Nuss nets 298 honor score
By Larry Mason

May 17, 2004 -- Russ Nuss shot his first ever honor score Thursday night, a 298, and joined Mark Smith in shooting one of only two 700 series rolled during the week. The 700s continue Classic Lanes' string of unbroken 700s, which will complete its fourth year in just two weeks.

Nuss came away from Thursday's men's commercial league play able to boast about shooting his first ever ABC ring-winning honor score as well as having shot the league's highest series this week, a 722. Nuss shot his 298 honor score in Game 1 of his three-game series.

On his very last ball, the one that carries with it the most pressure, Russ tossed his ball wide to the right of his mark and further onto the lane, causing the ball to slide rather than roll. The result was that the ball had difficulty finding its correct angle into the pocket. In fact, the ball missed the headpin altogether. It carried just seven pins on initial contact, leaving the 1, 2 and 4 pins standing, at least for a small while. A deflected pin flew back onto the lane surface and rolled into the four pin, giving Russ the minimum number of pin count he needed to earn an honors ring -- eight. Nuss had his 298.

In his second game, Russ suffered the inevitable let down that seems to come following the shooting of a great game, especially an honor score, and could only muster a 190, which is 11 pins below his average. In Game 3, however, Nuss regained his game form and shot a 234, which gave him a 722 for his evening's work. His was the highest 700 shot during the week.

Nuss' 722 is his first 700 of the year, and it came with just one more week left in the men's season. He moved himself into 24th place on the high series list in the process. Nuss' 298 honor score moved him into sole possession of third place on the high game list and raised his average to 202.

Russ tossed a total of 24 strikes on the night, had five spares over the course of the evening and left three open frames, all of which were splits.

Mark Smith rolled his third 700 of the year on Thursday, collecting a 709 made up of games of 250, 224 and 235. Mark raised his average one pin and is now carrying a 197, which ranks 20th on the high average list. He is tied with Marilyn Smith.

Mark shot a 723 series earlier this season, which claims 23rd on the high series list, and his highest game of the season is a 289, landing him in sixth place on the high game list with Ace Wiginton and Michael Carter. Smith rolled 21 strikes, eight spares and had one open frame.

Mike Gilliland didn't hit the 700 level on Thursday, but he came close. Gilliland shot games of 245, 213 and 237 to finish the evening with a 695 series, which was good enough to push his average up a pin to 221. He now leads Mike Fletcher by a fraction of a pin heading into the final two weeks of the men's league. Had he hit 700, it would have been his 18th of the year, but that will have to come another day.

Mike ranks third on the high average list with his 221 from Thursday, four pins behind Fletcher's 225 from Sunday, and seven pins behind Darreyl Dixon's 228 from Sunday. He shot a 786 series earlier in the year, high highest ever, and ranks third on the high series list as a result. In the high game category, Gilliland has a 290 honor score, which ranks fifth on that listing.

Nick Painter didn't get his 700 either, but he, like Gilliland, gave it a gallant run. Nick shot 278, 203 and 209 to finish the night with a 690 series. Nick is averaging 200, which places him in 20th place on the high average list. His highest series for the season is a 780, which continues to hold the No. 5 spot on the high series list. Painter has a high game of 288, putting him seventh, where he joins Julita Richardson, Nathan Crist and Tarry Davison.

Mike Fletcher kept close on the heels of Mike Gilliland on Thursday, shooting a 684 series. That is an impressive series for anyone, buy for Fletcher it's about what he has to have to maintain his average. The same holds true for Gilliland. At any rate, Fletcher shot two very good games -- 267 and 236 -- sandwiched around a not-so-very-good Game 2 of 181. He is averaging 220 on Thursday, 225 on Sunday and ranks second on the high average list behind Darreyl Dixon. He has shot two 800 series this season, 801 and 813, and ranks first on the high series list. He ranks second on the high game list with a 299 honor score.

Eddie Ayers took to the lanes on Thursday night touting a 180 average, ninth lowest of the 10 averages bowling against him that night, a high game of 255 and a high series of 612. When the evening was complete, Ayers came off the lanes with a new high game of 265, a new high series of 658 and anew average of 181. He also enjoyed the distinction of having gotten the best of the nine other bowlers on his lanes. He beat his closest competitor, Ace Wiginton, by 10 pins.

The ladies will return to the lanes this coming Sunday night when the summer mixed league begins its 12-week schedule.

The Thursday night match-ups this week will pit the first place team against the second, the third against the fourth, the fifth against the sixth, and so on, through 16 squads. There will undoubtedly be some great bowling, and since we don't have plans for a men's city tournament this season, this would be a good time for the public to come watch some exciting action. There is no cover charge. Competition begins at 7:30 p.m.

Others who bowled well this week included: Dave Gholson (672), Wes

Campbell (667), Vincent Smith (666), Turk Morgan (664), Ace Wiginton (648), Darreyl Dixon (644), Harold McClure (643), Clinton Cline (642) and Danny Burns (637).

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Larry Mason writes a weekly column for the News-Telegram on the bowling leagues at Classic Lanes. His column appears on Tuesday.

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