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Narelle Baker & Sam Cooley Win NSW Open

Monday, September 11, 2017

After a thrilling finish to the NSW Open yesterday afternoon, Sam Cooley and Narelle Baker claimed victory over a star-studded field which included world number one Jason Belmonte.

Having won three consecutive NSW Opens from 2014 Ė 2016, Bec Whiting entered the tournament at Tenpin City as the favourite in the womenís division.  With only 10 games of qualifying to decide the top 8, Baker started with 198 in the first game, bowling 245 in the second to go on to average 211 over the 10 games and sit in 5th with Whiting in 4th and Alexia Hicks 42 pins ahead in 1st.
Progressing to the match play finals Baker moved up the leader board winning her first match to then go on and lose matches 2 and 3.  But with 4 matches to go, the Victorian won matches 4 and 5 to move into the final game with the title on the line.

In the final match and with Whiting hot on her heels, Baker bowled 226 to win the match and take the bonus points to finish 20 pins ahead of Whiting who only lost one match in the finals with Melissa-Ann Fisher finishing 3rd.

1st Narelle Baker 3869, 222.9
2nd Bec Whiting 3849, 219.4
3rd Melissa-Ann Fisher 3767, 214.5
4th Alexia Hicks 3583, 207.2

Top 8 Women & Men Match Play Finalists

In the menís division, former Australian representative Brendan Meads came out of the blocks fast bowling 269 in the first game of qualifying.  Meads then went onto average 235 across the 10 games to finish qualifying 35 pins ahead of Cooley in second and George Frilingos in third with world number one Jason Belmonte back in 4th place.

In the match play rounds, Cooley lost the first 2 matches but bounced back in games 3, 4 and 5 to claim the 20 bonus pins in each match and move into the lead.

With one game to go and behind by 50 pins, Sam saved his best for last, bowling a 279 to win the match and his first 2017 national ranked title.  Meads finished in second place just 32 pins behind, with Belmonte in 3rd place, a further 25 pins behind.

1st Sam Cooley 5795, 228.6
2nd Brendan Meads 5763, 226.5
3rd Jason Belmonte 5738, 226.3
4th Glen Loader 5579 219.2

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Photos courtesy of Tenpin City