Love it or hate it, Rule 18 has arrived


Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist


By Mike Hawkins

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

I’ve been around the sport of bowling since my family moved to Oxford Heights in January of 1971, and began league bowling 8 years later. In forty years, I have never been able to quote a rule number, but all that changed on August 1st of this year.

Rule 18. I’m not sure which has had me rolling my eyes more; the rule itself, or the response it has received from the bowling community. Honestly, if I was still actively bowling, it wouldn’t affect me too much, as I thought the intent of the rule had been in force for years already. Apparently I was wrong.

Rule 18 states, “Bowling balls cannot be cleaned with liquid substances or cleaning agents or have any foreign materials on the ball including but not limited to powder, rosin, marker or paint.

One of the most popular cleaning agents for the past few years has been simple alcohol. All the research I’ve done on this subject agrees that rubbing alcohol will only remove surface oil, dirt and grime and is also helpful in removing a simple belt burn.

But to truly give your ball a deeper cleaning and get down in the pores of the ball, a USBC approved ball cleaner is what you’ll want to use. But, when should you use this approved cleaner, and speaking of Rule 18, when can you absolutely not use it?

Picture the scenario of you walk into the bowling center and are preparing for your night. Yes you may clean your ball with your approved cleaner. Practice balls begin and you roll a few; you’re still good to clean your ball. Scoring begins and the first bowler on your pair rolls his first ball; put the cleaner away!

At this point, it is now illegal to put anything on the surface of your ball - any ball you may use, including the balls in your bag, locker, or even your car you have yet to even take out.

Here’s the part of the rule that would have affected me. I used to pat the tops of my finger holes with my rosin bag before wiping it off and beginning my pre-shot routine. The result was a little rosin in my finger holes for better grip. Bowlers can’t do that anymore!

Many bowlers will use the excuse that the bottle of ball cleaner they currently use, says on it “Approved for use during USBC Competition.” That is true, the issue is those bottles and labels were created prior to the rule going into affect. Take my word on it - that excuse will not fly, no more than trying to convince the State Trooper that you were going 55 legally, prior to entering the 45 zone.

That said, now on with the scores from a hurricane abbreviated week of league bowling.

Fellowship League gets top billing again this week with a pair of 700 series followed by seven more 600 sets!

David Ange ruled the roost with an impressive 259-706, followed closely by Mark Tarkington’s 236-701. Ange saw his games increase by over 20 pins each as the night progressed, going 213-234-259, while Tarkington stayed consistent tossing games of 232-233-236. Either way you stack it, those were some pretty impressive numbers.

The 600 roll-call included Stephen Marshall’s 234-651, John Bradley’s 256-642, Jevon Simpson’s 233-627, Chris Farrell’s 229-620, Paul Lacher’s 221-615, Jack Atland’s 222-610 and John Turner’s 256-601.

The ladies’ side of the high scores found Stephanie Winslow’s 198-537, to go along with Kaytee Simpson’s 195-507, and Bobbi Jo Tarkington’s 203-499.

Monday Night Mixed witnessed Steve Spoonire pitch a nice 245-673 to lead all, while Garry Williams followed with his 203-603 and Travis Clark added a 201-576. John Bradley and Denwood Williams had top games of 246 and 221 respectively.

Monday Night Mixed still has one spot available, if there is anyone looking to join that night’s fun.

Wednesday Night No-Tap League also has a spot for a doubles team, but for those already taking advantage of the nine-pin strikes, Darik Lynam’s 252-610 and Raymond Casteel’s 208-573 topped the men, while Patsy Sanders; 206-546 and Tiffany Rithman;s 154-379 led the ladies.

Hurricane Dorian caused the cancellations of All-American Ladies League, Martin Luther King League, and the start of the Saturday Morning Youth program. All of these league will look forward to continuing this week. While All-American Ladies League is filled, MLK may have a few spots available and the youth program always has room for growth. Interested individuals may call the lanes at 335-4213 for more information.

Until next week, good luck and good bowling!