The New England Bowlers Association, the USBC’s longest running scratch tournament club, is approaching its 58th year of existence. Westgate Lanes has been a big part of that history, hosting 55 of their tournaments, so, when the opportunity presented itself to compile a history of NEBA here, I had to jump at it. Much of it comes from NEBA’s 50th anniversary booklet, which I was seeing for the first time and Kevin Thibeault agreed to loan out to me. Of course, the later tournaments could be pieced together from the archives of this website.
The table below will have the list of NEBA champions at Westgate, annotated where appropriate:
It is little surprise that the winningest NEBA bowler at Westgate is the bowler who has come to be the embodiment of the organization, Mike Lichstein, whose first of a record 31 NEBA titles came here. Aside from Mike Lichstein’s four NEBA titles at Westgate, the other multiple NEBA winners at Westgate are Tony Attardo (with three of his four), Steve Travers, Bill Webb, Stephen Dale Jr., and Tony Reynaud (two each).
The group includes 19 members of the NEBA Hall of Fame, four NEBA Bowlers of the Year who won the year they won at Westgate (Paul Moser, Mike Lichstein, Bill Webb, with one of his record eight, and Ryan Graywacz), and each of the top three all-time in NEBA titles (Lichstein, as well as Alex Aguiar and Bill Webb). The national credentials of Westgate’s NEBA champions include two members of both the PBA and USBC Halls of Fame (Mark Roth, along with newly-elected USBC Hall of Famer Patrick Allen), three other PBA Tour champions known to me (Paul Moser, Jon Van Hees, and Anthony Pepe), two bowlers who won PBA majors as amateurs (Moser, along with Brian Boghosian), two winners of the High Roller, the original Las Vegas megabuck amateur tournament (Lichstein, along with Ed Roberts), and one member of the “900 Club” (not Hakim Emmanuel, but Jon Wilbur).
Two of these bowlers, Ed Roberts and Patrick Allen, also have experience on Team USA: Ed Roberts was a member of the men’s squad for the 1995 FIQ World Championships held at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, NV, the year the facility opened, and was also on Team USA for the inaugural WTBA World Senior Championships in 2013, winning multiple medals in that tournament. Ed also has won multiple medals, including gold, at the Lee Evans Tournament of the Americas, the American zone’s biggest annual tournament. Patrick Allen was a member of the 2008 American “Dream Team” at the 2008 WTBA World Men’s Championships in Munich, Germany, the first world championship tournament that allowed professional participation. Allen was the emotional leader of that team, which won the gold medal in the coveted team of five event.
From a local perspective, four members of the Bristol-Plymouth USBC Hall of Fame, Tony Attardo, Steve Travers, John Ellis, and Ed Roberts, have won at Westgate. Three other Westgate NEBA winners, Alex Aguiar, Rick Cashell and Stephen Dale Jr., are known to me to have bowled regularly in leagues at Westgate Lanes. Westgate has had a reputation of being a lefty-friendly center, and Tony Attardo, Paul Moser, Mike Lichstein, Steve Travers, Patrick Allen, and Anthony Pepe are the Westgate NEBA champions known to me to be lefties. You could also count Ernie Hoestery, a right-handed back-up bowler, as a lefty.
One will also note that in 2017, Anthony Pepe defeated Jon Van Hees in a match-up of PBA Tour champions in a NEBA championship match at Westgate. Another notable NEBA final match at Westgate took place in 2015, when Ed Roberts became NEBA’s oldest champion by defeating Tyler Perry, the youngest champion in NEBA’s history. The previous year, NEBA’s GOAT, Mike Lichstein, faced Alex Aguiar, #2 all-time, recording his 28th title.
As a bonus, I decided to also include the history of two other centers in the Brockton (now Bristol-Plymouth) association:
This list picks up PBA and USBC Hall of Famer Wayne Webb, whose family had owned the center in Taunton (listed as Cranberry Bowl for him), one other BPUSBC Hall of Famer, Dan Robinson (a Westgate bowler who won at North Bowl), and Bryan Cahill (who had held the Westgate house record prior to Hakim Emmanuel’s 900 series). Gary Shultis is the only NEBA Hall of Famer in this list who did not also win at Westgate. Ed Roberts is the only BPUSBC Hall of Famer who won at two centers in the association (also having won at North Bowl).
Finally, many of the Brockton/Bristol-Plymouth association’s NEBA champions never won at a center in the association, Joe Picanzo (NEBA’s very first champion), Nate Abdow, Bill Briggs, Fred Delfino, Brian Egan, Gary Erickson, Jim Ferguson, Ray Fischer, Rich Fulton, Brian Gaskill, Dan Hamilton, Bill Major, and Tim Riordan among them (there may be others).