Brunswick Melee Cross Ball Review
By Tina Marie Caouette
Before I get into the heart of my review please take a moment to look over my Drill Sheet as well as the picture of the layout. I use these sheets for my records. If you have any questions please feel free to post them below and I will try to answer them as soon as I can. Also, keep in mind that what works for me may not necessarily work for you. Please consult a qualified Pro Shop or Coach to help customize a layout for your game. Initial test was done on a typical house shot, however I did throw this ball on medium as well as longer shots varying from lighter to heavier volumes and will additionally add my thoughts.
My personal specs:
PAP: 4 ¾” over 1/8” up.
Speed: 18-19 MPH
Rev Rate: 325-350 (Tweener)
Dual Angle Drilling: 65 x 4 x 55
The Melee Cross is the newest release from Brunswick and released on June 27, 2014. After hearing countless bowlers not impressed with the original Melee I had my reservation on how to drill this ball for my speed dominate game. After talking to my ball driller, Michael Tucker at South Point we concluded that a pin down drilling and maybe some surface adjustments would be the way to go. I will say the one big advantage and selling point for me about this ball was it’s a solid. For whatever reason solids match up nice for my game.
Now for all that technical stuff! This was a long pin 3 1/2” so we were limited to what I wanted to do with the drilling angles. The numbers for the drill angels are 65 x 4 x 55. This got the pin under my ring finger and starts up early; not be recommend for slower ball speeds unless you plan to use it on oil. The ball has 5/8” side and a 1/4” thumb weight. I tested the ball before drilling a weight hole to see which quadrant we wanted the hole. Now keep in mind my PAP is 4 ¾” over and a 1/8” up. We did add a 15/16 weight hole on the VAL but dropped it down 1 ½ inches that got the ball to go a bit earlier yet kept the overall shape. Again, as I am speed-dominate this helped a bunch on the medium patterns.
Let me first state the obvious for those that are not long time Brunswick bowling fans. This color is reminiscent of the old Brunswick Teal Rhino Pro, which by the way was also one of my favorite balls of all times on wood. It is a solid Teal Color. The only drawback with this color is it tends to collect and show off the smudge marks from the belts and kickers. Therefore, you will feel the need to clean it often. Not a bad thing! This cover stock is the new Sawy Hook Solid Reactive and comes factory with 500: 2000 Siaair Micro Pad finish.
I will say my preliminary reaction to this cover stock (factory finish) was how smooth it read the front part of the lane even on the burn. On the slightly heavier volume up front patterns, I found my ball speed caused a bit more length than I really wanted. Those with slower ball speeds or a higher rev rate will find the added oil no problem, but the lower volumes or shorter patterns the ball will read too early. I did play around with the surface dropping it all the way down to 180. Yeah I know, why? Well, being a speed-dominate player as well as giving an honest review one has to put the ball through everything just to give an honest opinion. I will say my best look on House as well as a bit more volume was dropping the surface down to 1000 Siaair. I was still able to drop the surface down as low as 500 but any lower than that and the ball read excessively early as well as lost too much kinetic energy down lane. Even dropping it down to 500 and lower, I still couldn’t play any patterns with high volume or length. Again a speed-dominate thing.
The Melee Cross features the new Melee Low RG Symmetrical core. I was impressed at how much energy the ball retained even on the short or lighter volume patterns. It does rev up a lot quicker than the original Melee in the mid part of the lane. When it did make its move at the end of the pattern, it wasn’t jerky like some balls. It was very strong and continuous. Those with a higher rev rate might find the ball a lot stronger off the pattern then you would think. The motion made it very easy to read and predict thus making those down lane adjustments easier. For me the ball was a bit much on a typical house shot unless you were bowling in a house using the Fire/Ice oil. The ball reacts strongly once it finds the dry so those on the right side might find themselves deep early, but regardless of the boards covered it doesn’t seem to roll out even if you start opening up the lane a ton.
This ball is about five boards stronger than the original Melee and about five less than the Mastermind. Regardless of your speed or rev rate you will find playing with the surface to match your game a must. For speed dominate players or lower rev players this ball’s maximum limits are 500 Siaair and medium oil patterns. Those on the right side of the lane as well as high rev players will find this ball a great ball once the Mastermind is a bit too strong up front. Regardless of your style, it clears the heads consistently and smoothly allowing the ball to make a nice strong arcing motion off the end of the pattern. As you drop the surface, the entry angel gets stronger and deeper. This ball’s motion is great and should be in every serious tournament bowler’s bag.
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