INDOOR bowls enthusiasts are celebrating after officials announced that the sport’s equivalent of the FA Cup final would be held in the North-East this year.
Darlington Indoor Bowls Centre (DIBC) has been chosen as the host venue for the final stages of both the mens’ and ladies’ All-England national team championship knock-out finals.
The competitions, known respectively as the Denny cup and the Yetton trophy, will be held at the eight-rink centre, in North Road, over the Easter weekend of April 19 and 20.
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Teams from all over the UK – each with their own modest but passionate and loyal following – will converge on Darlington for the event, said DIBC co-secretary Graham Peacock.
A team from Stanley, County Durham, will contest the mens’ final against opponents from Wey Valley, in Surrey, Desborough, in Berkshire, and Wellingborough, in Northamptonshire.
The mens’ final will be held on the Saturday (April 19), with the ladies’ competition the following day.
Ladies’ teams from York, Ely, Surrey and Devon will battle it out for the title.
Mr Peacock said: “These bowls team events finals are the equivalent to football’s FA Cup finals and it is a feather in out cap for our indoor bowls set-up to be chosen for these prestigious events.
“The mayor, Charles Johnson and lady mayoress, have accepted our invitation to open the events.
“They will be accompanied by the English Indoor Bowling Association director of competitions Geoff Day, World Bowls Council member Tony Horobin and the association’s vice president.
“These prestigious finals will bring visitors and trade to Darlington from many parts of England, to used our hotels and businesses.”
DIBC, which is part of the Morrison Centre, in North Road, previously hosted the finals in the mid-Nineties.
Mr Peacock added: “The Darlington club has always had a reputation for being one of the best in the country.
“We are a full, international-sized stadium and have hosted televised tournaments here in the past.”
Mr Peacock is expecting each team to bring a 60-seat coach full of supporters to Darlington for the finals.
He added: “They will create a great atmosphere – they bring their rattles and whistles with them.”
For more information, call DIBC on 01325-485414 or email firstname.lastname@example.org