A Langford Lanes foursome were close enough to a national bowling title they could taste it.
At the National Classified tenpin championship tournament in Saskatoon, Team B.C. was very much in the hunt for the crown battling eventual champs Manitoba late in the tournament.
The prairie squad finished strongly, however, and left the Langford lads to celebrate a bronze medal when all was said and done. Saskatchewan, three points up on B.C. at the end, finished half a point back of Manitoba to take the silver.
“It was an eye-opener,” said Todd Jones, one of the West Shore bowlers.
“The lanes were tough. They used a 47-foot oil pattern – we’re used to 30 feet – that doesn’t leave a lot of time for the ball to grip and hook.”
Even with the challenge of new pins that didn’t have quite as much action as well-worn ones, the nationals provided the Langford bowlers with a positive overall experience, Jones said.
“They treated us like gold. We met a lot of different people and the competition was good.”
The format saw teams play two games against each of the other seven teams, with three points awarded to the team with the higher total each game.
Individuals in each of four average divisions went head-to-head, playing for one point per game.
Langford’s Frances Kremler won his division by averaging 178.21 over the 14 games. Brad McDonald wound up second overall in the top division by averaging just over 200, while Jones and Brad Monette were both fourth in their categories.
In a tournament where they played seven matches, finishing just 3.5 points back of the gold medallists was no small feat, admitted Jones.
“It’s a long road to get there, but I would definitely love to do it over again,” he said. “(Competing in) nationals in any sport means you’re among the best in the country.”