Steve Cummings achieved perfection on Sunday.
The Cowichan Bay bowler shot a perfect game at Duncan Lanes on Sunday, scoring a rare 450 in fivepin, believed to be the first of its kind in the bowling alley’s more than five decades of existence.
It wasn’t until the last frame that it really hit Cummings that a perfect game — 12 strikes in a row — was a possibility.
“I had 10 strikes in a row about a month ago, but I didn’t finish the deal,” he recalled. “I made sure I didn’t make that mistake twice. I kept my concentration.”
According to Cummings’s wife, Alison, who was bowling in the next lane over, perfect games in fivepin are few and far between.
“Usually only 10 or so are thrown each year across all of Canada,” she said.
Alison wasn’t the only family member on hand for Steve’s historic moment. His eight-year-old son, Ryley, was also in the crowd. Ryley, who used to bowl, admitted that his dad’s perfect game inspired him to get back into the sport.
Duncan Lanes owner Michael Frehlick confirmed that it definitely hadn’t happened at his facility since 1972, when his father bought the centre. He believes this is the first fivepin perfect game since the alley opened at its current location in 1965.
“We have had several tenpin perfect games but never a fivepin,” he said.
Making the achievement even more unique was the fact that Cummings had accomplished the feat once before, in 1996 at Bonnie Doon Lanes in Edmonton.
“Most bowlers will never accomplish this feat once in their lifetime, let alone do it twice.” Alison noted.
Cummings remained optimistic in the 21 years between his perfect games that he might get to do it again.
“I always hoped I’d have the opportunity to get another one,” he said. “But they’re hard to come by.”
The perfect game was achieved during tournament play, at the Island Trials. Bowlers were competing in an eight-game qualifying round, with the top five men and top five women moving on to take on teams from other bowling centres across Vancouver Island. Cummings’s big game helped him qualify to represent Duncan Lanes at the Island championships in Port Hardy in March. He also competed at Islands last spring, helping Duncan win the men’s, mixed and aggregate titles.
Cummings is no stranger to the spotlight, having competed at nationals, appeared on TSN “a few times,” and won some cash tournaments. He bowls one night a week, and only fivepin, the version of the sport he started in at the age of six.
“My parents and my uncle bowled through the years,” the 47-year-old explained. “I started in fivepin and stayed there.”