Cliff Whitney hits 300; four bowlers roll 700s

Larry Mason

Jan. 8. 2007 - Cliff Whitney tossed Classic Lanes' seventh perfect game of the season on Thursday, while four individuals, Neldon Smith, Casey Morton, Allan Hague and Mark Smith, fired 700s, to bring the center's total to 68 at the mid-point of the season. Cliff was nine pins short of 700, settling for a 691 set, while David Vansickle missed his 700 by two sticks. Becky Bowden topped the ladies this week with a 675 series rolled on Sunday. � �

We have had the opportunity to talk with you about Cliff Whitney on any number of occasions through the years. You probably recall that he is a retired Air Force veteran, and you might even remember that he is one of the center's very senior bowlers, chronologically. Cliff will be 72 on his next birthday, in March.

On Thursday evening, Mr. Whitney rolled a 691 series, missing what would have been his first 700 of the year. Still, shooting a 691 series is a pretty good feat for a guy who is 71. But, more important than his series total is the fact that, in his second game, he rolled a 300, a perfect game. For that effort, Cliff will receive a 300 ring from the folks at the USBC.

Ironically, according to his wife Erma, Cliff decided to break out a ball he hadn't used in years, for Thursday night's competition. His first game was a 226, followed by his 300, while his third was a 165. Whitney won't brag about his third game, but, in his defense, history indicates that bowlers suffer a psychological let down following a great performance - such as tossing a perfect game - so, welcome to the club, Cliff.

Cliff bowls in two of our leagues, Tuesday's mixed, and Thursday's men's. He is averaging 206 in the latter, and 201 in the former. He ranks 14th on the high average board, where he joins David Vansickle and Mark Smith. This week's series moved Cliff to 30th on the high series chart, while his perfect game moved him into a four-way tie for third place on the high game list, where he joins Tarry Davison, Michael Carter and Mike Fletcher.

Neldon “Smitty” Smith didn't toss any 300s on Thursday, but he did roll the center's highest series of the week, a 708, consisting of games of 219, 231 and 258. And, for you folks who say one can't bowl well when tired, bear in mind that Smitty bowled Thursday night having just returned from a round trip to and from Maryland on Thursday morning.

Neldon, like Whitney, is one of our center's military veterans, having retired from the U.S. Navy. Like Whitney, Smitty bowls in two of our leagues, Tuesday's and Thursday's. He averages 210 in both. Neldon ranks 10th on the high average board, where he finds himself tied with Jason Parmer. This week's series is Smitty's second 700 of the season. His first, a 713, ranks 20th on the high series chart, tying him with former TAMU-C offensive lineman Matt Arnold. Neldon's best game of the season is a 266, which ranks 16th on the high game list, where he joins Jeff Wright and David Strain.

Casey Morton produced the week's second best series, a 705, on Sunday night by shooting games of 243, 237 and 225. At the time, Casey was averaging 177, which equates to a normal series of around 530. For the night, Mr. Morton was a whopping 174 pins over his series norm. Sunday night, Casey averaged 235. Sunday night's series raised Casey's average by four pins, to a 181. Morton's best game of the season is a 278, which ranks ninth on the high game list, where he joins Sunday teammate, Chris Brooks, as well as Nevil Solomon, David Gholson and Allan Hague. Casey's 705 moved him up to the 24th position on the high series chart.

Allan Hague has been having a roller coaster season. He goes up one night and down the next. This week, he was up on Sunday, shooting a 704, the third best series of the week. Allan rolled games of 278, 220 and 206 to capture his sixth 700 of the season, and his highest game of the season, his first game 278. Allan averages 208 in our Tuesday league, 206 in our Sunday league, and 202 in the men's league on Thursday. He holds the 11th position on the high average board, tied with David Strain and David Gholson. His 278 ties him with four others for ninth place on the high game list. His best series is a 762 rolled in the Tuesday league earlier this season. It's the highest shot by a man in the Tuesday league, and is the fifth highest series shot in the center this season.

Mark Smith is one of those bowlers who should shoot in and around 700 every time he steps on the lanes. Why he doesn't is a mystery. This week, Mark finally breached the 700 barrier for the first time this season, shooting a 702, made up of games of 205, 270 and 227. Mark is averaging 206 on Thursday, which ties him with Cliff Whitney and David Vansickle for 14th place on the high average board. Smith's 702 series pulled him up to 25th place on the high series chart, while his best game, this week's 270, moved him into a tie with teammate, Keith Ethridge, for 12th place on the high game list.

Speaking of David Vansickle, he came up two pins short of booking his fourth 700 series of the season Sunday night, when he shot games of 246, 237 and 215 to finish with a 698 on the night. David's best series at the mid-point of the season is a 739, which ranks 10th on the high series chart, where he joins Steve Edwards and Roy Schutz. Vansickle is averaging 206 on Sunday and 200 on Thursday. He ranks 14th on the high average board. David's best game is a 289, which holds fifth place on the high game list, where he is tied with Jason Parmer and Raque Propes.

Becky Bowden was our top lady performer this week, shooting a 675 series made up of games of 224, 248 and 203. It isn't Becky's best series of the season, however; that's a 684. Her best series ranks first on the ladies' high series chart, and her 200 average from Sunday is also tops among the ladies. Bowden's highest game is a 258, which holds second place on the ladies' high game list, 19 pins behind list leader Barbara Siegert and her 277. � � �

Lynn Mills is one of your retired city employees - a firefighter. While he spent his life putting out fires, on Thursday, he lit up the lanes with a 674 series, 128 pins over his series average. Lynn shot games of 195, 268 and 211. Mills was averaging 182 when play began Thursday; when play finished, he had raised his average to a 184. On Tuesdays, Lynn is averaging 195, so Thursday's performance wasn't a fluke. He ranks 24th on the high average board, tied with Ace Wiginton and Duane Anspon. Lynn's best series of the season is a 686, which ties him with Scott Tubb for 33rd place on the high series chart. His best game is this week's second game, the 268, which moved him to a four-way tie for 14th place on the high game list.

Amber Burnett averages 148 on Sunday; Debra Sutterfield averages 144. This past Sunday, however, Amber averaged 176, shooting a 539 series, with games of 184, 192 and 163, finishing 95 pins over her series average, while Debra finished Sunday night averaging 174, shooting a 523 series made up of games of 156, 190 and 177. She was 79 pins over her series average.

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

Older Archives

Looking for News-Telegram Sports and News Archives for January 2004 - November 2008