David Slatter and Janice Hoyte.
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#While David Slatter continued his stranglehold of the men’s title of the Bahamas Bowling Federation’s National Championships, Janice Hoyte finally broke a string of victories by Driskell Rolle, avenging last year’s defeat, to capture her first ladies’ crown.
#As the week-long nationals came to a close yesterday at Mario’s Bowling and Family Entertainment Centre, top seed Slatter clinched his fifth consecutive title and his eighth overall as he out-duelled Graham Higgs 246-170 in the final game of the final five roll-off.
#Slatter, a 52-year-old southpaw, was well-rested as he waited until the final three games were played.
#Federation president Tyrone Knowles Sr got by Mario ‘The Hawk’ Brown 215-200 in the first round, Higgs eliminated Knowles Sr 213-191 and Graham got by Alcondo Hepburn 170-165.
#But in the final game, Slatter just simply out-matched Higgs.
#“Obviously the more you do it, the more comfortable you are in the situation,” said Slatter, an insurance executive. “I just looked at it as one tournament and one game. I know we all like to brag and we prefer to win versus not to win, so I took it seriously.
#“I took it as if it was my first title I was going after. There was a little bit of stress, regardless of how many times I did it. But I just enjoy bowling. I put in the practice and so I’m glad to see that on this evening, I got the win.”
#Higgs, who made a comeback to bowling last year after being away from the game since the closure of the Village Bowling Lanes about 20 years ago, said after he got through the first two rounds, he ran into a well-oiled machine in Slatter in the final.
#“I had to be perfect and I wasn’t perfect,” pointed out Higgs, a 48-year-old insurance executive. “It was a good experience, but I didn’t make the adjustments to the change in the lanes. I left a few splits and when I did, David just took advantage of it. He’s the best at it.”
#Hepburn, one of the top bowlers this year, said he expected to perform a lot better than he did.
#“I made some crucial errors in the middle of the game. I guess my nerves got the better of me with this being my first time in the top five,” Hepburn said. “But it was a learning experience and I will definitely be back next year and hopefully improve on my performance this year.”
#On the ladies’ side, it came down to a much closer finish in the final as Hoyte came back from nine pins down going into the tenth and final frame.
#After Rolle split the 4-6 pins and ending up picking up one, Hoyte got nine pins and the spare and came up with pins in the final frame to pull off a three-pin victory.
#The final score was 193 for Hoyte to 190 for Rolle, similar to the three-pin win Rolle had over Hoyte last year. “It was nerve wrecking. I tried to relax, but it was pretty hard,” Hoyte said. “I think I stuck with my game plan. I didn’t switch balls for a long time and the lanes were pretty awesome. The last game, I didn’t get the breaks, but I hung in there.
#“Driskell was pretty good. She’s competitive. It was really hard. That split that I picked up was a game breaker. This one was for my mom and my dad. None of them are here anymore, but they always told me to go out there and fight. Today, some of the girls told me that you have to fight. I’m glad that I did.”
#With her parents, Harold and Grenalda Bodie, deceased, 57-year-old Hoyte said she was delighted to have the rest of her family in attendance cheering for her, including her brother, track coach Dexter Bodie. She said she will celebrate when her son comes home on Wednesday.
#Suffering her first loss in three years, Rolle admitted that she didn’t perform as well as she expected. “I opened the first frame with a 6-10 split. I really thought I had that. I didn’t want to cherry pick it,” she noted. “Then I missed a 10 pin later on. I thought I had it and I turned my back and dropped in the gutter. Then in the tenth frame, I wanted to make it a tighter line, but I missed it. This was on me. I didn’t do what I had to do.”
#Rolle, who turns 44 on March 18, said she faced a formidable opponent in Hoyte, whom she faced for the third time in a final.
#“She’s a fierce competitor and she deserved to win,” Rolle stressed. “She made her spares. She deserves it.”
#In other matches played in the finals, Paula Harts knocked of Uchenna Delva 202-156; Carmille Burnside ousted Harts and Hoytes got by Burnside.
#This year, Joyann Whymns competed in the nationals for the first time. She attributed her appearance to her performance in the Bankers Bowling League.
#“I was encouraged to enter the nationals this year and In placed seventh in the top ten and I won my division,” she stated. “So I did pretty well. I want to encourage other bowlers to join the nationals because what it does is it encourage you to improve your game. My experience here this year was phenomenal. I will be back next year.”
#Knowles said the tournament, based on the feed back they got from the players and spectators, was the best hosted in the past 20 years.
#“Everything went smoothly. We introduced a new dual pattern this year for the first time in the nationals and the players adapted very well to it,” he said. “We want to thank Mario’s Bowling for the exceptional service they rendered to us this year.
#“The bowlers really enjoyed themselves, so I’m really happy with the way the tournament went this year.”