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Northern presence to be felt in bowling playoffs

With just a few hours remaining in the qualifying round action from the 2007 Canadian Open Bowling 5 Pin Championship in Sudbury, it's clear that the locals will be heard from come "Stepladder Saturday". The national bowling tournament completes three straight days of preliminary round play, with the playoffs encompassing either the top four teams and top five individuals into seeded competition.

As the name suggests, the "stepladder" process pits qualifiers at the bottom of the playoff rung against one another, with the winner moving on to face the next highest qualifier. In the case of the top qualifier after Friday night action, they must be beaten twice in order to settle for Silver.

While some results are still pending, what is known is extremely positive if you're a Northern Ontario bowling supporter. Men's singles entry Rene Godin of Sudbury strung together games of 352 and 300 on Thursday to leap up the standings and followed it up with a 355 and 308 in securing 3rd place with a 21-game average of 258.

Godin will await the winner of the 4/5 matchup pitting Serge Arseneault of PEI against Manitoba's Randy Morrissette, with Godin's game set for 2:15 p.m. on Saturday at Plaza Bowl. As is the case with all but the top-seeded game, bowlers must win to advance.

Yet another local entry, Yvette MacLellan in the Ladies Singles draw, will have a tougher road on Saturday after finishing in 5th place with a week-long average of 251 as well. MacLellan will hit the lanes at 2:00 p.m., facing Bobbi Sisko of Alberta and would need to win five consecutive games in order to secure Gold at the 2007 Nationals.

In team play, the Northern Ontario squad has qualified, garnering the fourth and final playoff slot on Friday. The team of Donna Stevens, Doris Kirkey, Lynda Presse, Barry Stevens, Rob Cardinal and Troy Raymond will match strikes with Team Alberta beginning at 9:00 a.m.

The Northern Ontario men also appear to be in solid shape, holding down 2nd place with but four sets of games remaining, although the team is schedules for a bye within that four game set. Still, Mike McNamara, Jason Remmerswaal, Pete Blanchard, Matthew Punkari, Jean-Marie Girard and Rob Parisotto hold a 12-point edge over Team Manitoba, currently in 5th and on the outside looking in to the playoff picture.

In assembling a team average of 247.9, the Northern Ontario men have seen all five starters roll at least one game of more than 300, lead by an outstanding 403 courtesy of Rob Parisotto on Thursday. Unfortunately, the locals string of good fortune will likely end with the ladies as the Northern Ontario entry find themselves in 7th place with just a pair of matches remaining.

The ladies squad representing the North includes Yvette MacLellan, Kim Goedhuis, Chris Godin, Jennifer Raymond, Jeannette Stevenson and Denis Blake, with Blake and Goedhuis both leading the way with averages of slightly more than 241.

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