Sunderland tenpin bowling team crowned national champions
A tenpin bowling team for blind and visually impaired people have been named national champions at a major competition.
The Sunderland Spinners achieved the title when they competed in the National Handicap Competition for Blind and Visually Impaired People in Wigan earlier this month.
The visually impaired tenpin bowling tournament saw Sunderland Spinners player Tendai Noel earn the additional title of player of the tournament.
The trio - made up of Dennis Murphy, Tendai Noel and Alex Ditch - competed against nine other teams from across the country at the tournament which took place on Friday, May 11.
The team played six back-to-back matches throughout the day before being named the winners.
Spotter Kathryn Murphy, 40, from Barnes Park, was there to cheer on the team along with her son Christopher Murphy, 12, who was the team mascot.
She said: “They won the whole tournament and one of our players, Tendai, won the shield for the most pins knocked down in the tournament.
“They have the title of national champions for a year now and then they will have to defend it next year.
“I am so proud and was crying when they won.
“They are very proud of themselves.”
The overall team has around 16 players who play in the doubles and trios league.
They meet weekly to practice at MFA Bowl in the city and were kited out for the tournament by The Fans Museum, who have come on board as their sponsors.
The museum, based in the former Monkwearmouth Station Museum, has been founded by Michael Ganley to allow football supporters from all over the country and even abroad to view historic pieces of sporting memorabilia.
It also supports a variety of worthy causes in the city, including former servicemen from the Veterans in Crisis group.
Mr Ganley provided the teams’s new kit in the hope of giving them a boost before the tournament.
He said: “They went out to just have a bit of fun, but they came back having won the national championship so they were ecstatic.
“I have known Kathryn for a few years now and I said that I wanted to buy them a set of kit ton put a stamp on the guys and give them a confidence boost.
“They went out with a professional look and came back smiling.”