Local bowler Brian Watson sets new standard

PARKERSBURG – Albeit not 100 percent official, suffice it to say Wood County’s Brian Watson is the best United States Bowling Congress sanctioned roller in Mountain State history.

The 44-year-old DuPont employee finished the recent season at Pike Street Lanes in Monday’s Mountaineer Family Restaurant League with a 244.5 average for 105 games.

According to Watson, who used both Twitter and Facebook and just about every means necessary he could think of, the highest known previously sanctioned season average was by Beckley’s Charlie Toney about a decade ago with a 243.

“West Virginia just doesn’t really keep track,” said Watson, who is sponsored by Storm and the owner of 44 careers 300s and 20 three-game series’ of 800. “I know most of the scratch bowlers in the state.

“I talked to a lot of them and they said they don’t think anybody has ever averaged that high. The national highest average ever is Jeff Carter (Illinois) with a 261.74. He turned pro and won a title (2009 GEICO Plastic Ball Championship).”

Watson only missed one week of bowling, when he was out of town on a golf outing, or he’d have finished with 108 games. He said he had a poor last night in league play or the average would’ve been even better.

“I actually dropped it,” he admitted. “I was at 246.9 and finished at 244.5. It was just a bad night.”

During this season alone, Watson had two 300 games and a pair of 800 sets. He also bowled at Emerson Lanes each Thursday in the Anheuser-Busch Industrial League. Watson said he and Duane Smith held the previous Wood County record at 237.

Of course, anyone who has rolled as many 300s as Watson also has had his fair share of the proverbial so close, but no cigar moments on the lanes.

“Yeah, unfortunately, I had a 299 at Pike Street and I actually had a 297 this year. I’m not proud of that,” Watson added. “I didn’t throw a very good ball on that last one (in the 297).

“Believe it or not, and I’m not proud of this either, I’ve got close I bet you (to 300) with 15 or 16 299s. Everyone thinks it automatic. No, it’s not.”

Watson said the majority of his 299s have come because he left the 10 or even the 9 pin standing, but as of late “it’s been the 7 pin.”

An avid bowler for nearly four decades, Watson is a firm believer in practice makes perfect, but he never gets too excited about a possible perfect game until he’s bagged the first eight strikes.

“I’ve bowled since I was 5,” he said. “My twin brother (Brent) bowls and my kid is bowling. It’s a family thing. My deal is I just try to hit the pocket every time.

“I don’t plan on shooting a 300 every night, but when you average 240 your expectations go up a little bit.”

Despite having a state record as far as anyone knows about, there are still a couple of things Watson has his sights set on down the line.

“My goal is to catch my age in 300s and I’m going to turn 45 in March so I have to get some extras or get another one,” he added. “My highest ever series is 846 and my goal is always to try and beat Marty Brandjes’ city record of 856. That’s something. I’ve tried and tried and tried.

“He did that back before all these new bowling balls were out that are stronger and better. It was the late 80s when he set it. It’s never been beat. I’m not happy with it. I’ve got to try and do something about it. You just have to be lucky one night.”