The English Indoor Bowling Association’s Premier Threes competition is one of the first indoor events to get underway with a qualifying event taking place at Lincoln this week.
The three-bowl three-set format is played at four regional tournaments throughout the country, with each venue hosting two groups of eight players competing on a knockout basis.
The two group winners then go forward to a finals day in December at Erewash.
Locally, and now representing South Shields, David Bolt made a welcome back to competitive bowls by securing one of the group winner places after recording wins over Mathew Orrey (Grantham) 2½-½, Janice Gower (Blackpool) 2-0 and Danny Brown (Lincoln) 2-0.
The event was recorded and Bolt’s exploits can be seen via Eurosport on Monday at 2pm.
The EIBA Area 1 national championship draws have produced some cracking ties to look forward to, notably in the singles.
If both South Shields-based David Bolt and Gary Smith win their opening games, they will meet in the second round.
Another highlight will see fellow ShieldS player Ian Riches entertain former England lead Brett Arkley (Stanley).
Following an influx of players, South Shields are expected to be a force in this year’s Denny Cup. They have a bye into the second round and await the winner from the clash between West Denton and The Parks.
Last year’s beaten quarter-finalists, Stanley, entertain Gateshead, while Houghton face Durham. Both ties take place on October 31.
Durham County will not be in action in the Liberty Trophy until the New Year as they were last out of the hat and await the winner from the Cumbria-Northumberland tie.
As usual, Durham will have to travel.
In the ladies equivalent competition, the Atherley Trophy, Durham face Yorkshire on December 6.
Over-60s double fours draw: Stanley v West Denton, South Shields v The Parks, Houghton v Durham A, Park View v Durham B
The Sunderland B seniors squad will start their campaign at Houghton against Hartlepool on Wednesday, September 30.
Sunderland: A Grimes, A Wodd, F Froud, R Jobling, D Gowland, K Waterson, W Conway, W Roberts, P Thomson, R Usher, P Brickle, TW Todd. Reserve: G Brown
Houghton Ladies open up their Inter-Club season with a fixture against Gateshead this coming Wednesday.
Houghton Ladies: At Houghton – J Watt, O Charlton, S Forster, B Johnson, E Prudhoe, M Glover, D Fenwick, J Smith, N Colling, S Boll, J Brown, J Rodgerson; At Gateshead – M Hall, A Vout, M Middleton, N Stephenson, M Metcalf, S Moody, J Baker, F Phythian, N Reay, M Angus, P Charleton, E Pattinson.
There is a new competition starting in the region – Premier League Bowls. The league format is for Over-60s with seven clubs – Durham, Darlington, Aycliffe, Ferryhill, Stanley, Houghton and Gateshead – taking part.
The format is one triple playing 18 ends, with fixtures held at each of the seven venues spread out over the season. Spennymoor-based Gordon Fletcher & Sons Funeral Directors are sponsoring the league, with the first round of matches taking place at Durham on September 24 (12.30pm).
Last season, Gateshead Council announced it was withdrawing its backing of the Gateshead Leisure Centre, which cast doubts over the future of Gateshead Indoor Bowling club, which is based within the centre.
However, following a series of meetings between the council and the indoor bowls club, it has been agreed, from November 1, to transfer the running of the centre to the bowls club therefore securing indoor bowls within Gateshead for the foreseeable future.
This good news is in stark contrast to the stance taken by Sunderland Council and their unfulfilled promises to the ill-fated Crowtree-based Sunderland Indoor Bowling Club, whereby a suitable replacement venue – the defunct ice rink – has been left standing unused for the last two years.
Cumbria Indoor Bowling Club is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. To mark this milestone, they will be holding a masters singles event on September 26-27. Among the invited masters are former Sunderland player Gary R. Smith plus Greg Harlow, Robert Weale, Willie Wood, Jason Greenslade, David Peacock and two others will go against 12 qualifiers from the Carlisle club.
The outdoor Junior Home International Series was played last weekend at Oxford City & County BC. Holders England narrowly missed out on retaining the title on shot difference to Wales.
Fielding 11 new caps, England defeated Scotland 138-114, drew 121-121 with Wales and beat Ireland 135-120, only to miss out retaining the series by two shots.
A national title returned north when Gosforth BC defeated Hertfordshire’s Garston BC 3-2 in the final of the Bowls England Top Club competition. The title was secured on an extra end in the triples game. Earlier, Gosforth defeated White Rock (Sussex) 3-2 and Shaldon BC (Devon) 3-2.