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Tenpin bowlers living life in the fast lane

    Bowled over: Loberman in red was too hot to handle for Gary Ellis
    Bowled over: Loberman in red was too hot to handle for Gary Ellis

    Europe's top Jewish bowlers were in action at the fifth annual Maccabi Tenpin Bowling Tournament last week.

    Held at the Airport Bowl, Maurice Baum came away with the Freddie Loberman Memorial Trophy after triumphing in the competition's new format.

    A scratch division, a handicap division and a Scratch Final saw bowling of the highest quality from the two finalists, last year's runner-up Michael Loberman and opponent Gary Ellis.

    Instead of the top 16 bowlers going through to the final, there was a split of the eight top scratch bowlers and the top eight handicap bowlers competing in a knockout round.

    The initial five games were won by Baum, competing despite a debilitating back injury. Bowling four 200+ games in the first five, he won the overall event comfortably from Michael Loberman in second, andMakkabi Sweden's Patrik Goldberg. Gary Ellis won the trophy for the high game with an excellent 256 scratch, giving him a 276 handicap game to close his first five games.

    The knockout rounds were no less competitive with Loberman knocking out Vienna hopeful Bradley Mervish in the first round. Ellis eliminated Jack Nesbitt in his first round, winning a nailbiting second game 238-233, with a lucky strike securing a well deserved win. Both semi-finals went to three games, Loberman edging out Ian Davis and Ellis defeating Baum. The scratch final was a match of high quality, Ellis taking the first game, before Loberman came back with a 244 game and a 257 game to win 2-1. Ian Davis took third place.

    The introduction of a handicap knockout made for some excitng bowling. Teddy Littner became the first winner of the Russ Reuben Trophy for the Handicap Knockout after defeating Paul Freedman. Ricky Cohen took third place after overcoming Paul Hart in the best of three games.

    Tournament Organiser Russell Snipper was "happy with the quality of bowling on offer" with the tournament also being used as a preliminary qualifier for the European Games in Vienna next year. Unfortunately, the turnout was not as high as had been hoped. Snipper is hoping that by moving the tournament to the summer, more competitors will be encouraged to take to the lanes and try their luck at hitting the pins.

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