NORWICH, Conn. – Patrick Allen, a 13-time Professional Bowlers Association title winner from Wesley Chapel, Fla., and Brian Kretzer of Dayton, Ohio, a non-title winner, advanced to Sunday’s Go RVing Match Play Championship title match at Norwich Bowling and Entertainment Center Saturday.
Allen, who entered the “March Madness” style 64-player bracket elimination tournament as the No. 21 seeded player, defeated No. 57 Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., 601-530, in their three-game, total pinfall semifinal round match Saturday night.
Kretzer, the No. 27 seed, rallied from a 22-pin deficit to eliminate No. 50 Kent, 625-581, settting up a battle of one-time nationally-recognized “action players” for the $25,000 top prize. The three-game, total pinfall match will be televised on ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern
The Match Play Championship was the first event of the 2009-10 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season to use a different lane condition on each lane. The left lane on each pair used a long-oil Shark pattern while the right lane used a shorter Cheetah lane condition. Allen won the first PBA Tour event ever to use the dual-pattern system in Reno, Nev., in 2009.
But Saturday night, Allen and Ciminelli – both left-handers – struggled to solve the Cheetah lane. In the opening game, Allen converted single-pin spares on four of his first shots on the Cheetah lane, but Ciminelli failed to mark in any of his five frames on the right lane. Allen won the opening game, 188-128, and was never seriously challenged even though he didn’t throw back-to-back strikes until the 10th frame of his second game.
“Patrick figured it out a game ahead of me,” Ciminelli said. “That’s why he is who he is. You can’t give a guy like that 60 pins and expect to beat him.”
“The right (Cheetah) lane played differently that it did all week,” Allen said. “But I finally used my brain, moved left with a different ball, and I was able to hold him off. I’ll have an open mind about what the lanes may be like tomorrow.”
In the second semifinal match, between a pair of right-handers, both managed the Cheetah lane, but had issues with the Shark until Kretzer solved it.
“I figured something out at the end of the first game, and I was able to take a big lead in the second,” Kretzer said. “He didn’t have a very good look on that lane, and even though I had some problems getting out of my own way in the last game, I was able to hang on.”
Kent won the opener, 211-189, but Kretzer struck on seven of his first eight shots in the second for a 230-178 win, taking a 30-pin lead into the final game. Kent threw three strikes in a row late in the game, but missed the headpin on the Shark lane in the 10th frame and opened to end his comeback hopes.
“I’ve been on both sides of the coin,” Kent said. “He made the shots. I didn’t. When he figured out the left lane, I knew I was in trouble.”
“It’s going to be fun on Sunday,” Kretzer said. “Patrick isn’t going to give it to me. We’ve been going at each other since we were kids. We’ll see who figures it out.”
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS PBA TOUR
GO RVING MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
Norwich Bowling and Entertainment Center, Norwich, Conn., Saturday, March 20
Semifinal Round (three games, total pinfall; losers eliminated, each earned $7,000; winners advance to the three-game, total pinfall title match on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern)
#21 Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., def. #57 Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 601-530.
#27 Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, def. #50 Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 625-581.