2016 Senior European Championships, Denmark
3 Golds, 2 Silvers, 2 Bronzes and 3 Masters Medals Haul
Team Manager, Eric Harvey writes:
"Home from the 2016 European Senior Bowling Championships in Denmark, the 20hr journey via Eindhoven Airport will not take away the pleasure of spending a week with a great group of bowlers and supporters. They jelled together to make a happy but focused squad both on and off the lanes. As always I feel for those who were disappointed with their performance over the week but overjoyed for those that mastered the lanes.
A total of 3 Golds, 2 Silver & 2 Bronze medals and 3 Masters ETBF medals was our reward for the effort and commitment given by all.
No need to list all the scores as I'm sure you have already seen them (if not they are on the ESBC 2016 website) I will however mention Larry Exell who bowled a 259, if it wasn't for a couple of ringing 10 pins it would have been a perfect 300. This put him high game bowler of Storm Senior Team England.
It has been said many times this week but once more will not hurt. Thanks to Sandra Boswell, Jan & Keith Hodge, Liz & Ron Griffin, Diane & Kim Johnson, Dee & Phil Dyke, Nicky Prout & Steve Fortt, Paul Morris, Larry Exell, Gordon & Lynn Humphries, Barry & Ali Walker, Lol & Joan Ellis. Without their co-operation, help and support the experience would have been so different. A special thanks to Ron Griffin, without his tireless endeavour to rearrange our cancelled flights, we might have been stranded in Copenhagen for days. On the positive side, what a celebration party we would have had."
'Rookie' Senior Team England team member Paul Morris reports:
Day 1. Saturday
We all arrived at the Luton Airport for 5am as requested by the team manager (who incidentally was last there at 5.05am) All got through security, breakfast beckoned, this was to consist of a rubbery sausage baguette with Kim and Diane. We then went to gate 7 for boarding. The gate number did change from 3 to 7 soon after it was shown, Lol didn't realise and they almost got on a plane to Majorca, now that would have been embarrassing!!!
Once we had all been seated and started taxiing out for take-off that was me gone, I couldn't stay awake long enough to see take off - dead to the world is the term that springs to mind. Well I hadn't had any sleep Friday night coz I spent most of that running my daughter around as it was her prom night and party etc.
Arrived in Copenhagen on time at around 9.30am had a short wait before boarding the coach to the hotel, again a short sleep was grabbed. Up to the rooms, bags in, change and back down for a team meeting at 12.30pm all the do's and don'ts sorted and wander down to the shopping centre where we found a small cafe for lunch.
The opening ceremony was at a local sports stadium that could hold the 900+ bowlers and guests, once the formalities had been done a small buffet had been laid on with free bar for those who wished to participate. The team decided to call it a night at about 9pm but had to order taxi's as the coaches were not due for another hour or so, this turned into a bit of a farce as others pinched the ones we had ordered!!
Eric suggested that he and I should go back in and socialise, this turned out to be a good move as we bumped into Larry who was looking a little lost (in Larryland) as I don't think he realised the team was outside waiting for taxi's. The coach back was great as the three of us had it to ourselves......brilliant, we had a nightcap in the hotel bar and then turned in for a well earnt kip.
Day 2. Sunday
Sunday, and the bowling starts early for Jan and Sandra. They’re playing doubles in one centre, while Lol, Barry and Gordon are bowling in another.
I then followed Diane, Nicky and Dee to the same centre as the men to support the girls before bowling with Kim and Larry later on in the trios.
Our first men's team didn’t start at all well, although Eric thought it was a wind up going on when he noticed at the end of practice that Lol was wearing his flag shirt, and Gordon & Barry had their Lion shirts on!! Lol should have had his lion shirt on. His excuse was he thought Eric had said lines, so Lol wore the flag shirt. What Eric had actually said was Lion shirt!!! Lol ended up wearing Eric's Lion shirt. At least Lol wasn't cramped in it!!! In the end they didn’t do too bad and finished with a score that put them in second place.
Jan and Sandra came in after lunch having topped their doubles group that morning. They had shot 2288 for their 6 games. Great bowling Ladies.
6.30pm arrived and it was time for my first outing as a Storm Senior Team England Bowler, it did not start too well, but after a few words with Eric we turned it around.
As a team we started with a 562 game, the next three were 661, 684 & 646 things were looking good, and the rest of the squad, who were supporting us from behind the lanes were starting to find their voices! Those that were in the cheap seats at the back even started a Mexican Wave after every strike, they must've been pretty knackered by the end of it as we kept the strikes coming thick and fast, especially Larry who was starting to get the strikes from just about everywhere on the lane, this kept the supporters in a very jovial mood!!
I think the only ball that Larry threw and knew where it was going was the one he threw down the gutter to clear a pin out.
We'd had few breakdowns up to this point so time wise it was getting late, but the support wasn't going anywhere, and if anything it was getting louder, other teams were joining in the banter, the waves were getting bigger and the strikes were getting dodgier!
The scoring had dropped a little but we still finished with reasonable games of 589 & 587. This gave us an overall total of 3723 and into top spot. Well done boys.
It was great fun, the team spirit was brilliant and the support from the rest was awesome - Thanks to all that stayed.
It was now 11-50pm and we were being ushered out quickly as the buses wanted to go!! Again we had a bus to ourselves back to the hotel where they were about to close the bar, but with a little bit of sweet talking from Eric to the night manager we managed to get a well earnt nightcap, happy days.
Day 3. Monday
Monday was a day off for me and we had been told that we did not have to be at the bowl if we were not bowling. I decided to have a lazy breakfast and make my way to the bowl to support my Trios buddy Kim, while he bowled his singles at lunchtime. Kim bowled 1190 that could easily have been 60/70 better on another day.
After Kim had finished bowling a few of us decided it was not worth going back to the hotel. Therefore, myself, Lol, Joan and Eric spent the next few hours chilling and chatting while the next squad played their singles.
Lol spent most of that time wondering who the 86yr old with a 21 handicap was?
It was relentless and Joan was just hoping that he wasn't up against Lol on the same lanes as she wouldn't have been able to contain herself!!!!!!
While Lol was then practicing, we thought we may have found him on the lanes next to us, only to be told he was only 82.
So we now know he has bowled but not who he is!!!!! The mystery continues.
Lol bowled steady throughout his games and finished with 1294. All games being over.
We all got back to the hotel just as England were about to lose to Iceland, we did not miss much apparently!!!
While we were watching the footy Diane and Liz arrived back and told us that they had finished in second place to Jan and Sandra albeit about 90 pins down, but more importantly 2 pins better off than one of the teams from Finland. Well bowled Ladies.
Once the football had finished it remained quiet and all had an early night, as myself and Kim had an early start the following morning for our doubles. The coach was leaving at 7-15am so breakfast was to be at 6-30am.
Day 4. Tuesday
Arrived at Lanes and Lounges bowl centre just before 8-30am. We went straight in and got ready for the 9am squad of doubles. It wasn't our best start but we managed to pick it up as the games went on. We got to 63 over for the first 3 games. Moved to the next pair of lanes which played quicker than expected. I was constantly trying to get some carry, but managed to stay fairly clean. Kim had some issues with the first few frames of each of these games but finished them well. Had he started as he finished his scores would have taken him at a guess to 150 over instead of 63 over, still great scoring tho'. I managed to keep myself out of trouble but while doing so I'm afraid I threw several shots that Larry would of been proud of!!
We finished with 2465 which puts us in top spot. Another good day on the lanes, with a great guy and bowler, a pleasure bowling with you Kim.
Barry and Gordon were next to bowl the doubles. There was some steady bowling from them both but they had a lousy game 2 - 325 to be precise which probably cost them a shout at taking top spot from us. Their score of 2382 was enough to take 3rd place for the time being.
It is now only moments away - the Larry and Lol show!!
But just before that we noticed that Lol had lost his top spot in the singles to Israel Tener from Israel. I then just happen to look at when he would be playing other events but we couldn't find out anything about any of these guys from Israel as they were not showing up as being registered. One page on the official website came up with a 404 error!! Their upcoming events just had dashes where the player’s names should have been. Eric is now on a mission to find out why none of them are registered, even if it’s just out of curiosity.
Anyway, back to the bowling with Lol and Larry, we knew they were in with a shout if they bowled at par pace as current leaders were almost 150 under. They started under par, but pulled that around over the next two games to be over par. A couple of steady games to finish and they posted 2411. Well bowled.
Got back to the Hotel at a reasonable hour and decided to go out for something to eat, so off we marched to a pizza place down the road. What a good decision that was as we all enjoyed our meal and at a reasonable price.
Most of the people turned in around midnight …. I think. Myself and Eric decided to stay and chat a little longer, aided by Sandra who twisted our arms to another drink, we finally went up at 3 in the morning!!!! Good job we weren’t bowling early the following day.
Day 5. Wednesday
Wednesday came for me in the singles at Bowlernes Hal and it turned out to be a real grind, throughout the 6 games I couldn't carry for anything, lots of ten pins, four pins and a couple of eight pins to boot! I felt I had bowled really well for an 1174, which had just one 200 game (243).
That put me into third place in the all events, but I felt at the time that that may not be enough as there were 3 or 4 players still to go with a better average. Only time will tell.
Barry followed on at 4pm with his singles. He found the going real hard and had no luck whatsoever. He left a couple of 7 - 10's which apparently took his total to 9 for the week.
He had an overall total of 1087 with only one 200 game.
That evening we decided we were going to eat in the hotel restaurant, but to our amazement they could not do an omelette for Ali who's a veggie, Ali decided they would go elsewhere, which the rest of us decided to do the same.
We had a wander down the road to same pizza establishment that we had used the night before. It was the right thing to do as the food was very good, plus it only cost us just under £20 each which included drinks and tip. The hotel would have been that just for the meal alone.
Day 6. Thursday
Thursday was a day off for me so I decided on a late breakfast and the to chill in the room for a few hours before getting the bus to the bowl to see how Larry had got on and then watch Gordon in his singles. I saw Gordon before he left the hotel and he told me he had texted Eric asking "how's things in Larry Land"? The answer that came back was "the wheels on the bus have now fallen off" ......... (the wheels on the bus was Lynn Humphries theme tune all week).
Got to the bowl to be told by Eric that Larry playing straight down third arrow throw the ball into the ditch – Larry “Wellsy” Exell!!!!
Gordon goes on for his first three games of six and shoots 719.
I'm thinking bugger he only needs another 544 and he will knock me out of the Masters.
It was a case of mixed feelings, because obviously I wanted to bowl the Masters but Gordon only needed to shoot a 650, which was obviously well within his grasp and he would win Gold.
The way he was bowling this looked as though it would just be a formality, how wrong can you be. He struggled with the approaches after moving which put his timing way out and he could only shoot 516, we were all shocked. At the end of day he had only missed beating me and getting into the Masters by 27 pins!
It was now a waiting game for me to see if I kept my place in the Masters, as there were 2 more bowlers that could still overtake me.
By the time all the scheduled bowling had taken place I had been knocked down to 6th place and there was just one Swedish bowler who was bowling tonight in the Trios who could overtake me.
Well nothing else we could do about it so it was back to the Hotel, to get ready for our meal out back at the pizza place, all 20 of us, should be good for a giggle.
We were also told about our flight cancellation. Apparently Easy Jet had just cancelled our flight due to Operational Issues. Ron told us the BTBA was on the case and would let us know in due course what was going to happen.
Well the whole squad went out to the Pizza place that evening. To make life easier with the meal orders Eric suggested that we just order by the number as the waitress was having problems with the English, this still took a time as some gave their meal number but then asked for variations, which confused the waitress even more. Eventually everybody had ordered, but what were the odds of everyone getting what they wanted?? Unfortunately, about 2 hours later a couple of people still had not had their meal, which obviously did not go down too well.
While all this was going on I was keeping an eye to the scores from those trios that were happening tonight. Lol eventually saw the up to date scores and I had made the Masters in 6th place, happy days.
Kim, Lol, Jan and Sandra also made the Masters in their group. Ah well back to the hotel for a quick drink and an early night.
Day 7. Friday
We had to be at the bowl for 8-30am, Ladies up first and then the men at about 11am.
Jan and Sandra had to play each other first; Sandra won this one, but could only manage 920 for her 5 games which left her in 4th place overall. Jan faired a lot better and managed 1014 for 5 – Top lady for those 5 games, but unfortunately not quite enough for top spot and finished in 2nd for a silver medal.
It was then the turn of the men. I had Eric behind my lane with me while Kim teamed up with Gordon and Lol with Barry. In my group there was only 96 pins different between 1st and 6th so not a massive mountain to climb. I started off solid but could not carry the 10 pin and left 5/6 of them, this put me a further 25 pins adrift. I continued to throw the best I could and only missed one spare that cost me a game. When all was done I thought I had finished 5th, so improved by a position. I said to Eric that I am happy with that, and had I finished 4th I would have been saying what if this and what if that, so happy with 5th. Then I saw the final result sheet and once all the bonuses had been put in I had actually finished 4th!! – so much for what I said to Eric.
Seriously, no complaints as I finished 2nd high scorer of the 6 with 1049 and an average of 210, can’t do much better than that.
To finish 4th out of 178 bowlers, on my first outing as a Senior Team England Bowler, isn’t bad.
We also finished 1st in the Trios out of 213 teams, and 3rd out of 124 pairings. Not a bad week’s work.
The Medal ceremony followed soon afterwards with Storm Senior Team England collecting 4 Golds, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze and 3 ETBF medals as their rewards. Once the formalities had finished it was back to the hotel to get ready for the evening banquet.
Before that we had a short meeting with Ron to find out what was occurring about our flights home etc. Ron was on the case and would let us know asap.
The Banquet was held at the same place as the opening ceremony and considering how many people were there went pretty smoothly. We had some money left over from the previous evenings meal which paid for some drinks tokens, along with the wine on the table enough to keep us going.
The coach journey back that evening was standing room only for some, but still it got us back safe and sound. We finished the evening with a last celebration drink, which wasn’t a late one as we had to be up at 5am to get the 6am coach to the airport.
Day 8, Saturday
There were about 10 of us who were going to fly to Eindhoven airport, then on to Stanstead and a cab to Luton where cars were and where myself and Larry were being picked up from. The flight from Copenhagen was a short one but the worst part was the 10 hour wait at Eindhoven waiting for the connecting flight to Stanstead. We just found a nice area on the kids table for all ten of us, so we set up camp and waited, it wasn’t too bad. We eventually took off about 9-30pm I think and touched down at 9-45pm GMT. We then had to get the cab that had been provided to the hotel where Baz and Ali’s car was, this would also avoid having to pay for being dropped off and picked up at the airport.
We eventually got to the hotel in Luton and our lift was there as well, great another hour and I could be home, well that was not the case, as Larry was driving home and he missed the M25 turn off and we ended up in Watford…………………he was still in Larryland and I suppose he always will be.
Well that is all, I hope you all have a good read and it brings back some great memories.
Thanks to ALL who made my First Senior Team England trip a great experience and to Storm for their support to Team England Bowling.
Supporter Ali Walker reports:
As a supporter at the 25th European Senior Bowling Championship in Copenhagen I think I went through as much emotion as the players themselves! Every ball bowled by every member of Storm Senior Team England filled me with a huge sense of pride; their want to win was evident and the hard work they had put in before attending the Championship really paid off. The atmosphere behind the lanes was electric at times. Shouting for England, encouraging and willing them on, was fantastic and always done in a spirit of sportsmanship.
But I guess what stood out the most for me was the camaraderie of the Squad; every player stood behind each other and gave support, encouragement and drive to be the best they could be. This became evident with the number of medals Storm Senior Team England brought home. Being at the medal ceremony was quite emotional and I must admit that at times I found it a struggle to keep singing the National Anthem as I had a huge lump in my throat!! All I can say is thank you to the BTBA for their support throughout this Championship and to the ESBC for their impeccable organisation of this event. But most importantly, a massive thank you to Storm Senior Team England for making this such a special and memorable experience.