Four Hay River residents will be headed to five-pin bowling nationals later this summer after territorials were held in town from Feb. 20 to 21.
Eight people in total will head to Regina, Sask. for open nationals at the start of June, with four from Yellowknife joining the four from Hay River.
The members were selected after two days of bowling at Lizard’s Lounge & Lanes.
The Hay River contingent includes Glen Wallington, Kayla Power, Carey Broadhead and Lillian Crook.
“It’s always fun, I always enjoy it,” Crook said. “I wasn’t going to compete but they always talk me into it.”
She’s been bowling for at least 20 years and said she’s been to nationals about 10 times, including last year.
She said the weekend event started out slow but ended fairly well.
Crook, in her last game, wrapped up with three strikes in a row.
“That was pretty good,” she said with a smile.
Steve O’Brien, the president of the NWT 5 Pin Bowlers Association, said it was a good weekend.
“The lanes are in excellent shape and the new proprietors are really supportive,” he said. “They’re new to the business so I hope that continues.”
O’Brien of Yellowknife, and Broadhead were the only two to score 300 during the weekend event.
It featured 10 games Saturday followed by five more Sunday morning. Then once the eight to go on were determined, they competed in a stepladder format tournament to determine who would go as singles to Regina, O’Brien said. The format sees the lowest ranked bowlers compete in non-concurrent matches with winners going up against progressively higher-ranked players.
The remaining six will go as the territorial mixed team.
They’ll compete against every other province at that June event.
O’Brien has gone to nationals several times before, including three times as singles champion.
The NWT teams haven’t medalled. There have been several medals for singles about 20 years ago.
One of the territory’s best recent finishes was was two years ago in Newfoundland and Labrador when Kim Bailey of Yellowknife finished fourth in the women’s singles round robin but lost a match and finished fifth overall.
O’Brien said he’s looking forward to returning to Hay River again next year.
Tracy Cross Gauthier, manager of the bowling alley, said it was the first time Lizard’s had hosted territorials. Cross Gauthier began managing the alley in the basement of the Godwin Mall last summer.
“We hope to increase participation in years to come,” Cross Gauthier said, adding she wishes those heading to Regina well in the competition.
The even split between Hay River and Yellowknife bowlers heading points to the growth in bowling in the town since the changeover, Crook said.
“The house in Hay River – with our new manager, they’ve really promoted bowling so a lot of bowlers have come back,” she said, using a term referring to the bowling alley.
She said the leagues playing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are full.
“Our house has really grown, we’re really happy,” she said.
– Shane Magee