ENGLAND’S current champions, Stanley’s Brian Harris, Stevie Angus, David Bolt and Gary Smith, took the fours title in the British Isles Championships, at Stanley Indoor Bowling club.
In the preliminary round, the Smith quartet recovered from 11-8 down to record a 23-15 win over Ireland’s G.McCloy 23-15, to set up a semi-final against the Channel Isles’ T.Greechan.
A cracking start to the semi-final saw Smith open up a 7-0 lead and they never looked back to eventually record a 22-13 win.
In the final, Smith faced Wales’ J.Roberts and with the score at 9-6 to Smith, a 10th end count of five opened up a 14-6 lead.
With the score at 14-10, the Stanley quartet turned on the style and racked up a 16-3 return over the last eight ends to seal a 30-13 win.
This was Smith’s second British Isles title after the triples win in 1991, while it was a first for the rest of the rink.
England secured the Gedling team title by a single point against Wales after successes in the Junior Singles, Ladies Singles, Ladies Triples and runners-up in the Senior Fours, Ladies Pairs and Ladies Fours.
The following day, Smith and Bolt were back in action in the home international series as England opened up their campaign with a 138-96 win over Wales.
The Smith and Bolt combination were joined by club-mate Brett Arkley, at lead, and Hartlepool’s Glen Skip, at second bowl.
However, they slipped to a 20-17 defeat after leading 17-15 with four ends to play.
In the other game, holders Scotland beat Ireland 107-94.
England face Ireland before the series concludes on Saturday afternoon as the auld enemies face each other in what is generally the series decider.
There was disappointment for the Durham County Liberty squad when they were beaten 113-106 by Cumbria in the semi-final.
It was always going to be a tough ask as the semi-final took place on the Cumbrian’s home green.
It is debatable whether that is fair, but that is the current rule.
Durham made the better start and opened up an eleven-shot lead at the half way mark and by the fifteenth end mark the lead was still nine.
In previous round, the Durham lads had produced a late surge to run away with games, but sadly they couldn’t repeat it this time around as Cumbria started to claw their way back into the lead before eventually overhauling the deficit.
In the final Cumbria will face Essex.
Rink Scores (Durham skips first): GR.Smith 23 M.Rice 19, K.Wall 15 M.Nanson 18, A.Kirtland 20 G.Taylor 16, V.O’Neill 12 S.Airey 24, J.Thurlbeck 20 S.Farish 16, G.Skipp 16 T.Taylor 20.
H The Sunderland Inter County squad return to action next weekend when they face Gateshead in the final round of matches.
Currently unbeaten, the Crowtree outfit have already been guaranteed promotion back to division one, but the latest league table also confirms that they will end a 36-year stay at Crowtree, as division two champions.
Latest Table: Sunderland 52, Gateshead 37, Durham 35, Hebburn 34½, Houghton 20, Ferryhill 19, Park View 18½.
H The remaining men’s club singles semi-final is due to take place on Sunday, at 12.30pm when Pete Thomson faces current holder Gary Smith for the right to face David Bolt in the final.
The planned £400 20/20 pairs competition has been cancelled.
H This week saw the city cabinet take only four minutes to rubber stamp the report confirming the closure and demolition of Crowtree, it is expected to be down by the end of the year.
The indoor bowls club is continuing its search for premises and have again held another meeting with the council.
One suggested site was the old Dewhirst factory, however, it has been confirmed this is not available.
The club and the council will continue to work together to find alternative premises.
At the recent club meeting of members it is was agreed that in order to get any future funding it was important the club could demonstrate an active membership.
Therefore, it was agreed to take membership subscriptions for next year, this is optional to the individual members discretion.
H As the indoor season enters its final few weeks, many of the club’s leagues will be reaching a conclusion.
Members are reminded that casual bowls will still be available right up to the centres final day.
Available dates and sessions for April will be posted in the bowls hall.
All members are requested to leave their locker keys in the locks when they are finished as there will be no access to the centre after April 21.
H The final day of bowls at Crowtree will be Sunday, April 21, and it promises to be an emotional day.
It is hoped that all three club singles finals will take place plus one final club friendly.
The day will be concluded with a small closing ceremony and it will be fitting that a club legend will play the last ever bowl at Crowtree.