Phillip Dixon seals place in national finals

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SUNDERLAND’S Phillip Dixon has finally clinched his place at the English Under-25 Singles National Championships finals.

He beat Blackpool’s Dominic McVittie in a hard-fought battle in the area play-off final at Carlisle.

Dixon won the first set 8-7 before losing the second 10-8. It then went to the wire, Dixon holding on for a 2-1 tie-breaker victory.

Dixon now travels to Rugby on January 28, to compete in the last 16, where he will face Five Rivers’ Tom Warner.

In the pairs event, Dixon and Gary Farquhar entertain Durham’s John Layfield in the area semi-final on Sunday at 12.30pm.

The Sunderland pair have the incentive of home advantage, plus the prospect of an area final against Stanley internationals David Bolt and Gary Smith, who defeated fellow Stanley clubmates Brett Arkley and John Thurlbeck 19-16 in the other semi-final.

In the area final of the mixed pairs, Sunderland’s Alice Curtis and Terry Todd were beaten 30-11 by West Denton’s M.Cooper at South Shields.

Sunderland’s Tommy Jopling booked an area final place in the national Over-60 singles by beating Gateshead’s R.Graham 21-10.

In the final, Jopling will face The Parks’ Michael London before January 29.

In the county champion of champions senior triples, the Sunderland trio of Joe Flett, John Jones and Tommy Jopling eased into the last four with a home 24-3 win over Durham’s D.Christie.

In the semi-finals, the Sunderland three will face Consett’s Alan Snell.

In the main singles event, Sunderland’s Billy Ferry lost as Hartlepool’s Vinnie O’Neill ran out 21-10 winner.

H The Sunderland senior A team returned to winning ways in the inter-club league by defeating Gateshead 4-1 (52-39) at Crowtree.

Pat Collins, Ronnie Robson, Locky Todd and Tommy Jopling defeated R.Charlton 23-15, while George Brown, Jimmy Coundon, Ray Robinson and Bobby Graham defeated A.Turnbull 19-11.

The remaining rink of Joe Flett, Vic Avery, Fred Knubley and Billy Ferry lost 13-10 to J.Atkinson.

H The Sunderland inter-county squad maintained their unbeaten run with a narrow 7-5 (131-110) win over bottom-of-the-table Gateshead.

At Crowtree, Keith Hopper, debutee Scott Baker, Michael Laydon and David Bolt were in awesome form and defeated K.Summers 36-6.

Gary Embleton, Matty Kilty, Ray Robinson and Billy Ferry defeated A.Morrison 23-14, while George Brown, Bob Usher, Locky Todd and Stevie Angus went down 21-16 to R.Charlton.

That left the home squad impressive 72-41 winners.

At Gateshead, the away squad went down 69-53. Pat Collins, Billy Hearne, John Jones and Tommy Jopling enjoyed a 24-17 win over W.Watson, but the other two rinks lost.

Neil Ridley, Terry Todd, Joe Flett and Pete Thomson let slip a 10-0 lead to finish 22-19 down against M.Smith, while Michael Wright, Michael Carr, Hendy Shields and Gary Farquhar crashed to a 30-10 defeat at the hands of G.Hackett.

The Crowtree squad will face The Parks next on February 12.

H England retained the Under-25 home international series at Nottingham in controversial circumstances.

In the series decider against Scotland, with the scores level and only a few ends remaining, one of the scoreboard attendants suffered a heart attack, which caused the umpire to suspend play.

After a 30-minute delay, the umpire in charge correctly applied the laws of the game and stated all the ends which hadn’t been completed needed to be replayed – as it was deemed to be an official suspension iof play.

This led to the England manager to lodge an official complaint, which resulted in a hastily-arranged British Isle Bowls Council emergency meeting, which surprisingly over-ruled the umpire, despite his decision being completely correct.

So England held on to the two counts, while all the other uncompleted ends where Scotland held shots had to be replayed with England eventually running out winners.