RIGA - Bowling balls were zipped-up in their bags, the red-laced shoes were reshelved, and the scoreboard was wiped clean. The Baltic Times Open has come to a close, and the Swedes have won.
"I don't think we thought about winning at all. I think we're just lucky. It was very, very fun. We're sure to be back next year, and we'll win it again," said team member Anders Lindgren.
In what was the longest round of the year on Dec. 3, with a total of five plays, as well as the captain's game, players were pushed to their max. Yet, you would never have known it.
"The Swedes got us vodka, and ever since we have played very well. We'll repay them for their hospitality and buy them a round. We don't care how we place, it's all about just having fun," said Niels Pedersen from the Danish team.
The Swedish Embassy and the Danish Chamber of Commerce were neck to neck - and shot for shot - throughout all five plays. Although the Danes won the round with six more points than Sweden at 261, the Swedish team took home the grand trophy, putting Denmark in second place overall.
"We feel good, we have never felt better," said Mikael Skadhauge, auditor at the Danish chamber.
Parex Bank didn't fare so well in the end.
"Today is just not the day for us. We are together in our minds, but not physically," said Parex team player Arturs Piliksers.
Inese Krusta, the team's star player, was more positive about the night's outcome.
"We have played here for so long that we are already all friends. We're meeting here like old colleagues, and that feels really good. As far as bowling, it didn't go so well tonight, but that's OK," she said.
Finishing third place overall with a total of 184 points, the Finnish Embassy's new ambassador, Pekka Wuoristo, had the privilege of participating in the year's final game. Despite having never bowled for the team before, Wuoristo contributed his share of points to the team's third place win.
"I arrived in the beginning of September, so this is my first tournament. I think I made 118 points, but that could be better," the ambassador said. "It's been a nice game, a nice evening, and a nice tournament."
Since game one of the tournament, due to their infectious positive attitudes and team charisma, the Swedes were the champion hopefuls. And indeed, they came out on top.
"As long as we do our own style - bowl straight and hard - we can win it," said team newcomer Joel Englund, who did a superb job of subbing in for Mikael Lindgren while away on conference.
The Swedish Embassy walked away with The Baltic Times Open champion cup after tallying up a total of 267 points. Behind Sweden, came the Danish Chamber of Commerce with 261 points, followed by the Finnish Embassy with 184 points. The German Embassy came in fourth with 103 points and Parex Bank took fifth with 75