Left to Right: Coach Fran Varin, Coach Courtney Parenteau, Rebekah Varin (2nd place), Yousef El-laham (1st place), Jermaine Dumond (3rd place), Coach Ed Ianni
The RI Flyers completed another successful Summer season offering a challenging Scratch Sport league. Contested again this year using the difficult WTBA patterns, the league experienced an influx of new Junior bowlers. One encouraging sign from this year’s field was the number of young ladies participating in the league. This year ten young ladies rounded out the talented field.
The RI Flyers have become known for offering a format which challenges the young bowlers while also educating them on how to compete on such conditions. This season was no exception. The first half of the season is focused on preparing the bowlers for competing at the annual National Junior Gold tournament. The second half focuses on competing while preparing for the tournament at the end of the Summer league season and earning the right to be crowned league champion.
The pattern for the league’s finale is not disclosed before the tournament forcing players to get lined up within just the 10 minute practice before the first block. This year the left hand lane of each pair was dressed with the 36′ WTBA Beijing pattern and the Right Lane used the 48′ WTBA Paris pattern. This very challenging shot places a premium on the bowlers ability to manage two entirely different ball reactions. Most bowlers used outside lines on the left lane and tight inside lines on the right lane. Additionally, the bowlers also used different equipment on both lanes and had to react to different breakdowns in the patterns. As if that was not tough enough, bowlers changed pairs after each game.
The tournament format left no room for error placing a premium on the value of each shot. Bowlers first must qualify for the tournament based on participation throughout the league season. This year’s format was a two game block which cut to half the field based on total scratch pin fall. Next, another two games tacked on to the tally cut the field to the top four bowlers. Followed by a traditional stepladder final until only one remains.
This year the competition was fierce. Rebekah Varin lead the field in the first two game qualifying block by scoring 215 and 237. Her two game total of 452 (226 avg.) seperated her from the pack and all but guaranteed her a slot in the final. In addition to Rebekah those surviving the first cut included: Yousef El-laham, Nick Sauve, Jermaine Dumond, Tori Porter, and Katy Barnes. Caitlyn Barone missed the first cut by a narrow three pins.
Yousef El-laham (832, 208 avg.) was able to catch Rebekah Varin (818, 205 avg.) and claim first seed for the stepladder final. Rebekah remained solidly as second seed. Nick Sauve claimed third seed and Jermaine Dumond was able to overcome a slow start to slip into fourth.
In the first round of match play Jermaine Dumond and Nick Sauve contested a very close match until the final two frames where Sauve paid the price for an errant shot and fell to Dumond 191-171. In the next match the lanes began to transition very quickly as Jermaine Dumond and Rebekah Varin went head to head. The match went back and forth as both players traded shots. Ultimately, Varin was able to put several strikes together late and took advantage of a bad break suffered by Dumond for the 197-161 win.
The championship match pitted two of the RI Flyers veterans against one another. By the time the match started the shot on both lanes had deteriorated significantly and the scoring pace reflected that fact. It was clear by the first few frames that the player who could get the right breaks and grind it out would emerge the victor. Both players missed several opportunities to break the game open and in the end El-laham out scored Varin 150-132 thus, claiming the 2012 RI Flyers Summer Sport Challenge Championship title.
Fran Varin is a USBC Silver certified coach who coaches throughout Rhode Island. He is also a coach for the Rhode Island Flyers and Bryant University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org