Norm Duke and Wes Malott Win Roth-Holman PBA Doubles Championship: A Fan’s Reaction

As reported by Bill Vint at, PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke and doubles partner Wes Malott defeated Ronnie Russell and Sean Rash to win the Roth-Holman PBA Doubles Championship on Sunday, March 25.

The tournament, which consisted of seven stepladder matches, began its televised portion with match No. 4 when Mike Fagan and Bill O'Neill faced Jason Belmonte and Pete Weber. As a fan, I could not have asked for a more exciting start to the televised portion of the tournament. I am not exactly a fan of Pete Weber, but I'm always quick to admit that he makes for great television. He was teamed up with Jason Belmonte, a younger bowler who grew up idolizing Weber and has himself proven to be an awesome competitor this year, making the match that much more interesting.

The first match became all the more exciting at the end, when Belmonte and Weber pulled up to tie with Fagan and O'Neill after a shaky beginning. This tie sent the round into a sudden-death tie breaker, and Fagan and O'Neill came out on top with a strike.

I enjoyed the entire tournament, but my primary interest was in the final round. Sean Rash was teamed up with No. 1 seed Ronnie Russell, and I was hoping to see Rash finally secure his first title since 2007. The victory would have been doubly enjoyable to watch, as it would have provided Russell with his first-ever PBA Tour title. When the championship match finally came, I was pleased to see that I would get to watch Rash and Russell compete against none other than Norm Duke and Wes Malott.

As I feared would be the case, Sean Rash seemed to suffer from the same thing that has plagued his performance in a number of finals this season. He had a rough start, leaving pins standing in the first frame of the match, and never appeared to gain traction after that. To make matters worse, Russell suffered from a similar fate and, like Rash, never seemed to get his head back in the game after that unfortunate start. In the end, Duke and Malott secured the victory with a score of 193-167.

Although I had hoped to see a victory for Rash, who has witnessed a number of upsets this year despite performing extremely well overall, I was happy to witness Norm Duke secure his 36th career title. This accomplishment ties Duke with Pete Weber, and I hope to see the more reserved and humble Norm Duke surpass Weber, his long-time friend and rival, in the months to come.

This tournament also provided Wes Malott with his first title since 2009, and who doesn't love to see the always-friendly Wes Malott win? Overall, despite initially rooting for Sean Rash and Ronnie Russell, I cannot say that I am disappointed with the results. Two very deserving and talented men walked away with the title.

Christopher Brown is an amateur bowler who closely follows PBA events, but has never competed on a serious level. Above all, he appreciates the mutual respect and friendliness that is found within the bowling community. Bowling has proven to be a rewarding pastime for Chris and his two sons who share an equally strong attraction to the sport.


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Updated Monday, Mar 26, 2012