Boston Bar bowlers headed to provincials

Men's team competing at 55+ championships May 15 in Cranbrook

Canyon Lanes bowlers Gord Paquette (left)

Canyon Lanes bowlers Gord Paquette (left)

Canyon Lanes came within a pin of sending two teams to the BC 55+ bowling championships.

In 2011, it was the men’s team that came up short and the women who went on to win the BC title and a trip to Cambridge Ontario, where they finished in first place.

This year, Betty Davidson, Lillian Forman and Leslie Bowman finished second in their zone playdowns at Chillibowl Lanes in Chilliwack on March 19.

“The women were beaten by just one ball,” said Lloyd Forman, who was on the winning men’s team that will be heading to the BC 55+ May 15 playdowns in Cranbrook.

Each year, registered bowlers in 55+ leagues are welcome to compete in regional, then provincial and national five-pin bowling playdowns. The challenge isn’t to get the highest score — but the best score over average for a three-player team.

Averages are established over a year of league bowling, said Lloyd. Canyon Lanes had an in-house tournament and the top three males and females were sent on to the zone playdowns.

In 2011, the women had a magical day at the zone playdowns. This time, it was the men’s turn. They were bowling against two Chilliwack teams, two from Abbotsford and a threesome from Maple Ridge.

“Gord Paquette is a retired hard rock miner and he moved here about eight years ago and has been bowling ever since,” said Lloyd, who is director of Area A for the Fraser Valley Regional District. “He has an average of 147.

“Sid Hambly spent his career as a tradesman in the sawmill and he’s been bowling ever since the lanes opened,” said Lloyd. “He’s got an average of 192.

“I don’t recall their scores — but we were all over our averages at Chilliwack. We beat the next-best team, from Chilliwack, by about 150 points [over average].”

Balance and aim are important aspects of the game — but the mental part is also key, said Lloyd.

“I went to a funeral for my niece in Kamloops on the day before and with all that had been going on, I decided to clear my mind and just bowl,” he said.

“My average is 183 and I bowled a 208, a 212 and a 335. Four hundred and fifty is a perfect game.

“I think I’ve only had one other game over 300 in the last 20 years!” he enthused.

Forman figured there are seven or eight zones in B.C. that could be sending representative teams to the B.C. playdowns.

“If we win there, we’ll be going on to the nationals in Edmonton, in the first week of July,” said Lloyd.

For such a small community, Boston Bar has been very well represented at B.C. Senior Games and 55+ national championships over the years — and the four-alley facility has become a focal point for the community since it was opened on June 1, 1991.

“I’d say that in the last seven years, we’ve been to the Canadian championships at least five times, for the men or the women,” said Lloyd. “A couple of years, both teams have gone.

“I think part of the reason for our success is the small-town atmosphere of our club,” he said. “We’re like a family and we’re happy for the other players when they do well.

Lloyd has been bowling in Boston Bar for the past 20 years but he said he got his first taste of the game about 60 years ago, when he was growing up on the prairies.

“I lived in the Qu’Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan and I used to play hockey when I was a teen. We had to catch the train in Bethune to go to our games — and while we were waiting for the train, we’d go in and do some bowling.”