Comeback kings rule the day

JUST CHAMPION: Tommy Jopling, Sunderland & District President Alan Patterson and  Steven Copeland.
JUST CHAMPION: Tommy Jopling, Sunderland & District President Alan Patterson and Steven Copeland.
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THIS season’s Sunderland and District Champion of Champions finals produced two stunning comebacks, writes Richard Mckie.

In the main final, Usworth’s Steven Copeland faced the current Association President Grindon Mill’s Alan Patterson.

With the final being played on the Grindon green, Patterson took full advantage by dominating the early exchanges to lead 13-3.

A shell-shocked Copeland, however, regrouped and produced a stunning fight-back to 13-10 before levelling off the final at 15-15.

The momentum was now with the Usworth star and four ends later it was all over as Copeland ran out a 21-15 winner. The title was Copeland’s first District Singles success and made up for a final defeat in 2011.

In the Vets final, Silksworth’s Bobby Rollason faced Barnes Park’s Tommy Jopling.

The early exchanges saw Rollason lead 5-1 before Jopling fought back to lead 8-6.

The final looked be turning in the Silksworth stalwart’s direction as Rollason produced a string of quality bowls.

With Rollason leading 20-13 and holding shot within a couple of inches, Jopling produced what turned out to be a match-turning final bowl to grab shot – yet still trailed 20-14.

That bowl, though, inspired Jopling and deflated Rollason as two slack ends saw Jopling collect consecutive trebles to make it 20-20.

On the final end, Rollason held shot until Jopling lifted the bowl out to leave a measure. Rollason fell short with the last bowl, and it took a measure to decide that Jopling held shot to pull off a Houdini-type escape.

This win was Jopling’s fourth success following three consecutive senior titles in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

H AS the first combined Men’s and Ladies’ National Championships at Leamington Spa came to an end there was disappointment in one of the final competitions to be played – the Mixed Fours.

The Houghton Dairy Lane quartet of Susan Forster, Jimmy McKinney, Ann Anderson (sub) and John Thurlbeck were beaten 22-15 by Ian Snowdon (Berkshire) in the last 16.