Monday, February 20, 2012

Roger Davies rolls into bowling hall of fame

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OSHAWA -- As Roger Davies points out, fivepin bowling is a sport someone can play and enjoy from about the age of four to the age of 94.
Mind you, there are only so many years in between where one can play to the level Davies did from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, and he happened to do so well enough to earn induction into the Ontario 5 Pin Bowlers' Association hall of fame for 2011.

It's an honour that ranks right up there for the Oshawa native, who is 62 this month.

"Every competitive bowler strives to win Ontario championships and national championships, and other than my national win in 1982 in the men's singles competition, being inducted into the hall of fame in Ontario, you can't get much better than that," says Davies, now living in Courtice with wife, Gloria.

Davies was able to enjoy the induction gala in Hamilton with his wife, mother, sister and many friends in the bowling community, although sadly without former Oshawa neighbour Bert Harding, who taught Davies pretty much everything he knew about the sport, but died some years ago.

Starting out under the guidance of Harding at the lanes in the basement of the Oshawa Centre, Davies quickly moved up the ranks from his beginnings with the Youth Bowling Council.

He won his first YBC Majors tournament in 1977, earning $350 on lanes constructed solely for use at the Canadian National Exhibition.

Over his career, Davies qualified 27 times for provincial championships, including 14 times on the men's team, eight as singles representative, 10 on the mixed team and three as a senior.

At his peak, he bowled in six major leagues a week and also participated in local sweeps at Oshawa's Motor City Bowl.

All that time on the lanes paid off with three provincial titles, including a men's single championship in 1982, which he then parlayed into the national title.

Competing in Calgary, Davies started slowly, but made some adjustments and ultimately defeated Doug Mosdell in a televised final 258-245, making him just the third Ontario bowler to win the Canadian title in the 18 years of the event.

Although he remained active and won several tournaments in masters' bowling for years, with an average score of 251 over 704 games from 1980 to 1991, a heart attack in 1995 curtailed his bowling career and he retired from the sport for four years.

He's back at it now, but not nearly as often as before and no longer competitively.

"My mind and my heart say yes, and my body says, nah, I don't think so," says Davies, who retired as a financial analyst from General Motors in 2008. "As you get older, it gets a little more difficult, but I enjoy playing in some tournaments.

"It's more of a social thing for me," adds Davies, who plays in a Thursday league at North End Bowl in Oshawa. "I get to play with and see people I've known for 30 or 40 years, which is nice."

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