FORMER Sunderland star Gary Smith ended his indoor season on a high by securing one of the two much sought after World Bowls Tour wildcards for next season.
The wildcard will see Smith go straight into all the major WBT televised events, bypassing the qualification stages.
In the first of the two finals last week, Smith had to work hard to defeat Welsh youngster Jarrad Breen 7-8, 8-6, 2-1. Earlier, Smith had defeated former England internationalist Danny Dennison 14-0, 11-1, then overcame Craig Newton 7-4,11-2.
Stanley’s Brett Arkley’s hopes were dashed at the semi-final stage as Steven Allan inflicted an 8-3, 7-7 defeat. The other wildcard went to former Northumberland star Robert Chisholm.
Durham County A begin their Northern Counties Muras Trophy campaign today, entertaining Northumberland at Houghton Dairy Lane.
New team manager David Bolt’s plans have already been hit as six players have dropped out of the originally selection.
Durham Ladies’ B team lost their opening Stella Logan tie 124-107 to holders Yorkshire at Consett Park.
Out of the six rinks, Durham won two, with the pick being Jackie Classen, Jennifer Howey, Liz Morris and Margaret Metcalf’s 21-15 success. Yorkshire collected nine of the 11 points on offer. Lancashire thumped Northumberland by 99 shots (11-0).
In the ladies’ fours county competition, Houghton Dairy Lane’s Joan Rodgerson moved into the semi-finals with a 28-11 victory over Sunderland’s Sue Almond.
In Wednesday’s semi, Rodgerson will face Lyndhurst’s Edna Atkinson. Rodgerson also progressed to the triples quarter-finals, defeating Newton Hall 21-14, but Sunderland’s Janet Sykes narrowly lost out 13-10 at Hundens.
County competition results – Singles: P Dixon (Silksworth) 12 R Mckie (Roker Marine) 21, M Higgins (Silksworth) 16 R Graham (Roker Marine) 21, L Taylor (Barnes Park) 21 A Meek (South Hylton) 4
Pairs: P Dixon (Silksworth) 11 I Riches (Silksworth) 24, G Wallace (Silksworth) 0 F Froud (Barnes West End) 1, K Briscoe (Houghton DL) 1 W Rea (Washington) 0
Triples: E Cook (Roker Marine) 1 G Wallace (Silksworth) 0, W Piggott (North Biddick) 11 B Poulter (Usworth) 15, K Briscoe (Houghton DL) 17 J McKinney (Houghton DL) 10, D Morgan (Houghton DL) 14 D Wright (Seaham Town) 21, S Patterson (Hetton Wkmns) 18 P Wallace (Houghton Town) 15
Fours: R Campbell (Sunderland) 1 GWallace (Silksworth) 0, J McKinney (Houghton DL) 19 D Morgan (Houghton DL) 20, B Henderson (Seaham Town) 23 P Wallace (HT) 6, B Poulter (Usworth) 29 W Rea (Washington) 10
Two-bowl singles: K Ford (Roker Marine) 4 N Ridley (Silksworth) 18
Local clubs have had a mixed week in the national double fours.
Silksworth B progressed with a 50-28 win over Spennymoor B, sealing a trip to either Consett Park or Houghton Dairy Lane, while Roker Marine were beaten 45-33 at Dunston.
The Dairy Lane quartet of Susan Forster, Joan Rodgerson, Jimmy McKinney and John Thurlbeck won through in the mixed fours thanks to a 25-10 win over North Shields West End’s Ray Robson.
In the mixed pairs, Roker Marine’s Grace and Rod Maxwell claimed a thrilling extra end 21-20 victory at Pelton Fell against Brian Brown, however Dairy Lane’s Dave Armstrong and Glynis Morgan were beaten 21-11 by Leeholme’s Barry Attwood.