At the Barnsley Metrodome , Team USA showed off their massively changed line-up, which included current Bowler of the Year EJ Tickets and the 2011-12 PBA Player of the Year, Sean Rash. The captain suggested a new curfew for the youngsters of the team, with the other three members of team USA being at least 9 years his junior but was encouraged by their “nothing to lose” attitude. He had a right to be encouraged as he left the first session 4-3 ahead. They encountered a European team made up of an experienced team, the same which dominated last year’s Weber Cup 19-11.
The first match showed how experience isn’t everything as uncapped captain Sean Rash lead USA to a resounding victory in the team event, beating out the EU team 289 to 255. Kyle Troup, one of the two surviving members from the 2016 Weber Cup, shone as he finished the final frame in style where as experienced Team EU members Stuart Williams and Martin Larsen failed to put in the performance needed to get the win.
He once again starred against a lackluster Dom Barrett, who struggled until his ball change late in the game. Troup, though calm and composed showed off his humorous nature as he produced two American flags from his back pockets to celebrate a incredibly fortunate strike early on. It didn’t stop him remaining focused on the task at hand as he capitalised on the Englishman’s poor singles performance. He finished off the game with an impressive 278-232 score line, easily overcoming Barrett.
However, 22 year old Jesper Svensson was able to overwhelm Current PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett in his first singles game of the tournament. Tackett got some unlucky breaks and was unable to get back into the game after Svensson continued his onslaught. After his debut in last year’s Weber Cup, he remains undefeated in his Weber Cup career after the young Swede beat Tackett 278-247 to cut the Americans’ lead to 2-1 after 3 games.
The other Swede in the lineup, 37 year old Martin Larsen faced off against USA captain Sean Rash in a fiercely contested match which could be considered the most exciting of the session. Both men looked like they could win it as the match went on. Both made mistakes but it was Martin Larsen who hit the 1-3 pocket wrong and only took 6 in the first ball before sparing. It looked to be the end until the eighth frame where Rash bowled two 9 spares however it counted for nothing as Larsen hit a 9 spare in the ninth frame and the final ball by Rash finished the game, even when Larsen was able to match his strike. USA were obviously ecstatic as they congratulated captain Rash as he restored America’s lead to 3-1.
The only two players yet to bowl a singles game were up next with 36 year old Stuart Williams facing off against the 2014 Harry Golden Rookie of the Year, Marshall Kent. Both started off with a lucky strike but it was Englishman Stuart William who had the worse of the luck as he was unable to get the pins to fall his way as he was only able to spare until the sixth frame but it was too late. Although Washington born Kent was unable to spare in the third frame, only getting a 6 and a 3, he struck out until the final frame. He even stated to the crowd that he “needs the practice”, getting a spare in the tenth. Kent was able to extend the lead to 4-1 in impressive style.
In the final pre-determined match of the session, the two-handers collided as Jesper Svensson returned to the lane to face off against Kevin Troup. Once again the 22 year old from Sweden took the spotlight, producing a near perfect game as he was unlucky born to strike in the ninth frame. Troup could only sit and watch as Svensson bowled a near perfect game, as the European finished with a 289 compared to the American’s 267. Svensson’s second win of the night meant he left the
session undefeated in both last year’s Weber Cup and so far in this year’s tournament, whilst also cutting the lead to 4-2 in favour of the USA.
The final game of the session was a ‘Captain’s Pick’ as the captains picked their opposition’s representative for the game. The captains picked each other, meaning the final match of the night was between Dominic Barrett and Sean Rash. Barrett had the easier of starts as Rash started with a 7-10 split, something that has only been made 3 times on a TV Broadcast. But even with that, Sean Rash looked in control as Dom Barrett struggled to strike consistently in the first few frames. However a 2-10 split in the 8th frame and 4 strikes in a row for Barrett meant that by the time the final frame came up, Rash decided to hand the final ball to a young girl in the crowd. A fantastic gesture from the American Captain, with the score for the game finishing at 255-215 in favour of the European.
Having let such an advantage slip, the Americans still lead going into the second session but not by the margin they would have liked to.