Smith rocks!

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WEARSIDER Gary Smith pulled off a brilliant performance at the Co-operative Funeral Care Tours event at Blackpool.

Sixteen qualifiers battled it out for the top two places – with the prize a place in all the televised World Tour ranking events next season – and the chance to win a possible £70,000 in prize money!

Sunderland bowler – and current England international – Smith battled his way through the event to take one of the Tour cards after defeating Ipswich’s Phil Last 10-3, 6-5.

“I was so nervous before the final – I can’t believe how nervous I was!” he said.

“It’s so massive for me to get the opportunity to play in all the big events next year and including the World Championships itself.”

The event was televised and bowlers can see Smith’s success via the Premier Sports channel during July.

This will be Smith’s first crack at the big World Tour Events.

However, the decision to close the indoor bowls venue at Crowtree and the council’s lack of provision regarding a replacement will mean the Sunderland man – who in theory could become a world champion next season – will have to travel to Stanley to play on a quality playing surface.

H Meanwhile, Sunderland Indoor bowling club officials attended another meeting with council representatives hoping to make some progress in finding a new venue.

However, all the positive vibes that were evident from the previous two meetings were non-existent, leaving club officials deflated and the search goes on.

H Latest league results

Earl Cup Div 1: North Biddick 87-73 Houghton DL (5-2), Roker Park 51-71 Roker Marine (0-7), Hetton Wkm 64-62 Barnes Park (5-2), Thompson Pk 52-86 Usworth (0-7)

Earl Cup Div 2: Pemberton 64-65 Barley Mow (3-4), Sunderland 73-45 Washington (7-0), New Herrington 59¼-83 Whitburn (1-6), Grindon Mill 61-61½ Herrington Wkm (2-5)

Swan Cup Div 1: Usworth 84-52 Ryhope (7-0), Roker Marine 67-48 North Biddick (6-1), Grindon Mill 52-49 Barnes Park (4½-2½), Barnes WE 67-50 Roker Park (5-2), Thompson Park 58-71 Hetton Wkm (1-6)

Swan Cup Div 2: New Herrington 33-66 Hylton CW (0-7)

Harold Howey Div 1: Sth Hylton 28½-18¾ Seaham Town A (4-0), Houghton DL A 40-37 Lumley (3-1)

Harold Howey Div 3: Pennywell A 18-37¾ Pennywell B (0-4), Sunderland B 24-36 Whitburn (0-4)

H The Durham County Muras Trophy campaign opens up this weekend as Northumberland provide the opposition at Houghton Dairy Lane.

Locally, Herrington Workmen’s Gary Wallace makes his A team debut while Silksworth’s Gary Farquhar, Phillip Dixon, Ian Riches, Scott Baker, Wayne Funnell, Paul Baker and Phil Smithson all play.

H The Durham County Under 25 double fours squad travel to Wigton on Sunday to face a strong Cumbria squad.

The Silksworth duo of Phil Dixon and Gary Farquhar have been handed skips roles while Whitburn’s Josh Halcrow and Silksworth’s Jaxon McKenna both make their county debuts.

The squad is: L.Macey (Darlington RA), N.Cummings (Nevilles Cross), K.Burton (Darlington RA), P.Dixon (Silksworth), S.Baker (Silksworth), J.McKenna (Silksworth), J.Halcrow (Whitburn), G.Farquhar (Silksworth) – Reserves O.Lynn (Houghton Town), S.Patterson (Hetton Wkm), M.Gleeson (Leeholme)

H The Durham County ladies Stella Logan squad recorded their second win of the season after defeating Northumberland 139-108 (10½-½) at Ponteland.

Out of the six rinks, Duham returned five winning scorecards with the rink of G.Harle (Barnard Castle), B.Airey (Shildon), V.Gray (Horden), J.Smith (Newton Hall) being the pick of the bunch with a 35-8 win.

Durham entertain Northumberland again on Friday, June 7, at Stockton.

Latest table: Durham 19½, Lancashire 17, Yorkshire 4, Northumberland 3½, Cumbria 0.

Bowls Durham Ladies County Competitions Latest results

Triples: Atkinson (Bishop Auckland) 20-9 Carter (Barnard Castle, Nelson (Barnard Castle) 5-22 Stephenson (Hetton Wkm), Stokoe (Consett Pk) 23-15 Gibson (Newton Hall), Anderson (Darlington Wld) 15-13 Barkes (Hetton Wkm), Peacock (Newton Hall) 19-11 Atkinson (Lyndhurst), Brown (Pelton Fell) 12-24 Dunn (Dawdon), Jones (Consett Pk) 25-15 Ramshaw (Pelton Fell), Camp (Shildon) 18-19 Pattison (Darlington N.Pk)

Fours: Carter (Barnard Castle) 24-16 Atkinson (Bishop Auckland), Pattison (Darlington N.Pk) 15-19 Stephenson (Hetton Wkm), Jones (Consett Pk) 25-4 Gibson (Newton Hall)

H The venue for the seasons first WTA (Winner Takes All) event has been confirmed as Silksworth on May 27.

It is hoped the first prize will be around the £700 mark. Anyone interested in entering this knock-out singles can do so through Paul Baker.