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Keeping bowling alive


Aylesford bowler part of 2018 ladies’ provincial candlepin championship team

AYLESFORD, NS - A member of the ladies’ provincial candlepin bowling championship team and others continue to keep the sport alive in the Annapolis Valley in spite of a lack of facilities.

Jess Bain of Aylesford and her Ballin’ Beavahs teammates won the provincial ladies candlepin bowling championship at the 80th Annual Nova Scotia Ladies Candlepin Provincials tournament, played from May 18 to 21 at Heather Lanes in New Glasgow. Other team members include coach Barry Soward, Jamie LeBlanc, Nichole O’Connell, Denise Pinsent, Donna Ogden and Michelle Whittle.

Bain said they had a good lead throughout much of the tournament but lost two matches to the Deadwood Divas, putting the Beavahs in second place. Bain said it was pretty cool and quite special to have everything boil down to the championship match, which the Beavahs won. The Divas finished in second place and Able Equipment finished third.

Bain said it’s a phenomenal feeling to win the championship at the 80th annual provincial tournament. However, she said it really doesn’t matter if you come first or last, they always have a great time and many friendships have been built over the years. She said, “endless fun and shenanigans” always accompanies competitive matches at the provincial tournament.

“It just goes to show that, yes, we’re struggling with the two bowling alleys (in Middleton and New Minas) shutting down but candlepin bowling is still alive and strong and it was a great weekend to commemorate that,” Bain said.

She said the tournament was very well run by organizing committee members Allison Smith, Lisa Lynch and Theresa Brow. It included a celebratory banquet at the New Glasgow branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

Bain said it’s great to keep Valley representation at these tournaments going, considering the closure of Fairlanes in New Minas and LMK Lanes in Middleton. Although she is the only member of the championship team from the area, the tournament featured the Valley Angels team, which finished in tenth place and used to bowl in New Minas.

The second-place team, the Deadwood Divas, has one member from New Ross, Samantha Hirtle, one from Windsor, Lisa Lynch, and one from Wolfville, Sarah Kenny.

Bain, who has won national and international bowling titles, said three teams of Nova Scotian bowlers are heading to New Hampshire in late June for the mixed world championships.

Bain is a 2003 senior girls’ national five-pin champion. This was only the second time a Nova Scotia competitor won the title, the first time since 1984. Bain is also a 2015 Ladies Can-Am International champion with the team NS Extreme.

Dream lives on

Bain said the dream of re-establishing a candlepin bowling facility in the Valley remains alive. There is no candlepin bowling facility between Digby and Windsor. The only bowling alley in the Valley is a five-pin facility at 14 Wing Greenwood.

Bain said a friend purchased 12 machines and lane beds out of 24 from Fairlanes after it closed. The equipment is in storage with the intention of setting it back up in an Annapolis Valley facility if the necessary funds can be secured. However, she said things are never as easy as we’d like them to be.

“It’s a constant thought and a constant hope and dream and hopefully one day we can put things into place and make it happen,” Bain said.

She said you make the most of a bad situation and candlepin facilities in Digby and Windsor have welcomed displaced Valley bowlers with open arms. For example, Bain drives an hour to Windsor to participate in summer league.

“They treat us like absolute gold, so that’s made the transition a lot easier too, to be going to a place where you’re so welcomed and you feel so at home,” she said.

Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

By the numbers

  • The 80th annual Nova Scotia Ladies Candlepin provincials featured 16 teams, including 106 bowlers in total, hailing from Yarmouth to Sydney.
  • The tournament was played over four days and included 30 games.
  • Samantha Hirtle of New Ross, a member of the Deadwood Divas, had the high tournament single of 159 and the high tournament double of 283.
  • Gloria Williams of Halifax was competing in her 45th Nova Scotia ladies’ candlepin bowling provincials.
  • Simultaneous to the ladies’ candlepin provincials in New Glasgow was the 69th annual Spud Beazley Men’s City Tournament at Woodside Bowlarama. The tournaments are two of the longest standing in Canadian candlepin history.

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