Crawley wins 2023 PWBA Grand Rapids Classic

Crawley wins 2023 PWBA Grand Rapids Classic

WYOMING, Mich. – England’s Verity Crawley secured her first Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour title since 2021 and the second of her career Friday night at the PWBA Grand Rapids Classic.

Crawley defeated Germany’s Birgit Noreiks 258-189 in the title match at Spectrum Lanes to record the win live on BowlTV and earn the $10,000 top prize. Noreiks earned $5,000 for the runner-up finish.

Crawley entered Friday’s stepladder finals as the No. 2 seed after posting an 8-4 record during match play on the 44-foot oil pattern being used at the Grand Rapids Classic. 

Nevertheless, as soon as she got on the championship pair Friday night, it was obvious that the 28-year-old right-hander was going to be tough to beat.

She began her run to the title by defeating Lauren Pate of Ballwin, Missouri, 235-226 in the semifinals.

Pate, who was making her PWBA stepladder finals debut, certainly didn’t make it easy as she closed the match with a four-bagger to force Crawley to strike on the first ball of the 10th frame to win.

Crawley was up to the task, however, delivering a flush strike to secure the victory and advance to the title match.

Getting the job done in such a crucial moment is no easy task, but it’s something that Crawley simulates often during practice.

“Those are the moments I work for and practice a lot,” Crawley said. “I knew I needed the strike, but, in the end, if I make a good shot and it doesn’t strike, that’s okay.”

But it did strike, sending Crawley through to the finals against top-seed Noreiks and forcing Pate to settle for third place and $3,500.

Crawley only got stronger once the title match began, starting with a spare and then tossing a six-bagger in frames two through seven to build a 43-pin lead with just three frames to go.

Noreiks, a three-time winner on the PWBA Tour and the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Queens champion, did her best to hang tough, but she simply couldn’t match Crawley’s striking power on this night.

By the time both players stepped up for the 10th frame, the match was already decided in Crawley’s favor.

Despite the rather lopsided final score, Crawley didn’t relax until the final balls were thrown.

“I’d like to think that I had the mindset that I was going to win before the match even started, but it’s hard to say when it really hit me,” Crawley said. “Honestly, I didn’t even know that I’d shot 250 until they told me during the interview with BowlTV.”

That may be because Friday night was about more than just putting up a couple big games and getting back in the winner’s circle. For Crawley, it was also about solidifying the confidence that was shaken during a disappointing start to the 2023 season.

“The beginning of the season was awful; I knew it couldn’t get any worse,” Crawley said. “It kind of sounds like a fairytale, but people always say that your highest highs come after your lowest lows. 

“I’ve always felt like that was probably true, but I never really experienced it. Now, I truly feel like sometimes you have to feel like you’re at rock bottom to figure out what to do next and start over.”

Crawley won’t have to wait long to see if she can keep the momentum going as the Grand Rapids Classic is the first of three tournaments being contested at Spectrum Lanes this week.

The Classic Series – Grand Rapids includes the Grand Rapids Classic, PWBA BowlTV Classic and PWBA Great Lakes Classic. The BowlTV Classic is taking place June 3-4, and the Great Lakes Classic will be June 5-6.

The Grand Rapids Classic featured 12 games of qualifying Thursday to determine the top 12 players for round-robin match play Friday. Total pinfall, including bonus pins, for 24 games determined the five finalists for the stepladder.

Five-time PWBA Tour champion Dasha Kovalova of nearby Muskegon, Michigan, opened Friday night’s stepladder by defeating rookie Hope Gramly of Aubrey, Texas, 265-178. Gramly took home $2,000 for finishing fifth.

Kovalova’s run would end one game later after she fell 225-207 to Pate in Match 2. Kovalova’s fourth-place finish earned her $2,500.

Competition at Spectrum Lanes will continue Saturday at 10 a.m. Eastern for the BowlTV Classic. The BowlTV Classic will feature the same format as the Grand Rapids Classic with the finals taking place Sunday on BowlTV at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

The combined qualifying totals for the Grand Rapids Classic and BowlTV Classic (24 games) will determine the 24 athletes advancing to the Great Lakes Classic.

Pinfall will drop at the beginning of the Great Lakes Classic, with all advancers bowling three eight-game blocks of round-robin match play Monday and Tuesday. The top five athletes, based on total pinfall and bonus pins, will advance to Tuesday’s stepladder finals.

The finals of the Great Lakes Classic will be broadcast Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern on BowlTV. The winner will earn the $12,000 top prize.

Categories: Tournaments, Players
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