Mike (wolf4537) is our resident Candlepin bowler on the board here. I figure I'm in the same boat as the rest of us here who have not had much exposure to the game. Yah, your still trying to knock down 10 pins that are smaller with a ball about the size of a softball, and the goal is similar to the 10-pin bowling the rest of us play. It certainly has me intreagued. I knew that Candlepins existed, but until I met Mike here on the board, I must admit had never seen the game in action, so i'm thankful for the clips that Mike has posted. After seeing the videos, and learning about the game, it sure seems like a very difficult game, one that I would love to try just once to see how I would do. I'm sure I would walk away very humbled. Anyway, I found this, and thought we could all get a good education on what Candlepin Bowling is all about....hope you enjoy the info here, and Mike (btw, I like your new avatar), please feel free to add anything else to this:
Candlepin bowling is a variation of bowling that is confined to the New England states, and to the Canadian Maritime provinces of New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia (with one isolated candlepin center in Wyoming, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati). It was developed in 1880 in Worcester, Massachusetts by a local bowling alley owner, Justin White. As in other forms of bowling, the players roll balls down a wooden pathway (known as a lane) to knock down as many pins as possible. The main differences between candlepin bowling and the predominant ten-pin bowling style are that each player uses three balls per frame (see below), the balls are much smaller (4.5" diameter) and do not have holes, the fallen pins (known as 'wood') are not cleared away between balls during a player's turn, and the pins are thinner, and thus harder to knock down. Because of these differences, scoring points is considerably more difficult than in ten-pin bowling, and the highest officially sanctioned score ever recorded is only 245 out of a possible 300 points.
The maximum regulation ball weight is 2 pounds 7 ounces (1.105 kg), and with the regulated pin weight actually being slightly heavier at 2 pounds 8 ounces (1.134 kg) the candlepin sport is generally assumed to pose a greater challenge to the player—due, among other factors, to the lack of intrinsic mass on the part of the ball to provide "knock-down" power—than any of the other forms of bowling that use ten pins.
The 2006 World Candlepin Bowling Champions are currently a team from Nova Scotia.
- Halifax Fairlanes A+ Accounting
- Doug Blackler
- Todd Harrison
- Gerry Dunn
- John Harrietha
- Matt Harnett
- Matt McPhee
- Matt Leblanc
- Nate Leblanc
Unlike in ten-pin bowling
, fallen pins are not cleared away between balls during a player's turn.
Each lane consists of an approach area 14'-16' long for the player to bowl from, and then the lane proper, a maple surface approximately 41" wide, bounded on either side by a gutter trough. The lane is separated from approach area by a foul line, which must not be crossed by players. At the far end of the lane, about 60' away, are the pins, placed by a machine called a pinsetter which occupies space both above and behind the pins. Behind the pins is a slightly depressed area for pins and balls to fall into, and a curtain behind this to gently stop the pins and balls from going any further. Generally there is seating behind the approach area for teammates and spectators, and containing a small table to hold scorepads.
Candlepin pins are 15.75" (400 mm) tall, have a cylindrical shape which tapers equally towards each end (and therefore having no distinct "top" or "bottom" end, unlike a tenpin), giving them an overall appearance somewhat like that of a candle. The ten candlepins are automatically set by machine into a triangle with 4 pins in the back row, then 3, 2, and finally 1 in the front, at the center of the lane. The front and center pin is number 1, the second row left is pin 2, second row right is pin 3, and so on. As in ten-pin bowling, due to the spacing of the pins (12" center to center), it is impossible for the ball to strike every one. However, while in ten-pin a well-placed ball (usually between the front pin and one of its nearest neighbors) may knock down all ten pins from the chain reaction of pin hitting pin (a strike), in candlepin the smaller thickness of the pins makes that extremely difficult, and thus, very rare. In general, a forcefully thrown ball hitting near the center of the pins will result in many pins being knocked down, but not all. In order to count, the pin must be knocked over entirely; in unlucky circumstances, a pin may wobble furiously, or, even more frustratingly, be "kicked" to the side by several inches, yet come to rest upright, thus not being scored (and not be reset to its original position for any throws that remain, though it may of course still be knocked over by subsequent balls).
An additional difficulty is presented by a line ten feet down the lane from the foul line; this is the lob line, and the ball must first contact the lane at a point on the bowler's side of it. Violation of this rule constitutes a lob and any pins knocked down by such a ball do not count, and the pins so fallen are not reset if the lobbed ball was not the third and last shot for that player in that box (in some older alleys the method of enforcing this rule is not automated, and an employee of the establishment, known as a "lob-line judge," needs to be hired).
Also, a third line, centered two feet in front of the head pin (number-1 pin) spot is the dead wood line, which defines the maximum forward limit that any dead wood can occupy and still be legally playable. This lane specification essentially results in the presence of 'three' foul lines, one each for the bowler, ball, and pins, more than in any other bowling sport.
A game of candlepin bowling, often called a string in New England, is divided into ten rounds, each of these rounds being most commonly referred to as a box, rather than a "frame" as in ten-pin bowling. In each normal box, a player is given up to three opportunities to knock down as many pins as possible. In the final box, you roll three balls regardless of the pincount, meaning you may score up to 3 strikes in that single box.
In each of the first nine boxes, play proceeds as follows: The first player bowls their first ball at the pins. Whatever pins are knocked down are counted and scored. Then the player rolls a second and a third ball at any remaining targets. In the event that all ten pins were knocked down with the first ball (a 'strike'), the player receives ten points plus the count on the next two rolls; the pins are cleared and a new set placed; and play passes to the next competitor. If all ten pins were knocked down with two balls (a 'spare'), they also receive 10 points plus the count on the next one ball, pins are cleared and reset, and play passes to the next competitor.
In the tenth box, play is similar, except that a player scoring a strike is granted two additional balls, scoring a spare earns you one additional ball. In any event, you roll three balls no matter what the outcome.
A foul (marked "F") refers to a ball that rolls into the gutter before striking wood (felled pins resting on the pin deck behind the dead wood line) or a standing pin, a ball that touches neither the approach or lane before the lob line, or a roll made by a bowler crossing over the foot foul line. Special scoring comes into play.
A foul always scores zero (0), but you may reset the pins provided it is the first throw in a box or all the preceding balls scored a "F" or 0. Therefore, if on your first you foul or score zero--it is possible to keep the ball on the lane yet miss all ten pins standing in their normal position--and on your second ball foul, you may reset and attempt to knock down a fresh set of 10 pins and score an "X", but not a strike or a spare. If you only foul in the first box but knock down all ten pins in the rerack, you are awarded a spare, if not you may throw a third ball to finish out the box. If you foul all three attempts, you've exhausted that box and scored a zero.
If you knock down one (1) or more pins on your first ball, you may never reset the rack because of a foul. Those pins felled by a foul ball (a ball jumping out of the gutter, a lobbed ball, a ball delivered by a bowler over the foot foul line)--whether standing, playable wood, or pins in the gutter--remain down and reduce the maximum number of pins counted in the box. Therefore, if I roll a four (4) with six (6) pins remaining standing and then foul my next ball but manage to knock down all six with the foul ball, the frame is over and I earn only a 4 for that frame. If I knock down 5 or less (ex. 4), I may shoot for the pins left standing and only add that total to the four (4) I felled in the first ball (ex. thus, unadjusted score: 4 4 2 = "X", but true score: 4 F 2 = 6). The same holds true for rolling two good balls and fouling in the third attempt. My frame is over and only the pins felled in the first two attempts are recorded for my score for that box.
While some candlepin alleys have automated scoring systems, and thus know when to clear and reset pins, other alleys, especially older ones have a button which players must press to manually initiate the clearing and resetting of pins. Automatic pinsetters were introduced in the late 1940s; prior to this, as with ten-pin, pins were set by workers called "pinboys".
A variation sometimes used is to play two, four, or five frames (or boxes) at a time before passing play to the next competitor.
In general, one point is scored for each pin that is knocked over. So, in an imaginary game, if player 'A' bowled over 3 pins with her first shot, then 5 with her second, and 1 with the third, she would receive a total of 9 points for that frame. If player 'B' knocks down 9 pins with his first shot, but misses with his second and third, he would also score 9.
In the event that all ten candlepins were knocked over by any one player in a single box, by no more than two throws (just as in tenpins), bonuses are awarded for a strike or spare. If all ten pins are felled by rolling all three balls in a box, the result is a ten-box, usually marked by an X (as in the Roman numeral for ten) but no additional points are awarded.
- Strike: When all 10 pins are knocked down with the first ball (called a strike), a player is awarded 10 points, plus a bonus of whatever he scores with his next 2 balls. In this way, the points scored for the two balls after the strike are scored twice.
- Box 1, ball 1 - 10 pins (strike)
- Box 2, ball 1 - 3 pins
- Box 2, ball 2 - 6 pins
- Box 2, ball 3 - 1 pin
- The total score from these throws is: 10 + (3+6) + 3 + 6 +1= 29
- A player who scores multiple strikes in succession would score like so:
- Box 1, ball 1 - 10 pins (strike)
- Box 2, ball 1 - 10 pins (strike)
- Box 3, ball 1 - 4 pins
- Box 3, ball 2 - 2 pins
- Box 3, ball 3 - 2 pins
- The score from these throws is:
- Box one... 10 + (10 + 4) = 24
- Box two... 10 + (4 + 2) = 16
- Box three... 4 + 2 +2 = 8
- TOTAL = 48
- A player who bowls a strike in the 10th (final) box is awarded two extra balls, so as to allow for his bonus points. If both these balls also result in strikes, a total of 30 points (10 + 10 + 10) is awarded for the box.
- Spare: A 'spare' is awarded when all pins are knocked down with a fair ball in or by the second frame. For example, a player uses the first two balls of a box to clear all ten pins. A player achieving a spare is awarded 10 points, plus a bonus of whatever he scores with his next ball (only the first ball is counted).
- Box 1, ball 1 - 7 pins
- Box 1, ball 2 - 3 pins (spare)
- Box 2, ball 1 - 4 pins
- Box 2, ball 2 - 2 pins
- Box 2, ball 3 - 1 pins
- The total score from these throws is: 7 + 3 + 4(bonus) + 4 + 2 + 1 = 21
A player who bowls a spare in the 10th (final) box, is awarded one extra ball so as to allow for his bonus points.
- X box: An 'x box' (or "10-box") is awarded when no pins are left standing after the third ball of a box. A player achieving an X box is awarded 10 points, but without any bonus for the following ball.
- Box 1, ball 1 - 7 pins
- Box 1, ball 2 - 2 pins
- Box 1, ball 3 - 1 pins
- The total score from these throws simply is: 7 + 2 + 1 = 10
Correct calculation of bonus points can be a bit tricky, especially when combinations of strikes and spares come in successive boxes. In modern times, however, this has been overcome with automated scoring systems, linked to the machines that set and clear the pins between boxes. A computer automatically counts pins that remain standing, and fills in a virtual score sheet (usually displayed on monitors above each lane).
The maximum score in a game is 300 - a perfect game. This is scored by bowling 12 strikes: one in each box, and a strike with both bonus balls in the 10th box. In this way, each box will score 30 points (see above - scoring:strike). As noted above, this has never knowingly occurred in candlepin bowling.
This scoring system is identical to that of duckpins.
The candlepin scoring sheet is different from either tenpins or duckpins, in that it is usually oriented vertically, with two columns of squares in a two-square-wide, ten-square-tall arrangement to score one string for one player. The left hand column is used to detail the "per-box" score, with the cumulative total being recorded as each box is rolled in the right-hand square. The first box bowled is recorded in the top horizontal pair of squares, running down the sheet as the string progresses.
Spares and strikes are also marked uniquely in candlepins. Spares are recorded in a box by coloring in the left upper corner of the appropriate left-hand square (using a triangular shape to "fill-in the corner"). If a strike is recorded, opposing corners of the left-hand square are similarly colored in. A common (albeit unofficial) practice is to mark a strike on a strike's bonus ball (double strike) by shading in the remaining two corners of the first strike.
note- the highest score ever officially recorded in candlepin bowling is 245, beginning the game with 6 straight strikes.
Candlepin bowling uses its own colorful jargon to refer to the many scenarios that can arise in a game, with most of the terms denoting different combinations of pins left standing after the first ball has been rolled. Examples of these terms include:
- Four Horsemen: Four pins in a diagonal line, from the head-pin outward; if the 1-2-4-7, it is known as "Four horsemen, left side," and if the 1-3-6-10, it is known as "Four horsemen, right side." The usual tenpin term for a spare leave of this kind is a "picket fence" or "clothesline".
- Spread Eagle: A configuration consisting of the 2-3-4-6-7-10, caused by the first shot striking the head pin too directly, leading to a failure to scatter the pins.
- Diamond: Four pins that form a diamond-shaped configuration, either the 2-4-5-8, known as "left-side diamond," or the 3-5-6-9, known as "right-side diamond" (this same configuration is usually referred to as a "bucket" in standard ten-pin bowling, and while it is very difficult to convert into a spare in candlepin bowling, in ten-pin bowling a spare is usually made from it by an experienced bowler).
- Half Worcester: Perhaps the most distinctive term used in the game. This results when the first shot strikes either the 2-pin or 3-pin too directly, and knocks down only that pin and the one immediately behind it; when only the 2- and 8-pins fall it is a "Half Worcester Left," and when only the 3- and 9-pins fall it is a "Half Worcester Right" (less commonly—and especially if the bowler is a woman or young child—only the 1- and 5-pins may be knocked down with the first ball, producing a "Half Worcester Center"). According to legend, the term was coined when a team from Worcester and another team from a nearby town were competing in the semifinal round of a statewide tournament held sometime in the 1940s; late in the last match of the round, one of the bowlers on the Worcester team knocked down only two such pins with his first ball, prompting a member of the opposing team to taunt him by saying, "You're halfway back to Worcester." It is sometimes said that a player will get "one a game" referring to the Half Worcester.
- Meineke: This term has multiple connotations. In candlepin bowling, meineke refers to a players luck. If a player is having good luck and getting several lucky breaks, he is said to have good meineke. If a player is having bad luck and none of the pins seem to be falling his way, he is said to have bad meineke. Legend has it that this term was first coined after a player observed his friend roll a few unlucky balls and said, "You need to go to Meineke. You've had some pretty bad breaks." This was an obvious pun, as Meineke is an automotive company that specializes on fixing brakes.
- The Emily: This candlepin bowling jargon refers to a particular spare conversion: when the first ball is rolled and all 10 pins remain standing; then, the second ball is rolled and knocks every pin down for an unlikely spare.
- Magnet: Originally 'ball magnet', this term has been shortened to simply magnet over the years. It refers to an empty space created by the ball punching through the pins. A half worcester or a spread eagle leave the bowler facing a magnet. It is called a magnet because the space seems to always attract the ball. No matter how hard the bowler tries to avoid rolling the ball into the spot he already hit, the ball rolls through taking no pins with it. This gap is also often considered "the black hole."
- Ray Ball: This candlepin bowling jargon refers to a particular strike conversion: It refers to a strike in which the headpin or the 1- pin is the last pin to fall. It is also known as a back-door strike. Legend has it that the name comes from a bowler named Ray who on occasion would throw multiple strikes in this fashion.
From 1958 until 1996, a weekly professional bowling match was held in Massachusetts, produced by Boston television station WHDH-TV/WCVB-TV Channel 5, airing every Saturday morning. The winner of this match would return the following Saturday to face a new opponent determined by the outcome of qualifying matches, or "roll-offs," held during the week. Cash prizes were awarded to both the winner and loser of the televised match, with bonuses for rolling three consecutive marks (strikes or spares in any combination, or a larger bonus for three strikes in a row), and for rolling a cumulative score of 400 or higher in the three games, or "strings," of which each match consisted. For most of the year, this competition was restricted to men only, with a few weeks devoted to matches for women only; other televised matches were also held, involving mixed doubles teams of one man and one woman bowler.
In addition, there have been two unrelated weekly candlepin bowling programs on WNDS/WZMY in Derry, New Hampshire since 1983 and on AT&T 3/CN8 New England since 2001. As of September 2005, the WZMY show is on hiatus, while CN8's program has entered its fifth season.
There is also a show that originates from the 1-7-10 Sportscenter in Augusta, Maine. It is on Adelphia channel 9 and is shown every Sunday night at 7pm. This show has been on air since 1997.
The ATV network in Atlantic Canada also broadcast a weekly candlepin bowling show in the 1980s and early 1990s, matching bowlers from New Brunswick against those from Nova Scotia. Its sponsors included Number 7, Mark 10, and Belvedere cigarettes.
List of Candlepin bowling TV broadcast shows
Each show is listed with its station of origin
- Candlepin Bowling - WHDH/WCVB, Channel 5 - 1958-1996
- Hosted by Jim Britt (1958-1967) and Don Gillis (1967-1996)
The granddaddy of all the candlepin broadcast shows. When WHDH lost their broadcast licence, the show simply moved to the new channel 5, WCVB. Originally taped at the Boylston Bowladrome, near Fenway Park, then at Sammy White's lanes in Boston, the show moved to the Fairway Lanes in Natick (where Candlepin Doubles was already taping) when Sammy White's closed down in 1985. Citing low ratings and a lessened interest in bowling, WCVB cancelled both this show and Candlepin Doubles at the same time in 1996. During the 1980s, this program was also locally syndicated to WGGB-TV Channel 40 in Springfield, MA and WPRI-TV Channel 12 in Providence, RI.
- Winning Pins - WHDH, Channel 5 - 1960s
- Hosted by Jim Britt
A children's version of Candlepin Bowling, showcasing the best bowlers under 16 years of age. Taped at Sammy White's lanes in Boston.
- Bay State Bowling - WSMW, Channel 27 - 1970-1981
- Hosted by Bob Fouracre
WSMW, channel 27 in Worcester decided to get their piece of the TV candlepin pie in 1970. This was one of WSMW's inaugural shows when the station first went on the air. Format was similar to channel 5's Candlepin Bowling. This show was notable for its 1975-1981 animated opening theme to the tune of The Spinners' Rubberband Man. This show, and all of WSMW's other programming, got cancelled in late 1981 when the station's pay-TV movie block expanded to a 24/7 schedule.
- Candlepin Superbowl - WCVB, Channel 5 - 1972-1983
- Hosted by Bill O'Connell (1972-1982) and Brian Leary (1982-1983)
Channel 5's first doubles show was a mixed doubles show. Premeiring soon after WCVB took over the channel 5 band, the Superbowl pitted 2 teams made up of one male and one female bowler each. Taped at Sammy White's lanes in Boston.
- Hosted by Bob Gamere (WNAC) and Rico Petrocelli (WXNE)
This was a rather unique candlepin show in that it was more of a game show instead of a competition. Bowlers were introduced one by one to win money and prizes by how well they did on the lanes. Also featured a special "red pin" which was worth extra cash if felled on a strike. WNAC taped the show in-studio in lanes built specially for the show...there were 2 lanes in the studio alley. When WNAC lost their licence for the channel 7 band in 1982, the new WNEV chose not to renew the show, and production instead moved to WXNE, channel 25, who taped the show at an actual bowling alley, the Wal-Lex Lanes in Waltham, Massachusetts. Host Bob Gamere was still under contract with the now-WNEV, so WXNE hired former Boston Red Sox star Rico Petrocelli as the new host.
- Candlepin Doubles - WCVB, Channel 5 - 1983-1996
- Hosted by Brian Leary
When the ratings for Candlepin Superbowl sank, channel 5 instead re-vamped the show to remove mixed doubles, so now the two teams that competed were either all male or all female. Taped at Fairway Lanes in Natick.
- Big Shot Bowling - NESN - 1983-1987
- Hosted by Bob Fouracre and Dan Murphy
NESN's entry into the televised bowling market was similar in format to channel 5's Candlepin Bowling, but their standards of who was able to get onto the show was more strict than channel 5, to try to attract the best of the best in the New England area.
- Candlepin Stars And Strikes - WNDS, Channel 50 - 1983-2005
- Hosted by Doug Brown, Dan Murphy (older versions of the show) Dick Lutsk and Mike Morin (most recent versions of the show)
Similar in format to the channel 5 show, except in a stepladder format. Each ladder winner qualified for the Tournament of Champions at the end of the season, which was in the same format as the regular season stepladders. Taped at a number of locations throughout the years, the last location before the show was cancelled being Leda Lanes in Nashua, New Hampshire.
- Candlepin Bowling - Adelphia Channel 9, (Augusta, Maine) - 1997-present
Similar in format to the original channel 5 show. Taped at the 1-7-10 Sportscenter in Augusta, Maine
- Hosted by John Holt, Dan Murphy, and Trina Fernandez
This show is unique that instead of only two bowlers competing, they have three. Two bowlers compete for one string in the qualifying round, then the winner of that round plays two strings against a third bowler. The overall winner of the second round is declared that week's champion. At the end of each season, the top bowlers of the year compete in a $30,000 Tournament. Taped at the Woburn Bowladrome. For its first five seasons, the show was called the "$30,000 Candlepin Challenge"; it was renamed to its present title for its sixth season.
- Hosted by Frank Mallicoat and Mike Morin
- Also locally syndicated on 5 other stations in the New England and eastern New York State areas
Despite the similarity in name, this show was not related to the old Candlepins For Cash format; instead it was based more on the Stars and Strikes format. After WLVI's sale to Sunbeam Television in December 2006, the show was put on indefinite hiatus. Executive Producer Bart Maderios has reclaimed the rights to his show and says that two "major networks" are negotiating to bring the show back into production. Taped at Pilgrim Lanes in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
- Hosted by Steve Renaud and Dan "Shoebag" Gauthier.
Format has competition by children in three age groups: 11 and under, 12-14, and 15-18. Episodes air over Southbridge Community Access Television and online. Taped all over state of MA.