Tight battle on the lanes


It was nail-biting time by late Sunday afternoon at Plaza Lanes here.
When the dust finally settled, five local bowlers had qualified for the provincial round of the annual Open championships, which are set for March 28-31 in Azilda (Sudbury).
There was no question who would claim the top three spots in the men’s division, with Jeff Watts of Fort Frances easily leading the way with a 5,147 total during the 20-game zone roll-offs that began Saturday morning.
Dryden bowlers Tim Gadd (4,870) and Justin Gallaway (4,743) were next, with all three also to represent Sunset Country in the men’s singles competition at the provincials.
But incredibly, after 20 games, just 18 pins separated the next four bowlers.
Dallas Gervais of Fort Frances (4,370) ended up claiming fourth place, with Kyle Hamilton of Balmertown only two pins behind in fifth (4,368).
Mike Behan of Fort Frances was a further nine pins back at 4,359–snagging the sixth and final berth on the Sunset Country men’s team by a mere seven pins over seventh-place finisher Andrew Misner of Dryden (4,352).
Dryden bowlers Scott Miner (4,257) and Chris Gadd (4,245) finished in eighth and ninth place, respectively, and will join Misner as the three men on the Sunset Country mixed team that will compete at Azilda.
The fight for the ninth and final provincial berth also proved to be extremely close, with Gadd prevailing by just five pins of Chris Rollins of Balmertown (4,240) and only 16 over Cody Brown of Fort Frances (4,229).
Outside of the top two, the battle for positions was even tighter in the women’s division.
Jackie Miner topped the field with a 4,300 total, with Toni Benning of Fort Frances taking second place (4,136).
But Charlotte Hazlewood of Dryden claimed third place–and the final berth in the women’s singles competition at Azilda–by just one pin over Jessica Scott of Kenora (3,885-3,884).
Kathy Bois of Fort Frances was just another seven pins back in fifth place with a 3,877 total after the 20 games.
In a rarity, Dryden bowlers Samantha Alberts and Lisa Sanders actually tied for the sixth place at 3,486, with Alberts then winning a one-game roll-off to claim the final berth on the Sunset Country women’s team to compete in Azilda.
Terri Hamilton of Balmertown was only 20 pins further back to finish in eighth place (3,466) while Trisha Lundstrom of Dryden nabbed the ninth and final women’s berth (3,194).
Hamilton and Lundstrom join Sanders as the three women on the Sunset Country mixed team.
The three coaches will be Terry DeLaronde (men’s), John Macdougall (women’s), and Norm Sanders (mixed), with Kayla Gadd to be the contingent manager.
At the provincial round, Sunset Country will be competing against the five other zones that make up Northern Ontario: Thunder Bay, Gold Belt (Timmins), Cambrian North and Nickel District (Sudbury), and Gateway (North Bay).
The singles competition gets underway on the Wednesday, with 10 games to determine the top five to advance to the stepladder playoffs on the Saturday.
The teams then will compete in a 15-game, triple round-robin format, with the top four advancing to Saturday’s stepladder.
The top team in all three divisions, as well as the men’s and women’s singles winner, then move on to the national roll-offs in late May.
Several other members of the Fort Frances Bowling Club also competed in the zone roll-offs here over the weekend but failed to qualify.
They included Jordan Sokoliuk, Rich Walton, Mike Cox (of Atikokan), and Rick Stamarski.
The rest of the 20-bowler men’s field included Robert Keeper of Balmertown, Derek Franczak of Balmertown, Brad Lavers of Dryden, Ian Chuhia of Balmertown, and Ted Lake of Dryden.
Marla Fedeniuk was the other local competing in the women’s division, with Kayla Gadd of Dryden rounding out the 11-bowler field.