A GRAND FINALE!

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Bowls notes by Richard Mckie

THE Sunderland senior A team ensured that the club will end its days at Crowtree in spectacular fashion as they sealed the Senior’s Inter County play-off title.

In the semi-finals played at Darlington, Sunderland hammered The Parks into submission with a 76-20 win.

In fact, such was the Crowtree lads domination that across the green 22 ends were not played.

Joe Flett, Ronnie Robson, Ray Robinson and Bobby Graham cruised to a 27-5 win over M.Groundwater. Ted Forster, Hendy Shields, Fred Knubley and Billy Ferry defeated I.Brown 26-8 while George Brown, Billy Hearne, John Jones and Tommy Jopling beat B.Houghton 23-7.

That win set up a final against Hartlepool B, who defeated Great Aycliffe in the other semi-final.

The final was also played at Darlington where an unchanged Sunderland squad took the title with a 63-46 win.

Tommy Jopling’s rink of George Brown, Billy Hearne and John Jones defeated P.Squirrel 29-15 while Joe Flett, Ronnie Robson, Ray Robinson and Bobby Graham defeated K.Wilford 17-13.

The remaining rink of Ted Forster, Hendy Shields, Fred Knubley and Billy Ferry went down 19-17 to C. Simpson.

So this completes an outstanding finale for the Sunderland club following on from the Inter County squad’s Division 2 title and Tommy Jopling’s senior singles champion of champions title – all of which makes it even harder to accept that the club will be homeless after tomorrow.

H This week has seen several club competitions coming to a conclusion.

In the Novice Pairs final, Jaxon McKenna and Dale Fenwick took the honours against Dennis Gibson and Michael Carr.

The early exchanges saw Fenwick win the first seven ends to race into a 13-0 lead. Carr eventually scored on the next two ends but the slow start ended any hopes of lifting the title as the McKenna and Fenwick combination ran out 17-6 winners.

In the mixed pairs final, Marjorie Smith and Michael Wright put in a five-star performance to defeat holders Ann and Locky Todd 17-6.

The early exchanges saw Wright race into a 12-1 lead after six ends before Todd responded and got back in the game at 13-6. However a Wright four on the 10th end was enough for the holders to acknowledge it wasn’t their day.

In the ladies pairs final, Kathy Hulley and Florence Rodenby had the task of attempting to defeat holders Alice Curtis and Ella Baker.

The early signs were good for the Rodenby pair as they led 5-3 only to let it slip and within three ends the holders led 8-7. The next three ends were all Baker singles to lead 11-7 which left Rodenby looking for a five on the final end.

However, Baker sneaked another single to seal a 12-7 win.

In the senior pairs final, Hendy Shields and Billy Ferry faced Joe Flett and Tommy Jopling. After exchanging opening trebles, Ferry eventually led 6-3 after five ends.

The final took a turn in Jopling’s favour over the next four ends as an 8-0 return saw Jopling race into a 11-6 lead.

As Ferry chased the game, Jopling continued to get good results and eventually recorded a 14-9 win.

In the men’s fours final, Phil Dixon, Paul Baker, Hendy Shields and Gary Farquhar took on Scott Baker, John Scott, Billy Mitchell and Dan Todner.

The early exchanges saw Farquhar open up a 9-1 lead and looked set for a quick kill – but Todner’s rink responded and got back to 9-5.

The four-shot margin remained right up to the final end as Farquhar led 13-9 and when Todner ditched the jack any hopes of forcing an extra end were extinguished as it finished 14-9. Somewhat surprisingly, this was a first club title for Dixon, Baker and Farquhar.

H The club held a watered down version of the Norman Routledge 20/20 Pairs.

With entries limited to eight pairs, the format was a two-end shoot-out via a round robin league format. The eventual winners were two golden oldies Richie Mckie and Jim Lambert, who held off Jaxon McKenna and Joe Flett by two points.

H The local bowls scene has lost two well-liked figures within the game as George Hayes (82) and David Black (94) passed away. Both were well respected and will be missed.