Circumventing around a somber occasion in which former national champion and national team member Richard “Richie” Pyfrom was laid to rest, the Bahamas Bowling Federation (BBF) completed their nationals, and there was a pair of familiar faces that rose to the forefront.
David Slatter won his fourth straight national bowling title, and Driskell Rolle repeated as champion on the women’s side, wrapping up the BBF National Bowling Championships at Mario’s Bowling and Family Entertainment Palace on Sunday. Slatter won his seventh national title in total on Sunday, and on the ladies side, it was the fourth for Rolle.
For Slatter, it was even tougher as he went up against sentimental favorite Johann Pyfrom in the final. Johann Pyfrom, brother of Richie, rose all the way from the number five position and worked himself up to the championship match on Sunday. He came up nine pins short, as Slatter won, 191-182, in the championship match. Rolle won by just three pins in the ladies championship match, taking down Janice Hoyte, 183-180.
“It came right down to the end, and if there was anyone I wouldn’t mind losing to, it would have been him,” said Slatter regarding Pyfrom on Sunday. “He was the sentimental favorite but I had to put that behind me and try to perform. It was a tough two weeks of bowling, and then practicing in on and off for the past two months in preparation for this tournament. I’m 51 now, so it’s a lil bit more difficult. I found my stride toward the second half of the competition. It’s all about choosing the right bowling balls and the right hand position and playing the correct part of the lane. I got it together and that allowed me to score more. I was pretty confident about my chances and I came out on top.”
Slatter has advanced to the TV Finals on Championship Sunday a record 15 times, but said he still feels some nerves and gets some butterflies when he is out there competing.
“There’s definitely some experience in there. You have to develop a passion for something in your life outside of family and work, and for me, that’s bowling,” he said. “I enjoy it, and obviously I’m pretty good at it. I enjoy the competition. You get out there and you feel the nerves and the butterflies but hopefully you get to a point where you could calm your nerves and just execute.”
In the first match of the day, fifth-seeded Pyfrom took down fourth-seeded Ken Brathwaite, 203-192. In the second match, Pyfrom defeated third-seeded Derrick Burrows, 163-151. Pyfrom then went on to beat second-seeded Mario “Hawk” Brown in the national semifinals, 153-151. He was on a roll but simply couldn’t overcome the brilliant bowling from Slatter in the final.
Slatter said he would love to get the opportunity to represent The Bahamas at the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup, set for November 16-24, at Jakabaring Sport City, in Palembang, Indonesia. That honor usually is awarded to the men and ladies national champions, but Slatter said that it is an executive decision that will have to be come down from the federation.
On the ladies side, Rolle was the top seeded player. Just like Pyfrom on the men’s side, Hoyte moved herself up on the ladies side, but she met a skillful defending champion waiting for her in the championship match.
In the first match of the day, fourth-seeded Hoyte took down fifth-seeded Tara Culmer, 179-148. She then went on to defeat third-seeded Camille Burnside, 208-184. In the national semifinals, Hoyte got past Jonice “Joy” Lockhart, 160-156, and gave it all she could in the final, but came up three pins short, losing 183-180.
The top 15 men and the top 10 women advanced to ‘Super Saturday’ on Saturday, and just the top five in each gender made it to the TV Finals on Sunday.