Jopling retains champions title

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SUNDERLAND’S Tommy Jopling became the first club champion of champions to retain the county seniors champion of champions title after an impressive 21-10 win over South Shields’ John Kelso.

The early signs indicated a long, hard-fought affair – but with the score at 6-6 after six ends, Jopling turned up the heat and eight ends later it was all over.

At 11-8, the Sunderland star went 15-8 ahead before dropping a double to lead 15-10. He responded with a double to lead 17-10 and then sealed another singles title with a full house count of four.

The rest of the final results were as follows:-

Singles: M.Jones (Darlington) bt G.Skipp (Hartlepool). Pairs: D.Christie (Durham) bt C.Chapman (Park View). Triples: B.Arkley (Stanley) bt D.Scanlon (Park View). Fours: G.Skipp (Hartlepool) walk over.

Senior Events, Singles: T.Jopling (Sunderland) bt J.Kelso (Sth Shields). Pairs: D.Craig (Stanley) bt D.Barron (Aycliffe). Triples: G.Peacock (Darlington) bt D.Roberts (Aylciffe). Fours: G.Peacock (Darlington) bt B.Richardson (Durham).

H The second part of this year’s national championships began this week at Nottingham IBC.

In a change to previous years, the blue riband event – the singles – opened the championships, but Stanley’s Gary Smith’s hopes of lifting the title were dashed in the second round.

A first round 21-12 win over Desborough’s Simon Jones set up a tricky second round tie against Blackpool’s Mark Dawes and so it proved as the Blackpool player recorded a 21-16 win. On Sunday, Smith will recommence the defence of the fours title against Nottingham’s Ron Cowan.

H The final inter county game to be held at Crowtree ended in disappointment for the Sunderland squad.

With seven players unavailable from the previous fixture, and with promotion and the division two title already secured, a much-changed Sunderland team were well beaten 11-1 (137-87) by promotion-chasing Gateshead.

At Crowtree, Keith Ford, Bobby Usher, John Scott and Dan Todner recovered from 12-2 down to 12-9 only to let it slip away to finish 26-14 down against R.Cordon.

Michael Wright, Peter Brickle, Frankie Froud and Richie Jobling never got going and went down 28-12 to G.Hackett, while the remaining rink of Ebby Dent, Michael Carr, Billy Roberts and Michael Davis did put up some resistance but still finished 19-16 down against M.Smith.

The home squad finished a disappointing 31 shots down which was a sad way to end inter county play at Crowtree.

At Gateshead, the only bright spot came from the rink of Pat Collins, Peter Bulmer, Joe Flett and Terry Todd who made a late surge to record a 18-15 win over P.Hudspith.

Keith Hopper, George Brown, Neil Ridley and Hendy Shields let a 12-9 lead slip to finish 24-15 down against R.Charlton while the remaining rink of Tony Grimes, Billy Hearne, Alf Ferguson and John Jones never got going and slipped to a 25-12 defeat against B.Eddy to leave the away squad 19 shots down.

Final table: Sunderland 53, Gateshead 48, Durham 46, Hebburn 34, Houghton 30, Ferryhill 21, Park View 19.

H On Thursday, the Sunderland senior A team entertain current holders Darlington B at Crowtree in the quarter-finals of the end-of-season play-offs. The action starts at 10.30.

H On Friday, the first of the season’s club finals will take take as the seniors triples take centre stage, with Alf Ferguson, Hendy Shields and Billy Ferry facing Pat Collins, George Brown and Peter Brickle. The final starts at 6.30pm.

With Crowtree closed over Easter, all the league scheduled fixtures have been rearranged. The changes are as follows:-

Good Friday fixtures now to be played on April 5; Easter Saturday fixtures now to be played on April 6, Easter Monday fixtures now to be played on April 8.

The Saturday morning fixtures from February 16 will now be played on April 13.

H The recent South Shields open pairs competition was won by Sunderland’s Mark Higgins and The Park’s Chris Yeomans.

H As Crowtree enters its final 24 days of indoor bowling, members are requested to leave their locker keys in the locks after they have finished using them. There will be no public access to the bowls hall after April 21 but the club secretary and some committee will be in for the following three days, clearing the bowls hall.

The opportunity to take part in the final-day club friendly is proving popular with 54 names on the sheet. The club is hoping for 64 to ensure a full green – and a fitting finale.

There will still be casual bowls available right up to midday on April 21.

Currently 66 per cent of the club members have volunteered to renew their subscriptions for next season.