Thrilling conclusion to tenpin bowling season

    ON A ROLL Ken Smith takes part in a 12-hour marathon in the 1970s

    THE South East Counties Tenpin Bowling League season is reaching an exciting climax as a clutch of contenders chase the title with two games left.

    The top three teams, Dark Horses, Skittles and Moore the Merrier, are all within two points of each other on 60, 60 and 58 points respectively – and there are 16 points still up for grabs.

    Dark Horses’ Hanna Bratton-Smith has an average of 213 and a league high game of 268, and also hold the highest series of 664 for a three-game series.

    Meanwhile her team-mate Andrew Tapping holds the highest individual average by a male bowler, 222.

    Skittles’ Philip Guimarey is the league’s highest scorer and has bowled a ‘perfect game’ – a maximum score of 300 achieved by bowling 12 strikes in a row; one in each of the first nine frames, then three in the 10th and final frame.

    He has a high score 278, a series of 768 maintaining a 213 average. He plays with his father Ollie and Carl Emberson, who is also a high scorer with a 264 game and 721 series and 197 average.

    Moore the Merrier are a family affair too, consisting of father Brian and his two sons Darren and Kevin Moore.

    Darren also bowled the perfect game of 300 in our knockout competition, which is also the league’s highest score.

    He is their top scorer with a 216 average, a 277 high game and 782 series. Darren Brian and Kevin both score over 200.

    The biggest and longest-running league in the South-east consists of 38 trios divided into three divisions for its winter scratch competition.

    The league is more than 50 years old, and veteran bowler Ken Smith can trace its origins back to 1963.

    “Beeline Taxis in Tunbridge Wells challenged local businesses to take them on,” the Honorary President recalls. “Some of the original bowlers are still taking part.”

    The matches were held at an alley down in Brighton because there was no venue in the town, but the competition was initially known as the Tunbridge Wells Tenpin Bowling League.

    “As the number of firms wishing to take part increased, a committee was formed and the league was set up the following year, playing at King Alfred Lanes in Hove,” Ken recalls

    “In the Sixties the league moved to the Humber Bowl at Crawley and adopted its new name because players came from Kent, Sussex and Essex.”

    It finally relocated to its home town of Tunbridge Wells when the Bowlplex opened in Knights Park in 1998.

    It now boasts a membership of over a hundred, with ages ranging from 10 years old to 70-plus.

    If you would like to try your hand at bowling, visit www.sec10pin.co.uk