PETALING JAYA: It was a case of so near and yet so far for national bowler Adrian Ang in the final rounds of the Brunswick Eurochallenge in St Maximin, France.
Adrian, who had earlier qualified for the final step-two stage of the tournament by the skin of his teeth after finishing 15th out of 16 qualifiers, missed the cut for the next round by just 18 pins on Sunday.
The Penangite, who was Malaysia’s only hope in the finals, knocked down a total of 1,336 pinfalls over six games to sit in 11th spot, missing the cut of eight bowlers for the next round.
“He could have made it to the next round if he had scored consecutive strikes in the final game,” said team manager Cheah Ban Cheng from St Maximin.
“But he bowled well to get this far ... he was just unlucky.”
The tournament was won by American pro bowler Mike Fagan who defeated Joonas Jehkinen of Finland 279-193 in the step-ladder final.
Jehkinen was on top after the final step-three round-robin play on 3,201 pinfalls (pinfalls are carried forward from step-two), while Koivuniemi (3,119) and Fagan (3,094) was seeded second and third respectively for the step-ladder stage.
Commenting on the overall performance of the national team in the tournament, Ban Cheng said it was not a case of the bowlers being still in the early season mood.
Out of 14 national bowlers in the fray, only 10 qualified for the final step-one. Alex Liew, Aaron Kong, Sharon Koh and Jacqueline Jenelee Sijore, who had to deal with the death of her father on Friday, however had early showers.
“It is true that it is still early in the season. But the bowlers are all geared up for the tournament under the guidance of chief coach Holloway Cheah,” said Ban Cheng.
“The significant thing about the tournament this year is the influx of PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) players in the fray.
“They seem to adapt well to the lane conditions but our bowlers struggled.”
Final step-two (Top eight advance): 1. Tommy Jones (US) 1407, 2. Mika Koivuniemi (Fin) 1398, 3. Joonas Jehkinen (Fin) 1393, 4. Sean Rash (US) 1383, 5. Mike Fagan (US) 1380, 6. John Wells (Eng) 1372, 7. Stuart Williams (Eng) 1355, 8. Dennis Eklund (Swe) 1354, 9. Tom Hess (US) 1345, 10. Osku Palermaa (Fin) 1344.
Selected: 11. Adrian Ang (Mas) 1336.
Final step-three (Top three advance): 1. Jehkinen 3201, 2. Koivuniemi 3119, 3. Fagan 3094, 4. Rash 3072, 5. Jones 3058, 6. Williams 3010, 7. Eklund 2979, 8. Wells 2893.
Semi-fnal: Fagan bt Kouvuniemi 222-199.
Final: Fagan bt Jehkinen 279-193.