Tommy Jopling looking to create a little bit of bowls history

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TOMMY Jopling looks on course to become the first player to win the Sunderland singles title three years in a row following his 21-6 quarter-final win over Joe Flett, at Crowtree.

In the semi-final, Jopling will face Peter Thomson, who defeated his father 21-7.

The other semi-final will see Fred Knubley play either Bobby Graham or Billy Ferry.

The pairs line-up is not yet confirmed although captains Michael Laydon and Bobby Graham are already at the semi-final stage.

The triples semi-final fixtures have been confirmed after Les Hughes, Billy Hearne and Dennis Hulley defeated Phillip Dixon, Gary Farquhar and Peter Thomson 17-11, which set up a tie against Peter Brickle.

The other semi-final will see Fred Knubley face Wayne Funnell.

In the fours, semi-finalist David Bolt will face Ray Robinson, while there will be a repeat of last year’s final, when Jopling will face Funnell.

In the senior singles, George Brown faces Bobby Graham for a place in the final against either Tommy Jopling or Billy Hearne.

In the senior pairs, Fred Knubley will face Joe Flett, while Locky Todd will play Terry Todd.

There will be a new name on the senior triples roll of honour, as this year’s final will see Knubley face Jopling.

The senior two-bowl semi-final line-up will see Terry Todd face Jimmy Coundon, while Jopling will face Ray Robinson.

H The Durham County select team are the visitors to Crowtree tomorrow, as the second of the annual friendly fixtures takes place. The game starts at 2pm

H To finish the season off there are plans to run a football league knock-out pairs competition. The football format is proving very popular in the south and it is hoped to be introduced at Crowtree. The trial is limited to 16 pairs and the entry sheet is on the club notice board.

H The end-of-season Famous Grouse target challenge will make a welcome return. Last year saw Locky Todd take the 1½ litre bottle first prize.

This year’s competition will be accompanied by a new last-one-standing competition. Dates are planned for Sunday, April 10, at 2pm.

H It has been a week of cancellations at Crowtree, with planned senior inter club fixtures having to be rearranged due to the senior county team being in action on February 23.

The Sunderland B team’s crunch game against Stanley has now been rearranged to March 23. The A teams trip to Shields has been moved back a week to March 2, with a 2pm start. The B team’s game against Consett on March 2, will now start at 12.30pm instead of 2.30pm, at the request of Consett.

H The remaining two groups of the Norman Routledge 20/20 pairs were completed. The draw is as follows and the action takes place on Sunday, March 6, at noon.

Group 1: JA.Smith & F.Knubley, K.Hulley & D.Hulley, J.Flett & P.Thomson, P.Collins & E.Peacock

Group 2: P.Thomson & G.Farquhar, A.Ferguson & TW.Todd, R.Mckie & W.Ferry, W.Mitchell & D.Todner

The top two in each group qualify for a final group of four, which is to be played on Monday, March 28.

H Stanley’s international Gary Smith has completed the second part of a national treble after winning the area final of the singles.

In a repeat of last year’s area final, Smith faced club-mate and fellow international Robert Chisholm. Having already qualified in the fours, Smith recovered from a 12-4 deficit to secure a 21-18 win.

At the national championships in April, Smith will face Isle of Wight’s P.Dickinson in the last 32.

Next weekend Smith will look to complete the treble as he takes on South Shields’ Ian McIntosh in the area final of the pairs at Durham.

H The first part of this season’s national championships has been taking place at Northampton, with local success at a premium.

In the Over 60 fours, Stanley’s fancied quartet of Billy Bell, Brian Harris, Derek Craig and David Webb went out in the first round 17-10 to Browston Hall’s Peter Hurren.

In the Over 55 triples, The Parks trio of Mike Groundwater, Michael London and Brian Houghton also made a first round exit going down 16-12 to Croydon’s John Gale.

H This week will see Melton Mowbray hold a week of finals as the Over 60 singles and pairs commence, with the ladies’ four main disciplines taking centre stage. The highlight, with local interest, takes place next Friday, when the Durham county seniors attempt to lift the Inter County title against Kent.