Jopling, Flett, Jones and Hulley defend their title in style

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SENIOR fours bowls champions Joe Flett, John Jones, Denis Hulley and Tommy Jopling have successfully defended their Sunderland title.

They beat John Smith, Billy Roberts, Fred Knubley and Billy Ferry in a repeat of last year’s final.

Ferry led 6-4 early on before Jopling turned it around to lead 10-7.

The 11th end proved decisive as the holders collected a four to lead 14-7. With time and ends running out, Jopling eased to a 19-7 win.

The senior triples final saw holders Joe Flett, John Jones and Tommy Jopling take on John Smith, Fred Knubley and Bobby Graham.

Jopling opened up a 12-3 lead and with the score at 14-6 the writing looked on the wall for the challengers.

However, Graham got right back into the final as a run of seven shots over the next three ends left the score at 14-13.

The 13th end proved fatal for the challengers, though, as Jopling collected an easy five to lead 19-13, and the final end saw Jopling collect a single to seal a 20-13 win.

Since 2000, Jopling has won an amazing 40 club competitions and has another three finals to come this season!

The new novice pairs competition was introduced to encourage members who have never won a title to break their ducks.

The inaugural final saw Neil Ridley and Michael Laydon take on Jaxon McKenna and Dale Fenwick.

The final was a very one-sided affair as Laydon raced into a 17-1 lead.

The second half needed a Fenwick fightback, but it was never on the cards as Ridley and Laydon sealed a 25-3 win.

Three finals take place today, from 12.30pm. Flett takes on Jopling in the senior two-bowl final; the men’s triples final will feature Les Hughes, Billy Hearne and Dennis Hulley against Keith Hopper, Hendy Shields and Stevie Angus, while the ladies pairs completes the programme as Alice Curtis and Ella Baker face Renee Mallaburn and Sheila Davis.

Another three finals take place tomorrow. The senior singles final should be a cracker as Flett faces Jopling again, while the ladies singles final also takes place with Alice Curtis facing Ella Baker.

In the senior pairs, John Smith and Fred Knubley take on Billy Roberts and Hendy Shields. Again, the action starts at 12.30pm.

As the season slowly comes to and end it will be a busy week at Crowtree.

On Monday, the final of the Norman Routledge 20/20 Pairs takes place. The final group consists of holders Ritchie Mckie and Billy Ferry, Keith Hopper and Stevie Angus, Hendy Shields and Tommy Jopling, Alf Ferguson and Terry Todd. The action starts at 6.30pm.

This seasons men’s club singles final will take place on either Tuesday or Wednesday next week at 6.30pm. Newly-installed county star Phil Dixon will face England international Gary Smith in what should be a high quality final.

H Next weekend, the Golden Charter funeral plans Australian Pairs competition takes place with the format seeing 20 pairs compete in a tournament-style competition over two days, playing a total of five games. Everyone that added their names to the entry sheet are playing and are advised to check out the club’s notice board to confirm their opening fixture starting time.

The full list of the pairs is: M.Eggleston & J.Eggleston, W.Hearne & D.Hulley, F.Rodenby & TW.Todd, A.Todd & LJ.Todd, V.Hendry & G.Simpson, F.Froud & R.Jobling, M.Williamson & E.Barkes, T.Jopling & H.Shields, E.Baker & A.Baker, A.Raine & A.Bevan, A.Wood & A.Grimes, P.Thomson & P.Thomson, D.Kerrigan & E.Barren, G.Brown & R.Robinson, J.McRoy & A.Candlish, N.Ridley & M.Laydon, W.Mitchell & M.Wright, J.Mckenna & M.Wright, S.Moody & I.Molloy, K.Ford & M.Carr.

H The Durham County Liberty Trophy squad stayed on track for an 11th national title as they defeated Leicestershire in the semi-final at New Earswick 123-103.

The Durham lads won on four of the six rinks with Stanley’s David Bolt’s rink leading the way with a 29-14 win.

In the final, Durham will face last year’s beaten finalists Somerset, who defeated Dorset 131-103.

Durham’s first Liberty title success came in 1982/83 after defeating Somerset in the final and as this is Durham’s 13th final, they go into the game as hot favourites. The final takes place at Nottingham on Sunday, April 8 at 3pm.

H As the outdoor season approaches, many clubs will be looking for a boost in their membership figures. One such club is the 31-times Swan Cup club Herrington Workmen’s. Anyone interested in joining can contact Gary Wallace 07577435531 or Jeff Wilson 07850881537.