Sunderland champ into final 16

Gary Smith
Gary Smith
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Bowls notes by Richard Mckie

SUNDERLAND’S club champion and current England international Gary Smith has qualified for the latter stages of the Warner-sponsored Champion of Champions competition.

In the area final played at West Denton, Smith defeated Copeland’s S.Walker 21-9.

The win sets up Smith with a trip to Lakeside and will battle it out for the title alongside 16 other qualifiers in February.

In the last 16, Smith will face Hartlepool’s Glenn Skipp which will be a repeat of the 2010 national singles final where Smith came out on top.

The Sunderland inter-county squad maintained their unbeaten start to the season after a 125-95 win (8-4) over Hebburn,

The win keeps the Crowtree outfit on course for a return to division one.

At Hebburn, it was a clean sweep as all three Sunderland rinks recorded wins. The pick of them was Tony Grimes, Dale Fenwick, Alf Ferguson and John Jones who defeated Ronnie Richardson 32-10.

Gary Farquhar’s rink of Neil Ridley, Michael Laydon and Phillip Dixon recovered from 8-3 down to inflict a 23-13 defeat on D.Livingston.

The remaining rink of Pat Collins, Billy Hearne, Terry Todd and Tommy Jopling held their nerve to record a 19-18 win over A.Birrell. This left the away squad 23 shots in credit.

At Crowtree, Ritchie Mckie, Michael Carr, Joe Flett and Pete Thomson ground out a 24-10 win over A.Lawton while the other two home squads struggled.

Michael Wright, George Simpson, Billy Roberts and Billy Ferry lost on the last end 18-17 while Keith Hopper, Bobby Usher, Ray Robinson and Stevie Angus endured a tough afternoon going down 26-11 to D.Patterson.

Overall, the home squad finished two shots down. The New Year will see Houghton provide the opposition on Sunday, January 13.

In the Over 60s national pairs, there was disappointment for Locky Todd and Billy Ferry as they went down 17-15 at home to The Parks’ Ian Brown.

The Sunderland pair were always chasing the game but a late charge lifted spirits as they got back to 13-13 with three ends to play.

However, a dropped single and a double left Ferry looking for a three to force an extra end.

On the last end, Todd produced four cracking lead bowls which Ferry added to and held a match-winning count of six only for Brown to play a cracker and draw the shot, With the last bowl, Ferry needed to trail the jack inches but went wide and had to settle for a 17-15 defeat.

The winning Parks pair will next entertain another Sunderland pair as Joe Flett and Tommy Jopling look to progress to the area final.

H Latest club competition results:

Pairs – P.Thomson 19 TW.Todd 6, M.Carr 6 R.Mckie 25

Triples – G.Farquhar 24 E.Fountain 6, W.Ferry 11 T.Jopling 21,

Two Bowl – R.Robinson 21 J.Coundon 19, D.Morgan 21 D.Fenwick 10, G.Brown 21 R.Borthwick 11, N.Ridley bt G.Simpson, J.McKenna 1 S.Cairns 0.

This weekend there are four mixed pairs ties taking place – R.Graham v R.Robinson, J.Kerrigan v J.Smith, L.Todd v D.Hulley, and F.Froud v D.Fenwick

One of the final games prior to the Christmas break at Crowtree takes place on Sunday at 12.30 as Stevie Angus takes on Spennymoor’s R.Dixon in the fours county champion of champions.

All members are reminded that Crowtree closes its doors from Monday until Wednesday, January 2. The leagues at Crowtree commence on Friday, January 4.

The Durham County seniors’ hopes of progressing in the Over 60s Inter County competition are all but over. In the latest round of fixtures, a changed Durham squad defeated Lancashire 126-113 (20-4) but Yorkshire’s 156-83 win (22-2) over Cumbria means Durham need to not only beat Yorkshire in the final game 24-0 but also require Cumbria not to collect more than three points against bottom side Lancashire.