BOWLS: Smith poised to start title tilt

This Is Wiltshire: Neil Smith in action Neil Smith in action

NEIL Smith begins his quest to win a first National Champion of Champions indoor title today at Hayling Island.

Runner-up to England international Nicky Brett (City of Ely) in March 2007 in the champion of champions final, Smith faces Hertfordshire’s Tony Webb today (4pm) in the last 16 of this season’s competition.

If successful, the Westlecot star would then meet either Duncan Roberts (Basingstoke) or former England international Danny Denison (Torquay United) in tomorrow’s quarter-finals.

Smith, the Westlecot indoor singles champion, reached the latter stages of the national champion of champions competition with a hard-fought 21-19 victory in the Area 10 final over Mark Atkins of Malvern Hills.

He then followed it up with a very comfortable 21-9 victory over Area 9 winner Craig Carter (Rugby) in the inter-area final and last 32.

Today is the start of a very important fortnight for England trialist Smith in his bid for national titles.

He has also qualified for the latter stages and last 32 in the mixed pairs at Northampton on February 12 with his eldest daughter 17-year-old Lucy.

Meanwhile on February 15, on the neutral green at MidGlos, he meets Malvern Hill’s England Under 18 international Ryan Atkins in the Area 10 final of the national singles championship with a place in the last 32 at Nottingham in late March on offer.

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