Gary Smith loses out in the national bowls final

Gary Smith
Gary Smith
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Bowls by Richard Mckie

Sunderland’s Gary Smith failed in his attempt to lift the national singles title at Nottingham.

Despite being hampered by a back injury, Smith, now plying his trade for Stanley, progressed into the semi-final by inflicting a 21-16 defeat on fellow international Wey Valley’s Paul Coleman.

In the semi-final, Smith put on a master class to defeat Wellingbrough’s Paul Broderick 21-6 to set up a final against City of Ely’s international Greg Harlow.

A slow start in the final eventually cost Smith, when at 18-8, it looked all over but Smith rallied to claw the score back to 18-16. With Harlow looking rattled, he resorted to killing three good Smith heads on the trot before sneaking a single to lead 19-16.

In what turned out to be the final end, Smith saved a match lie with his final bowl to hold a single. Harlow’s final bowl missed its target but still thinned the jack to the side of the rink and despite Smith having a back bowl, somehow the jack finished in the vicinity of two of Harlow’s bowls to clinch a 21-16 victory.

For the first time the latter stages of the singles competition were recorded and will be shown sometime in May on Skysports.

H Another club final was completed at Crowtree, as the men’s triples final took place.

In the final, holders Richard Mckie, Billy Ferry and Wayne Funnell faced first-time finalists Michael Wright, Tony Wood and Peter Brickle.

In a tight match the scores were locked at 5-5 after eights ends. The Funnell trio edged into a 7-5 lead. Brickle collected a single on the 11th end to make it 7-6 but it was the 12th end which would prove decisive as Brickle collected a count of four to lead 10-7.

Going into the 12th, what turned out to be the final end, the holders needed four shots but never looked likely to get them as another Brickle single sealed a well deserved 11-7 win and gained a first club title for the three final debutees.

H Sunderland’s inter-county squad have completed this season’s campaign with a narrow 7-5 (105-95) defeat at the hands of Hartlepool.

However, the five points ensured division one status for yet another year.

With both teams fielding under-strength teams and despite some very late changes it was good experience for several newcomers to the Crowtree line-up.

At Hartlepool, the eye-catching result was from the rink of Pat Collins, Peter Thomson (snr), Tony Grimes and Peter Thomson, who defeated Albert Ward 26-15.

Michael Wright, Ritchie Jobling, Alfie Ferguson and Terry Todd suffered a second-half collapse to finish 21-12 down to John Wells.

The third rink of Billy Hearne, Tony Wood, Peter Brickle and Richard Mckie let slip a 11-10 lead to finish 23-11 down at the hands of Keith Wilford.

At Crowtree Michael Laydon, Peter Bulmer, George Simpson and Gary Farquhar recovered from 10-7 down to defeat Mark Higgins 17-10.

Bobby Borthwick, Matty Kilty, Billy Mitchell and Ray Robinson came from 8-5 down to record a 17-13 win over K.Drummond.

The remaining rink of George Brown, Maurice Carr, Frankie Froud and Tommy Jopling never recovered from a 10-2 deficit against David Fenwick, as it finished 22-12 to the visitors. However, the home squad finished one shot up and collected four vital points.

Final Table: Darlington 56½, The Parks 51, Hartlepool 43½, Sunderland 34, Shildon 28½, Great Aycliffe 24, Durham 14½

Division Two: Gateshead 35, South Shields 34, Ferryhill 25, Houghton 15, Park View 11

Seniors League Play-off Results: Quartet Finals: Spennymoor 2 South Shields 3, Stanley 4 Ferryhill 1, Sunderland A 5 Aycliffe 0, Parks A 5 Darlington B 0. Semi-final: South Shields 4 Stanley 1, Sunderland A 0 Parks A 5. Final: Parks A 4 South Shields 1

H The semi-final of the football pairs took place this week. George Brown and Tommy Jopling defeated Keith Hopper and Stevie Angus 2-0. Bobby Borthwick and Peter Brickle defeated Richard Mckie and Billy Mitchell 2-1. The final will take place on Thursday at 6.30pm.

H With the indoor season nearing its end, there are three more finals scheduled this week at Crowtree. Monday and Tuesday will see both fours finals take place at 6.30pm. Wednesday will see George Brown face Tommy Jopling in the men’s Two Bowl final, also at 6.30pm.

H Anyone wishing to enter a team in any league at Crowtree can still do so. The Sunday 10am, Thursday 6.30pm and Tuesday 6.30pm fours are all in the need of extra teams.

Entries are now being taken for next year’s national competitions. All entry fees need to be paid by Thursday, April 22. The club secretary will be onsite to collect any fees on that day from 6.30pm.