The first County title of the season has been decided as the Ladies Fours semi-finals and final were played at Sunderland this week, locally we had three of the four semi-finalists. In the end the title went to Houghton Dairy Lane’s Joan Rodgerson’s (pictured left) quartet of Susan Forster, Margaret Metcalf, in the final Rodgerson defeated Sunderland’s Sue Almond 21-16. In the semi-finals Rodgerson defeated Hetton’s Norma Stephenson 21-14 while Almond booked her final spot with a 18-11 win over Lyndhurst’s J.Wright, both finalists qualify for the national championships at Leamington Spa in August. On Monday the triples title will be decided as the semi-finals and final are played at Consett Park, Rodgerson looking for a quick fire double faces a tough semi-final against host clubs Gill Jones at 10am.

The first of the District two area finals nights takes place at Barnes Park on Tuesday as four of the five second stage places are up for grabs, the exception has already seen Sunderland’s S.Summers claim one of the spots with a second consecutive walk over.
Fours – S.Baker (Silksworth) v WS.Ferry (Silksworth), R.Graham (Roker Marine) v M.Winter (South Hylton), R.Campbell (Sunderland) v D.Bolt (Silksworth), M.Laydon (Silksworth) v R.Mckie (Sunderland)

The triples area finals take place on Thursday also at Barnes Park with four places up for grabs.
Triples – I.Riches (Silksworth) v E.Cook (Roker Marine), R.Graham (Roker Marine) v A.Hill (Barnes Park), K.Richardson (Barnes Park) v J.Kelly (Silksworth), D.Bolt (Silksworth) v W.Ferry (Silksworth)

This seasons Northern Counties Muras Trophy got underway last weekend as the Durham County A team made the trip to Alnwick to face Northumberland, having won the previous two fixtures hopes of continuing that run were dashed as Northumberland ran out winners by 19 shots overall. Durham had two winning rinks and a draw out of the six rinks with the pick of the results being RA’s John Fielding’s quartets 24-13 defeat of Paul Ging, Elm Tree’s Glenn Skipp steered his rink to a 2 shot win while Silksworth’s County Team Manager David Bolt had to settle for a draw. As is now the norm the Muras title will be decided today as the double header against Lancashire and Yorkshire takes place at Redcar. With places still up for grabs in the Middleton Cup squad team manager David Bolt has named the following squad for today’s double header.

M.Gleeson (Spennymoor), K.Burton (RA), J.Ballantyne (Stockton), B.Hopkins (RA)
M.Ray (Owton Lodge), S.Cairns (SIlksworth), I.Jackson (Park), J.Mansfield (Park)
P.Dixon (Silksworth), J.Harston (Hundens), D.Fenwick (Elm Tree), D.Bolt (SIlksworth)
M.Peach (HDL), L.Maughan (Silksworth), W.Ferry (Silksworth), G.Skipp (Elm Tree)
V.Rewcastle (RA), M.Laydon (Silksworth), K.Donkin (SIlksworth), P.Smithson (Silksworth)
J.Hills (RA), J.Wells (Park), N.Cummings (RA), P.Mosley (Stockton)
Reserves - C.Boston (Elm Tree) N.Buckley (Darlington R.A) N.Ridley (Silksworth) A.Ward (Owton Lodge)

Scores from the Northumberland game (Durham skips first)
P.Mosley 11-26 P.Harvey, D.Bolt 18-18 R.Train, A.Kirtland 11-23 C.Palmer, G.Skipp 17-15 S.Richardson, J.Fielding 24-13 P.Ging, J.Mansfield 15-20 C.Cooper

Latest Muras Standings – Northumberland 17, Yorkshire 16, Lancashire 6, Durham 5

The County ladies Stella Logan team bounced back from their opening defeat to Yorkshire with an impressive 49 shot win over Northumberland at Pelton Fell, the win moves them into second place with Cumbria next on the agenda in June.

In the national Top Club event Silksworth were beaten 3-2 at Leadgate, however in the Double Fours both squads  made progress with the A team defeating Consett Park 57-27 and the B team defeating Spennymoor 47-37, Houghton Dairy Lane also progressed with a 42-18 win over Pelton Fell.

Round three of fixtures in the Earl Cup took place this week, in the First Division Houghton Dairy Lane needed a last bowl from former county star Keith Makepeace to defeat Roker Marine 4-3 but it wasn’t enough to move Marine off the top, there was another cracking finish as Houghton Town defeated Thompson Park by a single shot to record a 6-1 win while Barnes Park defeated Seaham Town by 37 shots (7-0). In the Second Division with leaders Barnes West End on a bye it left the way open for Hetton Workmen’s to go top with a 6 shot (5½-½) win at North Biddick, South Hylton got off the mark with a 23 shot (6-1) home win over Hylton Colliery Welfare while Usworth defeated Sunderland 6-1. In the Third Division leaders Whitburn suffered their first defeat of the season at Roker Park 5-2 while Washington broke their duck with a 6-1 home win over New Herrington, the weather washed out Wednesday’s Swan Cup fixtures. In the Storey Bowl holders Hetton Workmen’s moved to the top with a cracking 7-0 at Dawdon, Thompson Park kept their unbeaten start going with a 5-2 win over Hylton Colliery, Seaham Town defeated Houghton Town 5-2 and Roker Park got their first win 5½-1½ over Wearmouth. In the Harold Howey Second Division Pennywell produced the result of the day with a comprehensive 26 shot 4-0 win at unbeaten leaders Washington B.

The draw for the Silver Jack Pairs and Burkett Shield Triples has been made, the Jack’s holders Marine’s John Smith & Fred Knubley open their defence at Thompson Park, the Burkett holders Barnes West End’s John Patterson, Richie Jobling and Frankie Froud entertain Houghton Town’s Paul Wallace in the first round. The latter stage dates of the Burkett Shield should read as follows
Quarter finals (Tuesday 9th August), Semi Finals (Thursday 11th August) and the Final (Friday 12th August).

The local bowls scene lost yet another well-known player as Houghton Dairy Lane’s Tommy Hayes (78) sadly passed away.
The Durham County IBA held its AGM this week whereby Aycliffe’s Alan Cooper was installed as the 2016 County President with Hartlepool’s Les Parnell installed as Junior Vice President. The Inter County league format will now change to a Denny Cup format with two rinks home and away with clubs offered the chance to enter an extra team, last year’s first division saw Hartlepool finish top but as only Gateshead fore filled all their fixtures the title was offered to Gateshead however they declined the offer so for the first time ever there will be no winner, Darlington and Aycliffe were relegated and The Parks and Houghton were promoted.


Last season’s top two in the Earl Cup first division Silksworth and Houghton Dairy Lane went head to head at Silksworth this week, the hosts are looking for a 5th consecutive title but they suffered a setback as Dairy Lane  produced a cracking team performance to confirm their title aspirations with a 24 shot 6½-½ win, Roker Marine moved to the top with a 6-1 10 shot home win over last season’s second division champions Houghton Town (pictured right) while Thompson Park defeated Barnes Park 7-0. In the second division Barnes West End defeated South Hylton 6-1 while Hylton Colliery Welfare and Hetton Workmen’s both enjoyed 6½-½ wins over North Biddick and Usworth respectively. In the third division Whitburn are the early leaders after a 6½-½ win over Washington while there were cracking 6-1 away wins for Pemberton and Roker Park. The Swan Cup holders Houghton Dairy Lane recorded a third straight win with a 37 shot 6-1 win against North Biddick, Seaham Town defeated Roker Marine 5-2 while South Hylton got there first win of the season 5½- ½ at Houghton Town. Hetton Workmen maintained their unbeaten start in the second division with a 7-0 home win over bottom of the table Grindon Mill. In the Harold Howey first division Thompson Park B have made a cracking start and recorded their 4th straight win this time 3-1 at holders Silksworth, Houghton DL B’s unbeaten record went when they lost at home 3-1 to South Hylton albeit by two shots, Roker Park A notched their first win of the season with a 3-1 home win over Houghton DL A. In the second division Sunderland B lost their unbeaten start 4-0 at Roker Marine B while Washington B moved to the top with a 16 shot 4-0 win at Houghton Town A. The Storey Bowl holders Hetton Workmen’s moved to the top with a 10 shot 6-1 home win over Houghton Town, last season’s runners up Seaham Town suffered a 5-2 defeat at Hylton Colliery Welfare.

The local bowls scene lost yet another one of the games characters as Grindon Mill stalwart Ernie Graham (86) sadly passed away.

The District Two county competitions are continuing at a pace, although eight of the fourteen results have been walk overs. In the singles an all Silksworth affair saw Jaxon Mckenna defeat Neal Ridley 21-19, Mckenna was then given a walk over into the area final. Marine’s Jimmy Richardson had a good 21-15 win over Silksworth’s Paul Baker and Sunderland’s only entry in the singles J.Maddison defeated county star Barnes Park’s Albie Hill 21-15.

Other Results
Singles – G.Farquhar (Si), M.Higgins (Si), R.Mckie (RM), C.Jefferson (Si), J.McKenna (Si) all received walk overs.
Pairs – JS.Richardson (RM) 24-15 D.Wilson (Wh), J.Tulip (Su) 13-19 P.Smithson (Si)
Triples – A.Hill (BP) walk over,
Fours – S.Summers (Su), M.Laydon (Si) both received walk overs
Two Bowl Singles – M.Laydon (Si) 17-11 N.Reid (Si)

In District Three the fixed date scenario continues to work as no walk overs to date, in the singles Dairy Lane’s Ray Robinson recovered from 17-10 down to defeat Usworth’s Brian Poulter 21-20 while Dan Todner won the all Dairy Lane tie against Jimmy McKinney 21-16, Hylton Colliery’s Alan Maidment had to work hard for a 21-19 win at Hetton Workmen’s against Sam Patterson. In the Pairs Houghton’s Brian Cain won a high scoring 36-15 tie against Dawdon’s John Dunn while David Armstrong (HDL) progressed with a 21-13 win over Hetton’s Sam Patterson.

Other Results - Triples – D.Armstrong (HDL) 20-11 M.Peach (HDL), B.Henderson (ST) 17-15 R.Robinson (HDL)

The Durham County A team open up their 2016 Northern Counties campaign today with a trip to Alnwick to face Northumberland in the Muras Trophy opener. Last season Northumberland pipped Durham to the Muras title albeit on shots difference, team manager David Bolt has named a strong looking team for the opener.
S.Baker (Silksworth), I.Riches (Silksworth), G.Farquhar (Silksworth), D.Bolt (Silksworth), J.Hills (Darlington RA), N.Buckley (Darlington RA), B.Hopkins (Darlington RA), A.Kirtland (Darlington RA), M.Peach (Houghton DL), C.Jefferson ( Silksworth), W.Ferry (Silksworth), G.Skipp (Elm Tree), V.Rewcastle (Darlington RA), N.Ridley (Silksworth), M.Jones (Darlington RA), J.Fielding (Darlington RA), J.Ballantyne (Stockton), C.Boston (Elm Tree), N.Cummings (Darlington RA), P.Mosley (Stockton), M.Ray (Owton Lodge), M.Squirrell (Owton Lodge), C.Higgins (Old Boys), J.Mansfield (Hartlepool Park). Reserves – I.Jackson (Hartlepool Park), A.Ward (Owton Lodge)

Next weekend the traditional Muras double header will decide the title destination, Durham team manager David Bolt is using these two games to fine tune his squad for the forth coming important Middleton Cup tie against Lancashire in June at Manchester. The squad for the double header is as follows -: S.Baker (Silksworth), P.Dixon (Silksworth), I.Riches (Silksworth), G.Farquhar (Silksworth), D.Bolt (Silksworth), J.Hills (Darlington RA), N.Buckley (Darlington RA), B.Hopkins (Darlington RA), A.Kirtland (Darlington RA), M.Peach (Houghton DL), C.Jefferson ( Silksworth), W.Ferry (Silksworth), G.Skipp (Elm Tree), V.Rewcastle (Darlington RA), N.Ridley (Silksworth), M.Jones (Darlington RA), J.Fielding (Darlington RA), J.Ballantyne (Stockton), C.Boston (Elm Tree), N.Cummings (Darlington RA), P.Mosley (Stockton), M.Ray (Owton Lodge), M.Squirrell (Owton Lodge), C.Higgins (Old Boys), J.Mansfield (Hartlepool Park),I.Jackson (Park) A.Ward (Owton Lodge) K.Donkin, S.McIntosh, P.Smithson M.Laydon  S.Cairns(All Silksworth) M.Gleeson (Spennymoor) J.Harston(Hundens) K.Burton (Darlington R.A) D.Fenwick (Elm Tree) J.Wells (Park)

The Ladies County competitions are steaming ahead, in the triples Dairy Lane’s Joan Rodgerson moved into the last eight with a good 17-15 win at Owton Lodge while Hetton Workmen’s Norma Stephenson also progressed with an impressive 20-7 win over Woodland’s Ann Anderson, the quarter finals take place on Monday. In the Fours competition local hopes of a county title are high as three of the four semi-finalist’s are local. Joan Rodgerson (HDL) booked a palce with a 21-16 win at Pelton Fell and Hetton’s Norman Stephenson booked her place with a 19-9 win over J.Ridpath (OL), but the result of the day saw Sunderland’s Sue Almond steer her rink to a 19-18 win at defending county champions Newton Hall’s Anne Bernard. The semi-finals and county final take place on Wednesday at Sunderland starting 10am, the draw is as follows – J.Rodgerson (HDL) v N.Stephenson (HWM), S.Almond (SU) v M.Wright (LYN)

In the National Double Fours Houghton Dairy Lane eased past Pelton Fell 42-18 and will now face a tough trip to Gosforth, in the Top Club Silksworth head to Leadgate on Monday. Dairy Lane’s David Armstrong moved into the next round of the Mixed Pairs with a high scoring 27-23 win at Marine’s Rod Maxwell to set up a home tie against Darlington North Park’s Julie Robinson.


This seasons Earl Cup got underway this week, holders Silksworth are looking to record a 5th consecutive title, having only lost three of their last 55 games the odds must be in their favour and they got off to a flier with a 31 shot 7-0 win at newly promoted Houghton Town, the other promoted team Seaham Town got off to a winning start with a 11½ shot 6-1 home win over Thompson Park, the remaining game saw Barnes Park and Roker Marine battle out a draw. In the Second Division Sunderland narrowly defeated Hetton Workmens by 4 shots (6-1) while promotion favourites Barnes West End had a good 15 shot 5-2 win at North Biddick while Usworth defeated Hylton Colliery 5-2. In the Third Division there were three close affairs, Grindon Mill went down by 3½ shots at home to New Herrington and Whitburn won by 4 shots at Pemberton, Washington entertained Ryhope in a thriller as the visitors ran out winners by a single shot.

The second round of Swan Cup matches were played, in the First Division holders Houghton Dairy Lane notched up a second win with a 42 shot 7-0 win over neighbours Houghton Town while Barnes West End and North Biddick both recorded 6-1 wins. In the Harold Howey Houghton Dairy Lane B made it three wins out of three with a 10 shot 3-1 win at Ryhope A, Roker Marine A recorded their first win of the season 3-1 at home to Hylton CW B while Chester Le Street narrowly defeated Dawdon by one shot, Hetton Workmen’s recorded their second 4-0 win this time at Washington A. In the Second Division Sunderland B recorded a third consecutive 3-1 win with a 2½ shot win against Barnes Park A and there were 4-0 wins for Wearmouth, Washington B and Hylton CW A. Last weekend the Storey Bowl got underway with holders Hetton Workmen’s enjoying an away win at Roker Park by 7 shots (6-1), both Seaham Town and Thompson Park also recorded 6-1 wins while Houghton Town and Hylton Colliery played out a thrilling 68-68 score draw. This week in the Earl Cup last season’s top two face off as Silksworth entertain Dairy Lane. It has been confirmed that the start time for evening league games is 6.45pm not 6.30pm.

The Durham County ladies B team made a disappointing start to their Stella Logan Northern Counties campaign as they went down 127-111 against Yorkshire at Consett Park, Durham had a couple of winning rinks with Roker Park’s Maureen Firth steering her quartet to a 33-14 win and Houghton Dairy Lane’s Margaret Metcalf recording a 20-16 win, Durham entertain Northumberland next week at Pelton Fell.

Early Men’s County Competition Results
District 2 Pairs – JS.Richardson (RM) 26-15 D.Wilson (WH)
District 3 Triples – D.Armstrong (HDL) 20-11 M.Peach (HDL)

Ladies County Competition Results
Triples – J.Sykes (Sunderland) 19-21 J.Ridpath (Owwton Lodge)
Fours – J.Rodgerson (Dairy Lane) 1-0 S.Hind (Lyndhurst), A.Anderson (Darlington Woodlands) 15-21 S.Almond (Sunderland)

The final World Bowls Tour event was played last weekend at Blackpool, the two section winners would be rewarded with a wild card into all the major events next season, locally Gary Smith was looking to repeat his feat from last season. In his opener Smith was in impressive form as he defeated Scotland’s Michael Stepney  11-5, 8-3 to set up a semi-final against Ireland’s Mark McPeake.  A close first set went McPeake’s way 7-5 and with one bowl left each in the second set final end Smith led 10-6 and a tie breaker looked on the cards, on the last end Smith was holding shot but McPeake had three bowls in the area, Smith left the stable door open as he dropped his final bowl some six feet short which left McPeake an opportunity for a four which he took with both hands as he produced a perfect lift and nudge on the jack for four to level the set and take the match 7-5, 10-10 to leave Smith shell shocked. In the final McPeake was beaten 10-3, 6-6 by Tony Webb while Lincoln’s Billy Jackson secured the other wild card with a hard fought 4-9, 11-3 tie breaker win over Connor Cinato.


South Shield’s Gary Smith rounded off his Open Singles Circuit indoor season by confirming his place at the top of the rankings after lifting the season’s final event at Adur. A field of 64 players battled it out for the £1,600 first prize but in the end it was Smith who took the honours. Early wins over N.Kerkhove (Worthing Pavilion) and A.Smallbridge (Preston) was followed up by a tie breaker win over last season’s top ranked player Egham’s Steve Tuohy, another tie breaker saw Smith defeat Five River’s Jordan Moody before a third consecutive tie breaker defeated Torquay’s Danny Denison to set up a final against host clubs Richard Moses. In the final Smith lost the first set 6-4 before taking the second set 7-2 which set up a fourth consecutive best of three tie breaker which Smith took 2-1. This latest success is added to wins at Peterborough, Hornsea and two runners up at Hartlepool and York landing prize money of around £4,000, Smith will one of the favourites alongside the 48 top ranked players in the 2016 Grand finals day at Northampton in October.

Smith is in more action this weekend as he is looking to repeat last season’s feat of clinching a wild card tour entry into all the World Bowls Tour events at Blackpool. Smith will need three wins to secure the golden ticket and opens up his European Masters campaign against Scotland’s Michael Stepney, the World Bowls Tour is streaming all the games live on their dedicated YouTube channel available via the World Bowls Tour website.

The latest two qualifiers to join Michael Laydon and Gary Smith in the EIBA Premier Three’s Grand Finals in December have been confirmed as Westlecot’s Neil Smith and Taunton Deane’s Robert Paxton, the remaining four players will come from events held at Lincoln & Falcon during October and November. The final indoor National title was decided at York last weekend as the Top club title went to Swale after they defeated Torquay 94-56.

Last season’s top three in the Howey First Division all recorded wins this week, holders Silksworth bounced back from their opening defeat with a 3-1 home win over rivals Ryhope A, last year’s runners up Barnes West End got their season off to a winning start with a 4-0 win at Seaham Town A but the early pace setters are Houghton Dairy Lane B after a 4-0 home win over Chester Le Street. The Second Division saw its first casualty as Roker Park B have dropped out, Barnes Park A followed up their opening win at Houghton Town with a 3½-½ win at home over Wearmouth, Washington B got their campaign underway with a cracking 4-0 win at Hetton Park while Roker Marine B defeated Houghton Town B 4-0. The Swan Cup also got underway this week, holders Houghton Dairy Lane enjoyed a 6-1 win at newly promoted Thompson Park while Silksworth recorded a 5½-1½ win at Houghton Town, Marine defeated South Hylton 6-1 and Barnes Park won their local derby against neighbours Barnes West End by half a shot for a 5-2 win. In the Second Division after suffering relegation last season Usworth hit Pemberton for a ton in a 6-1 home win while Washington also won 6-1 this time over Grindon Mill respectively. The Storey Bowl gets underway today with holders Hetton Workmen making the trip to Roker Park. On Monday the Earl Cup opens its doors and again it is expected to be a battle between holders Silksworth and Houghton Dairy Lane, the opening round of fixtures will see Silksworth travel to Houghton Town while Dairy Lane have a bye however next week will see the big two go head to head in an early season clash. In the Second Division Barnes West End will be favourites for promotion and they head to North Biddick.

The Bowls Durham Ladies County competitions get underway this week with the triples and fours, on Monday in the triples Sunderland’s Janet Sykes entertains Owton Lodge’s J.Ridpath then on Wednesday Dairy Lane’s Joan Rodgerson entertains Lyndhurst’s Sandra Hinds in the fours and Sunderland’s Sue Almond travels to Darlington Woodlands to face Ann Anderson. The first County match takes place next Friday as the Ladies A team make the trek to Kirkbride to face Cumbria in the Northern Trophy, locally Susan Forster, Glynis Morgan, Joan Rodgerson (all HDL), Jean Graham, Sue Almond (both Sunderland) and Hetton Workmen’s Norma Stephenson are all playing.

Recently the local bowls scene has said goodbye to several well-known figures and sadly another three have passed away, Roker Park stalwart Tommy Turnbull (83), Roker Marine’s George Storey (89) and Pennywell’s George (Spadger) Grieves (78) were all popular figures at their individual clubs as well as being much respected bowlers within the bowling fraternity.



Houghton go into their final Inter club fixture tomorrow against unbeaten The Parks in the knowledge that they need to collect four of the 12 points on offer to leap frog Durham and clinch promotion back to Division one. The following team has been selected for the 2pm start.

At Houghton - M.Baker, M.Henderson, D.Wright, B.Henderson, T.Joicey, R.Johnson, R.Thorpe, I.Whorlton, J.Doyle, T.Patterson, J.Biggerstaff, P.Harding

At The Parks - M.Waterson, F.Sanderson, F.Fletcher, D.Todner, J.Sutherland, D.Armstrong, M.Thompson, AJ.Dunn, J.Godfrey, S.Patterson, K.Armstrong, W.Davis

Latest Table – The Parks 4-43½, Durham 5-37, Houghton 4-34, Shildon 5-29½, Ferryhill 5-14, Spennymoor 5-10

At the same time in the First Division Sunderland were due to play Great Aycliffe in a crunch relegation battle however in a repeat of the previous attempt to play the fixture Aycliffe are again unable to field a team, they have also indicated they will not be able to fore fill the fixture. This season the First Division has turned into a farce with games from November still not played, out of the six teams only Gateshead have managed to play all five games. The value of the County league has been diminishing over recent years with clubs struggling to get players to nominate to play, many other club and player commitments are now taking more priority and  if a complete revamp isn’t undertaken the future viability of the league will come into question.

Latest Standings – Hartlepool 3-34, Gateshead 5-25, South Shields 3-24, Sunderland 3-12, Darlington 1-8, Great Aycliffe 3-5

Hartlepool are due to play South Shields tomorrow in one of those rearranged games with Hartlepool only needing a possible three points to finish top.  The list of un-played fixtures is as follows
Darlington v Sth Shields (Nov 1), Darlington v Hartlepool (Dec 13), Sunderland v Darlington (Jan 3), Aycliffe v Sunderland (Feb 7), Aycliffe v Darlington (Mar 12)

With the various leagues at Houghton starting to come to a conclusion the focus returns to the club competitions, the semi-finals of the senior singles takes place today with Freddie Fletcher facing Bill Laidler and Michael Wright facing Tony Grimes. The men’s semi’s take place on Tuesday (630pm) with Ray Robinson playing Peter Thomson and Jeff Wilson playing Billy Holmes. On Wednesday (630pm) the semi-finals of the men’s pairs takes place, Michael Wright & Peter Thomson play J.Harrison & Billy Piggott while Billy Roberts & Frankie Froud face C.Brown & Dave Armstrong. The triples semi-finals are on Thursday (630pm) with Vic Hendry playing Billy Holmes and Peter Thomson playing Billy Piggott.
The remaining Durham County Champion of Champions final was played at Hartlepool this week as Darlington’s Mark Jones defeated host club’s Jonathan Forcer, this was Jones fourth success with the first being back in 2007.

Ferryhill hosted the Seniors Premier League final in front of a large crowd, it was perhaps fitting that Darlington "B" and Stanley should contest the final as both had led the league from the offset. The Stanley triple skipped by Dave Webb looked in control in the final as they led by 10 shots after eleven ends however the Darlington trio skipped by Stan Blewitt had other thoughts as they won six of the last seven ends which included a last end treble to force an extra end. The extra end was a classic with the head changing several times, with only the skips left to bowl Blewitt took out the Stanley shot bowl to lay within inches of the jack however Webb replicated that shot to hold  shot again. Blewitt somehow threaded his bowl through a narrow gap to ditch the jack followed by his own bowl to leave Darlington in an unbeatable position a foot away from the jack, then came the shot of the day from Webb as he drew onto the shot perched on the rink edge turned it into the ditch and stayed on the rink with his own bowl overhanging enough to be the shot, Blewitt's final attempt to save the game failed the Stanley triple of B Harrod, Billy Bell and Dave Webb the winners. The prizes were presented by the County  president Paul Heath on behalf of the competiton sponsors Gordon Fletcher and Sons.

Hartlepool held the latest round of Open Singles Circuit events last weekend, a field of 64 players competed for the £800 first prize. Former Sunderland star Gary Smith enhanced his hopes of making the last sixteen Grand Final by reaching the final however Scarborough’s Jack Bird ran out a 2-0 sets winner, despite the loss Smith moves up to third in the overall rankings and will have another opportunity to cement his place at York today and tomorrow as a field of 59 players battle it out for a £800 first prize.

The National Championships have started this week at Nottingham with the seniors taking centre stage, in the Over 60’s Fours The Park’s quartet of Roy Goldsmith, Mike London, Ian Brown and Brian Houghton fell at the final hurdle and were beaten 22-14 by Brian Taylor (County Arts). Hartlepool’s Glen Skipp missed out in the Over 50 triples as a 16-13 quarter final loss to Beccles David Todd end their hopes. Northants lifted the Over 60’s version of the Liberty Trophy after defeating Surrey 130-118.

As thoughts slowly turn to the outdoor season the draw for the District 2 section of the County Championships has been made. In the singles Silksworth have 18 of the 27 entries, past national champion David Bolt has a local derby against club mate Terry Dean.
Full Draw - N.Ridley (Si) v J.McKenna (Si), JS.Richardson (RM) v P.Baker (Si), J.Halcrow (Wh) v N.Reid (Si), T.Dean (Si) v D.Bolt (Si), J.Maddison (Su) v A.Hill (BP), G.Farqhuar (Si) v I.Riches (Si), A.Thomspn (SH) v M.Higgins (Si), RW.Graham (RM) v K.Donkin (Si), R.Mckie (RM) v Pat Thomson (Si), C.Jefferson (Si) v P.Smithson (Si), B.Sanderson (BWE) v P.Dixon (Si) – the following have byes M.Laydon (SI0, K.Avery (Si), S.Don (RM), Peter Thomson (Si), S.Baker (Si)































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