The Walkaways were built to win a championship – in 2011. That didn’t quite work out as they buckled under the ‘Miami Heat’ moniker and failed to make the Finals. This year they stayed together and upgraded with two more free agent quasi-ringers, The Dentist and Valley Girl. They dominated in average all year but noone was sure what to make of them going into the playoffs because they hadn’t proved it under pressure. They lost to BEER and Back in Black in the regular season, so a finals run was no given. They pounced on Guns of Brighton early with a 5-0 lead in the quarters, letting their talent carry them. Then the old “Walkaways nerves” caught up with them as they realized what was happening and just like that it was 5-5. They battled in game three, and it came down to the Dentist in the final frame. He needed a 9 for the win, but made it even more exciting by rolling 6-spare to win. Then they got the date with the team most picked to win it all – Back in Black (who had just survived a tough Binga’s squad 8-7). Both teams came out rolling pretty well, but Back in Black grabbed the 3-2 lead. In game 2, B.I.B. got a bad case of the splits, and GB’s mom caught a tough break with a tenth frame gutter to lose bottom point by 1 pin, and it was 7-3 Walkaways. Then B.I.B. took off. Stevie Strikes finished his excellent season with a 258. Bama and Gutterboy put up big numbers. It looked like a sweep when Booth had a 38 through 4. He battled back with a double, and then had a chance to put it away in the 10th but left it open. Made in Japan, who had an excellent start, needed a spare, but got a tough foot fault, and the Walkaways are in the finals. Diesel and Booth are 1-1 in finals back when they played with Binga’s. Natro and Coco are making their first appearance. Jess won one with Binga’s too, I think, and the Dentist is a BoPo newb.
Turkey Club was an afterthought heading into the tourney. They had a nice debut season, going 7-5 with a tough schedule, and their bracket looked open enough that they could conceivably make a run to the semis, but no further. Well, things fell into place and they took advantage of every opportunity. Twice they battled back on Thursday. Against the Linguists they were down 5-0 and 6-4. With three frames to go, they were looking at a 10-5 loss. Then the Linguists went two frames with one mark, TC kept marking, and flew past them for the victory. That set up the Trash Talk bowl against the equally unlikely TDYOB. The Borkers had shocked everyone, handling defending champs Off Constantly in two games with big scores all around. When the Dr. followed up his 220+ in the quarters with a 230+ in game one against TC, it looked like the Club may finally have hit the end of the road. Instead, they fought back to tie it at 5, led by Bora Bora. Game three was Turkey Club all the way, and they now find themselves in the finals.
This is the fifth BoPo championship. Twice we have had matchups that on paper looked like absolute blowouts. In 2009, an undefeated Binga’s looked untouchable, and their opponent DHD seemed lucky to be there. DHD fell behind 7-3, but fought to the end in an exciting game three before finally falling 9-6. In 2010 it alos looked like a monumental mismatch. Binga’s hadn’t lost a game in two years. BEER looked to have fluked into the finals on the strength of a 243 from Tom Richards. That time the underdog not only hung close, they won, and broke up the Binga’s juggernaut.
Now we have what looks like another huge mismatch. Roadhouse and Tango would be 5th and 7th in average on the Walkaways team. The Walkaways were built to win, and noone knows if this franchise will stick around if they lose. Turkey Club is somewhere they never really dreamed of at the beginning of the season, but they have nothing to lose. The Walkaways have all the pressure as Goliath, but unlike most David v Goliath matchups, they may have the fan support because they have been around longer and represent the old guard. Of course, Turkey Club is the hero of all the new, young teams that are eager to make BoPo their own.
Your guess is as good as mine on this one. But, since I make predictions (which apparently piss-off some of you):
Walkaways 9.5 – Turkey Club 5.5
Finals MVP: Valley Girl Jess