Wednesday afternoon, one of the factors that will eventually determine who is on Team Canada 2014 (and 2013 for the seniors) was decided. The pattern draw.
As per the new procedures this year, one long, one medium, and one short pattern were selected at random. This was done to ensure that no one had a perceived advantage knowing the patterns ahead of time. Even the tournaments official lane maintenance provider, Buffa Distribution, didn’t know what was to be done which was frustrating for them, I’m sure. However, the process worked well, and with 3 witnesses, tournament director Sherry Hobson oversaw the selection. And the winners are: Stockholm (34), Athens (40) and Paris (47).
This 34′ pattern is actually the same pattern as the one used last year. It is one of the WTBA’s higher scoring patterns, and like most short patterns really favors bowlers you can control the breakpoint from the outside part of the lane. Last year, it was the highest scoring pattern of the 3 that were used, which came with some criticism. Because of the scoring pace, bowlers specializing in the outside part of the lane could beef up their pinfall at a higher level than those who had to wait for their specialty on longer patterns. Despite this, I much prefer to see a short oil pattern that rewards bowlers who play it properly from the outside over other short patterns that provide more forgiveness for open angles.
Athens is a 40′ medium pattern, and one I’ve written blogs about before, because it was used in my sport pattern league a couple of years ago. This will most likely be the lowest scoring pattern of the 3 this year, and it will also offer the most diverse angles of attack. Most bowlers will be fooled into chasing it left quickly, because the pattern does provide a fair amount of hook. Realistically though, a pattern that plays ‘short’ due to the amount of hook it provides should be played further outside. Also, the shape of this pattern is completely flat from 15 to 15, so laying the ball down too far left of that will actually take you away from what little forgiveness is built into the pattern. Add to this the fact that we are using Kegel’s new “Fire” oil, which is a ‘hooking’ oil, and moving left just makes the ball hook earlier. Until the lanes break down, going left (for righties) will be a very bad idea.
This is the longest and lowest volume pattern in the entire WTBA bank. The length fools people into believing they need something strong, when the reality is that too much surface on this pattern will result in some pretty awful ball motion. For higher rev rates, the volume also fools you into thinking this pattern is shorter than it is, but the wall of oil in the middle is what makes this pattern extremely playable from inside. Playing that oil line from inside, and targeting the end of the pattern as the left part of your target window will be good. Pin up balls without too much surface will provide the response needed at the backend of this 47 footer, depending on the bowler’s style. Then just chase it left and use balls and hand positions to get the ball to face up properly.
All in all, I think the fact that Paris is in the mix this year creates 2 realities:
First, Stockholm no longer provides an ‘advantage’ to short oil specialists, because Paris is easy enough for those who can play inside to really whack it. It will be the bowlers who can do both that will wind up in the top 10.
Second, there will probably be a higher overall scoring pace this weekend. Bowlers who are able to focus on their own games and control their emotions without looking around and stressing out because of strikes around them will do the best. Also those who aren’t afraid to string strikes (a very real condition for some people) will be able to take most advantage of the 2 more scoreable patterns.