Sunderland B team’s victory keeps play-off hopes alive in Bowls

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It has been another mixed week for both of Sunderland’s senior squads in the latest round of the inter club fixtures.

The A team travelled to The Parks but went down 4-1, with the solitary point coming from John Smith, Ernie Peacock, Joe Flett and Ray Robinson who recorded a 17-10 win.

Pat Collins, Billy Hearne, John Jones and Tommy Jopling’s late surge wasn’t enough and they had to settle for a 14-11 defeat.

The third rink of Ted Forster, Ronnie Robson, Gordon Cook and Billy Ferry let a 7-4 lead slip to finish 19-10 down.

With the play-offs still on the cards, the A team return to action on February 3 at Crowtree against Gateshead.

The B team entertained group leaders Darlington B in the knowledge that defeat would end any play-off hopes.

As it happened, the Crowtree squad ran out 4-1 winners. Colin Ratcliffe, Alan Cartledge, Bobby Adams and Terry Todd were always in control. Billy Longley, Tony Wood, Tom Jones and George Gibson ran out 16-8 winners.

The remaining rink of Peter Duke, Tony Grimes, John Banks and Billy Conway had to settle for a 15-14 defeat. Next is a trip to Park View on February 3.

The renamed Norman Routledge 20/20 pairs will begin tomorrow, as groups one to three open up this year’s competition.

The format is groups of four pairs, playing a round robin of three four end games, with no dead ends. This gives everyone a chance and proved successful last year as entries this year has increased by 25 per cent. The remaining two groups battle it out on Sunday, February 6.

The following groups will start at 1200 on Sunday: Group 1: P. Dixon & R. Robinson, A. Baker & G. Brown, JA. Smith & F. Knubley, J. Richardson & M. Laydon. Group 2: M. Williamson & E. Barkes, H. Shields & T. Jopling, M. Wright & T. Wood, K. Hulley & D. Hulley. Group 3: P. Collins & E. Peacock, P. Thomson & G. Farquhar, M. Eggleston & V. Borgesson, A. Raine & F. Rodenby

With councils around the country looking at ways to save money, the outdoor bowls clubs within the city have been affected as Sunderland Council are to withdraw all the attendants at the parks.

In previous years, outdoor clubs have been given the option of being self administrated or have had an attendant supplied to carry out general duties.

However, that option has now been removed and all the clubs currently not self administrated have been informed they must comply with the rest of the clubs.

The knock-on effect will be that no members of the general public will have access to the greens unless a club member opens the green, and the opening times will now be down to each individual club.

A secondary cut-back will see a reduction in green-keepers which will no doubt affect the standard of the city greens.

H Stanley’s Brett Arkley pulled off a big surprise in the World Bowls Championships by defeating ninth seed Mervyn King 6-5, 7-7 to move into the semi-finals. Arkley will now face Greg Harlow for a place in the final.

H The local bowls scene lost another well known figure when Tommy Smith (79) sadly passed away.

A long-serving member of the Roker Marine club, Tommy (left) played alongside the great Danny Bell, Jackie Barnes, Ted Hanger, Albert Anderson, Stan Watson and Derek Irwing to name a few.

Tommy plied his indoor trade at Crowtree and was a key part of the first club four to win a county champion of champions title way back in 1985.

In total he lifted seven club titles, with the last being when he skipped Billy Mitchell, Bobby Usher and Dan Todner to the men’s fours title in 2007.