For the third straight year, a men’s bowler out of Brandon will represent Manitoba at the national 5-pin championship, except it will be a different face this time.
Garry Hamm won the men’s singles provincial championship at Thunderbird Bowl on Saturday by beating Winnipeg’s Darren Maxwell in the final. Winning a provincial title is something the 29-year-old Brandonite had thought about for a while and he was glad to finally make his dream a reality.
"I imagined I could," he said. "I like to think I’m fairly handy with a bowling ball, I just hadn’t done it yet. I figured I had the potential to do it at some point.
"… Everything seemed to click this weekend. Everything seemed to work out fine."
Hamm went into Saturday’s stepladder playoffs as the top seed after topping the preliminary round by 163 pins over his nearest competitor. He needed to be beat twice to lose the title, and Hamm took the long way to the championship.
Winnipeg’s Darren Maxwell took their first meeting 286-243 to set up a rematch in which the winner would be crowned champion. The Brandonite, however, remained steady and rolled a 252 while Maxwell struggled and posted a 172.
"It was pretty wild. My hands were trembling quite badly," Hamm said. "I still threw relatively well. I didn’t throw great, but I did all right."
The previous two provincial singles titles were won by Brad Rusnak.
While Hamm celebrated his singles title, he wished Westman’s teams could have done better. He was a member of the men’s team, which finished third in qualifying and missed the final. Westman’s mixed team also placed third, while the women fell in the final to the squad from Winnipeg.
Winnipeg also won the mixed team event, while Central won the men’s.
In the women’s singles event, Westman’s Nicole Sentner and Michelle Brown both reached the stepladder playoffs. Sentner defeated Brown in the first round 271-246 before falling 210-191 to Central’s Christy Wilson in the second round. Wilson went on a roll and made it to the final, where she lost 304-249 to Winnipeg’s Chris Monchak.
Sentner’s average during the event was good enough to land her on the mixed team that’s going to nationals, which is made up of players not already going.
Nationals will be held in Calgary from May 28-31. It will be Hamm’s fourth appearance — he was on Manitoba’s men’s team once and its mixed team twice — and he can’t wait for the chance to represent Manitoba in the singles competition for the first time.
"I’m really excited," he said. "I called my boss last night and booked the time off work. I’m packing my bags already."