Cumberland Times-News

February 10, 2014

Home lane advantage can be a huge factor

Joe Mullenax
Cumberland Times-News

— Bowling, like other sports, can have a big advantage when playing at home. Last week at their home lanes, The Bowler, Allegany broke the boy’s high school record against Fort Hill. This week at White Oaks, the Fort Hill boys returned the favor against Allegany.

Fort Hill set a new team record of 1,029. Darron Warner had 289, Trey Bennett shot 205, Dylan Bean had 247 and Kasey Sullivan shot 288. The mark of 1,029 will be a very tough record to beat.

In league action, Ralph Knieriem led the men with 763 at Sherwood Lanes. Troy Cubbage fired a 760 at the Bowler. Ryan Mackey had 756, Darren Durbin shot 749, Mike Hall had 739 and Teddy Inman had 735 at White Oaks.

For the ladies, Autumn Grant continued her hot streak with 717. Vicki Coughlin rolled 693 and Vivian Helsley added 664 at White Oaks.

There were a number of nice junior scores this week. Kasey Sullivan shot 744, Andrew Smith had 684 and Dylan Bean had 682, as did Wes Weems.  Mikayla Mellott shot 636 to lead the junior girls. All of these scores were rolled at White Oaks.

Okay, time to get out your No. 2 pencils. We are going to try some more bowling math.

Many team games and individual matches come down to one or two pins. It’s amazing how many close games there are in bowling. Many of these games don’t come down to strikes and spares. Instead, they are decided by getting pins on splits.

One of the worst split leaves is the “greek church,” so named because it looks like the steeples on a greek orthodox church. This split involves the 4-6-7-9-10 pins.  When you leave this split, you will have three pins on the right and two on the left. Many people swear that this split is easier if you slide the 4 pin into the 3 pins on the right. However, when you try this, you are sacrificing a pin of count, virtually every time you miss.

I have been bowling for over 30 years. I’m going to guess I have seen this split left over 1,000 times over those years. I’ve seen it made three times. So, if you shot at just the two pins each time in my example, you would have gained 30 pins by making 3 spares, but you would have sacrificed 1,000 pins by not getting the extra pin on the right side. In any form of math, 1,000 is greater than 30.

While an extreme example, too many bowlers throw away pins on splits, either through carelessness, anger or simply “bad math.” There are always circumstances, usually in the 10th frame, where you absolutely have to have a spare to win. In that case, take the chance and try to make the split. But early in a game or match? You will be better off in the long run just getting a few sure pins.

Joe Mullenax is the bowling columnist for the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at monktd@yahoo.com