|The Club Tour 2012 finalists: Runner-up, Paul Asselin (on left) and Champion Marc Goulet (on right), receiving the $4,000 first place check from NEBS World's Tom England (Photo courtesy NEBS Fun World)|
On the weekend of January 28th and 29th, 2012, Oshawa Ontario’s NEBS Fun World, the largest fivepin bowling center on the planet, hosted a follow up “Club Tour” event, after the success of the previous tourney held back in November 2011. In this 2nd installment of the Club Tour that boasts a $4,000.00 first prize for its participants, another of the promising young faces of the fivepin sport came away with the brass ring, as Marc Goulet defeated veteran Paul Asselin in the final.
With 95 entries, the event was a great success for competitive bowling in Ontario. With the increased participation at this stop, a total of 24 bowlers advanced to the playoff round on Sunday afternoon. The 24th position carried a score of 2050 for the 8 games, rounding out to an average of just over 256. Some great games were bowled during ‘qualifying’, including a 418 score by Marc Goneau. When all the dust settled, Goulet, of Hamilton, was crowned champion and winner of the $4000, over the experienced Paul Asselin. Due to the success of the two Club Tour events from November 2011 and January 2012, there will undoubtedly be more events planned in the future.
There were a couple of noteworthy highlights for the tournament. The brothers combination of Jeff and John Young led the preliminary round with impressive scores in their respective 8-game blocks. John had a superior effort of 2374, only to be ousted by Jeff, with a splendid total of 2381 to lead the field’s 8-game block totals. However, the efforts of visiting duckpinner, Frederick, Maryland’s Bernie Hipkins, were enough to steal the show in the early rounds of the event. The tall, lanky Hipkins was having a somewhat uneventful qualifying round after opening with a solid 279 game. His hold on a qualifying spot was beginning to slip as the preliminary round moved forward, but a timely 305 effort in Game 6 lifted the spirits of the mild-mannered Hipkins, and put him right back into contention. After struggling through Game 7 with a 204 effort, Bernie bared down, and opened the final game of the block with 8 consecutive strikes. Hipkins was in unchartered territory for a native of the duckpin game, but remained true with his delivery. Bernie went high on the 1-2 side and ended up leaving a somewhat unnatural left corner single pin. After converting the spare, Hipkins struck again in the 10th. After leaving a headpin split on the second ball in the 10th, he proceeded to chop the front pin off the targeted pair of the remaining pins to finish with a dramatic 399 game.
But Bernie wasn’t nearly done. On the next day in head-to-head competition, he faced off against a pair of fivepinners who are members of the men’s duckpin tour, Jason Procher and the top qualifier, Jeff Young. Hipkins defeated both compet-itors, and was again victorious in his next match over the 24th qualifier, the advancing Douglas Brock. Now a member of the ‘Final Four’, a shot at the title was suddenly within reach for Bernie. But the magic finally faded for Hipkins, as he fell to the tough veteran and eventual runner-up, Paul Asselin.
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