Smith, Curtis and Graham triumph on Crowtree’s last day

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THE curtain finally fell on Sunderland Indoor Bowling Club’s time at Crowtree with a series of club finals.

In front of a full house, the men’s final saw England internationals Gary Smith and David Bolt put on a superb exhibition of the sport.

The early exchanges saw Smith open up a 7-4 lead before Bolt responded to lead 9-7.

With the score at 9-8, Smith turned on the style and a count of four put the holder 12-9 ahead.

Over the next six ends, Bolt only scored a single as Smith raced into a 20-10 lead and two ends later collected the match-winning single to record a 21-11 win. It was Smith’s 12th single success at Crowtree.

The ladies final saw holder Alice Curtis ease to a 21-5 win against Margaret Eggleston.

It was Margaret’s first ever club final and a combination of nerves and the the experience of Curtis saw the holder race into a 14-1 lead.

Eggleston managed to get back to 16-5 but the writing was on the wall as Curtis scored the five shots over the next three ends to seal victory and take the title for the sixth time in the last seven years.

The seniors final saw Joe Flett face Bobby Graham in what turned out to be a classic.

The early exchanges saw Graham open up a 6-1 lead before Flett responded to lead 8-6. Consecutive doubles saw Graham regain the lead 10-8 but back came Flett again to lead 12-10.

The lead returned back to Graham at 15-13 only for Flett to win the next four ends to lead 19-15.

The standard of play had the crowd hooked and for the seventh time the lead change hands as Graham rattled off counts of three and two to lead 20-19.

On the 22nd end of the pulsating final, Graham produced two quality draw bowls and when Flett missed with a last-gasp runner, Graham secured a first singles success 21-19.

Earlier in the week another three finals took place.

In the men’s pairs final, Bolt and Smith teamed up to face Neil Ridley and Gary Farquhar.

It was always going to be tough for the Farquhar pair and so it proved as the Bolt-Smith combination put on a master class.

After dropping an opening end single, Smith raced into a 15-1 lead after eight ends and as Farquhar resorted to killing a few ends, the writing was on the wall and with the score at 18-3 hands were shook to give the newly-formed England combination their first pairs success together.

In the two-bowl final, a new name was guaranteed to be added to the roll of honour as Michael Laydon faced Tony Grimes, who was appearing in his first club final.

It was Laydon who settled quickest to a length and gradually opened up a 11-4 lead, as Grimes struggled to find a rhythm Laydon took advantage and pulled away 18-6.

It was all over three ends later as Laydon sealed a first club singles title 21-7.

The third final to take place saw Joe Flett, John Jones, Dennis Hulley and Tommy Jopling take on Pat Collins, Barney Walsh, George Brown and Peter Brickle.

With the Jopling quartet looking for a four successive title, they raced out of the blocks and opened up an 11-3 lead after seven ends.

With Brickle having to chase the game, Jopling was content to drop the odd single as the next five ends were all singles and with the score at 15-3 after 13 ends, Brickle shook hands.

H Meanwhile, the outdoor season gets under way, with the Grindon League opening proceedings as Silksworth head to Hylton CW, while Houghton Dairy Lane travel to Usworth.

The Sunderland and District Storey Bowl league also commences this weekend as holders Houghton Town entertain Hetton Workmen’s.

H Bowls Durham have selected a sixteen strong Under 25 training squad.

Squad: D.Ridley (Herrington Wkmen), K.Burton, L.Macey, J.Humble (all Darlington RA), S.Baker, P.Dixon, G.Farquhar, J.McKenna (all Silksworth), O.Lynn (Houghton Town), J.Jolly, M.Gleeson (both Leeholme), J.Halcrow (Whitburn), J.Hartson (Darl Sth Park), N.Cummings (Nevilles Cross), S.Patterson (Hetton Wkmens), B.Henderson jnr (Seaham Town).

There are two training days at Houghton Dairy Lane on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 12 at Houghton Dairy Lane with a 10am start.

After the last training session, a squad will be selected to face Cumbria on Sunday, May 19, in the National Under 25 Double Fours competition at Wigton.