Bowler Ratings

PatternStTwCr
Oily:9.59.59.5
Medium:788
Dry:543
Sport:777

Bowler ratings are from 1 to 10 in order of Stroker (ST), Tweener (TW), Cranker (CR)

General Info

Coverstock Specs
Name:Elastin 7.5 Solid
Type:Reactive Solid
Box Finish:500 / 1000 / 2000 / 2000 Abralon
Color:Black / Ultra Blue / Super Violet
Empty
Core Specs
Name:NA
Type:Asymmetrical
RG:2.50
Diff:0.052
Int. Diff:0.013

The Dark Encounter is the newest high performance ball from Columbia 300. It shares the core from the original Encounter and uses a stronger, solid version of the Elastin coverstock. As we have seen with the Out Burst and Omen, Columbia 300 has not shied away from using finishes lower than 4000. This cover is finished at 2000 Abralon. The original Encounter was very angular and was better for us on medium oil. With the change of box finish and coverstock, this ball is a monster on heavy oil.

We graphed this ball on our heavy oil test pattern for that reason. All three testers were able to start further left on this pattern because of the amount of recovery in the back end from the Dark Encounter. We were afraid that as oil got on the shell and glazed the box finish, we would have to move further right as the testing session progressed. That scenario never happened because the Dark Encounter kept coming back stronger and stronger. We were able to make our usual moves left as the pattern broke down.

Moving to the medium pattern, Stroker gave the Dark Encounter the lowest rating of the three testers for a reason he usually doesn’t. At the box finish, the Dark Encounter was too strong at the back end and had too much hook for him to control. It took adding a coat of Powerhouse Factory Finish to Stroker’s Dark Encounter to get it back in the pocket. Tweener and Cranker’s higher ball speeds were able to get deep and had unlimited recovery.

With the Dark Encounter all three testers had an above average look on our sport pattern. The aggressive down lane motion gave all three miss room to the right. Anyone who has bowled on a flatter condition knows how big an advantage it is to have miss room right of target.

The dry pattern has way too much friction for the Dark Encounter to be successful. We raised the finish to 4000 Abralon and used Powerhouse Extender Polish on all three test balls and all three testers still struggled to keep it off the headpin.

Performance Ratings

NameValueComments
Torque7.5
Despite the solid sanded cover, the Dark Encounter has plenty of pop at the breakpoint. Sanded bowling balls that still have a strong breakpoint are always an advantage for a competitive bowler.
Length11
The 2000 Abralon finish of the Dark Encounter creates traction through the oil. The length number is low, but balls with a high hook number usually are.
Back End17
The Dark Encounter has a surprisingly high back end reaction for a ball that is so strong in the oil. Even at the 2000 Abralon finish, this ball does not bleed off all its energy too early.
Total Hook54
As we have seen from the last two sanded balls from Columbia 300, the Dark Encounter offers plenty of motion through the entire lane. This ball is longer and stronger than the Omen and the Ransom Demand.

Strengths

The Dark Encounter takes the skid/snap nature of the original Encounter and adds the element of traction in the oil. This addition can be attributed to the solid version of the Elastin coverstock.

Weaknesses

The Dark Encounter is too strong for drier lane conditions. Even heavily polished, this ball has too much traction for a consistent reaction on that type pattern.

Overall Summary

While the original Encounter can be drilled for light to medium, the Dark Encounter will be for anytime the Encounter is struggling in the oil, making the combination of these two balls a great one-two punch.

The BTM Ball Testing Team

About The BTM Ball Testing Team

The BTM Ball Testing Team is led by Eric Martinez. Our team of three testers has thrown and reviewed hundreds of bowling balls for Bowling This Month. When not testing balls for BTM, Eric owns and operates University Pro Shop in San Antonio, TX and he is an avid competitive bowler. Click here to learn more about how we test and review bowling balls.