Veteran bowling duo rolls to team gold

Greater Trail residents Ron Sandnes and Darren Rich's team earned their spot at the National championship held in Calgary at the end of May.

A pair of Glenmerry Bowl bowlers are provincial champions after helping the Zone 5 Okanagan-Kootenay bowling team to gold at the 2014 Open 5-Pin B.C. championship.

Greater Trail residents Ron Sandnes and Darren Rich were integral pieces to the team that competed at Langley’s Willowbrook Lanes and earned their spot in the National championship at the end of the month.

“What wound up winning it for us was a coaching move,” said Sandnes.

The team, rounded out by Stu Ryan, Matt Eisenhauer, Mike Elder, Allan Burn, and coach Larry Richet, got off to a slow start dropping their first two matches, and three-of-four, before taking seven of their eight remaining matches to place second in the round-robin, just a half point behind Fraser Valley North.

“From Game 9 to 14 we won every match, including the three on the step ladder,” said Sandnes.

Coach Richert brought in Rich to anchor the team after the second game and the Warfield resident responded.

“Darren came through, just like a rock, he was solid. And we took Stu Ryan out of lead off and put Mike Elder as lead off, and that made the lineup balanced better, everyone was in a more comfortable position, and Darren and Mike really carried the team.”

In the playoff, Fraser South took out Vancouver Island in the three-four final, but would fall to Okanagan-Kootenay in the semifinal 1,322 pins to 1,266.

The Okanagan-Kootenay faced Fraser North in the final, and after winning the first match 1,349 to 1,287, had to beat the top-seed again in order to take the title. In an incredibly close game, the Okanagan-Kootenay team would prevail 1,326 to 1,312 just edging the Fraser North contingent by 14 points.

Rich won the B.C. Open singles title in 2010, a feat accomplished by Sandnes in 1980 and 1993, and Nelson’s Red Brochu in 1984.

Rich also won the B.C. Master’s singles in 2005, and won gold at the nationals with Sandnes in 2006 and 2009 in the team competition, took silver in pairs with Sandnes in 2010, and won bronze in singles at the Canadian Open in 2011. Sandnes and Rich will compete at the Canadian Open 5-Pin Championship in Calgary from May 27-31.