Smith qualifies for the last 16

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BACK in April, the final competitive match at Crowtree saw Gary Smith defeat David Bolt to secure a 12th Sunderland singles title.

Over the last couple of months, Smith has been making steady progress in the resulting National Champion of Champions competition, and has now repeated his feat last year by qualifying for the last 16 of the national event.

In the Area One/Two play-off final, Smith defeated Copeland’s Ben Sherwen 21-10 and will return to the Warners Hayling Island in January to try and secure another national title.

In the last 16, Smith will face York’s D. Stroughair on Friday, January 31.

Out of the 16 qualifiers, Smith is one of only two current England internationals with Suffolk’s Mark Royal the other one – and they are in opposite halves of the draw.

H In the County Champion of Champions fours, the Houghton quartet of the Henderson father and son, Jimmy McAdoo and Stevie Kempster recorded a cracking 23-17 win over Darlington’s former international Andrew Kirtland 23-17.

In the semi-finals, Kempster will face Ferryhill’s Colin Larcombe.

In the senior pairs, Sunderland’s Joe Flett and Tommy Jopling moved into the semi-finals following a win at Shildon over R.Stickells, the Sunderland pair await the winner of C. Chapman (Park View) and D.Christie (Durham).

H Sunderland’s planned Inter County game against Great Aycliffe on January 5 has been rearranged to February 23, is due to other events taking place on the original date.

In the latest round of Division Two Inter County action, Houghton made it two wins out of two with a 10-2 win over Shildon. The new year will see the leader leaders face South Shields on January 12.

Latest Table: Houghton 21, Hebburn 12, South Shields 9, Shildon 9, Durham 5, Ferryhill 4.

H In the Senior’s Inter Club league, the planned Sunderland A fixture against Houghton A has been moved back a week to January 16 due to Sunderland being unable to field a team on the original date.

Latest Group Standings:

Area 2: Darlington B 16, Hartlepool A 15½, Stanley 13, Park View 5½, Sunderland 5

Area 3: Sunderland A 22½, Parks B 19, Houghton A 18½, South Shields 13½, Gateshead A 11, Hebburn 7

Area 4: The Parks A 22, Ferryhill 21½, Durham B 16½, Hartlepool B 14, Gateshead B 12, Houghton B 5

H The Houghton Senior B team will look for their first win of the season as they entertain Ferryhill on Wednesday, January 8 at 2.30pm. The following team has been selected – F.Fletcher, D.Vincent, J.Swinney, W.Storey, B.Lemmon, S.Barnes, A.Pratt, T.Burt, C.Leach, W.Barkes, T.Baister, T.Ainsley. Reserves – G.Charlton, B.Johnson, R.Thorpe.

H Houghton Ladies return to Inter Club action on Wednesday, January 8 when Aycliffe provide the opposition. The following team has been selected:

At Houghton: J.Watt, O.Charlton, S.Forster, B.Johnson,E.Barkes, H.Collingwood, A.Banks, JB.Smith, B.Prudhoe, P.Vincent, B.Robson, E.Faith - Reserve M.Nicholson

At Aycliffe: M.Hall, A.Todd, A.Vout, N.Stephenson, M.Etclf, M.Glover, J.Baker, M.Coulson, N.Reay, M.Angus, M.Yews, M.Middleton - Reserve S.Boll

H In the Denny Cup, Stanley won the clash of the north as they defeated Hartlepool 87-57. The win was sweet revenge for last season’s 26-shot defeat.

In the fifth round, Stanley face Nottingham on Saturday, January 18, at 12.30.

H The Durham County Under 25 squad were well beaten in the quarter-finals of this season’s National Double fours as Yorkshire inflicted a 45-23 defeat on them. Yorkshire face Hertfordshire in the semi-finals.

In the ladies Atherley Trophy, there was disappointment for Durham County ladies as they went down 128-102 to Nottinghamshire.

H After their cracking 47-20 win over The Parks in the ladies Mason Trophy Double Fours, Houghton have named the following side to face Redcar on Thursday, January 9.

At Houghton: J.Watt, M.Coulson, JB.Smith, B.Johnson. Reserve – M.Nicolson

At RedcarH M.Metcalf, M.Middleton, E.Faith, N.Stephenson. Reserve – M.Hall, J.Baker.

H Latest National Competition Draws (local section)

Singles Semi Finals: J.Mckenna/B.Arkley (both Stanley) v P.Duffy (West Denton), D.Bolt (Stanley) v K.Donkin (Shields), E.Henry v GR.Smith (both Stanley)

Pairs Semi Finals: I.Riches (Shields) v GR.Smith (Stanley), E.Henry (Stanley) or J.Hutchinson (Park View) v B.Arkley or J.Mckenna (both Stanley)

Triples Semi Finals: G.Robson (Stanley) or J.Morgan (Parks) v D.Bolt or N.Ridley (both Stanley), R.Mckie (Sunderland) v D.Morrison (West Denton) or D.Paterson (Shields)

Fours Semi Finals: C.Knott (West Denton) or B.Arkley (Stanley) v D.Morrison (West Denton) or D.Morgan (Stanley), M.Laydon (Stanley) or J.Hutchinson (Park View) v J.Taylor (Durham)

Under 25 Singles Area Final result: P.Dixon (Stanley) 1-2 J.Minto (Parks)

After 50 years, the region’s oldest indoor club Spennymoor is facing closure as members need to raise £30,000 within two weeks.

The club has been an independent private club, but a local brewery holds the lease as part of an interest-free loan – and sadly the brewery is now pressing for repayment .

There was some sad news for the local bowls scene as former President of the Sunderland Women’s Bowling Association Maud Lambert passed away.