Fours hold their nerve

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THE indoor curtain came down at Crowtree with Keith Hopper, Stevie Angus, David Bolt and Gary Smith sealing the men’s fours bowls title.

It was an exciting game in which Ritchie Mckie, Arthur Baker, Pete Thomson and Billy Ferry were finally just edged out.

The early stages belonged to the Smith quartet as they raced into a 8-0 lead after only two ends, and by the sixth end the writing looked to be on the wall for Ferry as Smith led 12-1.

However, a Ferry single on the seventh end saw a dramatic change in length which altered the complexion of the final.

With Smith leading 13-6, Ferry played a cracking trail on the jack to collect a five to get back to 13-11 after 11 ends.

A trio of singles from Ferry saw the lead change hands and going into the final end, Ferry led 14-13 and 8-6 on ends won.

That meant Smith needed to score at least a two on the last end to triumph, and his chance came with the final bowl.

Lying shot down, but with two seconds, Smith showed his international class and played a weighted bowl into the head – lifting Ferry’s bowl out to count a match-winning three shots and seal a 16-14 win.

H The final standings in the morning leagues at Crowtree are as follows.

Monday 10.30: W.Conway 45, M.Milner 44, A.Ganley 42, R.Borthwick 40, W.Clark 32, J.Tumilty 26, G.Charlton 23, JT.Robson 22, R.Hird 20, A.Wood 20, P.Budd 18, R.Campbell 15, EN.Thompson 12, C.Harrison 5.

Tuesday 10.30: J.Scott 39, G.Cook 38, R.Jobling 38, W.Conway 32, T.Jones 28, D.Bowerbank 26, A.Wood 20, EJ.Forster 19, W.Clark 18, K.Fairweather 14, G.Storey 14, W.Simpson 12, J.Hall 10.

Wednesday 10.30: A.Baker 44, R.Jobling 37, G.Gibson 36, W.Simpson 32, P.Collins 30, A.Thurlbeck 30, V.Hendry 25, R.Borthwick 25, A.White 23, D.Fenwick 23, C.Shields 17, R.Nicholson 16, E.Thompson 16, W.Clark 10.

Thursday 10.30: RT.Mckie 42, W.Conway 40, R.Hart 36, J.Horton 33, R.Adams 26, S.Turner 25, W.Curry 21, J.Scott 18, M.Briggs 18, E.Peacock 17, A.Wood 16, C.Griffiths 9, B.Wardell 7.

H Members at Crowtree are reminded that there is no general access to the bowls hall, but they can get their bowls if they see the attendant, who will escort them to the hall. There is also no casual bowls during the summer break.

H The World Bowls tour qualifying events for the Welsh and Scottish Opens take place at Carlisle this weekend.

To enter these events, players must join the Professional Bowls Association which costs a £50 one-off joining fee, followed by an annual subscription of £60.

This weekend there are plenty of local names taking part. In the Scottish Open, Ian Riches (Shields) takes on Midlothian’s Ronnie Duncan, Gary Smith faces Copeland’s David Foster, Phillip Dixon faces Grapes’ Brian Hough, Michael Laydon faces Ardrossan’s Thomas Coombes and David Bolt faces either Shrewsbury’s Steve Broome or East Kilbride’s Alistair Elliot.

In the Welsh version, Smith faces Eat Lothian’s Derek Lowe, Riches faces Paisley’s John Gilmartin, Dixon faces Ffrith’s Rhys Vaughan, Laydon faces Edinburgh’s Colin Hutchinson and Bolt faces Stanley’s Peter Miles.

The Scottish final is on Sunday while the Welsh is on Monday, with the winners progressing to the World Bowls televised events next season.

H As reported last week, there is a new singles competition on the outdoor calendar as Silksworth host a WTA winner-takes-all knock-out singles on Sunday, May 20.

The entry fee is £25 and the format is sets play rather than a 21-shot finish. Organisers are hoping to get 32 entries and so far they have 25 which reads like a Who’s Who of North East bowls.

The current list of entries includes current internationals, national champions and county players. The up-to-date list is as follows – David Bolt, Karl Jameson, Neil Ridley, Andrew Kirtland, Darren Parks, Dan Targar, Michael Laydon, Paul Baker, Phillip Dixon, Vinnie O’Neill, Phillip Harvey, Paul Ging, Kevin Wall, Alec Bryden, Stuart Airey, Glenn Skipp, Phil Stoker, Scott Moreland, Gary Smith, Jason Taylor, Gary Farquhar, Mal Johhson, Johnny Morgan, Les Taylor.

It is hoped to repeat the event at a different venue each month. Anyone wishing to enter can contact P.Baker on 07879040110.