IT was mate versus mate, NSW versus Queensland, and righties versus lefties on Friday night.
Orange’s Jason Belmonte, who is arguably the world’s best tenpin bowler, took on good friend, top ranked Australian bowler and Queenslander George Frilingos in an XGames Bowling Challenge at the Orange Tenpin Bowl.
XGames Bowling uses a different scoring system, which is similar to tennis.
This turns the match into a frame-by-frame contest, rather than over a standard 10-frame game.
It was the seventh frame before a point was scored on Friday after the pair bowled the same score in each of the first six frames.
In the seventh, Frilingos left a pin standing, and when Belmonte nailed his strike, he earned the first point.
Belmonte went on to take a 2-0 lead in the sets before Frilingos clawed his way back to win the match 3-2.
“It’s such a difficult format that every shot counts,” Frilingos explained.
“Jason had me two sets up, and just shot after shot, you’ve got to keep in there, and it’s really difficult. It was really fun.”
Belmonte said the format added an extra challenge.
“When you bowl over a 10-frame game the intensity tends to build from the first frame to the last frame,” Belmonte said.
“In this particular format, the first ball out of the gate you’re up for points and every shot counts and you’re kind of in that intensity straight away.
“It’s incredibly draining over a five-set period. At the end of it I felt like I’d bowled probably the equivalent of a full weekend.”
“In this particular format, the first ball out of the gate you’re up for points and every shot counts and you’re kind of in that intensity straight away"
So did they enjoy the XGames Bowling format?
“When you lose, no. Ask George, he won,” Belmonte said as he tried to keep a straight face.
“It was amazing,” Frilingos beamed.
“Jason’s sulking because all his friends and family were here, it’s his home centre, he’s the world’s best player [pause for dramatic effect] and he lost.”
After this answer, both bowlers had the giggles, and their enthusiasm was infectious during Friday night’s match.
These two good mates hammed it up for the crowd.
There was, however, more on the line than just a win.
“...We took the XGames Bowling match very seriously and we wanted to put up what most people treasure most when they’re betting on the lanes and that’s a little bit of money,” Belmonte said.
“So, I ended up losing $1000 dollars from that match but I’ll lick my wounds and I’ll come back another time and see if he’ll take me on again somewhere else.”