Prince Albert will have a strong contingent at this year’s Open Five-Pin Bowling Championship in Surrey and Abbotsford, B.C.
The men’s and mixed teams out of Minto Bowl will compete for Saskatchewan at the nationals, while Taylor Trach will take part in the men’s individual event, after they all won provincial titles in Regina last weekend.
“It’s pretty rare for us to have that many people going to the nationals,” men’s team member Zach Nilson said. “Usually we’re more of the underdogs when we got into the provincials, especially as we are a smaller centre.
“Our teams, which also had bowlers from North Battleford and Cut Knife, came out of the gates strong in Regina. When we started to beat some of the top teams in the province, we all started to think that we might have a shot at this.
The mixed team, which consisted of is Tamara Hamilton, Shawna Boyer-Kirkham, Jamie Szocs, Wade Fiddler, Jack Mukli, Daryl Schmidt, Darcy Anseth, only lost a handful of games during the tournament before defeating Saskatoon in the final.
“They actually lost their first meeting in the stepladder, but they bounced back with a strong showing in the rematch to win the gold by 40 or 50 points,” Nilson said.
“From the games I watched them play, they were in control right from the start as they had a 10-point lead over the next closest team.”
The men’s squad, which featured Len Anseth, Sean Dieno, Ned Ramsay, Dallas Vandale, Taylor Trach, Brian Earl and Nilson, had a much closer battle in their final with Saskatoon.
“We started off strong during the weekend but there may have been some nerves when we got closer to the final, but we knew we still had that second chance with the stepladder format,” Nilson said.
“Saskatoon had four balls left and we had two, but Taylor was able to make a chop off shot and that gave us the provincial title. We were all pretty excited after that, especially because Taylor then went out and won the men’s title afterwards.”
With an almost two-month wait before they head out to the nationals, all of the bowlers will be making sure that they keep their game in top shape ahead of their trip to British Columbia.
“We don’t have much in terms of events so there’s going to be a lot of practices before we leave, along with some fundraisers before we fly out West.”