Bowls: Roker Marine’s Patrick Thomson pipped in National Championship semi-final

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Roker Marine’s Patrick Thomson produced a magnificent run to the semi-finals of the two-bowl singles at the National Championships in Leamington Spa.

And he was only denied a final place by one shot on an extra end.

Thomson rattled off three excellent wins against John Sweeney (Middlesex) 15-8, Luke Allaway (Bedfordshire) 16-7 and Lee Calver (Suffolk) 16-12.

That set up a quarter-final against Huntingdonshire’s Simon Leader.

In a tense tie, Thomson held his nerve to get home 16-14 after an extra end which left Oxfordshire’s Sam Watts standing in the way of a place in the final.

Trailing 14-9, with only three ends to play, Thomson rallied and levelled the tie at 14-14, forcing an extra end.

Sadly, the Marine player lost the extra end to go down 15-14. There was small consolation as Watts went on to win the final.

The other Durham hope, Stockton’s Mark Hodgson, reached the quarter-finals before losing 14-11 to Derbyshire’s Ashley Clipston.

In the blue riband event, the four-bowl singles, both Durham hopes made early exits.

Dunston’s Alex Bryden made it to the second round before losing 21-12 to Hertfordshire’s Ryan Atkins, while Elm Tree’s David Fenwick narrowly missed out 21-20 in the first round to Surrey’s Al Vader.

To show it’s a funny old game, Vader was then beaten 21-1 in the next round by Notts’ Mark Housley, who was then beaten 21-4 in the last 16.

As reported last week, the Silksworth trio of Phil Dixon, Gary Farquhar and David Bolt had reached the last 16 in the triples, however they were beaten 17-12 by Huntingdonshire’s Eric Baker.

Farquhar and Bolt later returned for the pairs and, after an impressive 25-7 first-round win over Somerset’s Dave Lawrence, the Silksworth duo lost 23-15 to the eventual runners-up, Cumbria’s Ricky Gallagher.

The other Durham hope, Darlington RA’s Andrew Kirtland, also lost in the second round, 25-14 against Suffolk’s Mark Royal.

There still could be national glory as the mixed fours began yesterday.

The Silksworth quartet of Nina Riches, Anne Upsall, Gary Farquhar and David Bolt face a Surrey rink in the last 16.