Neldon Smith claims week's top bowler bragging rights at Classic Lanes
Larry Mason

Aug. 8, 2006 - Neldon “Smitty” Smith took top honors at Classic Lanes this week, shooting a 674 series for three games, and an 872 series for four. To put Smitty's effort into perspective, a total of 42 men took to the lanes on Thursday night, and only 12 managed to shoot a 600 series, and of those, only 11 managed to shoot an 800. It would appear that Thursday's lane condition, or “shot,” was a little more difficult than normal. 

Neldon, an employee of Coca-Cola in Sulphur Springs as well as a retired Navy Vietnam veteran, started Thursday's play with a 207 average.  He rolled games of 198, 234, and 242 for his first three games to register his 674 series, and followed that with a fourth game of 198, to finish with his 872. After all of that work, Smith was able to boast that he had raised his average to a 208, a single pin, which moved him into eighth place on the high average board. Neldon's best three-game series this summer is a 682, shot very early in the season, which currently holds 10th place on the three game high series chart. Smith's best four-game series for the summer is an 895, again shot earlier in the season. It ranks ninth on the four game high series chart. Smitty's best game to date is a 258, which ties him for ninth on the high game list. 

The next best bowler for the week was Bo Duncan, an employee of L3 in Greenville and a retired Air Force veteran. Bo, who has been at or near the top of all of our honor categories all summer long, finished this week's play with a 659 three-game series and an 863 four-game series. Bo shot games of 181, 213, 265 and 204. Like Smith, Bo raised his average by a single pin to a 210, moving into fourth place on the high average board. Bo was the first of our summer bowlers to shoot a 700 series in three games, a 703. It ranks fourth on the three-game series chart. Duncan's top four-game series is a 962, placing Bo in the No. 3 slot on that chart. Duncan still holds the top spot on the high game list with a 289, where he joins Jason Keller. 

Ray Howser, a Campbell Soup employee, shot the week's third highest three-game set, a 648, as well as the week's third highest 800 series, an 853.  Ray rolled games of 218, 214, 216 and 205. Howser started Thursday's play with a 199 average, but raised it by two pins to a 201 by night's end. He moved into a three-way tie for eighth place on the high average board. Ray's best three-game series this summer is a 673, 13th on the three-game high series chart, and his best four-game effort is an 875, which ranks 17th on the four-game high series chart. His highest game is a 247, which ties him with his son Zach, and Darreyl Dixon for 13th place on the high game list.

Darreyl Dixon produced the week's third best four-game series on Thursday night, shooting games of 199, 200, 247 and 222 to finish with an 868 set. Dixon's entering average Thursday was a 194, but it rose to a 196 by the time the night's action was in the book. Dixon is sitting in 14th place on the high average board. Dixon's best three-game series this summer is a 651, which ranks 22nd on the three game high series chart, and his best four-game effort is this week's 868, which ranks 18th on the four-game chart. His best game, currently is this week's 247, tying him for 13th place on the high game list. It has been a sub-par summer for Darreyl, but one can expect to see significant improvement this fall.

Mike Miller has been shooting very well in recent weeks. He was averaging 179 when play commenced on Thursday night. Mike's average three-game series is around a 537, but this past week, he fashioned a 629 comprised of games of 177, 267 and 185. The series was his best of the summer, moving him to the No. 27 position on the three-game series chart.  His fourth game Thursday was a 181, which gave him an 810 series total for four games. Mike's best four-game series for the summer is an 813, which, ironically, ranks 27th on the four-game chart. Miller's highest game is the 267 he shot in Game 2 on Thursday. It moved him to seventh place on the high game list, up 16 positions from a week ago. 

The Thursday Men's Trio league will complete its schedule next week.  Entering the last night of action, we find Jason Keller's name at the top of all of our various lists. He ranks first in average, 219, is first on the three-game high series list with a 759, is first on the four-game high series list with a 1,013, and is tied with Bo Duncan for first place on the high game list with a 289. Keller's team, the King Pins, is in first place going into Thursday's championship round, leading by five points. Barring a total collapse, it appears the King Pins have the league championship all but sewn up. 

Thirteen men will start Thursday's play with averages of 200 or better: Keller, 219; Rodney Sullivan, 211; Duncan, 210; David Strain and Neldon Smith, 208; David Gholson, 206; Roy Schutz, 203; Nevil Solomon and Doug Brann, 202; Greg Pullen, Dewayne Roach and Ray Howser, 201; and Mark Smith 200.  Another 15 men have averages between 190 and 199. 

Three men who have shot 700s this summer will be setting their sites on dethroning Jason Keller and his 756 high series. They include retired Air Force veteran Cliff Whitney who ranks second with a 729, Michael Fletcher who ranks third with a 714, and Bo Duncan who ranks fourth with a 703.

Six men who have rolled four-game series in the 900s will be chasing Keller and his 1,013 series. Leading the charge will be none other than Cliff Whitney, who ranks second on the four game high series chart with a 975. Following Cliff will be third place holder, Bo Duncan, 962' fourth place claimant, Michael Fletcher, 935' fifth place holder, Jason Parmer, 931; followed by sixth place, Roy Schutz, 926; seventh place, David Stain, 917; and eighth place, Jesse Haggerty, 902. 

Chasing Keller and Duncan's 289 high game will be second place holder Roy Schutz, 288, and third place holders Jason Parmer and Cliff Whitney, 279. Seventeen more men have shot games of 250 or higher this summer. 

We haven't had anything to say about our ladies for the past couple of weeks simply because the summer mixed league is over, and women don't get to bowl in the men's leagues at Classic Lanes. If they did, Becky Bowden would be giving Keller a run for his money. Becky finished play boasting a 212 average, second only to Keller, had a 703 three-game series, tied with Duncan for fourth place on the three game high series list, and shot a 279 high game, tying her for third place on the high game list. 

Others who bowled well this week include: David Gholson (638/850), Cliff Whitney (635/807), Dewayne Roach (632/847), Jason Keller (623/797), Mike Gilliland (617/842), Rodney Sullivan (610/846) and Red Skelton (609/801). 

Sign-up for the Men's Commercial League for the fall is now underway.  Slots are scarce, so if you want to bowl this fall/winter, you need to call or come by the center soon. The league's formation meeting will be at the center on Aug. 24 with play commencing the 31st.

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Larry Mason writes a weekly column on the bowling action at Classic Lanes. His column appears on Tuesday.

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