Streetfighter Smith gone to big green in the sky
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