As far as UK bowling fans are concerned, the Weber Cup is the best event on the tenpin calender. A chance to see some of the World’s best bowlers in a Trans-Atlantic battle like Golf’s Ryder Cup. The event is held in purpose built arena’s around England having been in Barnsley for many years and last year at Event City in Manchester.
Over 17 years we have Europe winning nine times and USA winning eight times. Europe over the last four years have been untouchable to first level the wins then take the lead for the first time since it’s inception in the year 2000.
Where and when will it be in 2017?
Well with Barnsley Metrodome unavailable in 2016, we saw Manchester host a fantastic show in a spaceous venue just a short walk to the massive Trafford shopping centre. A summer edition in August did not keep the crowds away with many in the queue to enter two hours before the start. It could be anytime between August and October in reality so best guess might be September.
On the lanes there was a change in the European side as PBA World Champion Jesper Svensson replaced Finland’s Osku Palermaa and new additions to the USA side saw the uber talented Marshall Kent and colourful showman Kyle Troup join Wes Malott and captain the legend that is Parker Bohn III.
Parker got sent packing though despite some flashes of promise from the USA side and in particular Troup who the crowd took to like a fish to water, Well he is a Team Fish player after all back in the States. Stood on the one lane in front of a packed crowd Troup wearing USA coloured trousers and a massive Afro hairstyle will live on in the memories of those who were lucky enough to actually be there.
Europe already strong with Palermaa just got stronger with Svensson, Captain Dom Barrett with Lucky Larsen (Martin) and Beef Stu Williams play as a team on and off the lanes, they are a close family and that is the problem with the USA over the last few years.
The USA have the best players in the World give or take some amazing World stars. You want to be recognized as an accomplished bowler you need to be a success on tour.
An example is Tim Mack. Tim is a living legend all over the World but for many years did not receive as much credit as he maybe deserved. He won on every continent, He showed other bowlers you could be a massive success in the World. If anything Tim saw the future. He saw a PBA struggling at the time and he saw that one day the World game would blend with Professional bowling.
A little known fact is Tim was instrumental in the start of the Weber Cup too with Barry Hearn and Matchroom Sport. Captain for many years he saw the changes in the event from Team USA players representing the country to PBA players.
So the problem I spoke about. I think and I could be wrong of course, The USA team over the last few years have not played as a team, they have in parts but overall a team spirit has been missing. Now back in the early days of the Weber Cup when it was Team USA selection, they played as a team going 3-0 up in the first three years.
Putting the best bowlers in the World in a team is not as easy as you might think. a dynamic needs to be there between people who are trying to beat each other week in week out back home. It helps when some of them room together or are friends but getting a USA team that close is not easy. It is easier when it is Team USA though, Being picked to play for your country for a TV event in the UK cannot really match up to representing your country in the World Championships and earning your spot in the team in trials.
So what does the USA do this year, Is it an easy right let’s have EJ, Simonsen, Ciminelli and Butturff, four of the hottest players in the last year, they have never played as a team but boy what a team.
Do USA BRING BACK THE BIG GUNS?
Barnes back as captain, Tommy Jones and two of the four above? Or is it time Sean Rash was unleashed on the event. Sean has been desperate to play for many years now and has been unlucky not to be asked. Would his passion to play be what the USA need? Norm Duke, Ronnie Russell, of even Pete Weber back? Not short of options.
Sorry then for the When, where and who might play, I got no answers for you but I am excited about finding out soon as I am sure a lot of you are too.