Written by Katie Sullivan
Windsor Locks, Conn. — Another bowler can call himself a New England Bowlers Association Champion. Joe Novara of East Patchogue, N.Y., defeated James Burt of Walpole, Mass., 229-188 to earn his first NEBA title at Bradley Bowl in Windsor Locks, Conn. The title earned Novara a $1,600 top prize and entry into November’s Ebonite NEBA Tournament of Champions.
Novara came out of the gate strong in the final match, throwing his first six balls for strikes. He was halfway to the $5,000 prize for shooting a perfect game in the final match before leaving a split in the seventh. This marked Novara’s only open frame of the game, bringing the score to 171-133 in Novara’s favor. The new champion finished strong, filling the final three frames with spares to finish the match.
In just his fourth NEBA appearance, Novara qualified for match play with a total five-game pinfall of 1,151 in the Sunday morning squad. Novara, seeded 11th, received a bye into the second round where he defeated Michael Lichstein of Broad Brook, Conn., who holds the record for most NEBA titles with 27, 245-215. Next he took down another NEBA regular, topping Miles Coplan of Manchester, N.H., 201-160. Claiming his largest margin of victory of the day, the 20-year-old knocked out Jayme Silva of New Bedford, Mass., 212-157 in the quarterfinals.
This was NEBA’s second televised tournament. In May, the tournament at Newington Bowl-o-rama marked NEBA’s debut on CPTV.
In order to make it to the championship round, Novara had to go up against a good friend in John Randazzo Jr. of Smithtown, N.Y.
“I know John pretty well,” said Novara. “It was fun to bowl someone I know on my first TV show.”
The cameras did not bother Novara, as he squeezed out the victory over Randazzo by just 14 pins, 211-197.
“Bowling on TV didn’t bother me,” said Novara. “I bowled like the cameras weren’t even there.”
Novara cashed in all three of his prior NEBA appearances, making it through the first two rounds of match play twice before his championship run this past weekend.
The Bradley Bowl-hosted tournament drew 191 entries, sending 40 qualifiers into match play. Eric Copping was the high-qualifier, shooting 1,283 in the Sunday morning squad. Copping’s score included an impressive 836 on the 5:1 ratio pattern. Other honor scores were thrown by Norm Major with 821 plus 300 games by Chris Carlson, Michael Lichstein and Scott Widmer.
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The next regular singles NEBA tournament will be held on August 4 and 5 at East Providence Lanes in Rumford, R.I. A senior event will be held August 4 in the same location.
NEBA has run monthly scratch tournaments throughout New England since 1963. Since 2010, more than 900 bowlers from 15 states have participated, averaging 206 per tournament. This year, more than 500 bowlers have entered into a NEBA tournament.
More information can be found on BowlNEBA.com
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