Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist

Most Americans are familiar with the game of ten pin bowling, which is the most common bowling game in the United States, but were you aware that several other variations of the game of bowling can be found across the North American continent?

The game of ten pin bowling, as we know it, involves ten pins that are 15 inches tall and 4.7 inches wide. The pins are arranged in a triangle at the end of a long wooden or synthetic 60 foot long lane. Bowling balls for the traditional game can range in weight from 6-16 pounds. 

Duckpin bowling is another popular version of bowling found on the east coast. Duckpins uses pins that are a little shorter and squatier than the traditional pins. The rules play similar to the 10-pin game.

The balls used in duckpins are about the size of a softball, have no holes, and can be up to 3 pounds, 12 ounces in weight at most. Scoring rules are the same as the 10-pin game, except bowlers receive a third shot to convert pins left after their second-ball spare attempt.

The closest place to try duckpins is Victory Lanes in Portsmouth.

Canadians have their own style of bowling called five pin bowling. By having only five pins the game play is faster. The pins, which are similar to duckpins are set in a “V” pattern. The pins also have a wide rubber band around the body of the pin.

I enjoyed the Canadian game when I bowled in the American Bowling Congress national tournament in 1991 in Toledo and during an off day, rode over to Detroit and into Canada. You should have seen the looks on people’s faces when I walked in with my regular bowling balls to discover the little short pins!

Each pin has assigned points from two to five that depend on the placement in the “V.”

Each player then has 3 chances to knock down as many pins as they can. Smaller balls, again like duckpin balls, are used to gain more speed to knock down more pins.

Another variation played mainly in New England and parts of northern Canada is candlepin bowling. Once again, the main difference between ten pin and candlepin is the size of the balls and pins. The balls are smaller and do not have holes. Candlepins are smaller in weight but bigger in height.

Like five pin bowling, the ball is rolled 3 times rather than twice. After each roll, the candlepins are left where they lie. This adds another challenge to candlepin bowling.

The rules change a little by adding a lob line which is a dark lane 10 feet down from the foul line. The ball has to be touching the lane before it gets to the lob line. Any ball that does not touch down before the lob line will not be counted in the final scoring.

As you can see, bowling has many variations and styles of games. These are just a few popular ones. The bottom line is bowling is fun in all of its different forms. The main objective of each though is to enjoy it..

The threat of Hurricane Florence to the Albemarle area played havoc on the league schedule at Albemarle Lanes last week. The house that normally holds seven leagues in a week was shrunk to only three!

Without a doubt, the hottest bowler in the area is Kaytee Simpson of Tuesday night’s Fellowship League. Simpson crushed the pins for 19 strikes and 8 spares last week to the tune of a 233-651 performance. Over the past two weeks, the top female bowler in the 2-5-2 area code has averaged a cool 216!

To go along with Kaytee’s sizzling numbers, Brittney Gaumond added a 190-511 and Bobbi Jo Tarkington tossed a 166-471 last Tuesday.

On the men’s side of the sheet, Paul Lacher took top billing with a 223-652, followed by Chris Farrell’s 224-642, Mark Tarkington’s 241-611, and Rondell Christian’s 230-603. Boris Beatty and James Lang added impressive games of 235 and 234 respectively.

Monday Night Mixed witnessed Jeremy Beasley lead the way with a 225-582, to go along with Rondell Christian’s 226-574, William Swinson’s 214-566, and Paul Lacher’s 219 game.

The ladies’ side of the Monday Night sheet highlighted Susie Thomas (204-497), Esther Sanders (189-462), Mary Beasley (440 series), and Leonora Vactor (170 game).

Leading the way for Saturday’s youth boys were Christopher Vinson (207-529), Bryce Hawkins (177-464), and Ben Hawkins (163-458) while Violet Olds (140-373), Elizabeth Scaff (142-348), and Lindsay Porter (136-344) topped the young ladies.

There are still a few spots remaining in the Saturday morning bumper and youth leagues. Interested individuals may sign up and begin bowling this Saturday; Just arrive around 9:30 to sign up and be placed on a team.

Until next week, good luck and good bowling!