Trail bowler Darren Rich is hoping to get richer as he takes to the national bowling lanes next week to play for the Canadian singles title.
Rich has amassed a wealth of gold, silver, and bronze in provincial and national competition over the years and with another win at the B.C. Master Bowlers championship in April, the five-pin aficionado is looking to add to his collection as he travels to St. John’s, Nfld. on Thursday to compete in the Master Bowlers’ Canadian championship.
“I’m not as excited as the first time I went to these kind of championships, but I am excited,” said Rich. “I’ve been looking forward to this one for a couple of years, because I haven’t gone there (Newfoundland) so this year is a little more special for me.”
Rich also won the B.C. Open singles title in 2010, a feat accomplished by only two other Kootenay bowlers, Trail’s Ron Sandnes in 1980 and 1993, and Nelson’s Red Brochu in 1984.
He won the B.C. Master’s singles in 2005, won gold at the nationals in 2006 and 2009 in the team competition, took silver in pairs with partner Sandnes in 2010, and won bronze in singles at the Canadian Open in 2011.
Rich won the 2012 B.C. Master Bowlers singles title by bowling in six different events. He dominated the standings, bowling a game average of over 280, six points more than his nearest rival, and throwing the highest eight-game-match total of the season, 2,538, at Dell Lanes in Surrey in February.
As the top bowler on the Master’s circuit Rich will represent B.C. in singles at the nationals and the next best five bowlers compete in the team category.
While the 41-year-old C.P. Rail worker will miss the comradery of playing in the team competition, he is eager to take the next step.
“For myself if I had to choose, I would definitely choose a team because you have your teammates with you so you’re battling together . . . but since I’ve already won a couple of team national championships, I’d kind of like to win a singles championship.”
The competition will be fierce in St. Johns, with many familiar rivals hitting the lanes.
“Usually there’s one or two guys that come out of nowhere, but this year it looks like the dream team going out there – it should be fun,” he added.
Rich will go head-to-head in match play competition against the best in Canada with the winner of each match taking two points.
The player that amasses the most points gets a bye to the final. While the next four seeds battle it out in a stepladder format. Whoever emerges from the playoff must then beat the top seed twice to win.
“That is key,” said Rich. “Then you’re waiting for the other guys to come to you.”
His experience on the national stage and impressive run through provincial qualifying events should serve Rich well in Newfoundland.
“I had a pretty good year, and I’m throwing the ball pretty well, but you never know. Whoever gets hot its going to win basically, but I like my chances.”
After a practice day Friday, Rich will play his first game against Northern Ontario’s Jeff Watts Saturday morning.