Houghton bounced back to Inter-Club League winning ways with a narrow success against bottom-of-the-table Gateshead A.
After their heavy loss to leaders Hartlepool, the Houghton lads squeezed home by five shots overall, despite having just one winning rink.
At Gateshead, both Houghton squads put in spirited performances in defeat.
Trevor Joicey, Jack Scullion, Stevie Tindale and Alan J. Dunn were left to rue a dropped five in the middle of the game as they went down 17-13 to Tom Pope.
Jimmy McAdoo’s quartet of Michael Wright, David Wright and David Armstrong dropped four on the penultimate end to succumb 18-14. Overall, the away squad ended eight shots in arrears.
At Houghton, Keith Waterson, Freddie Fletcher, Peter Harding and Ian Whorlton were a touch unlucky to be pipped 17-16 by Bill Watson, however the overall match was decided by a five star performance by Mal Baker, Peter Hicks, Bryan Henderson and Brian Henderson snr.
After storming 14-1 up at the halfway stage against Bob Charlton, the Henderson quartet eased to a match-winning 22-8 victory which left the home squad 13 shots up and sealed a 65-60 overall win, although the match points were shared 5-5.
Other results confirmed Hartlepool as champions after a 6-4 win over The Parks. Durham defeated South Shields 10-0 while Sunderland had their bye.
In the final round of matches on April 2, Houghton face Durham, while Sunderland will bow out of the league against South Shields.
Latest standings – Hartlepool played 5 pts 43½, Durham 5-31, Sunderland 5-23½, Parks 5-23, Houghton 5-22½, Gateshead A 5-18½, South Shields 4-8
Houghton Ladies ended their Inter-Club League season on a low note as they were comprehensively beaten 126-76 by Great Aycliffe.
Only one Houghton squad returned a winning card.
At Aycliffe, the three away rinks made a decent fist of it.
Doreen Fenwick, M. Glover, Gwen Eltingham and Joan Baker secured the only win (17-14) over E. Hugill, while Jenny Smith’s rink of Jenny Hume, Evelyn Barkes and Margaret Metcalfe were unlucky to go down 16-12 to Susan Young.
The remaining squad of Maureen Hall, Margaret Eggleston, Audrey Vout and Norma Stephenson were always playing catch-up and the game just slipped away over the final six ends as they were beaten 19-9 by Esther Helm.
Overall, the away squad finished 11 shots adrift, however the wheels came off at home in spectacular fashion.
Ellen Faith’s rink of Betty Prudhoe, Eleanor Barren and Brenda Robson missed out in a high scoring 22-20 loss to Ann Ritchie, but the other two squads had afternoons to forget.
Audrey Latimer, Hala Collingwood, Ann Banks and Florence Phythian were beaten 29-10 by Janette Rogers and Susan Forster’s quartet of Joan Watt, Ruth Turnbull and Betty Johnson were crushed 26-8 by Julie Robinson.
That left the home squad 39 shots down and sealed a 50-shot defeat overall.
Houghton hosted another two County Champions of Champions ladies finals and it proved another fruitful day for Durham’s Ann Bernard.
After already securing the triples and fours titles, Bernard completed a full house by adding the singles and pairs championships.
In the singles final, Bernard was pushed all the way by South Shields’ Marilyn Robson, with Bernard recovering from 19-16 down to take the title 21-19.
The pairs final was a more straightforward affair. With Sandra Hinds at lead, the Durham pair cruised to a 25-6 victory over Jane Hewitson.
The men’s Senior Champion of Champions finals were completed at Darlington this week, with Stanley collecting three titles and South Shield’s one.
Stanley’s Alan Stewart defeated Aycliffe’s Brian Hutchinson in the singles, while Stanley’s Jimmy McKinney and David Webb saw off Shildon’s Ken Wlaker & Bill Maddison 17-12 to take the pairs.
The triples also went to Stanley as Tom Duffy, D.Haggath and David Webb beat Aycliffe’s Fred Edwards 17-9.
Shields’ Ebby Dent, Fred Knubley, Bobby Graham and Billy Ferry claimed the fours crown, outgunning Aycliffe’s Stuart Land 23-10.
The main four Champions of Champions finalists are all known and will be staged at Hartlepool on Sunday, March 26.
Singles final: David Bolt (Shields) v Bill Maddison (Shildon), 10am start
Pairs final: Brett Arkley (Stanley) v David Quickmire (Aycliffe), 10am start
Triples final: Bill Maddison (Shildon) v David Quickmire (Aycliffe), 2pm start
Fours final: Brett Arkley (Stanley) v Brian Poulter (Gateshead), 2pm start
The area final of the National singles took place at Ferryhill last weekend and there was sweet revenge for Hartlepool’s Glenn Skipp.
He claimed a 21-18 win over Durham’s Gary Smith, avenging his defeat in the actual national final in 2008. He now meets Bedford’s Russell Thompson in the last 16 at the National Championships at Melton Mowbray next month.
In the fours area final, the South Shields quartet of Mal Peach, Phil Dixon, Gary Farquhar and David Bolt secured a place at the Nationals after beating Hartlepool’s Paul Hartley 22-16.
In the last 16, Bolt will face Westlecott’s Neil Smith.
South Shields’ Alan Lawton defeated Shildon’s Billy Maddison 21-17 in the Over-60s singles area final, and will now face Exonia’s Kevin Phillips in the last 16.
Gateshead’s Brian Orrell secured a place in the latter stages of the Over-60s fours after a 20-17 area final win over Aycliffe’s Fred Edwards.
The Liberty Trophy final will be between Cumbria and Devon.
In the semi-finals, Cumbria needed an extra end to edge past Leicestershire 93-92, while Devon convincingly defeated Northants 110-95.
The ladies equivalent event, the Atherley Trophy, will see Norfolk take on Kent in the final.
In the Egham Trophy, Lincoln, earlier conquerors of South Shields, reached the final with a 15-shot win over Victory. They face Torquay United in the final.
Disability Bowls England have selected the squad to represent England in the Home Nations Championships at Newport on March 21-23, with Sunderland’s Stevie Angus included in the B7 category.
The men’s and ladies British Isles Championships and Home International Series got underway yesterday in Belfast.
Locally, South Shields’ David Bolt will feature in the men’s series at third bowl to Exonia’s Jamie Chestney.
England will be looking for a third consecutive series win, while, in the ladies event, England will be looking to regain the title after Scotland ended a seven-year reign last year in Llanelli.
There was some sad news for the outdoor game with the news that Spennymoor legend Billy Condron passed away.
As many of the region’s competitive bowlers will acknowledge, Billy was one of the best players in the county and was a vital part in Durham’s only Middleton Cup success in 2000. He was also featured in many Liberty Trophy successes.