Game 1: 201
Game 2: 185
Game 3: 238
Week Avg: 208
Season Avg: 198
It was tough sledding this week, or at least it felt like it. Splits appeared to come easier than strikes. Margins of error were very slim. The most accurate bowlers that could adjust well were going to score and everyone else was going to be at their mercy. We had a full team, but there was only one member of the opposition present. The pace was going to be quick and there wouldn't be much time for thinking over errant shots.
I thought I was going to fall in the latter category when I started the night with two splits in three frames. The ball ran high on me the first frame and then I put the ball too far right in the third frame to leave the 2-10. To make matters worse, I chopped a 6-10. I continued to hit high so I moved a half board left and found great success. I struck out the last five in a row to salvage a 201 and put the team ahead for the first game.
My only opens during the second game were two more splits, including another in the first frame. I wasn't getting very good carry, but luckily my spare shooting kept me in the game. I escaped with a 185, but a few of my teammates had a good game and that carried us to victory.
My only goal for the third game was to not leave a split in the first frame and I succeeded; I left and chopped another 6-10 (to be fair, I chopped the other pin this time). That was the last open I would see all night. I followed it up with nine strikes, including the last five in a row, to finish with a 238, my fourth highest game this season. The team also won the last game, earning a much needed sweep to boost our standings.
I am happy with this week's results considering it felt like an uphill battle all night. Four splits seems like a lot in one night, but at least one of my teammates had four in one game so it could always be worse. For the last two weeks the oil pattern seems to have been a little shorter than usual and the ball would break earlier on the lane. It isn't really a problem, just an observation.
Looking at my season stats to date I've also made another observation: my average in the second game is higher than my first game average. Last season my first game was the strongest, then I would slump in the second and recover in the third. This year I get exponentially better each game, averaging four pins more in the second game and fourteen more than that in the third.
This could be the result of a few different factors. The first is that I am now taking two to three frames of practice instead of about five or six frames like last year. Maybe I am not getting loose enough or a good enough read on the lane conditions in a limited amount of practice balls. Another factor might be that I am making better adjustments during the transition period when the oil breaks down, meaning I am not sacrificing scores while fishing for a new line to the pocket. A third factor could be better conditioning. After throwing four quick games during a hot summer league, three leisurely paced games doesn't tire me out as much as it once did. I almost always leave the alley more energetic than when I entered, which tends to make sleeping Monday nights a bit difficult.
It looks like part of my summer practice regimen should also include an effort to identify what is happening that first game. If I can bring my first game average up to my second or even third game average, my overall average will be all the better for it.
But for now, I'm two pins away . . . just two more pins.