PORT HARDY—Hosting the Vancouver Island 5-pin Bowling Championships for the first time in the event’s 26-year history, the North Island Lanes team saved its best for last.
Posting the second-highest game score of the session, North Island Lanes placed fourth in the mixed team competition Sunday, picking up three points toward the aggregate title in the six team event.
The local club rolled a 980 in its third game in the six-game series, which was topped only by the 1004 game of Duncan Lanes.
Duncan went on to win a tight, three-team battle for the overall house trophy, scoring 27 points to edge runner-up Parksville (25) and Nanaimo (19).
Impact Lanes of Port Alberni followed with 12 points and the Port Hardy club tied Sydney with seven points each.
North Island Lanes was hosting the tournament in large part because 5-pin bowling has been waning on Vancouver Island in recent years. It was once a 12-team tournament, with another three houses on a waiting list to get in. Now Vancouver Island has competitive teams in only six houses, which happens to match the number of lanes in the Port Hardy facility.
“Sayward, Ucluelet, Chemainus, Town & Country, Mayfair, those houses are all closed,” said Carla Reusch, co-owner of North Island Lanes and organizer of last weekend’s three-day tourney. “Glacier Lanes in Courtenay is up and running, but is no longer a part of the tournament because they can’t field a team.
“It’s not a good thing, truly, as far as I’m concerned. But it’s still going on and it’s going to continue. So we’re happy about that.”
Individually, the local squad had its highlights. Danny Turgeon was fifth overall in the individual men’s competition, posting a four-game series of 870 points to finish one spot out of the aggregate point scoring system. His opening-game score of 284 was the second highest in the competition, behind only the 294 rolled by Port Alberni’s Jim Silver.
Another Alberni bowler, Larry Cross, won the men’s title with a four-game series of 969, 12 points better than Nanaimo’s John Drnasin.
The top four in each singles event earned points toward the club trophy, with the winner claiming six points and the next three finishers collecting 3, 2 and 1 point respectively.
In the ladies singles competition, Amanda Davidson and Carla Reusch of North Island Lanes finished back-to-back in fifth and sixth place, also narrowly missing contribution toward the aggregate trophy total.
Davidson scored 817 and Reusch had 815 in a ladies division won by Leanne Wasden of Duncan with 869.
The closest competition of the weekend came in the ladies team event, in which Nanaimo stormed from behind to edge Parksville, 5041-5038. Parksville led the duel by 250 points through four of the six games in the team series, but Nanaimo picked up 235 of them with a monster, 987-point fifth game, then took the top spot by outpointing Parksville 854-836 in the final game.
The Parksville men cruised to their team title without a challenge, scoring 5630 points to 5157 for Duncan.
“I felt it’s gone very well,” said Reusch. “My staff, my friends, my family, everyone who’s participated has been very, very giving and very methodical at trying to make the whole situation and the whole tournament work very well. I’m very pleased with how it’s going.”
The visitors also seemed to have a good time.
“It’s been a blast,” said Henny Turgeon of Port Alberni. “As far as I’m concerned, they’ve done very well with the event here.”
Turgeon and the other players from Port Alberni’s Miracle Lanes each sported a small photo of longtime club member John Miller, who died in November of last year, on their participant ribbons.
“(Miller) was really involved in the Island tournament in all his years in the club,” said Crystal Nuttall, Port Alberni co-coach. “So we decided we’d bring him here with us.”
Reusch and the other local volunteers have slightly mixed feelings about bringing other bowlers to Port Hardy for the championships. On the one hand, they’d be happy to have the game grow to the point where there are too many active houses for their six-lane capacity.
But if that does not happen, they’ll look forward to taking their turn when it rolls around again. “I would more than be happy to host it again, absolutely. I would gladly take my turn again in six years.”
The event wrapped up with an awards gala and full course dinner Sunday evening at the Civic Centre.