Will Pettit strikes Perfection

Ben Pettit (Hutt International Boys’ School) created quite a stir in 2021 when he won the National Open Men’s tenpin bowling championship as a 13-year old and then twice bowled the perfect score of 300.


Ben (14) added another perfect game to his tally on Wednesday, February 16 at North City Tenpin in Porirua, but he couldn’t match the effort of his older brother Will (17) at the Wellington Under 21 and Open Men’s tournaments (also at North City) on the weekend.


Will, also a HIBS student, twice bowled 300 making the pair the only brothers in New Zealand to bowl a certified perfect game. Will’s first 300 happened on Friday.


“The tenth shot was rubbish, but somehow it struck. The 11th shot was flush and I thought this is actually happening, I could get a 300. I was confident on the last shot and as soon as I let it go I knew it was going to strike,” Will recalled.


“Mum ran up and gave me a big hug and the whole competition briefly stopped. It was cool, it was on the livestream too.” 


The second 300 occurred 24 hours later and would be delivered in the presence of Will’s father Paul.


“The 12th shot was rubbish. I missed right but the ball came in just enough where my least favourite pin, the ten pin, was still standing. The head pin went left and then came flying across to the right and hit the ten pin which fell over and I thought ‘I’ve done it again.’ Everyone I wanted to be there was there. I was luckier but I was very happy with the result.


“In December I bowled 299 in practice. There was a league happening around me which stopped for my last bowl. I cracked under the pressure. As soon as I let it go I knew I’d missed it. The two-pin, the one on the left closest to the middle, was still standing.”


Will used a 15 pound purple hammer ball in achieving his 300 game. It’s the same type of ball that Ben used to bowl his first 300 game. In December 2020 Will also emulated Ben’s two-handed bowling technique, something that is becoming far more common now in the youth divisions.  


“I was in a bit of a drought, not enjoying it as much as I used to. As a joke I decided to play Ben two-handed and bowled 240 and then I got 210 and thought, ‘ok this is interesting.’


“The advantage of bowling two handed I explain like this. It’s double the revs, double the power and double the fun.”


It would be Ben that would claim a Wellington Open double by winning the Under-21 and Open Men’s titles. Ben averaged 231 in both competitions which were contested over 18 and 22 games respectively.


Will was third in both competitions with impressive averages of 223 and 215. In the Under-21 competition he bowled a remarkable 1504 (average 251) in a six game series to jump four places in the overall standings. 


Believe it or not the Wellington Open wasn’t enough bowling for the family. In a Sunday league immediately following, Ben bowled a 299.


A New Zealand Under-18 and Under-21 team is due to compete at the Australian Nationals in July. Both boys are strong contenders for selection.