Special to The Laker/Lutz News
Earl Ball of Zephyrhills won his 17th national championship at the Summer Nationals hosted by the Lakeland Shuffleboard Club.
Ball was teamed with fellow National and Florida Shuffleboard Association Hall of Famer Stan Williamson of Daytona.
The tournament was hotly contested right from the first game when Ball and Williamson fell 75-72 after Ball’s opponent reversed a kitchen and scored to win; but they stormed back to win the next two games and the match.
The third match took four hours and three games to decide a winner.
In the fifth match, Ball and Williamson found themselves behind in the second game 38-77. Facing a 115-point deficit, they held on to win the game 80-65 and take the semifinals.
The finals was no walk in the park either, as they got wiped out in the first game and were tied at 69 apiece in the second game, with the opposition having a hammer from the foot. They missed the hammer and Ball stuck the final digger to win the game, and the final went to Ball and Williamson for the Championship.
Ball is also the all-time national men’s points leader with 329 points and is sixth all-time in the 85-year history of the Florida Shuffleboard Association with 732 points.
In the women’s division, one of the top women’s players of all-time in the Florida Shuffleboard Association won her first national championship.
Mary Eldridge of St. Petersburg teamed with Arlene Guerrini of Pinellas Park, who won her second national championship. They beat Joan Cook of Zephyrhills and Diana Morrison of Lakeland who between them have won 12 national titles.
All four women’s finalists are Florida Shuffleboard Association Hall of Famers.
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