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Bowler first woman to score a five-pin perfect game in Nanaimo

Mikayla Eby rolls 12 strikes in a row to score 450 during a tournament game at 3:30 a.m.
Mikayla Eby is the first woman to bowl a perfect game in the 45-year history of Nanaimo’s Brechin Lanes five-pin centre. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

A Nanaimo woman bowled a perfect game this past weekend, and even though it happened at 3:30 a.m., there was an alley full of bowlers there to cheer her achievement.

Mikayla Eby scored the first-ever perfect game by a female bowler at Brechin Lanes five-pin centre on Saturday, Dec. 30, when she scored a 450 during the John Brittain Classic overnight tournament.

Other bowlers knew not to crowd around the lane for a closer look, but they were all keeping an eye on Eby’s final frame.

“Everyone was aware, probably going into the 10th frame,” she said. “I had no idea that everyone was looking at me, to be honest, which helped.”

It was her 10th game of a marathon 20-game tourney, and she wasn’t thinking at all about the possibility of a perfect game until she was almost there.

“I was just not really paying attention the entire game and then it hit me when I hit the 11th strike that I could do this,” Eby said. “And then I got really nervous, my body started to shake on the 12th ball.”

She kept her pace and her form, though, rolled her 12th ball, and made her 12th strike. The two pins on the right side took a split second longer to fall, but they went down.

“Everybody was quiet and then when that last strike happened, an eruption of cheers went up and it was very exciting because people realize how rare this is,” said Ray Brittain, owner of Brechin Lanes. “Never mind bowling one, they might not even see one in their lifetime live.”

Perfect games are exceedingly rare in five-pin bowling. There have only been five in the alley’s 45-year history and none in the past 10 years.

“I was very excited, ecstatic,” Eby said. “I’ve never seen a perfect game being thrown either. At first I didn’t believe that I had actually done it.”

The 23-year-old was a standout youth bowler who won provincial and national championships representing Brechin Lanes and since then, she has continued with league play every week at the centre. Her scores this year have been consistent with her average, but she has had some noteworthy highlights. She rolled a tournament record 1,288 quadruple at an Island tourney at Brechin Lanes in the spring, and just a week and a half before her perfect game, made 11 strikes for a 384 while bowling with her family.

After her wee-hours accomplishment this past weekend, Eby bowled pretty well over her final 10 games, finishing fifth overall at the tournament and winning some money.

A perfect game is a career goal for five-pin bowlers, but Eby still has plenty to pursue in the sport, she said – she has plans to enter some upcoming high-end tournaments, “and hopefully get another 450.”

READ ALSO: Brechin cheers bowling champion

About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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