In the Pocket: Bieber keeps bowlers on their toes­

You won’t find house cond­itions in a typical Northern Bowlers Association tournament, and that’s ju

You won’t find house cond­itions in a typical Northern Bowlers Association tournament, and that’s just the way tournament director Karl Bieber likes it.

The NBA opens its eight-event schedule Sunday with the Proforma Lee’s Trophies Open at Town ‘N Country. Tournaments begin at 9:30 a.m.

“My thinking as a tournament manager is to try to put out a tournament shot and make a bowler think rather than to just change the color of bowling ball he is using,” said Bieber.

“I try not to influence the prop­rie­tor as far as making him do more work, but I usually ask for [a lane condition] in a range that would make the scores competitive and not a shootout.

“From a competitive standpoint, the majority of guys who come out for the NBAs are guys with a lot of talent and a lot of equipment. They tend to be able to make the adjustments to whatever is out there on the lanes. They can think. The conditions we use make you think about making shots and converting your spares. That’s what I strive for. If we made the conditions too easy, it would become too much of a sit­uation where the scores would be too high and the best carry would win.”

Bieber would love to have as many bowlers as possible partic­ipate in his events, but he doesn’t want to make the conditions easier to accomplish that.

“I’m not necessarily trying to get the house bowlers in our tournaments unless they want to better themselves by competing in a tougher condition,” Bieber said. “Put it this way: If the guys shoot 220 or 230 on a typical house condition, they’re most likely not going to shoot those same kinds of scores in our tournaments. We’re not into that kind of thing. But we would love bowlers to come out and match their skills and see how good they really are.”

Bieber didn’t ask Town ‘N Country proprietor Jack Scaccia Jr. what specific lane condition he was putting out, but it will be more difficult than the typical house shot.

“We don’t want to wipe out everybody, and we don’t want to segregate bowlers,” Bieber said. “I’m not looking to shut out the left-handers, for example. We just want a challenging shot that will make the bowlers think and execute. Some bowlers keep their games together by working over the summer, and the chances are that the 10-15 guys who do that sort of thing will have an advantage over the bowlers who don’t touch a ball all summer long.”

Most of the Capital Region’s top bowlers have dom­inated the NBA over the years, and the 2010-11 season was no exception.

Joe Mazuryk of Duanesburg won two NBA titles and was the runner-up on three occasions en route to winning the Cuby Cup with 1,005 points. The Cuby Cup, named after Cuby Fiorillo, is given to the bowler with the most points, based on how they finish each week.

Former PBA Tour exempt player Brian LeClair of Chatham won three titles and was second in the Cuby Cup race with 950 points, while Broadalbin’s Steve Wagoner also won a tournament and was third with 655 points. Other title winners were Clifton Park’s John Walther III, Selkirk’s Matt Sherman and Schenectady’s Bob Faragon.

“We feel we have a good product for our bowlers,” said Bieber. “The guys seem to like our 9:30 a.m. start and the five-game sweeper format for most of our events.”

After this weekend, the NBA schedule continues Nov. 6 at Spare Time-Latham with four games of qualifying, followed by match-play finals, where the top four or five bowlers compete in two-game matches.

Boulevard Bowl hosts the Stockade Open Nov. 27, while a special Christmas Eve event will be held Dec. 24 at Sunset Recreation, with four games of qualifying and elim­inator finals.

The rest of the NBA schedule includes stops at Redwood Lanes on Jan. 15, at Sportsman’s Bowl

Feb. 19 and at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy March 11. The Bob Guild Championship caps off the season April 15 at Del Lanes.

Entry fee will be $50 per event, plus a membership fee of $15. Bowlers must compete in three regular events to be eligible for the Bob Guild Championship.

Bieber said the NBA has picked up some new sponsors to help build the prize fund. This year’s sponsors will be The Daily Gazette, Mike’s Hot Dogs, Mohawk Honda, The WatersEdge Lighthouse and Gallo’s Florist.


Usually, throwing a 300 game at your opponent in the title match is good enough for a win, and that’s what happened in Bangkok, Thailand, last week. But this title match involved two 300 games, and set the stage for a possible televised grudge match in Las Vegas in


According to a PBA press release, two-time PBA Tour title winner Mike Fagan started the championship match of the PTT World Bowling Tour Thailand 2011 event with a 300-211 victory over top qualifier Jason Belmonte of Australia. But Fagan needed to beat Belmonte twice in the double-elimination

finale, and it didn’t happen. Belmonte returned the favor, defeating Fagan, 300-205, in the second game to win the title and one million Thai bhat ($32,000).

With his win, Belmonte earned 50 points and moved past Finland’s Osku Palermaa into third place on the WBT points list to set up the possibility of a showdown match with “bottlegate” rival Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., in the World Bowling Tour Finals presented by the PBA. Rash is second in WBT points heading into the Australian Masters, the final qualifying event in the series. Finland’s Mika Koivuniemi has locked up the No. 1 berth in the three-player stepladder finals, but if Rash and Belmonte remain one-two, they will meet in the first ESPN-televised match of the 2011-12 season.

The men’s and women’s WBT Finals will be contested at South Point Hotel, Casino and Bowling Center in Las Vegas on specially constructed arena lanes on Thursday, Nov. 17, and will air on ESPN on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 1 p.m.


u Ricky Rovelli of Albany defeated qualifying leader Christopher Hanson of Ballston Lake, 238-199, to win the Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour tournament at Spare Time-Latham last weekend. Rovelli earned a $160 scholarship, and Hanson earned a scholarship worth $100. Other scholarship winners were Michael Hartman of Earlton ($65), Cory Buckley of Albany ($45) and Scott Lansing of Latham ($30). The next CDYST event will be Oct. 22 at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy. Call 393-8296 for more information.

u Qualifying for the first Huck Finn/Northeast Bowling Pro­prietors of New York scratch singles tournament of the season will be Oct. 15, at 3 p.m. at Spare Time-East Greenbush and then 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 16 at Spare Time-Clifton Park. Call Jeff Segel at 439-7628 for reservations.

u Speaking of the Huck Finn tournaments, qualifying for the first amateur-handicap show is going on all this month through league play. The finals will be held at Playdium Bowling Center in Albany Nov. 6 at 1 p.m. The TV taping for that show will be Nov. 27 and will be broadcast Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. on Fox23.

u For all the top women bowlers out there, it’s not too early to start thinking about the Huck Finn/Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York’s Women’s Scratch Challenge. There will be three qualif­iers — Nov. 12 at 2 p.m., Nov. 13 at 9:30 a.m. and Nov. 13 at 11:30 a.m. — at Towne Bowling Academy. One in five cash. First place is $1,000. The TV taping will be the same day of the finals. Entry fee is $50. Call Segel at 439-7628 or Towne Bowling Academy at 355-3939.

u Towne Bowling Academy will host an Ebonite Demo Day Oct. 16. Products from Ebonite, Hammer, Track and Columbia 300 will be available to “try before you buy.” Ebonite features interchangeable thumb slugs and finger grips to help bowlers try out the various equipment. Discounts will be given to bowlers who purchase equipment after trying it out. The demo day costs $15 per bowler, and there is a limit of 20 bowlers per shift. The shifts will be 10:30-11:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., 2:45-3:45 p.m. and 4-5 p.m. Call Towne Bowling Academy at 355-3939 for reser­vations.

u The New York State Women’s 600 Bowling Club’s annual regional tournament will be held on Nov. 5 or Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. at Burnt Hills Lanes. Contact Anne Torak at 356-3281 or Marianne Hogle at 393-8907 for an entry form.

u The NorthEast Senior Tourn­aments schedule continues Sunday with a 10:30 a.m. stop at Boulevard Bowl. Any competitor who brings along a first-time NEST bowler will receive a 20 percent discount on the entry fee, which is $50.

u The Schenectady/Scotia Women’s Bowling Association will conduct its the 25th Senior Singles tournament on Saturday, Oct. 15,at Burnt Hills Lanes at 2 p.m. Entry forms are available from your league secretary or by contacting Sandy Knabner at 399-3759. Entries close Saturday.

u The Schenectady-Scotia 500 Club will conduct its Trick or Treat No-Tap Singles Tournament on Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. at Towne Bowling Academy. Current members received their entry form. If you need an entry form, contact Marie Moorhead at 399-3063.

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