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SKITTLES: Skimmers reach Blackthorn finals
6:00pm Tuesday 10th September 2013 in Sport
THE Skimmers overturned a 28-pin first-leg deficit to seal a place at the final stages of the Black-thorn British Championships in Torquay.
Following a perfect record in the group stages, the visitors travelled to Street FC Social Club to take on Comebacks confident they could progress to the finals.
However, the hosts were in no mood to roll over without a fight against the two-time winners of the championship.
For the first time this year, the Skimmers looked out of sorts as they struggled to gain any mom-entum in the opening leg of the qualifier.
The visitors were guilty of far too many wayward shots and they only managed two stick-ups all night.
The Dorchester-based team did regain some composure near the end by levelling the fifth and winning the sixth by one – but this left them with only 355 on the board against the Comebacks’ impressive total of 383.
In contrast, the Comebacks’ top-scorer posted 63 as the team hit seven stick-ups and never dropped below 60 all night.
This left Comebacks with a healthy advantage of 28 pins going into the reverse fixture.
Back at the Bull and still licking their wounds, Skimmers’ never-say-die attitude was set to be tested to the full. Matt Burt opened and soon set the tone, getting Skimmers going with a 13. Steady skittling followed from the rest of the team and was finished off nicely with an 11 on the tail.
This 69 start immediately dented the visitors’ confidence and it was clear they were struggling to come to terms with much bigger balls and a shorter alley than they were used to. Now only 13 behind on aggregate, Skimmers kept the pressure on and ate into Comebacks’ advantage.
The hosts could smell victory and promptly moved in for the kill. Comebacks were rattled and collapsed to 55, 35 behind (seven on aggregate) as the match swung in Skimmers’ favour.
Burt hit yet another stick-up and the rest of team pitched in with eights and nines with 75 more nails driven into Come-backs’ coffin.
A 61 from the visitors meant they trailed by 49 and the match by 21 before the unrelenting Skimmers smashed their biggest hand of the night (83) to all but seal their place in the finals.
It was obviously Burt’s night as he recorded a fourth stick-up.
Comebacks’ dream was over and the visitors saw the game out with a 59 to slip to huge a 78-pin defeat and 50 on aggregate.
A total of 32 men’s, 16 women’s and 16 mixed teams will complete for the titles and a £6,000 prize pot in Torquay on September 21.
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