If you're a bowler who enjoys a challenge, one tournament to put on your list is the Madison Area Scratch Tour doubles tournament at Lake Ripley Lanes in Cambridge.
The fun little 12-lane center annually hosts a 3-man tournament that features big scores on its house shot.
But proprietor Jeremy Porter puts down a Sport pattern for the MAST Doubles and on the center's aging wood lanes it's always a major challenge: I can't remember a year when the cut has been plus (although my memory's certainly not perfect).
My partner Chris Pounders bowled the 11 a.m. squad in the split squad tournament and I got there early to watch him and (the Badgers football game) and as soon as I saw a few shots go down the lane I predicted a cut of at least 50 under — shots (for righties) were getting 3 off the right or going in the right gutter and missing the head-pin left.
The Team USA/WTBA Athens pattern was just not long enough and too flat for the aging wood planks at Lake Ripley for anything but an absolute grindfest.
Some of us sickos call that fun!
After the 11 a.m. squad, the eighth place score was 783 (minus 17) for four games. The leader was Chad Kloss, who recovered from a 153 start with games of 279, 246 and 215 for 893.
The best attack strategy was something fairly straight up around 10-board, moving in slightly and getting the ball from between 10- and 15-board to a breakpoint just right of 10-board down the lane.
Cut it short and it was going WAY left. Send it to the right and if it stayed on the lane it was punching the 6-9-10 in the face.
Pounders recovered from a 154 start to total 738 so I figured I needed to shoot about even to a little plus for us to make the cut.
I chose a Storm CROSSROAD with a pin over the bridge, a strong 45-degree drilling angle and the box shiny surface knocked down with an old 2,000-Abralon pad by hand. It allowed me to go relatively straight with a quick, sharp move at the breakpoint.
I played a very direct line up about 10-board and started with 214, 201 (missing the bucket in the 10th) and 191, struggling the third game to get the ball down the lane and to the pins with any hitting power.
My fourth game was a train wreck — I made the mistake of switching to a high-pin T-ROAD PEARL and trying to move in and the ball just hooked more. The result was a start of no strikes and three straight splits, one of which I made, for 61 in the fifth. Ugh.
I grabbed the CROSSROAD again and ended up moving back right of 10-board — actually right of where I played to start! — and found the pocket again, finishing with a blower 10-pin in the eighth, my first strike of the game in the ninth and a double in the 10th to salvage 176.
That gave me 782 and put our total at 1,520, or minus 80. We had been the cut going into the game at minus 56.
I figured we were eighth or ninth, but we ended up seventh as Ken Duffield and Brian Hoffman made the cut at 1,516.
Chris (193) and I (203) bowled a solid first match at 396, but Dan Swenson (194) and lefty Herb Kimpel (a stellar 222) beat us with 416.
They lost their next match to Bryan Bannach and Jon Schalow 388-373. Bannach and Schalow had won their first match 394-348 over Dan Seppa and Gregg Williams.
In the other side of the bracket, Duffield and Hoffman emerged by beating Kloss and Eric Fritton 384-354 and Gail Myers Jr. and Derek Eoff 413-371. Myers and Eoff had beaten Dave Labinski and Steven Brinkman 464-424 in the opening match.
The title match was on the pair (7-8) that I finished on and the hooking middle proved challenging. Bannach and Schalow survived that challenge 394-320 over Duffield and Hoffman to win their first MAST titles.
First was $416 each, second $220 each, third and fourth $150 each, and fifth through eighth $124 each.
Full results are posted here.
The tournament was sponsored by Lake Ripley Lanes and Badger Pro Shop. Lake Ripley’s break on lineage resulted in $128 going to the prize fund. The center also donated two $20 drink packets to the drawing and offered $100 to the first 300 bowled — safest offer I've ever seen! Badger Pro Shop gave a DV8 Terror at cost to the drawing. The ball was won by Jeremy Porter and the drink packets were won by Ron Blanchar and Julie Crawford.
The next MAST event is Sunday, Oct. 28 at 11:30 a.m. on a USBC White pattern at Village Lanes in Monona.