Smith signs off with Adur success to top the Open Singles Circuit rankings

Gary Smith
Gary Smith
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Wearsider Gary Smith rounded off his Open Singles Circuit indoor season by confirming his place at the top of the rankings by lifting the season’s final event at Adur.

A field of 64 players battled it out for the £1,600 first prize at the East Sussex venue, but, in the end, it was Smith (South Shields) who took the honours.

Early wins over Neil Kerkhove (Worthing Pavilion) and Preston’s Andy Smallbridge were followed up by a tiebreaker win over last season’s top-ranked player Egham’s Steve Tuohy.

Another tiebreaker saw Smith defeat Five Rivers’ Jordan Moody before a third consecutive tiebreaker ended the hopes of Torquay’s Danny Denison to set up a final against the host club’s Richard Moses.

In the final, Smith lost the first set 6-4 before taking the second set 7-2 to set up a fourth consecutive best-of-three tiebreaker which Smith took 2-1.

This latest success is added to wins at Peterborough, Hornsea and two runners-up finishes at Hartlepool and York, landing prize money of around £4,000.

Smith will one of the favourites alongside the 48 top-ranked players in the 2016 Grand finals day at Northampton in October.

Smith is in more action this weekend as he is looking to repeat last season’s feat of clinching a wild card tour entry into all the World Bowls Tour events at Blackpool.

Smith will need three wins to secure the golden ticket and opens up his European Masters campaign against Scotland’s Michael Stepney.

The World Bowls Tour is streaming all the games live on their dedicated YouTube channel, available via the World Bowls Tour website.

The latest two qualifiers to join Wearsidersq Michael Laydon and Gary Smith in the English Indoor Bowling Association’s Premier Threes Grand Finals in December have been confirmed as Westlecot’s Neil Smith and Taunton Deane’s Robert Paxton.

The remaining four players will come from events held at Lincoln and Falcon during October and November.

The final indoor National title was decided at York last weekend as the Top Club title went to Swale, after they comprehensively defeated Torquay 94-56.

Last season’s top three in the Harold Howey Trophy First Division all recorded wins this week.

Holders Silksworth bounced back from their opening defeat with a 3-1 home win over rivals Ryhope A, while last year’s runners-up, Barnes West End, got their season off to a winning start with a 4-0 victory at Seaham Town A.

The early pacesetters are Houghton Dairy Lane B after a 4-0 home win over Chester-le-Street.

The Second Division saw its first casualty as Roker Park B have dropped out.

Barnes Park A followed up their opening win at Houghton Town with a 3½-½ win at home over Wearmouth, Washington B got their campaign underway with a cracking 4-0 victory at Hetton Park while Roker Marine B defeated Houghton Town B 4-0.

The Swan Cup also got underway this week.

Holders Houghton Dairy Lane enjoyed a 6-1 success at newly promoted Thompson Park, while Silksworth recorded a 5½-1½ win at Houghton Town,

Roker Marine defeated South Hylton 6-1 and Barnes Park won their derby against neighbours Barnes West End by half a shot for a 5-2 win.

In the Second Division, after suffering relegation last season, Usworth hit Pemberton for a ton in a 6-1 home win, while Washington also won 6-1 against Grindon Mill.

The Storey Bowl gets underway today, with holders Hetton Workmen making the trip to Roker Park.

On Monday, the Earl Cup opens its doors and again it is expected to be a battle between holders Silksworth and Houghton Dairy Lane.

The opening round of fixtures will see Silksworth travel to Houghton Town, while Dairy Lane have a bye, however next week will see the big two go head to head in an early season clash.

In the Second Division, Barnes West End will be favourites for promotion and they head to North Biddick.

The Bowls Durham Ladies County competitions get underway this week with the triples and fours.

On Monday in the triples, Sunderland’s Janet Sykes entertains Owton Lodge’s Janet Ridpath, then, on Wednesday, Dairy Lane’s Joan Rodgerson entertains Lyndhurst’s Sandra Hinds in the fours and Sunderland’s Sue Almond travels to face Darlington Woodlands’ Ann Anderson.

The first County match takes place next Friday as the Ladies A team make the trek to Kirkbride to face Cumbria in the Northern Trophy.

Locally, Susan Forster, Glynis Morgan, Joan Rodgerson (all Houghton Dairy Lane), Jean Graham, Sue Almond (both Sunderland) and Hetton Workmen’s Norma Stephenson are all playing.

Recently, the local bowls scene has said goodbye to several well-known figures and sadly another three have passed away,.

Roker Park stalwart Tommy Turnbull (83), Roker Marine’s George Storey (89) and Pennywell’s George (Spadger) Grieves (78) were all popular figures at their individual clubs as well as being much respected bowlers within the bowling fraternity.