Ben bowls Perfect game

Story courtesy of College Sport Media 


In June Ben Pettit became the youngest New Zealand Open Men’s Tenpin bowling champion after he bowled his way to victory as a 13-year old in Auckland.

Following a successful trip to Tasmana, adding the Australian Under-14 National title to his burgeoning trophy haul, Ben has just bowled his first perfect game. A perfect game in Tenpin bowling is achieved with a score of 300. That is bowling 12 strikes in a row: one strike in each of the first nine frames, and three more in the tenth frame.

At 14 years and 19 days old Ben is the youngest individual in New Zealand to accomplish the feat, replacing the previous record held by Osiris Cave who was 14 years and 10 months old when he bowled his 300 in January at Tenpin Tauranga. Ben’s previous best was 279.

Ben’s first 300 happened on August 14 at Pins Lincoln in Auckland. He repeated the feat on Sunday for good measure too.

“The first nine shots were all good shots. The tenth shot was okay but the 11th was my worst of the whole tournament,” Ben recalled.

“I kept my ball inside way too far and hit the wrong side of the front pin. The last pin to fall was the sixth pin on the right side. It was a really lucky shot.

“When I bowled nine strikes in a row a crowd started to gather. I was really nervous prior to the last shot. I had a drink of water, ordered a rerack which is a resetting of the pins, and took my shot. It was perfect.

“It’s interesting because I was bowling in Lanes 14 and 15 which are the hardest in the alley. They have a lot of friction and the ball comes back more so you have to be very precise.

“I was more happy with my second 300 because they were all good shots. The first one was more of a relief to have done it.”

When a 300 happens, to be officially registered, the ball and every pin has to be measured before the completion of paperwork. The pins have to be ten ounces or below.

“One of the pins was exactly ten ounces. Had it been 0.01 ounces heavier my 300 wouldn’t have counted.”

Since records started in 1977 there have been 148 perfect scores.  Steve Furst bowled the first 300 on June 23, 1977 in New Lynn, Auckland. It took 15 years until Paul McElroy joined him in 1992. Graham Parkins was the first of 20 individuals to bowl 300 in Wellington in 1994.

The record for most 300 scores ironically belongs to Ben’s coach Chris Haynes who bowled seven between 2015 and 2019. Remarkably he delivered three on October 27, 2015.

Ben received $350 for his perfect game and for winning the competition. His next goal is an 800 series which is over three games with a 267 average. He has bowled a 764.

*After his National title success he appeared on Stuff, The Rock, and bowled against Nick Mills and Adam Cooper from Newstalk ZB Sport.