave me a 216 game. The 2nd game I had a little trouble getting lined up as I wasn't trusting myself and missed the pocket 6 times. I missed the 2-4-10, 2-8 and the 2-4-8-10. I had one double to shoot 170.

I went to a reactive ball in the middle of the 2nd game   (#0059) and stayed with the rest of the block. The next game I had a little better reaction and had a solid 8 followed by 5 great strikes. I then pulled 3 of my next 4 shots and went light on the other one. I left the 4-6-7-10 to mess up what should have been a great game to shoot 219. The next game I started with the front 9 tripping the 4-7-10 in the 4th frame. I tugged the shot in the 10th frame leaving the 3-10 which I picked up.

In the 5th game I had a double, solid 10, and a 4 bagger before going high and leaving the 7 pin. I struck out tripping the 4-7-10 on my fill ball to shoot 258. The 6th game I bowled pretty solid only missing the pocket once when I left the 3-6-10. A double and a 4 bagger helped me shoot 235. The last 2 games I started to have a bit of trouble as I missed the pocket 4 and 3 times, but fortunately I was able to have no opens and had a double and turkey the 7th game for 225 and a turkey the last game for 216. I did pick up the 3-10 in the 10th frame of the last game. The last couple of games I moved a bit right and was playing up 2 and for some reason I kept tugging the ball.

9/72 X X X X8- X XX8- 216
719/9/9/817/ X63 XX9/ 170
9/ X X X X X8/9/8/62 219
X X X X X X X X X8/X 278
X X9/ X X X X9/ XXXX 258
X X9/ X9/7/ X X XX9/ 235
X8/ X9/ X X9/ X XX72 225
X X X9/ X9/9/8/ X8/X 216

I had 55 strikes in 88 shots. (I had 2 strikes when I missed the pocket, both tripped 4-7-10's. My strike % on pocket shots was 53 of 65 or 82%. I had 6 opens. 4 splits (a rip 7-10, 2-4-10, 2-4-8-10, and a 4-6-7-10) and I chopped the 2-5-8 and missed the 2-8. I did miss the pocket 23 times, which I felt was quite a bit for me on this particular condition, but when I did hit the pocket it was usually flush and struck.

In match play there are 16 games before the step ladder where the top 5 will compete for the title.

I decided to play up 3 with the same ball I used in the last 6 & games in qualifying. My first match was against Keith Lesko. Keith bowled a great game as he struck on 8 of his first 9 shots leaving a solid 9 pin in the 3rd frame. He opened in the 10th to beat me 245-218 as I could only manage a turkey. In the 2nd game I bowled Doug Becker. He started with the first 8 strikes with one crossing over and another tripping the 3 pin (he is a lefty). I only missed the pocket once leaving the 4-6-7-10 and was tapped 6 times in the game to get wiped out 268-181. I had a little trouble getting started in the 3rd game as one of the lanes on the pair was quite a bit tighter. I tripped the 2 pin in the 3rd frame after missing the 2-4-6-10 in the 1st frame and sparing the 3-6-10. I then left the 4-9 in the 4th frame which I picked up. My opponent Andy Zook bowled a solid game only missing the pocket once. I struck out from the 7th frame to shoot 227, but Andy had a 237 to beat me.

In the 4th game I bowled Shawn Evans. Again I had a slow start as one of the lanes was quite a bit tighter and I started striking in the 6th frame. Shawn had an early double and then started striking in the 8th frame. Fortunately I won 244-235. I bowled Jeff Himes in the 5th game and started with the front 9 going high in the 10th frame to shoot 278. Jeff made several bad shots to shoot 193. In the 6th game I bowled Neil Croinex. He started out with 3 strikes, but then had trouble as he was constantly pulling the ball. I got only missed the pocket once and shot a very nice 247 to Neil's 224. In the 7th game I had a bit of trouble striking. Robert Way bowled a good game except for missing to 7 pins that he left (he is a lefty). Robert beat me 213-194. In the 8th game I bowled a very nice game after I went high in the 1st two frames leaving the 4-7-10 and tripping the 4-7-10 for a strike. Mac Saunders was having quite a bit of trouble and continued against me as I won easily 258-177. I was in 2nd place after the morning block with Patrick Allen leading by over 200 pins. I felt like I had a better reaction, but a few of the lanes were playing different forcing me to figure the lanes out after the first few frames.

My 9th game was against Jason Hurd. He didn't bowl very well in the morning, but usually bowls better in the latter rounds. I had trouble in my 1st and 3rd frames after the 10 minutes of practice which is kind of sad. Fortunately I strung 6 strikes in a row after my open in the 1st frame and won 237-185 as Jason continued to struggle against me. Jason did start bowling much better later on in the round. Game 10 was against Buddy Bunford. Buddy had a lot of trouble as he missed the pocket 8 times against me. I never missed the pocket, but was only able to get 2 doubles and I won 216-169. In the 11th game I bowled Jeff Schrum and he also had a lot of trouble missing the pocket 5 times. I threw a couple of bad shots, but did manage a 4 bagger and a double to win 237-162. I bowled Tommy Jones in the 12th game. I started with the first 6 strikes. Tommy chopped the 3-6-10 in the 2nd frame and came back with a turkey. I threw a bad shot in the 7th frame leaving a 4-6-10 which I missed. Tommy struck out to his fill ball shooting 243. I needed a double at the end of the game, but left weak 10's in the 8th and 10th frames to loose 243-235.

In game 13 Jeff Leaphart started with the front 9 before leaving a weak 7 pin against me while I finished with 8 strikes. I lost 278-260. Game 14 was against Billy Rhode. He only started with the front 8 against me before leaving a 6 pin (he is also a lefty). I started by going high in the first 2 frames including a 4-6-10 in the 2nd. I had a 6 bagger, but it wasn't enough as I lost 279-233. I bowled Chris Hayden in game 15 and it was obvious that I needed to bowl better. Chris had a decent game shooting 246, but I struck out from the 3rd frame to win with a 278. In the position round I was matched up against Patrick Allen. He was leading by over 200 pins and I was ahead of 2nd place by about 150 pins so we were pretty much set in our positions. But we were bowling for our pride and I bowled a great game. I left a solid 10 in the 6th frame after a 5 bagger. Patrick started with an 8 bagger before leaving a rip 7-10. Unfortunately I left a 4 pin and a 10 pin in the 10th frame to shoot 257 and Patrick struck out to shoot 266. Chris Collins squeaked into the top 5 by virtue of his good bowling and Niel Croinex (a lefty) leaving a 6 pin on his first shot in the 10th frame to fall 6 pins short. Doug Becker shot 268 the last game to pass Neil and Chris while Billy Rohde shot 279 to stay in 3rd place.

In the stepladder, Chris Collins beat Doug Becker 245-192 with the help of the first 6 strikes. Billy Rohde turned the tide on Chris as he had 8 strikes of the first 9 shots to win 257-205. I was fortunate to have the front 9 against Billy to win easily 279-221. In the title match, Patrick had trouble and only shot 158. I bowled a solid game leaving 3 taps shooting 238 to win the title. Even though the overall scores were down I had a great reaction throwing the ball fairly straight up the channel. Patrick bowled great again and I was very surprised to see him struggle in the match against me.

WRW 8/ X9/ X X X9/ X9/9/X 218
KL X X9/ X X X X X X81 245

DB X X X X X X X X8/X9/ 268
WRW X9/9/ X9/9/619/ X9/X 181

WRW 617/ X8/ X9/ X X XXXX 227
AZ X9/ X X9/ X8/ X XXX8 237

SE X9/9/ X X8/9/ X XXX9 235
WRW 9/5/ X9/9/ X X X XXXX 244

WRW X X X X X X X X X8/X 278
JH 8/8/ X9- X X9/9/9/X9/ 193

NC X X X8/ X8/8/ X X9/9 224
WRW X9/8/ X X X X9/ XXXX 247

WRW X8/ X X9/ X9/729/9/X 194
RW X X X8/ X X X9- X9- 213

MS 9/ X8/ X8/ X6/ X8172 177
WRW 72 X X X X X X9/ XXXX 258

WRW 72 X6/ X X X X X X8/X 237
JH 9/ X9/ X8/ X72 X9/7/X 185

BB 728/ X6/9/629/ X81XX9 169
WRW 9/ X X9/9/9/ X X9/X9/ 216

WRW 9/ X X X X8/ X X9/X9/ 237
JS X9/538171 X X X62X9/ 162

TJ X71 X X X9/ X X XXX8 243
WRW X X X X X X729/ X9/X 235

WRW X9/ X9/ X X X X XXXX 260
JL X X X X X X X X X9/9 278

BR X X X X X X X X9/XXX 279
WRW 8/71 X9/ X X X X XX81 233

WRW 7/8/ X X X X X X XXXX 278
CH 9/ X X X9/8/9/ X XXXX 246

PA X X X X X X X X81XXX 266
WRW X X X X X9/ X X X9/9 257

Step-ladder matches:
BR X X8/8/ X X9/9/ XX81 221
WRW X X X X X X X X X9/X 279

WRW X9/ X X9/ X X9/ XXXX 238
PA 9/ X8/6/ X81 X8- X63 158

I had 142 strikes out of 205 shots in my matches. 4 strikes while missing the pocket, 3 tripped 4-7-10's and rolled 2 pin.
My strike % on pocket shots was 138 out of 178 (78%) pocket shots as I missed the pocket 27 times in the 18 games.
I had 7 opens in the 18 games; all 7 were splits (4-6-7-10, 2-4-6-10, 4-6-7, 4-7-10, 4-6-7, 4-6-10, 4-6-10).
I did pick two splits, a 4-9 and a 6-7 on the fill ball. I also picked up the 1-2-4-8-10.

My opponents had 124 strikes out of 201 shots. 9 of those strikes were while missing the pocket.
Their strike % on pocket shots was 115 out of 143 (80%) pocket shots as they missed the pocket 58 times.
They had 19 opens; 9 splits (2-8-10, 4-6-7, 2-4-10, 6-7, 2-10, 3-4-7, 2-4-6-10, two 7-10's) and 10 missed spares (3-6, 7, 7, 7, 6-10, 3-6-9-10, 1-2-4-6-10, 3-6-10, 6-10, 2-4-7-8)
They also picked up a couple of splits (2-4-10 and 2-4-8-10).

Even though most of the players had difficulty hitting the pocket, I had a very good reaction playing right up the channel. The lanes seemed to be a little bit tighter during qualifying and in the finals a few of the lanes played a few boards different. This kept some of the scores a little bit lower. The pair used for the step-ladder was also the same pair Patrick Allen and I bowled each other in the position round. I was playing the left lane up 2 while I was going up 4 on the right lane. Since I was able to have practice shots to get lined up, I didn't have to waste shots getting lined up during the game.

Walter Ray