Last season the newly named Houghton Sancroft Seniors squad made the end of season league play offs and hopes were high of repeating that feat this season however they have made a losing start to this season’s campaign. Hosting Stanley at Houghton the Sancroft squad were beaten 4-1 (42-34), the only winning rink was that of George Brown, Trevor Joicey, David Wright and Terry Todd who turned around a 8-1 deficit to beat former County skip Dave Webb 16-10. Sadly the other two rinks were beaten, Joe Sutherland, Brian Race, David Sim and Ian Whorlton were always playing catch up against Derek Craig and eventually succumbed to a 16-11 defeat, Peter Thomson (snr), Jimmy Swinney, John Jones and Frankie Froud were also chasing the game against Billy Bell and went down 16-7. So a disappointing start to the season, Sancroft’s next game isn’t until November 9 as they host The Parks B.

The future of one of the other Houghton seniors squads Houghton Gilpin was looking bleak due a lack of names however they managed to get a team selected for the home game against Hartlepool A but due to a mix up with the dates the game wasn’t played, it has however been rearranged for this Wednesday, the following team has been selected.
D.Robson, P.Robinson, W.Longley, R.Thorpe, P.Noble, F.Sanderson, D.Gibson, W.Roberts, E.Downes, A.Gregory, C.Wallace, R.Robson
Reserve – K.Waterson

The third Houghton squad – Kepier; entertain Hartlepool B on Thursday 1230, the following team has been selected
S.Barnes, P.Taylor, R.Pattinson, F.Kell, P.Hicks, I.Richinson, T.Baister, R.Johnson, A.Grimes, A.Newton, A.Glover, M.Moore
Reserves – GW.Charlton, J.Eggleston

Tomorrow will see a local derby at Houghton as the Inter County league gets underway, with Sunderland not competing Houghton entered an extra team and renamed them to Gilpin & Kepier, the two clash in the the season opener. The following teams have been selected
Kepier – A.Grimes, A.Wood, G.Brown, R.Thorpe, J.Doyle, T.Williamson, T.Joicey, G.Wallace, E.Downes, P.Thomson (snr), TW.Todd, P.Thomson (jnr), M.Wright, A.Patterson, J.McAdoo, R.Mckie
Gilpin – M.Baker, S.Patterson, D.Wright, B.Henderson (snr), J.Sutherland, D.Armstrong, B.Henderson (jnr), AJ.Dunn, R.Usher, F.Fletcher, I.Whorlton, F.Froud, M.Noble, T.Patterson, M.Davis, J.Jones

The new Top Ten league got underway last weekend as Houghton made the trip down the A1 to face Darlington, the format features singles, pairs, triples and a fours with two points for a win and a bonus one point for the overall aggregate. Despite a gallant effort Houghton went down 6-4, in the singles Bryan Henderson recovered from 19-10 down to take the singles points while Tony Grimes, Brian Henderson (snr) and Peter Thomson (jnr) took the triples however defeats for Peter Brickle in the pairs and Terry Todd saw the overall aggregate slip away. Next for Houghton is a home tie against Durham on October 14 with the following squad
Singles – P.Thomson (jnr), Pairs – M.Wright & D.Todner, Triples – A.Grimes, F.Froud, B.Henderson, Fours – F.Fletcher, M.Carr, S.Tindale, TW.Todd

There has been a change in the selected Houghtonian’s Over 60’s Double Fours squad for the game against Stanley in November, David Wright replaces Michael Carr at second, the new look team is as follows
At Houghton – P.Thomson, F.Johnson, F.Froud, P.Harding
At Stanley – J.Sutherland, David Wright, F.Fletcher, TW.Todd

Houghton ladies are due to play South Shield’s in the first round of the Yetton Trophy next Saturday, the two rink home and away format requires 16 players however currently only 14 names are on the nomination sheet. The following week the Houghton ladies return to Inter Club action as they face Ferryhill, apparently the format for league has changed to two rinks home and away.
The Durham County Seniors open their 2017 campaign with the traditional game against Yorkshire for the John Dodsworth Trophy, locally Houghton’s Frankie Froud will make his first appearance at this level albeit at the unusual position of leading in, last season Durham won 110-99 but make 12 changes to that winning team for the game at Scarborough.
P.Barron (Gt Aycliffe), J.Potter (Gt Aycliffe), F.Edwards (Grt Aycliffe), B.Attwood (Grt Aycliffe), F.Froud (Houghton), B.Craggs (Shields), R.Robinson (Durham), W.Dixon (Durham), A.Mole (Hartlepool), A.Taylor (Hartlepool), D.Oram (Hartlepool), G.Alderson (Stanley), T.Griffiths (Shields), S.Clarke (Gt Aycliffe), A.Stephenson (Darlington), A.Hind (Ferryhill), K.Minnis (Durham), D.McDonald (Gt Aycliffe), B.Houghton (Stanley), W.Routledge (Durham), M.Robinson (Durham), S.Land (Gt Aycliffe), J.Hutchinson (Durham)
Reserves – A.Musgrove (Durham), R.Metcalfe (Ferryhill), S.Krimpen (Durham), M.Baines (Darlington)

The remaining outdoor event the Houghton Feast Open Singles gets underway today, 43 players have entered the competition which will culminate with the final next Saturday, defending champion Leadgate’s David Warnaby faces North Biddick’s Billy Piggot in the first round this afternoon.

Bowls England has named two new caps in its team to participate in the BIBC International Series at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa, on Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July 2018.
Ben Render (Yorkshire), Andrew Knapper (Berkshire), Tom Millership (Warwickshire) & Jamie Walker (Northamptonshire), John Rednall (Suffolk), Matt Marchant (Hampshire), Chris Gale (Lancashire) & Robert Paxton (Devon), Steve Mitchinson (Essex), John McGuinness (Buckinghamshire), Ian Lesley (Devon) & Jamie Chestney (Devon), Lee Haywood (Devon), Louis Ridout (Devon), Chris Yeomans (Northumberland) & David Bolt (Durham), Ashley Clipston (Derbyshire), Taylor Monk (Kent), Mark Read (Cornwall) & Sam Tolchard (Devon);
Ollie Lucas (Devon), Andrew Walters (Worcestershire), Alex Walton (Cambridgeshire) & Stephen Farish (Cumbria). Reserves : James Amery (Somerset), Marcus Clifton (Leicestershire), David Forster (Cumbria), Travis Meller (Isle of Wight), Edward Morris (Essex), Martin Spencer (Lincolnshire)

Bowls England has named three new caps in its team to participate in the BIWBC International Series at Belmont Bowls Club in Belfast from Sunday 17th to Tuesday 19th June 2018.
Donna Brookes (Buckinghamshire), Margaret Smith (Surrey), Annalisa Dunham (Lincolnshire) and Ellen Falkner (Cambridgeshire), Imogen Jenner (Kent), Michelle Moore (Cornwall), Michelle Coleman (Huntingdonshire) and Wendy King (Kent), Kirsty Richards (Warwickshire), Amy Walters (Worcestershire), Stef Branfield (Somerset) and Amy Gowshall (Lincolnshire), Rebecca Field (Norfolk), Debbie Seward (Surrey), Katherine Hawes (Oxfordshire) and Natalie Chestney (Devon), Laura Holden (Somerset), Jamie-Lea Winch (Leicestershire), Lorraine Kuhler (Sussex) and Sian Honnor (Kent), Katherine Rednall (Suffolk), Harriet Stevens (Devon), Sophie Tolchard (Devon) and Rebecca Wigfield (Northamptonshire). Reserves : Amy Banes (Kent), Kirsty Hembrow (Somerset), Carol Baxter (Cumbria), Jo Skelton (Derbyshire), Lorraine Hackett (Devon), Katie Smith (Northamptonshire)

Bowls England has announced the 16 young players invited to attend its Academy Weekend on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th May 2018. The Academy Weekend, which is supported by Junior International Team Managers and International Selectors, is designed to improve performance through a series of practical and theoretical sessions.
Maddie Burgess (Worcestershire); Harry Cater (Norfolk); Imogen Cracknell (Somerset); Harvey Griffiths (Worcestershire); Robyn Hall (Bedfordshire); Isaac Jenner (Kent); Max McKinnon (Hertfordshire); Ajay Morphett (Sussex); Olivia Moulton (Kent); Hannah Smith (Warwickshire); Jordan Ward (Warwickshire); Isobel White (Worcestershire); Danielle Wild (Lincolnshire); Alisdair Williams (Cornwall); Jasmine Wilson (Essex); Tom Wheeler (Warwickshire). Reserves : Jack Bunting (Hertfordshire); Laurence Collins (Derbyshire); Kara Little (Wiltshire); Katie Sturtridge (Cornwall)


There was a disappointing start to the County Women’s Inter club campaign for Houghton Ladies as they narrowly lost their opening fixture against Gateshead by six shots overall. Last season Houghton finished fifth in the seven team league while Gateshead were winless at the foot of the table and hopes were high of making a winning start but it was not to be. Across the six rinks Houghton only managed two winning rinks, at Gateshead Norma Stephenson steered her quartet to victory which saw the away rinks finish level however at Houghton only Jenny Smith’s rink recorded a win as the home squad went down by six shots overall, points wise it was 7-3 in Gateshead’s favour, next up is Ferryhill on October 11.

The Seniors Inter club league got underway last week however things stalled at Houghton as both planned games were cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, with Sunderland not competing and after getting enough interest it was decided to enter a third Houghton team, unfortunately off the green issues caused both planned Houghton Sancroft and Houghton Kepier games to be called off.  On Tuesday Houghton Gilpin are due to host Hartlepool A but at the moment only three names are on the nomination sheet so that game looks in doubt and another cancellation might raise questions over the need for a third team while Houghton Sancroft can pick from sixteen nominations as they entertain Stanley on Thursday, Houghton Kepier have twelve nominations for their game against Hartlepool B on October 5.
In the national Over 60’s Double fours there are two squads entered from Houghton with one going under the Houghtonians name to differentiate them, the following squads have been selected

Houghtonians v Stanley (Tuesday November 7) 1030am start
(At Houghton) P.Thomson, F.Johnson, F.Froud, P.Harding
(at Stanley) J.Sutherland, M.Carr, F.Fletcher, TW.Todd 

Houghton v South Shields (Tuesday November 28) 1030am start
(At Houghton) G.Brown, R.Usher, R.Thorpe, M.Davis
(At Shields) K.Waterson, E.Downes, B.Johnson, H.Shields

The Durham County women’s Atherley Trophy team have been drawn to face Lincolnshire in the first round of this season’s competition, included in the provisional squad are four Houghton players – Maureen Hall, Norma Stephenson, Jenny Smith and Joan Baker. There are two practice games at South Shields (October 14) and Houghton (November 19) before the final team will be finalised for the game against Lincolnshire at Scarborough in November.

The draw has been made for the Women’s County Champion of Champions competitions and are as follows.
Singles – S.Young (Aycliffe) v J.Pattison (Darlington), A.Bernard (Durham) v E.Faith (Houghton), M.Charles (Gateshead) v K.Liddle (Hartlepool)

Pairs – M.Charles (Gateshead) v C.Budd (Durham), J.Rogers (Aycliffe) v S.Pattison (Darlington), N.Stephenson (Houghton) v J.Wilton (Hartlepool)

Triples – M.Newton (Gateshead) v J.Ridpath (Hartlepool), A.Bernard (Durham) v E.Faith (Houghton), J.Pattison (Darlington) v S.Young (Aycliffe)

Fours – J.Pattison (Darlington) or A.Bernard (Durham) v M.Taylor (Hartlepool), D.Kelly (Gateshead) v S.Young (Aycliffe)

There is a new Top Ten league this season, disappointingly only five of the areas indoor clubs are supporting the venture – Darlington, Houghton, Durham, Ferryhill, Stanley and Houghton. The first fixtures take place today as Darlington entertain Houghton and Durham entertain Stanley, the Houghton squad for the trip to Darlington is as follows
Singles – B.Henderson (jnr)
Pairs – D.Todner & P.Brickle
Triples – A.Grimes, P.Thomson (snr), B.Henderson (snr)
Fours – M.Wright, D.Wright, F.Fletcher, TW.Todd

The battle to break into the televised events gets underway next weekend as Carlisle hosts the regional qualifiers for the Scottish International Open and the International Open. Both events have attracted 64 players with the following local hopes in action – Alex Bryden (Hebburn), Ian Riches (Shields), Michael Laydon (Durham), Gary Smith (Durham), Phil Dixon (Shields), James Sneller (Shields), David Bolt (Shields), Ian McIntosh (Shields), Vinnie O.Neill (Hartlepool), Josh Minto (Shields), Josh Halcrow (Hartlepool), Paul Hartley (Hartlepool), Paul Sainthouse (Shields), Brett Arkley (Stanley)

The England U18 squad ended the outdoor season on a high with a 17-7 win over Wales in the annual Test match played at Clevedon, Somerset, last weekend, this completed a cracking season internationally for Bowls England after already securing both Home International series at men and women’s level.

The only remaining outdoor event locally is the Houghton Feast, despite the issues that the host club Houghton Town have had with the playing surface the event gets underway next weekend with the final due to be played in two week’s time. One of the many council owned greens that have deteriorated over recent years have been Barnes Park (pictured right) and Barnes West End, with financial cuts the amount of time that the greenkeepers have been allocated doesn’t cater for any TLC to the greens, however work has been going on to try and improve both playing surfaces. The Barnes Park green this season when wet was at times unsafe in places and after consultations between the club and the council an action plan was put in place, over the past couple of weeks the green has been hollow tined, scarified and had a complete top soil covering added, this process will be repeated on Barnes West End and then the greens will be put to bed for the winter.  


The Northern Counties championships were held at Gosforth last weekend and it turned out to be a cracking two days for the Durham County champions as they collected three titles and were runners up in another two. In the Pairs the Silksworth combination of Gary Farquhar and David Bolt were in impressive form all day and took the title with a 20-12 win over Northumberland’s Les & Chris Yeomans, this was Farquhar’s first Northern Counties success while it was Bolts added this success to his 2007 win alongside Paul Baker. Sadly in the Triples final the Silksworth duo alongside Phil Dixon were beaten in the final by Yorkshire’s Stephen Dilks, Craig Baker and Scott Walton. Elm Tree’s David Fenwick joined an elite band of Durham players by completing a full set of Northern Counties titles with a win in the singles, in the final Fenwick was in awesome form and ran out an impressive 21-5 winner against Yorkshire’s Scot Walton, as a county this was the third consecutive win in the singles. Durham’s third title came in the Fours when the Leadgate quartet of David Reed, David Warnaby, Ian Peacock and Garry Robson defeated Yorkshire’s Mick Baker, Shaun Wells, Dominic Kelly and Nigel Brignall. Durham ‘s other runner up spot came in the Two Bowl Singles where Stockton’ Mark Hodgson was unlucky to lose the final on an extra end to Cumbria’s Kevin Harrison.

Other Winners
Under 25 Singles – Callum Hodgson (Cumbria)
Under 25 Rinks – Lewis Rimmer, Daniel Catterall Jack Lockhart, John Yates (Lancashire)

On show tomorrow at Gosforth will be some of the best Under 25 players as the annual Northern Counties Select face the Scottish Young Bowlers Association in the Federation Cup, within the Northern Counties team Durham have Silkworth’s Jaxon McKenna and Norton’s Jennifer Parkin playing, the match starts at 1.45pm

The final Sunderland & District league game of the season saw already crowned champions Barnes West End defeat Washington Glebe 4-0 in the Howey first division, the West End lads final winning margin at the top was 8½ points and they will look for a third consecutive title next season. Fair play to the Sunderland & District as they are now looking for feedback from clubs on the preferred league formats, it is now down to the clubs to respond via the league secretary so a favourable solution can proposed at the AGM in November.

Final League Standings

Earl Cup Division One
Silksworth 63½, Barnes WE 55½, Roker Marine 55½, Barnes Park 41, Houghton DL 40½, Hetton Workmen’s 25, Houghton Town 13

Division Two
Usworth 55½, Hylton CW 53, Seaham Town 51, South Hylton 40, Whitburn 36½, Roker Park 36, Thompson Park 22

Division Three
North Biddick 60, Washington 53½, Ryhope 52½, Sunderland 40½, Pemberton 33, Grindon Mill 31½, New Herrington 23

Swan Cup Division One
Houghton DL 92½, Silksworth 89½, Roker Marine 84½, Barnes WE 74½, Barnes Park 63½, Hetton Workmen’s 61½, Seaham Town 56½, Houghton Town 46, Usworth 43½, Thompson Park 18

Division Two
North Biddick 68½, South Hylton 64½, Hylton CW 59, Roker Park 53, Washington 49½, Ryhope 39½, Grindon Mill 31½, Pemberton 26½

Harold Howey Division One
Barnes WE 56½, Houghton DL B 49, Barnes Park 47, Silksworth 44, Washington Glebe B 42, Houghton DL A 40½, Roker Park 40, Seaham Town A 35, Hetton Workmens 34, Ryhope B 31½, North Biddick A 27½, South Hylton 27, Hylton CW A 25½, Hylton CW B 25, Ryhope A 24½, Roker Marine 22, Thompson Park 21, Chester le Street 20

Division Two
Houghton Town 48, Whitburn 44, Wearmouth 40½, Washington Glebe A 36, Houghton Town B 35, North Biddick B 30½, Pennywell 29, Pemberton B 28½, Sunderland A 28, Pemberton A 26½, Thompson Park A 25, Dawdon 24, Roker Marine B 23, New Herrington 22½, Sunderland B 21½, South Hetton 18

Storey Bowl
Seaham Town 93, Hetton Workmen’s 92½, Houghton Town 74½, Hylton CW 64½, Roker Park 49½, Dawdon 42½, Wearmouth 31½, Thompson Park 29, Pennywell 27

England missed out on a clean sweep of Home International Series titles in 2017 as Men’s U25 team failed to add to the success recorded by the Senior Men’s, Senior Women’s and Women’s U25 Teams earlier in the season. The England young guns went into the series at Llandrindod Wells, Wales, with an unbeaten record in the last four years and were strongly fancied to retain the title won 12 months. However defeats against both Scotland and Ireland ended any hopes of retaining their title although a win over host’s Wales in the final game did see them avoid the wooden spoon. This weekend it’s the turn of the U18 squad to try and defend their test series title against Wales at Clevedon Bowls club.

The first of the season’s indoor Open Singles Circuit event was held at South Shield last weekend, overall defending champion Durham’s Gary Smith hopes of a winning start to the new campaign were dashed in the second round, after a first round walk over Smith’s hopes were ended by club mate Mark Barkess 5-4,6-7,1-2. The title and the £750 first prize eventually went to Scarborough youngster Jack Bird who defeated Durham’s Andrew Barkess in the final 3-8,5-4,2-1.

The draw for this season’s Denny Cup has produced a couple of interesting ties, in the first round South Shield’s face Stanley while in the second round Durham face the Plate runners up Darlington, also in the second round Houghton face West Denton. In the ladies Yetton Trophy Houghton have been drawn against South Shield’s with the winners to play West Denton, the teams have also been drawn together in the mixed Egham Trophy. At County level Durham have a very rare home tie as they will host Cumbria at a venue yet to be decided. This season will see the return of a familiar face to the bowls scene as former Boldon & Sunderland star Russell Bewick returns to the game, Bewick will now play out of Durham alongside Gary Smith so it is quite ironic that the two have been drawn against each other in the first round of the national singles.


The remaining Sunderland & District final was held at Usworth this week as the delayed Burkett Shield final was played. The Hetton Workmen’s duo of Peter Harding and John Purdy were looking to complete a domestic double after clinching the Silver Jack pair’s title, they were joined by Terry Murphy in the final against the Silksworth trio of Eric Downes, Phil Dixon and David Bolt. It was the Silksworth squad who were quickest out of the traps as they raced into an 11-1 lead after only five ends, a Bolt treble on the 10th end extended the lead to 17-4 and despite a minor comeback by Purdy to 18-9 the writing was on the wall as Bolt ran out a 25-9 winner. The win was Eric Downes first success at this level and somewhat surprisingly it was also a first Burkett Shield title for both Dixon and Bolt, the Silksworth squad had another member Gary Farquhar and this will count as a first Burkett for him as well.  

The remaining relegation place in the Swan Cup first division was finally decided, Seaham Town’s 7-0 win over Thompson Park condemned Usworth to the second division.
Over the season there were 132 occasions where a team played short, Earl Cup (40), Swan Cup (42), Howey (34), Storey Bowl (16), a breakdown to club level is as follows -:
Thompson Park (34), Pemberton (17), Roker Park (16), Dawdon (14), Hetton Workmen (9), Grindon Mill (8), Seaham Town (7), Hylton CW & Washington (5), Ryhope, Sunderland, New Herrington, Silksworth, Houghton Town (2), Whitburn, South Hylton, Usworth, Barnes Park, Pennywell, South Hetton, Roker Marine, Barnes West End (1)

The list of league winners is as follows -:
Earl Cup Division One Champions – Silksworth, relegated Hetton Workmen and Thompson Park
Earl Cup Division Two Champions – Usworth, promoted Hylton Colliery Welfare, relegated Roker Park and Thompson Park
Earl Cup Division Three Champions – North Biddick, promoted Washington.
Swan Cup Division One Champions – Houghton Dairy Lane, relegated Usworth and Thompson Park
Swan Cup Division Two Champions – North Biddick, promoted South Hylton
Harold Howey Division One Champions – Barnes West End, relegated Thompson Park B and Chester le Street
Harold Howey Division Two Champions – Houghton Town A, promoted Whitburn
Storey Bowl Champions – Seaham Town

The destination of the Grindon League title has finally been confirmed as the only outstanding game left between Silksworth and South Hylton was played. Host club Silksworth only needed a point to secure the title, as it happens they ran out 5-0 winners by 26 shots overall to pip Houghton Dairy Lane by 3½ points, out of the 44 games played there were 7 occasions where a team played short.

Final Table – Silksworth 37, Houghton DL 33½, Whitburn 27½, Usworth 25, South Hylton 23, Barnes West End 19½, Grindon Mill 19, Wearmouth 18½, Hylton CW 16½, Pennywell 5.       

The popular Ashbrooke Funeral sponsored women’s Round Robin Pairs was played to a finish at Roker Park, twenty four pairs competed in round robin groups before a knock out finale. The winners were the Roker Marine duo of Marilyn Dodds and Grace Maxwell (pictured left), in the final they defeated the Whitburn pair of Brenda Harper and Muriel Felce 12-4.

A complete list of the various winners of the SWBA competitions is as follows –:
SWBA Rinks -  J.Graham, C.Hopper, J.Sykes, S.Almond (Sunderland)
SWBA Triples - J.Graham, J.Sykes  S.Almond (Sunderland)
SWBA Pairs - K.Hulley, A.Raine (Whitburn)
SWBA Singles - F.Rodenby (Whitburn)
Marjorie Marshall Trophy - B.Hardy, S.Wright, M.Mitchinson (Ryhope)
Champion of Champions - B.Forrest (Ryhope)
Round Robin Triples - M.Clarke, S.Maddison, B.Parkins (Sunderland)
Round Robin Pairs  - M. Dodds, G. Maxwell (Roker Marine
During those competitions the women raised £320 which will be will shared between St Benedict’s Hospice and The Great North Ambulance.

The National Championships thirty day bonanza at Leamington Spa produced lots of highs and lows for the Durham qualifiers but sadly no silverware returned north. The final hopes of success was in the Mixed Fours, a comfortable 27-6 last sixteen win over Surrey’s Mike McDonagh saw the Silksworth quartet of Nina Riches, Ann Upsall, Gary Farquhar and David Bolt face a quarter final against Essex’s Edward Morris, however an early dropped six left the Silksworth quartet playing catch up and they succumbed to a 25-14 loss, there will be little consolation to the Silksworth squad that Morris went onto to lift the title.

Bowls England have announced the trial team for next year’s home international series, there was good news for Silksworth’s David Bolt as he has avoided the trial and retained his place by being pre-selected straight into the team for the series in June at Leamington Spa.

The Durham County women’s Stella Logan team ended their season on a disappointing note as they were beaten by 36 shots overall by Yorkshire at Hemsley, the 9-1 point’s loss means Durham finish 4th in the five team group.

The outdoor season finale takes place at Gosforth today and tomorrow as the Northern Counties Championships take place, in today’s triples the Silksworth county champions of Phil Dixon, Gary Farquhar and David Bolt have landed in the prelim’s against Lancashire’s Chris Gale, the following day in the Pairs Farquhar and Bolt face a semi-final against Lancashire’s Gordon Niven, the action starts at 9.30am both days.

The first of the season’s Open Singles Circuit events started yesterday at South Shield’s and is played to a finish today; a field of 64 players are competing for the £750 first prize. Durham’s Gary Smith will be looking to get off to a flier before his attempt at defending his overall title at Potters in November, at Shield’s Smith faces J.Henderson in the first round.

The indoor season gets underway this weekend at Houghton as the various leagues commence, next week the Vet’s Inter Club leagues kick off. With Sunderland not competing in any county leagues Houghton have entered three teams and they have moved away from the ABC naming to names of local historical meaning – Gilpin, Kepier and Sancroft. In group two Houghton Gilpin have a bye, in group three Houghton Sancroft head to South Shields A and in group four Houghton Kepier entertain Hartlepool B.


The finals of the Champion of Champions took place at Usworth last Friday and we were guaranteed two new names would be added to the roll of honour. In the main final Whitburn’s Rob Craggs faced North Biddick’s Malcom Thompson, in a thrilling spectacle it was the Whitburn player who held his nerve to take the title 21-20 and claim his first Sunderland & District title, Thompson however will be left rueing a match winning position only for Craggs to catch a wing bowl to keep the game alive. In the Senior’s final Washington’s Trevor Joicey faced Hylton Colliery Welfare’s Eddie Middlemass, it was the Hylton stalwart that gathered momentum and looked all over the winner leading 19-11 but Joicey battled back to get within a couple before the sprightly Hylton player collected the needed single to seal a 21-17 victory and a first ever District title.

As the outdoor season enters the final furlong only a few league issues were left to be decided, in the Earl Cup division one Barnes West End’s 6-1 win over relegated Houghton Town ensured they finished runners-up albeit on shots difference over Roker Marine, West End’s 29½ shot win secured second place by just eight shots and is just rewards for a cracking season. With the second division already completed the remaining decision in the third division was who would get the second promotion place, in the only game left to play third placed Washington’s 6-1 win at Sunderland was enough to leap frog Ryhope and take the remaining promotion place by a single point.

As expected the Swan Cup title went to the wire, in their final game leaders Roker Marine suffered a 5-2 home loss to Houghton Town while holders Houghton Dairy Lane won 5-2 at Barnes Park, those results allowed Silksworth to open up a two point lead at the top following their 6-1 win against Usworth. The league title was decided the following day, in a rearranged winner takes all clash holders Dairy Lane defeated Silksworth 6-1 by seven shots to finish top overall by three points and retain their Swan Cup title for a 4th consecutive year. Meanwhile the earlier Houghton Town result combined with the Usworth loss ensured that despite all the issues with their home green Houghton Town saved themselves from relegation as they leap frog Usworth. In division two South Hylton finally secured the remaining promotion spot with a 6-1 home win over Roker Park.

The battle to avoid the drop in the Harold Howey was decided when some outstanding games were played this week, with Chester le Street already down the remaining place was between three teams, bottom of the table Thompson Park B gave themselves a chance of escaping with a 3-1 win over Washington and needed to beat Ryhope B in their final game to escape the drop, however a 3-1 home defeat means they are relegated by a half a point. The remaining promotion place out of the second division was secured by Whitburn, a 3½-½ win at Pemberton B was enough to hold off Wearmouth.

The Storey Bowl title was already in Seaham Town’s care but holders Hetton Workmen’s will be left thinking what might have been as a 7-0 win over Wearmouth left them half a point behind the winners. Roker Park finished off their campaign with a 6-1 win at Pennywell which leaves the latter bottom, Houghton Town defeated Dawdon 6-1 and Hylton Colliery had a good 7-0 win at Thompson Park.

The delayed Burkett Shield final will take place on Tuesday (5.30pm) at Usworth, Hetton Workmen’s Peter Harding and John Purdy will be looking for a double after their Silver Jacks Pairs win, Terry Murphy completes the Hetton line up as they face any three from Silksworth’s Eric Downes, Phil Dixon, Gary Farquhar and David Bolt.

The National Championships at Leamington Spa ends tomorrow, as reported last week the Silksworth trio of Phil Dixon, Gary Farquhar and David Bolt had reached the last sixteen in the triples however they were beaten 17-12 by Huntingdonshire’s Eric Baker. Farquhar & Bolt later returned for the Pairs and after an impressive first round 25-7 win over Somerset’s Dave Lawrence the Silksworth duo were beaten by eventual runners up Cumbria’s Ricky Gallagher 23-15, the other Durham hope Darlington RA’s Andrew Kirtland also lost in the second round 25-14 against Suffolk’s Mark Royal. The Two Bowl singles saw both Durham hopes reach the latter stages, local hope Roker Marine’s Patrick Thomson rattled off three wins against John Sweeney (Middlesex) 15-8, Luke Allaway (Bedfordshire) 16-7 and Lee Calver (Suffolk) 16-12 which set up a quarter final against Huntingdonshire’s Simon Leader. In a tense tie Thomson held his nerve to get home 16-14 after an extra end which left Oxfordshire’s Sam Watts standing in the way of a place in the final, trailing 14-9 with only three ends to play Thomson rallied and levelled the tie at 14-14 forcing an extra end, sadly the Marine player lost the extra end to go down 15-14, there was small consolation as Watts went onto to win the final. The other Durham hope Stockton’s Mark Hodgson reached the quarter finals before losing 14-11 to Derbyshire’s Ashley Clipston. In the blue riband event the four bowl singles both Durham hopes made early exits, Dunston’s Alex Bryden made it to the second round before losing 21-12 to Hertfordshire’s Ryan Atkins while Elm Tree’s David Fenwick narrowly missed out 21-20 in the first round to Surrey’s Al Vader, to show it’s a funny old game Vader was then beaten 21-1 in the next round by Notts Mark Housley who was then beaten 21-4 in the last sixteen. There still could be national glory as the Mixed Fours got underway yesterday, the Silksworth quartet of Nina Riches, Anne Upsall, Gary Farquhar and David Bolt face a Surrey quartet in the last sixteen.

The indoor season at Houghton gets underway on Friday with the Ladies Triples league, all the other leagues commence the following day, there are currently a few league vacancies – Ladies Monday 2.30pm Pairs (x2), Ladies Friday 2.30pm Triples (x2), Mixed Triples Wednesday 4.00pm (x4), Men’s Fours Sunday 10am (x2), anyone interested in filling one of those slots can contact club secretary Margaret Nicholson.

There are a few rule changes this season, nationally the Denny, Yetton, Egham and Liberty Trophy revert back to 21 ends or a 4 hour time limit, at county level the men’s interclub reverts to 21 ends or 3 hours with one shot on the first two ends and the Vets Interclub stays at 16 ends or 2 hours but now it is one shot on the first two ends. At club level all Houghton club competitions now have a no dead end rule and the jack is to be re-spotted, there is also a mobile phone rule whereby all mobiles must be switched to silent mode to prevent disturbance to other bowlers, club subscriptions must be paid before competing in a league game otherwise the result will be void, these are being collected starting from yesterday between 10am and 1230pm.

The first of the season’s Open Singles Circuit events takes place next Saturday at South Shield’s, a field of 64 players from around the county and further afield will battle it out for the £750 first prize, all spectators are welcome with the action starting at 8.30am with the final due to start around 9.30pm
































Site last updated : Friday October 19, 2018 12:17 PM