This week, I was able to cross another new country off my list, as I ventured to Qatar for the 2015 H.H. Emir Cup. This being my first time in the Middle East, I was excited for the new experiences ahead.
In the Emir Cup, each qualifying squad consisted of two 6-game blocks with three total possible squads to participate in. Here, as in Europe, women receive 8 pins a game handicap. After a very long travel day, I bowled my first block of qualifying the very next day. With jet lag, needless to say I did not have any fun the first six games. The second 6 games, I bowled better shooting +52 scratch, but it would not be enough overall to make the first cut.
So I re-entered and did much better. With the scoring pace being pretty low, I managed to shoot 223, 224, 204, 256, 225 and 224 for +156 and lead the first qualifying block. I used my Columbia 300 Eruption Pro and then my Track LX 16 most of the day. So with my handicap, I shot +204.
After bowling that morning, Kelly Kulick and I ventured to Souq Waqif, an outdoor market full of shops, restaurants and sounvenirs. The market was separated into sections - clothing, material, kitchen utensils, souvenirs, spices, sweets and animals. The place definitely came alive at night, as we ventured back a few times throughout the week to try other restaurants.
The next day, I bowled another 6 games of qualifying. Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble the first 3 games of qualifying as the lanes played completely different. I struggled shooting 169, 168 and 170. Finally switching balls to my Ebonite Pivot and playing a different part of the lane, I bowled 192, 212 and 193 to end up +60 scratch and +158 with handicap. This was enough to make the first cut, but very disappointing as the top 6 qualifying scores received a bye into the second round of the finals.
After bowling the second block of qualifying, Kelly and I walked along the Corniche with views of Downtown Doha and then bartered for a ride on a traditional wooden boat called a Dhow.
We had the whole boat to ourselves as we coasted along the bay and viewed the amazing architecture of Downtown Doha at night. What I learned that is insanely surprising, is that 10 years ago there was only 1 big building in Downtown Doha and now it is littered with skyscrapers.
The next day, we bowled the first round of the finals. The top 24 bowlers qualified for the finals, plus 4 bowlers from the desperado squad, plus the top 2 Qatari youth bowlers and the top 2 Qatari adult bowlers. The cut took +108 to make the finals. All of the pins were then dropped and we bowled 6 more games with the top 10 scores advancing.
I shot games of 208, 224, 169, 203, 192 and 208 finishing +52 with handicap, which barely sqeaked in to the next round as the final cut number. I used my Ebonite Pivot and Track LX 16 all day.
The next day, we bowled the second round of the finals. Again, all pins were dropped and we bowled another 6 games of qualifying with the top 4 making it to the next round. Starting out strong, I shot 245 out of the gate, but followed it up with 150, struggling on the next pair. I then shot games of 226, 206, 199 and 170 to drop from 7th to 12th the last game. I was definitely disappointed with my finish, but 12th is still not a bad week.
Corniche with a view of Downtown Doha