Street­fighter Smith gone to big green in the sky

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MIKE DE BRUYN

BRIAN SMITH was one of the great char­ac­ters of the bowl­ing fra­ter­nity.

His death this week will be sorely felt by all who knew him, es­pe­cially op­po­nents in com­pet­i­tive play who will re­mem­ber the “gun-slinger” for his com­i­cal tirades if greens did not match his high play­ing stan­dards.

Watch­ing him through the years “fight” his way to vic­tory, both in sin­gles and team play, was a sight to be­hold.

And heaven help the or­gan­is­ers if Smith came across a sur­face not up to scratch; he would let them know in no un­cer­tain terms how he felt, never with mal­ice, just sheer dis­ap­point­ment, win or lose.

He set lofty stan­dards, maybe too high at times, but then again, he was a born win­ner.

Smith was a tremen­dous player, eas­ily one of the best in the Western Prov­ince, who was a provin­cial stal­wart in his later years.

Many a district ti­tle went his way in a ca­reer that cul­mi­nated in him be­ing cho­sen to rep­re­sent the SA Se­niors team.

Smith mas­tered all the shots of his trade and did so with con­sum mate ease, his draw­ing abil­ity un­der pres­sure to save the day was ef­fort­less.

He prided him­self on de­liv­er­ing a bril­liant per­for­mance on each oc­ca­sion, los­ing was never an op­tion if he could help it.

And if, on the rare oc­ca­sion, he did come off sec­ond best he al­ways car­ried him­self in a pro­fes­sional man­ner in con­grat­u­lat­ing his con­querors.

And he had many friends won over by his man­ner­isms, both on and off the green.

Good mate Alan Loft­house re­mem­bers him as a cham­pion per­former and a char­ac­ter of note.

“There was only one Brian Smith in the world of bowls,” said Loft­house. “A man who was not only a gifted player but also a gen­tle hu­man be­ing al­ways on hand to help out when the need arose.

“When it came to greens, Brian never did find the per­fect sur­face to play on.

“He has gone to the big bowl­ing green in the sky no doubt to moan about the play­ing sur­face.”

Former provin­cial stal­wart team­mate Neil Bur­kett, who now re­sides and plays in Aus­tralia, had this to say: “I loved the guy, he had such a big heart.

“We had our mo­ments in com­bat where we may not have seen eye to eye, but I re­spected him as a com­peti­tor al­ways push­ing the lim­its for the win.”

WP Bowls pres­i­dent Ron Del­port de­scribes WPCC club mate Smith as a feisty char­ac­ter.

“If any­thing, Brian was more crit­i­cal about his own play. A street­fighter men­tal­ity saw him scrap out many a win. And as a club man, he was as loyal as you could hope for.”

Brian Smith… died this week

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