By Jennifer Roback
Verity Crawley has been on the Professional Women’s Bowling Association tour for four years. On June 12, 2021, she walked away with her first PWBA tour win at PWBA Nashville Open in Tennessee.
“I am absolutely over the moon,” Crawley, 27, captioned her Instagram post following the match. “So many thoughts, so much emotion,” she continued.
Crawley's journey leading up to her first win has been a successful one, from Saturday morning leagues to bowling collegiately, the PWBA has not been her only successful bowling story.
Her bowling journey started at the age of 5, bowling alongside her brother during a Saturday morning youth league. When she was 12-years-old, she then competed for Junior Team England at the United World Games in Vienna, and shot a perfect game at the European Youth Championships in 2012, winning the singles event.
13 years after her journey began, Crawley then moved to the U.S. from Bournemouth, United Kingdom, to continue her academic and athlete career at Webber International University in Babson Park, Fl.
“I was offered a scholarship to study and bowl for Webber International,” Crawley said about her decision to move to the U.S. “I was really unsure on where life was going to take me, I just knew I wanted to bowl, and collegiate bowling was the perfect opportunity for me.”
During her time at Webber, Crawley was an NAIA All-American who helped the Warriors win two NAIA Championships and a USBC Intercollegiate Team Championship.
In 2017, when Crawley was only 22-years-old, she started her professional career on the PWBA Tour. After four seasons and four career runner-up finishes, she now adds a PWBA tour win to her successful resume.
“I was excited and grateful,” Crawley said about making the stepladder finals at the PWBA Nashville open. “After I won, I had such a mix of emotions, I don’t think it hit me right away, I had visualized that moment happened so many times."
Crawley is also a championship coach, winning a NAIA Championship as the assistant coach at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) back in 2019.
Despite all the success Crawley has had throughout her career, like many, the COVID-19 pandemic gave her some unexpected challenges she had to work through to get to her PWBA win.
After making a tough decision not to go home for Christmas back in 2020 so she could compete in the PWBA Kickoff Classic January 19, 2021, Crawley's visa got denied forcing her to leave the country she had called home for many years.
“My athlete visa was denied just prior to the PWBA events in January  and I had to leave the country,” Crawley said.
While in England, bowling centers were closed due to the pandemic, but Crawley stayed motivated to practice and stay in shape for when her visa was approved, and she could get back to the states and compete again.
“I set up a ‘lane’ in the hallway of my family home and did foul line drills. It was hard, I was rolling the ball onto the carpet with lots of cushions. There were days that I just didn’t want to do it,” Crawley said. “I had no idea how long I was going to be home for. The UK had no hopes of opining up bowling centers. My parents were the ones to motivate me and I am so thankful that I was able to spend so much time with them.”
After multiple denials, in March 2020, after 77 days in the U.K., Crawley was approved, with some help from the PWBA, to come back to the states and compete on tour for three months.
“Very thankful to the PWBA who helped make it possible to get back into the US,” Crawley said in an Instagram post following her arrival to the states. “There are a lot of rules and restrictions regarding travel to the US right now, especially when coming from the UK… Thank you for all of your support.”
On April 22, Crawley competed in her first PWBA event in over a year at the PWBA Twin Cities Open in Minnesota and finished in 9th place following an almost perfect game of 290 during block two of qualifying.
The following month, Crawley found even more success on tour this season by placing 4th at the 2021 USBC Queens event and at the PWBA BVL Open.
Her success continued as she competed at the PWBA Nashville Open, June 10-12, where she qualified for the stepladder finals as the #4 seed, along with Birgit Noreiks, Shannon O’Keefe, and Pajak.
After defeating Noreiks 246-214, she climbed her way up the stepladder, defeating O’Keefe 241-220, to face Pajak in the final round. Crawley ended up defeating her former Webber International teammate, 245-168.
“It was like bowling against any other competitor," Crawley said about bowling against Pajak. "Yes we are good friends, but both of us wanted to win. I was playing the lanes and I was playing to win, but it was a very nice feeling to have her support afterward and know that she was truly happy for me.”
This was not the first time Crawley and Pajak faced off against each other for a PWBA title. During their 2017 rookie seasons, Pajak beat Crawley 224-203 in the final match to win the PWBA Greater Detroit Open title.
"Being the runner up may be one of the hardest pills to swallow but I lost to my friend, to one of the most dedicated players on PWBA tour. Verity Crawley is the new PWBA champion so let that sink in," Pajak said in an Instagram post of her and Crawley following the event.
After her PWBA win, Crawley went on the place 19th at the PWBA Louisville open and competed in the PBA King of the Lanes: Empress edition, at Bayside Bowl in Portland Maine, that was broadcasted live on FS1. Her next event is the Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles on July 29, 2021.
Throughout her career, the one thing Crawley always knew was that she wanted to bowl. She used that determination and motivation at the collegiate level and has continued it throughout her professional career, leading her to continued success.