29th April 2017

As previously reported Houghton Indoor Bowling club and Houghton Town have both benefited from the fund raising skills of George Duffell, the former bowler raised £12,000 from six sources including Ringtons Tea, Northumbria Water and Gentoo to buy 12 Para Handy Bowling Wheelchairs, last month the indoor club took delivery of six and this week Houghton Town took delivery of the remaining six. The chairs are the brain child of Andy Semple who is founder of Para Handy Bowling Wheelchairs and are designed not to damage both indoor or outdoor surfaces, it was ironic that due to the poor state of the Houghton green the photo had to be taken on the bankside, the green is suffering from rabbits digging holes and a lack of love and care by the council, Houghton have reversed todays Storey Bowl fixture against Wearmouth due to the state of the green.


Back Row L-R – G.Duffle (Fund Raiser), K.Taylor (Club Sec), P.Wallace (Committee), P.Hicks (Treasurer)
Middle Row – A.Semple (Para Handy Founder), K.Brown (Club Member)
Front Row – W.Storey (Club President), J.Holland (Club Member), R.Carter (Chairman), K.Borgesson (Committee Member)

29th April 2017 - SMITH SEALS PLACE

The last qualifying round of this seasons Open Singles Circuit took place at Welford on Avon, defending champion Durham’s Gary Smith still needed a few ranking points to secure a top 32 spot and a place at the Grand Finals day in November. As it happens Smith secured four back to back wins before going out in the semi-finals to the eventual winner Ipswich’s Martin Heitzman 7-2,6-6, by reaching the latter stages Smith finished 11th in the rankings and will defend his title at Potters in November, the other local rankings were Durham’s Michael Laydon 115, David Bolt (Shields) 133, Lauren Mosley (Hartlepool) 211, Phil Dixon (Shields) 214, Paul Hartley (Hartlepool) 215, Josh Minto (Shields) 248, Ian Riches (Shields) 330, Paul Mosley (Hartlepool) 334, Malcom Wright (Durham) 545 

Last weekend the Denny Cup semi-finals and final stages were held at Bristol, Cumbria’s hopes of a ninth title were dashed in the semi-finals after they suffered a 19 shot loss at the hands of Exonia, in the other semi the 2002 winners Kingsthorpe defeated Folkstone by 18 shots. At the half way mark in the final Exonia looked nailed on for the title as they led Kingsthorpe by 25 shots but Kingsthorpe turned it around and eventually ran out 71-66 winners. In the Ladies Yetton Trophy final St Neot’s defeated Spalding 66-62. The closing date for entries into next season’s national competitions has been extended to May 15, the EIBA AGM will be held at Melton Mowbray on May 20.

The first Para-Bowl Home Nations Championship took place last weekend at Newport, locally Sunderland & Stanley’s Stevie Angus was part of the England squad, at the end of the first day England led the table by 13 points however day two saw Scotland claw their way back to lead by 7 points, the title was decided in England’s final game against Wales as England romped to a 10-2 win which was enough to secure the title.

The final league standings at Houghton were as follows -:

Ladies Leagues
Monday 1430 Pairs - Johnson 48, Middleton 47, Douthwaite 40, Wilson 32, Glover 25, Mitchinson 24, Reay 21, Todd 13, Thompson 12, Maddison 8

Tuesday 1430 Fours - Johnson 42, Smith 30, Middleton 30, Coulson 28, White 24, Moody 21, Charlton 19, Fenwick 19, Prudhoe 17, Lowes 14, Moore 10, Stewart 10

Wednesday 1630 Mixed Triples - Henderson 52, Brickle 34, Holmes 28, Coulson 27, Prudhoe 26, Nicholson 26, Cowler 24, Pattinson 5

Thursday 1430 Open Pairs - Phythian 38, Brown 35, Laidler 34, Houghton 34, Waites 28, Harrison 22, Longley 21, Wells 20, Wilson 14, Chalmers 11, Moore 5, Booth 2

Ladies Friday 1430 Triples - Johnson 31 (+172), Faith 31 (+112), Middleton 24, Robson 24, Glover 20, White 19, Todd 18, Bainbridge 18, Nicholson 15, Stewart 12 Lowes 8

Men’ Leagues
Monday 1030 Fours - Carter 34 (+124), Storey 34 (+119), Sim 32, Duell 28, Scullion 27, Wells 26, Dinsdale 24, Smith 17, Thompson 14, Morris 13, Newton 9, Holland 6

Monday 1830 Fours - Harding 34, Collins 33, Sim 30, Piggott 29, Henderson 27, Noble 23, Charlton 22, Johnson 19, Taylor 18, Joicey 13, New 12, Lobb 6

Tuesday 1030 Fours - Harding 37, Godfrey 35, Barnes 31, Joicey 30, Matthews 22, Barkes 22, Graham 20, Kerry 20, Oakes 18, Walker 12, Moore 10, Thompson 9

Tuesday 1830 Fours - Brickle 38, Usher 33, Dunn 28, Pescod 25, Froud 24, Kempster 24, Patterson 21, Hills 20, Wilson 20, Connolly 13, Rothwell 11, Elliott 7

Wednesday 1030 Triples - Ramshaw 36, Barkes 32, Brown 30, Fletcher 27, Scullion 26, Matthews 24, Piggott 24, Dinsdale 19, Joicey 17 Lanaghan 14, Ward 7, Thompson 6

Wednesday 1830 Fours - Johnson 36, Sim 34, Usher 30, Burt 28, Classon 27, Hutchinson 22, Collins 21, Harding 20, Grimes 18, Carr 15, Bowerbank 8,  Robinson 2

Thursday 1030 Fours - Scullion 36, Bew 36, Hills 28,Duell 26, Carter 25, Usher 22, Graham 20, Walker 15, Holland 15, Thompson 13 McAdam 12, Rothwell 12

Thursday 1830 Fours - Sykes 32, McAdoo 30 (+62), Johnson 30 (+30), Milner 28, Armstrong 23, Hind 23, Wilson 22, Grimes 19, Hicks 19, Joicey 19, Lumsden 10, Summers 9

Friday 1030 Triples - Baker 35, Piggott 32, Laidler 31, Jobling 30, Waterson 27, Todd 21, Garett 21, Walsh 19, Kerry 17, Usher 16, Childs 12, Bamborough 7

Friday 1830 Fours - McAdoo 34, Storey 30, Johnson 29, Patterson 27, Buckingham 27, Collins 22, Hills 18, Temple 16, Nicholson 16, Paterson 13, Longley 10, Smillie 0

Saturday 1000 Triples - Jobling 49, Henderson 41, Burt 35, Borthwick 28, Holmes 25, Noble 24, Harding 23, Todd 19, Longley 11, Pattison 5

Sunday 1000 Fours - Sykes 50, Sim 21, Hutchinson 42, Walsh 32, Joicey 28, Thuburn 27, Milner 24, Robson 18, Pattison 19, Prisk 7 

The Sunderland & District outdoor leagues get underway today as the Storey Bowl takes centre stage, defending champions Hetton Workmen are looking for a fourth consecutive title and open the season at home to Roker Park. The Swan Cup starts on Wednesday, last season Houghton Dairy Lane completed a league double and will open their Swan defence at home to newly promoted Hetton Workmen, runners up Silksworth entertain Houghton Town, Barnes Park host last season’s second division champions Usworth, Roker Marine face Seaham Town and Thompson Park face Barnes West End. In Division two last seasons relegated teams are both at home, South Hylton against Grindon Mill and North Biddick against Roker Park, the remaining fixture will see Hylton Colliery head to Washington Glebe. Thursday will see the Harold Howey Vets leagues kick off with holders Barnes West End entertaining Thompson Park B, the two newly promoted teams Washington B and Hylton CW A are both at home, the former against Chester le Street while the latter have a local derby against Hylton CW B respectively. In the second division Dawdon relegated from the first division host last season’s bottom of the second division New Herrington.

The Bowls Durham county championship draws have for the third year running seen a fall in entries although the local area continues to provide the largest number of entries, in a change to previous years all ties are now played on a fixed date. In the singles Silksworth David Bolt will open his county title defence at home to Marine’s Stevie Don, Silksworth are well represented in the singles with thirteen entries. Bolt is currently in Australia trying to cement a place in the final 10 man England Commonwealth Games squad, a 14 strong squad is currently taking on Australia in a Test match however after two days Australia have built up a commanding 46-18 points lead.  


The remaining two club finals at Houghton took place this week and it provided a nice little double for Joe Sutherland and Alan J Dunn (both pictured), first in the Over 60’s Triples final alongside Ian Whorlton they faced Michael Wright, Michael Carr and Terry Todd, an first end count of three to Dunn set the tone of the final and by the half way mark the Dunn trio had stormed into a 16-1 lead, as ends started to run out Todd got back to 20-8 before another Dunn treble on the fifteenth end sealed a 23-8 win. The indoor season at Houghton was bought to a close with the Pairs final which saw Sutherland and Dunn take on Tommy Winship and Billy Piggott, the early exchanges saw Dunn open up a 14-6 lead and that eight shot lead was never breached and with the score at 22-12 Piggott shook hands.

There are still a few league vacancies next season at Houghton, Monday 2.30 Ladies Pairs (x2), Friday 2.30pm Ladies Triples (x2), Wednesday 4.30pm Mixed Triples (x4), Sunday 10am Men’s Fours (x3), anyone interest are requested to contact club secretary Margaret Nicholson.

Houghton’s AGM and prize presentation takes place next Saturday at 10am in the Dance Studio.

Durham’s Gary Smith’s hopes of securing a top 32 place and a chance to defend his Open Singles Circuit title are hanging in the balance after the defending champion suffered a couple of early exits. In the Wellingborough Open Smith picked up 17 ranking points for a couple of wins before succumbing in the last 16 to Camberley’s Matt Short 7-2,3-8,2-0, that was followed up by another 9 points from a single win in the Hartlepool Open last weekend before going out in the second round 7-8,8-6,2-0 to Carlisle’s Ian Gallagher. Smith is currently 30th in the ranking list with one final round today and tomorrow at Welford on Avon, in the first round Smith will play Sleaford’s Paul Roberts and will need at least a couple of wins to cement a place in the top 32 and a place at Novembers Grand Finals day. The eventual winner of the Hartlepool Open was Lincoln’s Graham Smith, locally South Shield’s David Bolt & Hartlepool’s Josh Halcrow made the last eight. Plans are already in place for next seasons circuit with South Shields holding three separate events commencing September 9 and then in 2018 January 6 and April 21/22.

Hartlepool held its Master Pairs last weekend and it was the local pair of Jon Forcer & Paul Mosley who took the honours with a narrow 16-14 win in the final over Kris Storf & David Bolt.

South Shield’s Alan Lawton’s hopes of lifting the Over 60’s Singles national title at Nottingham were dashed at the quarter final stage, after a last 16 21-16 win over Exonia’s Kevin Phillips the Shield’s star was beaten 21-9 by the eventual champion Essex County’s John Stewart, the ladies equivalent title went to Chigwell’s Carole Crofter. In the Family Pairs the Hartlepool father and son combination of Alan & Paul Hartley were beaten in the semi-finals 22-9 by the eventual champions Swale’s Wendy & Lewis King.
In the Liberty Trophy final Cumbria’s hopes of a 4th title were dashed by a rampant Devon side who cruised to a 32 shot win, this was only Devon’s second Liberty Trophy title with the first some 25 years ago. The ladies Atherley Trophy was retained by Norfolk after a hard fought 100-82 win over Kent, the win was Norfolk’s 4th success.

The latter stages of the Denny Cup take place today at Bristol, the semi-final line-up will see an Exonia squad looking for their first title against the most successful Denny club Cumbria looking for a 9th title, the other semi-final is between the 2002 winners Kingsthorpe and Folkestone. The ladies Yetton Trophy semi-finals and final take place tomorrow with North Wilts against Spalding and Arun against St Neots.

As the outdoor season gets nearer there was some more sad news for the Roker Park club, having already lost John Wilson the club lost another popular figure when George Forster sadly passed away, George was a much respected bowler and a good member of the Roker club.

The Sunderland & District leagues get underway next Saturday as the Storey Bowls signals the start of four months of glorious weather and free running greens, holders Hetton Workmen’s have dominated the league and will be going all out for a fourth consecutive title as they open there defence at home to Roker Park, last season’s runners up Seaham Town entertain Hylton Colliery Welfare, Thompson Park host Dawdon and Houghton Town host Wearmouth, after dropping out of the league in 2015 Pennywell make a welcome return to the Storey Bowl with a bye. 

Silksworth’s David Bolt heads to Australia this week as part of a 14 strong Bowls England squad as the preparations towards the 2018 Commonwealth Games gets underway, matches will include a three-day test match at Broadbeach BC against the hosts from Wednesday to Friday which will be followed by a series of one day events against representative teams from across the Gold Coast from April 30 to May 5. Bolt is part of a seven man squad consisting of Jamie Chestney (Devon); Andy Knapper (Berkshire); Robert Paxton (Devon); Louis Ridout (Devon); Sam Tolchard (Devon) and Jamie Walker (Northamptonshire) while the 7 female squad consists of Natalie Chestney (Devon); Ellen Falkner (Cambridgeshire); Rebecca Field (Norfolk); Sian Honnor (Kent); Wendy King (Kent); Katherine Rednall (Suffolk) and Sophie Tolchard (Devon). The series will form the first part of Bowls England’s preparation programme that will ultimately lead to the selection of 10 players (five men and five women) to represent England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, It is expected that a squad of up to 10 players of each gender will be named in May 2017 to participate in the Commonwealth Games preparation programme.

15th April 2017 - THOMSON SEALS TREBLE

The men’s singles final at Houghton saw Peter Thomson (pictured left) become the first player to win the title three years on the trot, in this year’s final Thomson faced the 2012 champion Joe Sutherland. There was nothing between them in the early stages of the final with Thomson just edging it 8-6, a three for the defending champion opened up a 11-6 lead which was quickly followed by Thomson hitting a purple patch rattling 9 shots without reply to lead 20-11, the writing was on the wall for Sutherland and despite reaching double figures Thomson got the match winning single for a 21-11 win, both players deserved more than the seven spectators that witnessed the final although the lack of spectators has plagued all the club finals, in the semi-finals Thomson defeated Sam Patterson 21-8 while Sutherland produced a great comeback from 17-11 down to beat Peter Thomson (snr) 21-20 .

The Pairs final is set to be played on Thursday 20th April at 630pm with Joe Sutherland & Alan J Dunn taking on Jack Harrison & Billy Piggott. The final of the Triples saw Colin Brown, David Armstrong and Alan J Dunn take on Tom Patterson, Bob Curry and Sam Patterson, the Dunn trio turned around a 6-3 score line to lead 12-6 at the half way mark, a count of four on the 12th made it 16-8 which was closely followed by another three which left Dunn 19-10 ahead with only four ends to play, despite Patterson winning three of those last four ends Dunn held on for a 201-5 win which in turn was a first triples success for the victors. The Fours final saw holders Mal Baker, Joe Sutherland, Bryan Henderson and Jimmy McAdoo take on George Brown, Jimmy Swinney, Stevie Kempster (sub) and Stevie Tindale, the early exchanges saw Tindale open up a 10-6 lead before a McAdoo four on the 11th end level the game at 10-10, the next seven ends were all singles which saw Tindale go 15-12 up with three ends to play, in the end a treble on the 19th end followed by a 20th end double was enough to secure a first fours title for the Tindale quartet 20-12, the winners won 14 of the 20 ends played.

Frankie Froud was unstoppable in the final of the Over 60’s singles; Froud defeated Peter Thomson (snr) in only 12 ends to collect his first Over 60’s Singles title. Froud completed a double in the Over 60’s Pairs, partnering Richie Jobling they recovered from 11-3 down against Jack Harrison and Billy Piggott to run out 27-16 winners and clinch a first Seniors Pairs title. The Over 60’s triples final will be played on Tuesday at 1030am between Michael Wright, Michael Carr and Terry Todd against Joe Sutherland, Ian Whorlton and Alan J Dunn. The Over 60’s Fours title went to Mal Baker, Tommy Winship, Arthur Baker and Billy Piggott as they overcame Bobby Usher, Peter Thomson (snr), Richie Jobling and Frankie Froud.

The ladies singles final saw Norma Stephenson lock horns with defending champion Ellen Faith, the early exchanges saw Faith open up a 13-3 lead but within the space of four ends Stephenson stormed back to 13-12, with the score at 16-14 in the defending champions favour Stephenson dropped a crucial four which Faith took advantage of and sealed a 7th singles title on the next end 21-14. After losing two finals Stephenson got some relief in the Pairs final, playing alongside Maureen Hall they faced Eleanor Barren and Margaret Eggleston, it was the latter pairing that were quickest out of the blocks to lead 5-0 however thanks to a count of six on the 10th end and a couple of fours the Stephenson pair fought back to take the title 18-12 despite only winning six of the sixteen ends played. The ladies triples final was a straight forward affair as Margaret Metcalfe, Joan Baker and Ellen Faith eased to a 27-6 win over previous winners Maureen Hall, Audrey Vout and Norma Stephenson.

In the Mixed Pairs final Joan Watt and Billy Laidler were looking for a fourth consecutive title with Ellen Faith and Billy Piggott standing in there way, everything looked to be going to plan for the holders as Laidler led 15-6 with only five ends to play however the wheels came off in spectacular fashion as Piggott rallied and scored 11 shots without reply over the final five ends to secure a first Mixed Pairs title 17-15.

The final Inter County table shows both Sunderland & Houghton avoiding relegation, both teams finished on 29½ points with Houghton finished a place better albeit on shots difference, Gateshead A and South Shields will be relegated with Darlington and Gateshead B being promoted. The league will lose at least two teams next season as in division two Great Aycliffe failed to fore fill its fixtures and Sunderland called time on their time in the league, there are also concerns for South Shields as they struggled all season to muster a squad.

Final Standings
Division 1 - Hartlepool  50½, Durham A 34, Parks 32, Houghton 29½, Sunderland 29½, Gateshead A 19½, South Shields 15.     
Division 2 – Darlington 54, Gateshead B 46½, Dunelm 28½, Spennymoor 22½, Shildon 22, Stanley 21, Ferryhill 15½

Houghton ladies finished a creditable 5th in the ladies Inter Club league; the title went to South Shields.
Final Standings – South Shields 55, Great Aycliffe 48, Hartlepool 46, Durham 43, Houghton 32½, Darlington 15½, Gateshead 12.

The second part of this seasons National Championships are currently being held at Nottingham as the Seniors take centre stage, in the men’s fours there was disappointment for Gateshead’s George Hackett, after leading all the way Hackett went down 19-18 in the last sixteen to eventual finalists Scunthorpe’s Alex Mullin. In the Over 50 Triples the Shield’s trio of Dave Paterson, Ian Riches and Alan Lawton were left to wonder what might have been as they lost on the last end 16-15 in the last sixteen to Hounslow’s Ron Leleux. The Stanley duo of Brian Harris and David Webb defeated Banister Park’s Brian Barber 24-17 and then followed that up with a comfortable 21-4 win over Barking’s Terry Hughes to set up a semi-final clash against Wellingborough’s Walt Winsor, the Stanley duo were left to rue a slow start which saw them trail 14-0 before going down 22-15, it will be little comfort that the Wellingborough pair went onto the win the final.

In the Two Bowl singles Hartlepool youngster Matty Ray went out in the last sixteen 21-19 to the eventual winner Cypher’s Michael Cheeseman.

Darlington’s hopes of a fourth Denny Plate win were left in pieces as they were well beaten 78-38 in the final by Wellingborough, all four Darlington rinks went down, Noah Cummings (21-7), Andy Kirtland (20-8), Barry Hopkins (22-9), Mark Jones (15-14). In the ladies equivalent the Yetton Plate ISCA defeated Northampton 58-54. The Liberty Trophy final takes place tomorrow as Cumbria and Devon go head to head.


Sunderland ended their 37 years of competing in the Inter County league on a high with a 6-4 (70-60) win over bottom of the table South Shields, the win completes a decent final season with four wins out of six. Since the move to Houghton the Sunderland home squad have always struggled to get decent results with only 5 wins in 18 and sadly it was business as usual as the home squad went down by 13 shots. Eric Downes, Peter Thomson, Michael Davis and Pete Thomson were always in with a chance of a point against Gary Farquhar’s quartet but when trailing 12-10 Thomson’s quartet dropped five shots over the latter part of the game to leave Farquhar a 17-11 winner. Frankie Froud’s quartet of Bobby Usher, Billy Roberts and Richie Jobling were left to rue a slow start against Ian Riches as they trailed 9-2, despite getting a five on the 13th end to get back to 12-13 the Sunderland rink couldn’t get their noses in front and finished 20-13 down. At Shields it was a different story as the away squad produced a couple of cracking performances, George Brown, Michael Carr, Terry Todd and Stevie Angus got off to a flier leading 7-0 and were always in the lead against Arthur Harrison, despite getting pegged back to 13-11 Angus rallied and went onto to finish 21-13 up. The cream of the crop was the rink of Tony Grimes, Peter Brickle, John Jones and Phil Dixon, trailing 4-1 Dixon went onto to score 16 shots without reply to lead 17-4 and never looked back as they ran out comfortable 25-9 winners over Jaxon McKenna to leave the away squad 24 shots in credit which in turn secured the overall result.

Houghton ended their Inter County campaign with a cracking win 7-3 over Durham, down the A1 Jimmy McAdoo’s rink of Michael Wright, Freddie Fletcher and David Armstrong recovered from a 7-1 deficit to lead 9-7 however they only scored on one of the remaining ten ends to finish 22-10 down against Alan Musgrove.  The other squad of Joe Sutherland, Tom Patterson, Dan Todner and Alan J Dunn had a cracking 16-13 win over David Christie which left the away squad 9 shots adrift. At Houghton both home rinks recorded wins, Mal Baker, David Wright, Bryan Henderson (jnr) and Brian Henderson (snr) turned around a 12-9 deficit to go into the final end level at 16-16 against Phil Smithson, after four missed draws by the Durham backend Henderson picked up a four and a 20-16 win. The top rink was Ian Whorlton’s quartet of Keith Waterson, Jack Scullion and Peter Harding, with Whorlton playing out of his skin the Houghton rink romped to a 25-6 win over John Hutchinson to leave the home squad 23 shots in credit and secure a 14 shot win overall.

The club competitions at Houghton have recommenced as all the leagues have been completed, in the men’s singles Peter Thomson stayed on track for a third consecutive title with a 21-13 quarter final  win over Stevie Tindale, in the semi-finals Thomson will face Sam Patterson who defeated Brian Henderson (snr) 21-10. The 2012 winner Joe Sutherland moved into the semi-finals with an impressive 21-8 win over Patrick Thomson and will meet Peter Thomson (snr) who defeated Eddie McKeown 21-11. In the senior’s equivalent competition Frankie Froud took three hours to record a  21-20 win over defending champion Michael Wright to set up a final against Peter Thomson (snr) who in turn defeated Richie Jobling 21-13. Today the Senior Fours semi-finals take place with Billy Piggott facing Bob Johnson and Frankie Froud facing Terry Todd, the Senior pairs semi’s take place tomorrow morning with Billy Piggott facing Peter Brickle while Alan J Dunn will be attempting to stop Frankie Froud’s attempt of a third consecutive pairs title. Next week will see three ladies finals completed, on Monday Norma Stephenson and Ellen Faith lock horns in the singles and on Tuesday Stephenson is joined by Maureen Hall in the pair’s final against Sheila Moody and Margaret Eggleston. On Wednesday the final of the Mixed Pairs takes place, Billy Piggott and Ellen Faith will try to end the hold that Joan Watt and Billy Laidler have on the title as they look to make it four on the trot. The ladies triples final has already been played with Margaret Metcalfe, Joan Baker and Ellen Faith coming out on top against Maureen Hall, Audrey Vout and Norma Stephenson.

The Seniors Premier League title was decided at Ferryhill this week, long time leaders Gateshead A avoided defeat against Stanley A to secure the title, the Houghton trio of John Doyle, Peter Harding and Terry Todd ended their campaign with a cracking 20-10 win over Gateshead B, that result saw Houghton finish a very respectable fourth in the table.    
The first part of the seasons National Championships came to a close with both singles competitions at Melton Mowbray, sadly there was no national glory for the regions representatives. In the men’s event Hartlepool’s Glenn Skipp saw his hopes dashed in the last sixteen after narrowly going down 21-20 to Bedford Borough’s Russell Thompson 21-20, in the ladies singles Hartlepool’s Lauren Mosley enjoyed wins over Lincoln’s Penny Strong 21-14 and King George’s Diane Double 21-8 before succumbing in the semi-finals 21-14 to eventual winner St Neot’s Michelle Barlow 21-14.

Norfolk ladies retained the ladies Atherley Trophy after defeating Kent 100-82, this was Norfolk’s fourth Atherley title. The final of the mixed Egham Trophy was played at Boston and it was the strong Torquay Utd squad that took the title with a 27 shot win over South Shield’s conquerors Lincoln.

The National band waggon moves onto Nottingham this week as the seniors take centre stage. In the singles South Shield’s Alan Lawton faces Exonia’s Kevin Phillips while Stanley’s Brian Harris & David Webb face Banister Park’s Brian Barber in the pairs. The Over 50 triples will see South Shield’s Dave Paterson, Ian Riches and Alan Lawton take on Hounslow’s Ron Leleux while in the Over 60 Fours the Gateshead quartet of Brian Orrell, Brian Poulter, Robert Graham and George Hackett take on Scunthorpe’s Alec Mullin. The ladies equivalent events run alongside the men’s, local hopes are carried in the pairs by West Denton’s Norma Craig and Ann Lennie.
Darlington men will look to secure a fourth Denny Plate title as they face Wellingborough tomorrow in the final at Nottingham, while in the 2 bowl singles Hartlepool’s Matty Ray faces Cyphers Michael Cheeseman in the last sixteen.

Durham’s Gary Smith heads to Wellingborough tomorrow looking to collect a few more ranking points in the latest Open Singles Circuit event, only the top 32 players are guaranteed a spot in the Grand Final’s weekend in November, defending champion Smith has already collected one title last month at Worksop month and is currently ranked 33 so needs a decent run here or at Hartlepool next weekend to break into the top 32.     

With the outdoor season only a couple of weeks away there was some sad news for the Roker Park club as John Wilson (92) sadly passed away, John was a very popular member of not only the Roker club but amongst his fellow bowlers and even at the tender age of 92 still knew the way to the jack, he was a gentlemen on and off the green and will be missed. Former Durham County President Bill Howie has also sadly passed away, Bill was county president in 2004 and was a member of the Eldon Grove bowls club.


The National Championships are currently being held at Melton Mowbray with plenty of regional interest. There was however heartache for the South Shield’s quartet of Phil Dixon, Mal Peach, Gary Farquhar and David Bolt as their hopes of national glory were dashed at the semi-final stage of the fours competition. A comfortable 23-6 last sixteen win over Westlecott’s Neil Smith was followed by another comfortable 19-8 quarter final win over Spalding’s Mathew Orrey which in turn set up a semi-final against Kingsthorpe’s Jamie Walker. With Bolt leading 8-7 at ten ends the momentum turned as Kingsthorpe opened up a 15-10 lead with three ends to play, going into the last end Bolt trailed 16-12 but held three shots with a bowl to come, however Bolt’s hopes of an extra end were dashed as his final bowl just failed to make the count leaving the Shield’s lads on the wrong end of a 16-15 score line. It will be of little consolation to the Shield’s quartet that there conquerors went onto win the final 16-12 against the fancied Exonia rink skipped by internationalist Jamie Chestney. In the Ladies equivalent the Durham quartet of Sandra Hind, Faye Slinn, Eileen Horan and Anne Bernard had a cracking 21-6 win over Lincoln’s Penny Strong before succumbing in the last eight 14-11 to Desborough’s former England star Mary Price. There was disappointment in the men’s triples as the Hartlepool trio of Carl Higgins, Marc Squirrell and Paul Hartley lost their opener 14-9 to eventual runners up Bedford Borough’s Alex Walton, the title went to Riverain’s Tony Webb. The Ladies triples final went to the wire as Ipswich’s Katherine Rednall steered her triple to a last end 16-15 win. In the men’s pairs Hartlepool’s Carl Higgins & Paul Hartley hopes were ended in the semi-finals as they were beaten 21-13 by Blackpool’s Mark Dawes, earlier Hartley defeated Adur’s David Hubbard on an extra end and then defeated Bound Green’s Lee Barber 19-11, the title went to Huntingdon’s Nicky Brett, meanwhile the ladies pair’s title went to Swale’s Sandy Hazell. The ladies Vivienne Trophy went to Palmerston after a 61-55 win over Lincoln. The two blue riband events the men’s and ladies singles conclude the week of action, locally Hartlepool’s Glenn Skipp will look for a first National Singles title as he faces Bedford Borough’s Robert Thompson while club mate Lauren Mosley fresh from being named player of the Ladies home international series opens up against Lincoln’s Penny Strong. The Under 25 Inter County double fours title went to Devon who narrowly beat Lincolnshire 34-31 while at the other end of the age spectrum Norfolk took the Over 60’s Liberty Trophy with a 107-79 win over Kent.

The final round of Inter County matches take place tomorrow with all three local sides in action. Houghton will still need a few points from their final game against second placed Durham to avoid relegation, with Sunderland dropping out next season there may be only one relegated.
Houghton have selected the following squad –
At Houghton – M.Baker, D.Wright, B.Henderson (jnr), B.Henderson (snr), K.Waterson, J.Scullion, P.Harding, I.Whorlton
At Durham – J.Sutherland, T.Patterson, D.Todner, AJ.Dunn, M.Wright, F.Fletcher, D.Armstrong, J.McAdoo

After 37 years of competing in the Inter County league Sunderland will bring down the curtain against South Shield’s. During the eighties Sunderland dominated the league winning the title on five occasions and runners up on another, the nineties brought three more successes and three more runners up spots however the noughties has been spent battling to avoid the drop as a couple of Division two titles demonstrates. The clubs last top flight title was in 1995 but they are still the only club to have won the top division four years on the trot. Over those 37 years some of the legends of indoor bowls in Sunderland have represented the club in the Inter County league, the Lambert brothers, John Thurlbeck, Ted Hanger, Gerry Smyth, Jacky Barnes, Walter Newton, Danny Bell, Gary Smith and David Bolt to name a few, although it may be the end competing in the league the club name will still feature in the EIBA yearbook as a fully paid member as this will keep open any funding avenues in the unlikely event of a venue springing up over the next 12 months, the sixteen players selected for the final game are as follows
At Houghton – E.Downes, P.Thomson (snr), M.Davis, P.Thomson, R.Usher, W.Roberts, R.Jobling, F.Froud
At Shields – G.Brown, MCarr, T.Todd, S.Angus, A.Grimes, P.Brickle, J.Jones, P.Dixon

The Shields team is as follows
At Houghton – P.Hart, E.Weightman, K.Taylor, G.Farquhar, E.McCord, K.Thompson, D.Wilson, I.Riches
At Shields – M.Baker, J.Drummond, P.Sainthouse, J.McKenna, I.Scott, I.McFarlane, R.Cragg, A.Harrison

It is hoped that following Sunderland’s demise that next season Houghton may take up the slack by entering an extra team in the Inter County League and the Seniors League, to date there are 42 names for the Inter County and 43 for the Seniors.

Houghton’s Vets A team’s hopes of lifting a first play-off title were crushed in the quarter finals after they were well beaten 5-0 at last year’s runners up the Parks A, in fact the latter went one better as the Parks took the title for the first time since 2011 with a 4-1 win at host club Darlington B.

Play-Off results –
Q/Finals - South Shields 1-4 Hartlepool A, Shildon 1-4 Durham B, Darlington B 5-0 Darlington A, Parks A 5-0 Houghton A
S/Finals (at Darlington)  - Hartlepool A 0-5 Parks A, Durham B 1-4 Darlington B
Final (at Darlington) – Parks A 4-1 Darlington B

The remaining three County Champion of Champions finals were played at Hartlepool last weekend, the Stanley duo of Brett Arkley and John Thurlbeck added to their 2014 success with a 19-8 win over Aycliffe’s 2009 champions David Quickmire and Barry Attwood. The Stanley completed a double as they were joined by James McKenna and Ian Peacock to retain the fours title with a 21-12 win over Gateshead’s George Hackett. The triples crown went to Shildon’s Billy Maddison after defeating Aycliffe’s Barry Attwood 13-6.

The final round of the Seniors Premier League fixtures takes place on Thursday at Ferryhill, locally Houghton’s John Doyle, Terry Todd and Peter Harding will look to end the season on a high as they take on Gateshead B, the title will head to Gateshead A provided they avoid defeat against Stanley A.
The Durham County Women’s Indoor Bowling Association will hold its annual general meeting on Saturday May 6 at Hartlepool 1030am

As the outdoor season approaches the league has lost its first casualties as New Herrington have withdrawn from the Swan Cup Division 2 and Barnes Park A have dropped out of the Harold Howey Division 2. Finally after months of waiting the council have finally arranged a meeting with the outdoor clubs, the club secretaries will attend a meeting on Thursday 4pm at the Civic Centre in Meeting Room 2 where they will be issued with the new licences and the future of some venues should be finalised.  


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