Hamilton Five-pinners have hit for perfection 39 times


Since Harvey Bray was perfect at Hamilton Centre Bowl in 1963, there has been 359 sanctioned perfect games in tenpin play in Hamilton. But in five pins, 450 has been hit only 39 times.

That first year, Bray was joined by Ted Hapak at Bar Don and Ross Carter. Two years later at Bar Don, Stan Battersby was perfect. Three years later, a pair of 450s were rolled by Tom Dawson and Leo Nelligan and in Canada’s centennial year Tom Patterson joined the club. In 1969, Bea McNeaney dealt a 450.

In the 1970s eight 450s were delivered with Ernie Roggie and Chester Pintwala at Bar Don tripping 450s and Jack Sallick enjoyed his in 1971. After a five-year break, Bill Ciach was perfect at Lucky Strike Bowlerama and Sherwood Lanes saw the next pair with Henry Tratch in 1978 and Lloyd Ormerod in 1979. His widow, Betty, turns 95 next week and still bowls weekly at Sherwood. Ian Wilson travelled to Pla Mor in St. Catharines to roll his 450 and Dino Dalmaso finished 1979 with his ace at Sherwood.

The next decade had 10 perfect scores on the hardwood starting with Wayne Webb at B & D Lanes in Strathroy and Victor McBay in Ancaster. Two more came in 1982: Tom Dixon at Sportsman and Gene Yucura at University. The following year, Peter Holmes picked a tournament at University Lanes for his 450 and John Willock made the list at Sherwood. Wilson tallied 450 number two at Bar Don in 1985. Connie Ward picked late 1986 for his ace at Sherwood followed by Willock’s repeat at Lucky Strike in 1987. Bar Don was the scene of a 450 by Dan Robinson in 1988.

There were seven perfectos in the 1990s with Matt Drugan in 1990 at Waterdown starting the parade. Steve Wright followed at Lucky Strike and Stephanie Tuck at Sherwood in 1993. Sherwood was the scene again in ’94 for Michael Bates and Drugan’s second and Sherwood again with Brian Whalen and Jim Mystyk making the record book.

Lucky seven hit at Sherwood in 2002 as Lisa Clause and John Gallant aced the lanes. After the last six at Sherwood, Ron Bleses had 12 in a row in Waterdown and Sherwood was double fortunate as Jeff Forester ruled the pins twice in 2003. Back at Waterdown, Roger Bleses matched Ron’s 450 at Waterdown in 2006 and Brenda Walters finished off the decade in 2009 at Sherwood.

There are another 14 games of 450 which at the moment are not official starting with Bill Smith at Connaught way back in 1929. The YMCA lanes in 1941 saw Garnet Smith hit 450. The location of the next eight by Ernie Martin 1946, Sid Stones 1947, Art Hale in 1951, Ernie Terry, Eddie Mamela, and Jack Braid, all in 1953, Gord Marsh and Ormerod, both in 1954, are unknown.

In 1981, Denise Dawn popped a 450 at Roseland and in 1986 Mike Zess posted perfection at University while Johnny Nedal had a 450 at Bar Don, date unknown.

In the 1960s, a 450 was reported by William MacGregor Jones. Connie Ward had a memorable 2003 with perfect games in tenpins (Skyway Lanes) and five pins (Strixxx in Grimsby).

A last minute addition is a 450 by Keith Rowland at Waterdown. After the 450, he started the next game with six more strikes. Jack MacLeod went to Sherwood one day to practice and fired a 440.

Several five pinners rolled the first 11 strikes before missing the magic 12th. Some of the so-close bowlers are Helen MacCallum, Irene Whitley, Don Russell, Mark Tolfo, John Conti, Steve Worron and John Willock all at 448. Russ Fletcher scored a 445 and Garnet LaFave a 443. Mike Smiderle, Albert DeCarlo, Mike Bate, and Jim Davies tripped 440s and Gene Bolton a 438.

All these scores are impressive but what is really outstanding is Blanche Hill at age 96 rolling games of 239, 229 and 211. She stopped five pin bowling at 100 and passed away at 103. A long time ten pin bowler at Skyway Lanes, Walt Zarycki has passed away at age 81.

Some of the five pin houses where these scores were recorded are long gone such as Bar Don, now a parking lot, Connaught, YMCA ( managed by Ed Taylor) and Sportsman, with the original building soon to be torn down. Others are still going strong. They are Roseland, Lucky Strike (now Bowlerama Stoney Creek), Waterdown, University and Sherwood. Some of this five pin info came from John Conti, Bill Forester, Bob Coulter and the columns of the late Dick Brett.

There could be other 450s, sanctioned or non-sanctioned, not on this list. If you know of any please contact jim.margueratt@sympatico.ca.