BREWER, Maine — Consistency could determine the champion of the 24th World Team Candlepin Tournament that gets under way at the Bangor-Brewer Bowling Lanes Tuesday.
Charlie Milan III is hoping his USA East team will show that consistency and bring the team title back to the U.S. in a tourney that has been dominated by the Canadians the last six years.
“We have a nucleus of the better bowlers in the game, but your team still has to gel,” said Milan, one of the original tourney organizers.
“The guys have to get along and make things work together. It’s a team effort no matter how good each individual is,” he added.
The tourney awards $10,000 to the first-place team, $5,000 to second, and $2,500 each to the next two teams.
Milan, a 24-time Maine singles champ, is 72 and considers himself the ninth man on a team of talented Massachusetts and Maine bowlers. The team features Chris Sargent of Haverhill, Mass., who led the team in last year’s tourney with a 131 average.
Complementing Sargent’s efforts will be Nate Nealey of Westbrook (128), Mike Morgan of Lynn, Mass. (128), Shawn Morrison of Brewer (125), Tim Matero of Rockland (124), Mark Smith of Lewiston (122), Chip Carson of Bangor (120) and Milan (112). Also contributing will be lefthander Peter Flynn of Haverhill, Mass., who is back in competitive bowling after suffering a health setback several years ago.
Defending champ MacLaughlin’s Truck & Trailer of Nova Scotia returns to defend its title and has been the tourney’s best team with five titles in the last six years. Its strong tourney run was interrupted in 2006 when another Nova Scotia team, Pelham Electric/Accounting, won the crown.
Rob Henderson and Chris Hollett lead MacLaughlin’s with averages of 139 per string.
Milan is eager for the challenge from the Canadians.
“We’re not here for the fun of it. We think we can win it,” he said, adding that another top team is Team Borrelli’s of Massachusetts, which is led by Gary Carrington (133), Dave Barber (129) and Dan Allard (129).
“You look at their averages and they’re as good as anybody there. On paper they’re probably the best,” Milan said.
The tourney features 14 teams from the New England states and 10 from the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Each team bowls three, three-string matches a day with the top team in each 12-team division receiving a bye to Saturday’s semifinal round.
A qualifying round is held Friday at 2:30 p.m., followed by the quarterfinal round Saturday at 9 a.m., the semifinals, and the final at 2 p.m.
Other Maine teams competing and some of their leading bowlers include: Downtown Jewelry of Rockland (Jason Kaler, 122), Newport Entertainment Center (Harold Brown, 115), the Maine Heat of Greater Bangor (Kevin McNally, 127) and Colonial Lanes of Westbrook (Shane Tripp, 121).
The Maine Heat, then comprised of Maine and Massachusetts bowlers, was the last U.S. team to win the title in 2001.
Bowlers warm up for the tourney with a singles knockout Monday at 11 a.m. that could give the winner a $2,000 payday. Team competition Tuesday through Friday is from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“It’s the Super Bowl of candlepin bowling,” Milan said. “The bowlers love it.”