Bowls: City star David Bolt lands deserved Commonwealth Games call-up

David Bolt.
David Bolt.
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Silksworth’s David Bolt has been selected for England’s team to compete in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia in April.

After a lengthy selection process, the 39-year-old former Sandhill View School pupil will become the first Sunderland-based bowler to feature in the Commonwealth Games.

Bolt is one of a five-man male squad alongside the Devon quartet of Jamie Chestney, Robert Paxton, Louis Ridout and Sam Tolchard and between them they will compete in either singles, pairs, triples and fours.

Bolt has come a long way during 28 years of playing the sport, from his early days at Barley Mow to his exploits at current club Silksworth.

On the green, Bolt has set the bar that many strive to currently reach and plays the game in a sporting and enjoyable manner.

Over those 28 years, Bolt has built up an impressive CV with a constant stream of titles at all three levels of the game – local, county and nationally.

On the international stage, he has progressed to a role as skip for England and last November secured the much-acclaimed Hong Kong Classic Singles title.

His Commonwealth Games selection is just reward for a stream of consistent performances over the last three years.

It is not only a great individual honour but it is a massive boost to the sport in Sunderland and hopefully a wake-up call for a local council who have, in recent times, seen the sport as an easy target for cuts.

Full England squad – Men: David Bolt, Jamie Chestney, Robert Paxton, Louis Ridout, Sam Tolchard

Women: Natalie Chestney, Ellen Falkner, Sian Honour, Katherine Rednall, Sophie Tolchard

Para bowls squad: Keiran Rollings, Paul Brown, Mike Robertson, Steve Simmons, Alison Yearling, Mark Wherry, Sue Wherry

Bolt is currently competing in Hong Kong where his attempt to defend his Classic Singles title came unstuck in the second round.

A first round 7-3, 12-0 win over local bowler Terence Lee was followed by a narrow 6-4, 6-6 defeat to Simon Yau to end Bolt’s title defence.

Bolt, though, is still in the running in the pairs event, alongside fellow England player Taylor Monk. They are currently top of their group, having won seven of their eight games.

There were mixed results for the two Houghton teams in the Inter-County League. Houghton Gilpin succumbed to Gateshead B while Houghton Kepier beat The Parks.

After their opening win, Houghton Gilpin were looking for a repeat performance against Gateshead however things didn’t go to plan.

At home, Mal Baker, Sam Patterson, David Wright and Brian Henderson were well beaten, 29-8 by Mark Smith, and Alan J. Dunn’s rink of Joe Sutherland, David Armstrong and Ronnie Robson went down 19-15 which left the home squad 25 shots adrift.

At Gateshead, the away squad put in a creditable performance, going down by only six shots.

Ian Whorlton’s quartet lost 16-8 to Tom Pope, while John Jones returned Houghton’s only winning card, 16-14 against George Hackett. Overall, Gateshead sealed a 78-47 (9-1) win. Gilpin have a bye in December.

Houghton Kepier needed a good result after losing their opener 10-0, and they got it.

Gary Wallace steered Michael Wright, Bob Johnson and Terry Todd to a 24-19 home win over Matthew Raftree, however Eric Downes, Bill Davis, Karl Armstrong and Jimmy McAdoo succumbed 23-12 to Ron Goldsmith.

That left the home squad six shots down.

At The Parks, both Houghton rinks returned good victories to claim an 88-63 (7-3) success.

Peter Thomson (snr), Tony Wood, Dan Todner and Peter Thomson had to come from behind to edge home 17-16 against Steve Welsh, while George Brown, Charlie Wallace, Trevor Joicey and Richie Mckie produced a brilliant, match-winning performance, beating Ian Webb 34-6 to secure a 29-shot away triumph.

Kepier next face a tough test against holders Hartlepool on December 10.

The Denny Plate continues today, with Houghton needing a perfect storm to get past a strong-looking South Shields outfit, who previously knocked The Parks for 50-plus shots in the last round.

Houghton team – at Houghton: M Baker, F Fletcher, AJ Dunn, B Henderson; D Armstrong, T Patterson, I Whorlton, F Froud

At Shields: M Wright, P Thomson, D Todner, P Thomson; J Sutherland, TW Todd, J McAdoo, R Mckie

South Shields team – at Shields: N Ridley, S Hubbard, I Riches, I McIntosh; M Peach, J Minto, J Sneller, C Yeomans

At Houghton: S Baker, P Sainthouse, J McKenna, S McIntosh; D Paterson, S Cairns, K Storf, G Farquhar

The Denny Cup also takes place today. There is a rare opportunity for Gateshead or West Denton to make the last 32 as the two go head to head.

Durham take on Hartlepool, with the winners facing either Scarborough or York.

In the ladies Yetton Trophy, South Shields face Hartlepool and Durham meet Cumbria, while, in the Yetton Plate, Houghton have received a walkover against Darlington and next tackle either Eden or The Parks.

There has been more local action in the national competitions.

Former national champion Durham’s Gary Smith booked progress in the singles with a 21-16 win over club-mate Malcolm Wright. He hosts Shields’ James Sneller next.

Paul Sainthouse (Shields) had a cracking 21-15 win over Stanley stalwart Eddie Henry and will next entertain West Denton’s Aaron Robson, an impressive 21-10 winner over Gateshead’s Alex Bryden.

Neal Ridley (Shields) narrowly went down 21-18 at home to Gateshead’s Alan Jobling.

With David Bolt’s Commonwealth Games commitments clashing with the national championships at Melton Mowbray in April, Bolt has given up his singles tie, so Jobling next meets Durham’s Brian Brown.

In the pairs, Durham’s Gary Smith eased past West Denton’s Clive Knott 18-12, setting up an all-Durham affair against Michael Laydon.

Gary Farquhar (Shields) ground out a 21-16 win over Stanley’s Eddie Henry, however club-mate Neal Ridley lost 19-14 to Stanley’s Garry Robson.

In the triples, Gary Smith (Durham) progressed with a 17-13 win at Shields against Phil Dixon, Stanley’s Garry Robson beat West Denton’s Cyril Swick 30-14 and Durham’s Michael Laydon saw off Gateshead’s Brian Orrell 17-6.

The Houghton trio of Michael Wright, Patrick Thomson and Peter Thomson outgunned Stanley’s James McKenna 18-9.

In the south section, Hartlepool’s Glenn Skipp was pipped 14-13 by Redcar’s Paul Bostock.

In the Over-60s singles, Alan Lawton (Shields) despatched Durham’s Ron Dixon 21-7, while, in the Over-50s triples, Houghton’s Colin Brown, David Armstrong and Keith Makepeace enjoyed a cracking 14-12 win over Shields’ Billy Ferry.

Stanley’s Brett Arkley booked his place in the Champion of Champions area final with a cracking 21-16 win at Shields against David Bolt.

Arkley will face either Ferryhill’s Alan Hind or Hartlepool’s Marc Squirrell.

South Shields’ Nina Riches, one of the most improved women in bowls, has deservedly landed an England trial at Rugby on December 2.

The only other local inclusion is Hartlepool’s Lauren Mosley.

The Seniors Premier league continued at Durham this week, and it turned out to be a good afternoon for the two Houghton squads.

Peter Thomson, Richard Thorpe and Frankie Froud notched their second win with a 19-11 win over winless Darlington A, while the Houghtonians triple of Joe Sutherland, Freddie Fletcher and Terry Todd defeated Gateshead B 16-12.

Unbeaten Stanley A lost 16-10 to Gateshead A, Darlington B cruised past Ferryhill B 30-6 and hosts Durham beat Ferryhill A 18-14.

The next round of fixtures will be played at Darlington in December.

Standings: Stanley A played 4 pts 6, Gateshead A 3-6, Houghtonians 4-6, Gateshead B 4-5, Stanley B 3-4, Darlington B 4-4, Houghton A 3-4, Ferryhill B 3-2, Ferryhill A 3-0, Durham 3-2, Darlington A 4-0

Durham County Seniors face Yorkshire on Thursday (12.30pm) in the national Over-60s Inter-County Knockout, with the home leg at Durham while York hosts the return.

Last season, Yorkshire reached the semi-finals while Durham went out in the first round to Lincolnshire.

Durham team – at Durham: S Krimpen, R Robinson (both Durham), S Land (Aycliffe), D Webb (Stanley); W Routledge, G Alderson, P Heath (all Durham), W Ferry (Shields); M Robinson (Durham), W Bell, B Houghton (both Stanley), A Musgrove (Durham)

At York: G Peacock (Darlington), R Metcalfe (Ferryhill), D McDonald (Aycliffe), A Stephenson (Darlington); B Hutchinson, J Potter, F Edwards, B Attwood (all Aycliffe); A Hind (Ferryhill), A Mole, A Taylor, K Wilford (all Hartlepool)

In the Seniors Inter-Club League, the Houghton Sancroft squad will look to get their season kick-started as they face a double header in midweek.

On Tuesday, they head to South Shields, before visiting Gateshead on Wednesday. Houghton Kepier host Gateshead B on Thursday (12.30pm).

At the recent Bowls Durham AGM, Houghton Dairy Lane’s Jeff Wilson and Bishop Auckland’s Eileen Atkinson were elected as County presidents for 2018.

Sadly, both could be the final elected presidents as there are no nominated successors for 2019.