Sunday, March 14, 2010

Final Thoughts on the Brunswick Euro Challenge

I could be wrong, but I don't think the best bowlers in the Brunswick Euro Challenge made it past the Round of 8 and into the stepladder finals. That is, Norm Duke lost his Round of 8 match, defending champion Mike Fagan lost his, and Osku Palermaa lost his.

When the pin dust settled and the final results were decided, England's Rob Thurlby had beaten Mayalsian Adrian Ang 253-248 for the championship and the 13,000 Euro top prize, and, incidentally, Parker Bohn won the 300 game pot I had previously, and, as it turns out, erroneously reported that he didn't enter. Click here to get the rundown on all the finals bracket and stepladder matches as well as to see high quality video of bracket and stepladder matches and the 300-Game Pot Play Shootout finale.

When it comes to tournaments, I like to see the best bowlers win. And if I can't see the best bowlers win, at least I want to see the players who bowled best throughout the tournament win. Unfortunately, bracket single elimination matches don't seem to me to be the best way to accomplish this, especially when someone has to win only two games to advance. At the very least, I'd like to see best-of-five or even best-of-seven game matches. Anything less risks prematurely eliminating a bowler who either had a momentary hiccup in his game or ran into a luck-powered buzzsaw for a couple of games.

However, I think an even better approach would be to have round-robin match play among the top 16 or 24 with bonus pins awarded to the winner of each match to decide who makes it to the stepladder final. I think this has the best chance of placing those who bowled best throughout the tournament in the finals. But I guess the tournament officials are more concerned with expedience or, more forgivably, the demands of television broadcasts than they are with putting the best overall performers in the finals.

Nevertheless, it's interesting to speculate on who would have made it to the finals had the tournament followed one of my recommendations. I personally think Duke, Fagan, O'Neill, and Palermaa might all have made it. If you compare their games to those of the European and Malaysian finalists, I think you'd have to say that the PBA stars and the "twin gripping" Fin have superior games, one aspect of which is their ability to make adjustments on challenging conditions. But they didn't have enough of an opportunity during yesterday's strikefest on what appeared to be a pretty "forgiving" pattern to show it.

What do you think? Do you think the oil pattern and match play format should be tweaked to put the most deserving players in the finals, or do you like things the way they are? Also, do you think the female bowlers should be given 8 pins per game of handicap?

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