Monday, April 23, 2012

5pin Bowling's Continued Quest on the Internet

When this blog was first started, there was not much online in the way of 5pin bowling specific resources. While there have been provincial and national association sites for quite some time, articles on specific information on our sport and tips and techniques were almost non existant. Also, there were no specific sites that promoted it's bowlers, or showcased their abilities and talents.

Luckily for us, in the recent past, stuff has become more available to us their some very dedicated bowlers. I can tell you from personal experience, (as I am sure many others that have contributed material for 5pin bowling) that it takes an enormous amount of time to dedicate for the purpose of helping other bowlers. While I wish everyone appreciated and understood what it took to write content and keep things fresh, the time spent is not to be appreciated, but to help others.

With that being said, there was a new 5pin specific site that has popped up recently with some great new and fresh features. offers something fairly new to our sport, which does an amazing job promoting those who play our great game with player profiles. One major complaint that I've heard from people who play our sport is the lack of showcasing the talent our sport boasts, and this problem has been addressed at 5pinuniverse. Karie Kreutz and his group have got the ball rolling to promote our players, and now it's up to us to fill out a profile, and get a strong database going.

Another great feature on 5pinuniverse is it's tournament feature. Especially in western Canada, there are a lot of tournaments offering a challenge to the greatest of bowlers, and tournament info and results can easily be found on the site. I know that in time, this site will continue to grow and provide valuable information to bowlers of any level.

Here in Ontario, we recently held our provincial Open tournament. A group of bowlers, headed by o5pba's own John Cresswell, featured live video streaming of all the action that took place Easter weekend at Sherwood Centre in Hamilton. A huge thanks goes out to all those who were involved in this worthwhile venture, as o5pba brought Ontario's biggest bowling event across the country for viewers to enjoy. If you are interested in viewing the streaming, they can be found in the left column under results here.

As the 2011-12 season comes to a close, I think these 2 outlets have provided bowlers with a quick glance at what's to come for our sport as we progress forward to get more exposure.

Jeff Young

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Changes in 5-Pin Bowling: Helpful or Not? - Fraser Hambly

The new changes in 5-pin bowling specs, will undoubtedly improve scoring to some degree. There are now ranges approved that allow for smaller bases, taller pins, and heavier balls - are all meant to increase scores. The 17” set-ups are still under review, but these too may be approved sooner than later. It all begs the question: Is this a good thing for our sport? Purists won’t like the changes for the most part, while others feel it will make the sport dramatically better, and will help retain present bowlers and attract new ones.
I’d like to address many of the changes over the years that have changed the sport, and you can decide for yourself which things have been good, and whether more needs to be done.
- In 1909, Tommy Ryan invents 5-pin bowling as an improvement to 10-pin
- In 1912, the rubber band is added but only made flush with the pin at first (this information just came to light from an article written by Bob Hesketh who wrote for the Toronto Telegram in the 50’s and 60’s) > top averages increased from 140 to 200, but a ball could still go between the pins
- A few years later, some proprietors started adding more rubber to the outside of the band > top averages went up to 240+
- The original 4,2,1,3,5 count is changed to 1,4,5,3,2 in Western Canada, and in 1959 the whole country adopts 2,3,5,3,2
- The counter or blow pin is abolished nation-wide in 1971
- The original Blue Band is introduced in the early 60’s and scores go up dramatically
- Personalized balls are allowed in 1990 after being banned in the late 50’s because a Hamilton team brought their house balls to an all-events tourney at Waterloo and won almost everything
The above changes increased scoring whenever they were implemented. Some helped all bowlers, while some helped lower average bowlers more than higher average players (eliminating the counter pin for example). Have all these changes really had an impact on making the sport better? There is no question scoring is better compared to the early days. One could argue that without these changes, the sport might have declined more than it has. But do changes to improve scoring really help save the sport? It may help retain those already involved, but that’s not enough.
The sport needs a major change in the way it’s perceived by the public in general. I was fascinated by a post of Fabbio Lancia’s, who is the owner/operator of Skyview Lanes in Bolton, Ontario. He states that he is frustrated by numerous inquiries that his centre only has “children’s” bowling, meaning 5-pin. While we all know that 5-pin is more difficult, the public’s perception is that it’s a kids’ game before you play the “adult” game of 10-pin. This perception has become much more pronounced in the last 10-20 years. While many proprietors are doing wonderful things to promote the game, and the Provincial Associations are trying to be innovative, it’s my opinion that the public’s perception is the main thing that has to be overcome. A TV or print campaign highlighting that 5-pin was invented to improve on 10-pin, and that it’s not a kids’ game would help. If say, Canadian hockey players or Don Cherry could be featured in a campaign that 5-pin really is an adult sport, that would help change the public’s perception. While all this takes money that may not be readily available, some kind of campaign to change the public’s perception is essential! I’m personally in favour of the changes, both old and new, in 5-pin bowling and hopefully the sport will continue to evolve without becoming bastardized as the years go on. However, perceptions need to change: people have to be convinced to play, before they’ll stay!!!

Let’s do everything we can to help change the public’s perception, so that people will think: “When you go bowling, bowl Canadian, bowl 5-pin!!!

Fraser Hambly

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ontario Open Wrap Up - Steve Barker

Open Review
As some people across the country are trying to catch up on their sleep following a busy Easter Weekend on the lanes, it’s time for the Provincial Champions to make their plans for Gatineau and for the rest of us to figure out what went wrong.
There were great stories from across the country including perfect games by Trevor Cook in Manitoba and Bob MacDonald in Ontario. I’m sure that Jeff would welcome results, stories and links from all Provinces.
Here in Southern Ontario, we witnessed a perfect game, saw two players put on impressive displays in winning their 2nd Singles titles, watched an incredible performance by the Hamilton Men’s team, were amazed by legendary Donny Betts in Seniors play, were captivated by Mike Greenlee’s story following a terrible car accident last July and saw three teams run the ladder and win 4 games to become Champions.
Another neat feature this year was “Live Streaming” of the action from Sherwood Centre. With the help of Shaw Cable and the efforts and expertise of new O5 President John Cresswell as well other volunteers, including Jason Gingrich, Laura Pondhorny, Crystal Pickard, Kathy Howe-Recchia and Terry Farrell, all of whom helped with filming, set-up or supplying equipment, most of the event was captured live on UStream and can now be viewed in its archives. We received lots of comments and hope the coverage is bigger and better next year!
Getting back to the action…
With so many great performances, the story of the week was still Robert MacDonald of Kawartha. Bob finished the first day of Singles action with a disappointing 171, but came out gangbusters on Day 2. After a 250 in game 6, Bob thrilled the crowd and those watching online by throwing a perfect 450 in game 7. For his efforts, he earned $10, 420 in the Perfect Game pool. Bob then shot games of 284, 224 and 363 for a 2877 total, which was enough to pass 1st day leader Shawn Coombs who finished 107 back. In the finals, David Biscardi defeated Rob Himburg 249-230 in match 1. Biscardi then lost to Mike Greenlee 305-229. The fact that Greenlee had even tried to qualify in December was quite remarkable as he had suffered serious injuries including a broken pelvis, in a July car accident. Greenlee then defeated Shawn Coombs 270-260 to go on and play Bob MacDonald in the final. In the Championship match, Greenlee couldn’t get away from the middle and Bob cruised to a 235-175 victory in earning his second Ontario Singles Title.
In Ladies Singles, defending champ Erica Bortolin led the 10-game qualifying with a 2767 score and was followed closely by former champion, Brenda Walters with 2750. In the stepladder, Mandee Anning defeated another former champ in Elizabeth Nicoll by a 280-263 count. Mandee then beat Shannon Wright in a 195-182 knock ‘em down, drag ‘em out affair. The next match was an absolute classic as Mandee lost a heart-breaker, 328-324 to Brenda Walters. In the final, Erica got off to a huge start and cruised to a 285-210 victory to become back-to-back Champion!! Due to work commitments, Erica will be unable to go to Gatineau, so Brenda will represent Ontario at the Nationals.
In Men’s team qualifying, the story was the Hamilton squad who went undefeated through the 13 game round robin to finish with 83 points, 16 ahead of next-place Central. York-Simcoe and Bay of Quinte rounded out the top 4 with 64 and 61 points respectively. In the opening match, York-Simcoe beat Bay of Quinte 6-2 despite the efforts of Nathan Cooper, who came back to defeat impressive Rookie Jason Davidson-Thoms 311-300 in a terrific match. In game 2, David Bunton threw a nice 370 to lead Central to a 7-1 win over York-Simcoe. Geoff Stevens threw a 351 in a losing cause in that match and would later receive a plaque commemorating 30 years of Open Qualifying- Congrats “Sticks”!! That would set up a tremendous final, with the impressive Central team taking on undefeated Hamilton. In an incredibly intense match, Hamilton prevailed 5-3 to stay undefeated to take the title. Kudos to Central’s Doug Brock and Wade Thompson, both of whom averaged over 290 in the last 2 games. Congrats to the Hamilton team of Mitch Davies (who averaged over 278 in round robin play), Marc Goulet, Eric Milne, John Conti, Jeff Young, Francois Talbot and Coach Martin Talbot!
In Ladies action, Tri-County led qualifying with 73.5 points, powered by Karole McDonnell who averaged 280, and Lindsay Laporte who averaged 267. They were followed by Central (66), Huronia (62) and Ottawa Valley (59.5). In match 1, Ottawa swept Huronia 8-0. Ottawa kept rolling in game 2, defeating Central 6-2. That meant that they would have to beat powerhouse and multi-time defending champ Tri-County twice. The next game went down to the wire with Ottawa squeaking out totals by 11 pins to win 5-3. In the Championship game, Brenda Budarick’s 330 willed Ottawa on to victory. Congrats to Kelly Sears, Celine Villeneuve, Brenda Budarick, Chantale Cyr, Colleen Bull, Doris Ellis and Coach Winnie Spires!!
The Mixed division saw the closest round robin standings as Metro Toronto finished first with 72 points, followed by Grand River with 70.5 and Central with 70. Tri-County was 4th with 61.5. In game 1, Central’s Jim Head shot 321 to lead his team to a 7-1 win. Game 2 was a thriller, as Central used a Steve Medhurst 319 and a brilliant Karen Richards fill of 117 for 4 frames to overcome Grand River’s 302 by David Phipps and a 322 by Mitch Pape to take totals 1296-1278. Central would then need to beat Metro twice. Central stayed hot, winning the next game 7-1. In the final match, Metro surprised many by starting veteran anchor Doug Stuart on the bench. Central would stay hot, backed by a Dianne Trask 312 en route to a beautiful 1367 in taking the title!! Congrats to Jim Head, Bill Schwemlein, Steven Medhurst, Dianne Trask, Torry Burrows, Karen Richards and their humble Coach, Bob Beaucage!
The Seniors event is a team round robin with scores also counting towards Singles. Niagara would lead the team standings, setting several scoring records in the process. Hall-of-Famer Don Betts averaged over 283 in team play and had a stretch of 6/7 300 games in becoming top Singles qualifier. Donny’s teammate, Wilma Vanderzwaag averaged 251 in leading the ladies.  
In Seniors team play, Ken Oldridge’s 321 led Western Ontario to a 6-2 Game 1 victory over Hamilton despite a 312 by Ray Schroeder. Western then beat Ottawa Valley 6-2 for the chance to face Niagara. In a tightly-contested first match, Western squeaked out totals by an 1160-1149 count to win 6-2. Wilma Vanderzwaag had 293 and Donny Betts had 311 in the loss. In Match 2, a clutch Gail Matis finish was the difference as Western joined the Central Mixed and Ottawa Women in running through the entire stepladder to become Provincial Champions!! Congrats to Gary Phair, Diane Martin, Gail Matis, Jim Oldridge, Ken Oldridge and Coach Shawn Oldridge!!
In the Men’s portion of the Senior Singles, Rejean Menard bested Ken Oldridge 302-226 in the opening match. Rejean then won another exciting game by beating Wayne Webb 280-263. Rejean would then lose to Kawartha’s Fred Charlie by a 258-216. Don Betts then defeated Fred 250-178 to add Senior Singles Champ to his long list of bowling accolades!!
In the Ladies stepladder, Gail Matis maintained her momentum from the team event as she defeated Denise Clause 285-170, Joanna Twitchin 264-207 and Maureen Poole 182-158 to meet Wilma Vanderzwaag. Wilma would make it a Niagara sweep by defeating Gail 279-222 to take the title!!
Central Ontario won the Aggregate banner!
Rookie of the Year Honours went to Brandon Hoffman of Ontario Durham, and Nicole Spruyt from Middlesex-Elgin. While the criteria regarding the selection of these awards can be debated, it should definitely not take away from the performances of the winners and those of several other bowlers. Congrats to Shayne Riepert, Jason Davidson-Thoms, Justin Prieur and Robert Smith for an excellent first Open. For the Ladies, kudos to Korinn Davies, who averaged 236 playing lead-off in the Mixed and also to Kylie Kruk who finished 7th in Singles and made it to the Ladies team semis. Other Rookies destined to be back include Larry Wendel, Shawn Lough, Cameron Flannigan, Bob Pellow, Mike Kennedy, Matt Leonard, Shelby Robblee, Nicole Mans, Meghan Menard, Jackie Matis, Melissa Groombridge and Stephanie Howard.
There were also upwards of 25 YBC bowlers who showed their YBC card at the door to obtain a free pass to attend the Open. With all of the exciting action we saw, they are sure to be hooked!
Thanks again to all of our sponsors and to the O5 executive, staff and all of the volunteers who made these Championships possible!! Good luck to everyone in Gatineau!!
Thanks also to Harold Stoddart, who is retiring from his post as Tournament Director and also to our past-President Dave Post, who will be concentrating on his duties as C5 President!! You will both be missed and your contribution to our sport is greatly appreciated by everyone!!