While their competition were having an ordinary day, three Canyon Lanes bowlers were playing way over their average last Wednesday — earning themselves the B.C. Championship and an all-expenses-paid trip to Cambridge, Ontario, for the national championships in June.
North Bend residents Lillian and her daughter-in-law Eleanor Forman teamed up with Lytton resident Julia Boldt in a Club 55+ best-over-average competition, organized by BowlBC. Boldt used to live in Boston Bar but still keeps connected with the community through the bowling activities.
“We’re in the Club 55 at Canyon Lanes,” said Lillian on Sunday, “and we heard about the competition from BowlBC. We had a roll-off at Canyon lanes first, to see which teams would go to the regional playdowns in Maple Ridge.
“The best men’s team was Lloyd, Sid Hambly and Gordon Paquette,” said Lillian.
“And we lost!” sounded a voice from the background, as her husband Lloyd came in the door.
There were eight teams at Maple Ridge and the Canyon women had the best over-average aggregate score, giving them a berth in the B.C. Championships at Chilliwack’s Chillibowl Lanes on Wednesday, April 6.
Six women’s teams, from as far away as Nelson and Quesnel vied for provincial honours — and the Canyon women were by far the straightest shooters.
“We bowled four games and our team was the best over average,” said Lillian. “Our last game was awesome. We were all over average and we don’t usually bowl like that!
“Our usual average is 145 for Eleanor, 127 for Julia and 128 for me,” she added. “We were 255 over average for the 4 games, combined — and the next nearest team was 114 over average.
“I don’t think a lot of them were too happy with the way we were bowling,” said Lillian, laughing.
“We bowl three games a week in the Wednesday seniors’ league and Canyon Lanes keeps track of our average scores, starting in September,” she explained. “Fifteen or sixteen players bowl then and it’s just for fun… not a competition. It’s Eleanor’s first year playing with us, so she was pretty excited with the win.”
The just-for-fun attitude may contribute to the Canyon bowlers’ history of success, figured Lloyd, the Director for Electoral Area A. Boldt went with a team to the Canadian championships four years ago — and the Canyon Lanes men’s team won first place that year.
“We have cranked out a lot of winners,” said Lloyd. “I think it might be because we’re not all tense like the other bowlers. We’re just out there having fun.”
Lloyd said the lanes were built in about 1990 and have since become an important center for the community.
“It’s owned and operated by the community,” he said. “They’re open every day of the week. We’ve also got the Sears depot, the Greyhound depot and space for a hairdresser who comes to town every month. There are a lot of community functions run through there.
“It was started by a group of guys who got together and wanted to build it without it going on the tax roll,” recalled Forman. “But they ran out of money, so it went to special referendum to raise the $235,000 to finish the job.
“It has really been a great facility for the community,” added Forman, crediting the original group with having the vision to locate it close to the Boston Bar School.
“It turned out to be the best location after all.”
The Canyon women’s team leaves for Cambridge Ontario, northwest of Hamilton, on June 21. They return on June 24.