Bowls: Houghton on fire to halt high-flying rivals South Shields

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Houghton A produced a five-star performance to stun Senior Inter-Club League leaders South Shields with a storming 5-0 win in midweek.

Shields had only dropped a single rink point in their opening four games, but Houghton enjoyed a field day, with victories on all three rinks.

Ian Whorlton steered Pat Collins, Jimmy Swinney and David Wright to a cracking 21-14 win over Billy Ferry, while John Doyle, Jack Thuburn, Jack Scullion and Peter Harding turned round an 8-7 deficit against Alan Lawton to run out 14-8 winners.

The remaining rink of Joe Sutherland, Brian Race, Trevor Joicey and David Sim won 10 of the 16 ends to defeat Alan Cummings 14-10 and seal a 49-32 win.

Houghton end 2016 cemented in the second play-off spot and are only behind leaders Shields on shots difference. The new year will kick off with a trip to Stanley.

Latest Group Three standings: South Shields played 5 pts 19, Houghton A 5-19, Gateshead 4-9, Stanley B 4-5, Parks B 4-3

In Group Four, the Houghton B team ended 2016 still looking for their first win of the season. A trip to Hartlepool this week saw the Houghton lads put in a spirited performance only to go down 5-0 and remain rooted at the foot of the group.

Latest Group Four standings: Durham B 4-17, Hartlepool 5-14. Parks A 4-12, Gateshead B 4-9½, Houghton B 5-2½

The latest round of Inter-County League fixtures take place tomorrow, and Sunderland will need to be at their best, and a bit more, to get a result against last year’s unofficial winners, Hartlepool.

Houghton have their bye.

Sunderland team – at Houghton: A Grimes, K Armstrong, P Brickle, R Jobling; R Usher, I. Fairweather, W Roberts, F Froud; At Hartlepool: G Brown, M Carr, TW Todd, R Mckie; P Thomson, A Wood, J Jones, P Thomson

Latest standings: Hartlepool 1-10, Parks 2-10, Sunderland 2-9½, South Shields 1-7, Durham 1-7, Houghton 2-6½, Gateshead A 1-0

Houghton ladies’ Inter-County League team will bring 2016 to an end as they face Hartlepool on Wednesday (12.30pm start).

Houghton team – At Houghton: N Colling, J Classen, G Eltringham, J Rodgerson; J Watt, D Fenwick, J Brown, S Forster; B Prudhoe, M Eggleston, B Robson, E Faith; At Hartlepool: M Hall, E Barren, A Vout, N Stephenson; M Metcalf, R Turnbull, A Todd, F Phythian; J Hume, M Glover, J Baker, JB Smith

The local stage of this season’s national competitions continue to progress.

In the singles, the clash of the area’s top two players, Gary Smith (Durham) and David Bolt (South Shields), saw Smith halt a run of back-to-back singles defeats against Bolt with a majestic 21-5 win at Durham.

Smith’s reward will be a trip to either West Denton or South Shields in the next round.

In the pairs, Mark Higgins won an all-Durham affair against Joe Hutchinson and will now entertain Stanley’s Stevie Angus, who had a cracking 18-10 win at Shields against Billy Ferry.

Jaxon McKenna (Shields) ground out a cracking 17-14 win at The Parks against Ian Brown and will have home advantage in the next round against Stanley’s Brett Arkley.

In the triples, Arkley will have to make the trip to Shields to face Gary Farquhar, who had a good 19-14 away win over Stanley’s Gary Robson.

Houghton’s Peter Thomson moved into the next round with a 22-13 win over West Denton’s Clive Knott, setting up a home tie against another West Denton hope, Aaron Robson.

There was more good news for Houghton in the fours as Sam Patterson’s quartet defeated Durham’s Steve Krimpen 14-11. A trip to Shields or Gateshead is Patterson’s reward.

In the Over-60s pairs, Houghton’s Freddie Fletcher cruised to a 23-4 win over The Parks’ Maurice White. Fletcher next heads to Gateshead to face Brian Poulter.

Durham County Seniors, fresh from an 85-shot win over Leicestershire, return to Midlands League action on January 5 as they make the short trip to New Earswick to face table-toppers Yorkshire.

Latest standings: Yorkshire 2-42, Durham 1-20, Warwickshire 1-18, Leicestershire 3-6, Lincolnshire 1-2.

The Denny Cup continues today as the last-32 ties take place.

After their cracking win over South Shields, Durham will have their hands full as they take on the fancied Cumbria squad. The winners will meet either Hartlepool or Featherstone.

In the Denny Plate, Stanley face Blackpool, while Darlington take on Leeds.

South Shields’ David Bolt has been selected to represent England in this season’s Home International Series, due to be played in Belfast in March.

Bolt’s recent achievements have seen him rewarded with a third man’s berth to Exonia’s Jamie Chestney. The only other regional player in the squad is Hartlepool’s Paul Hartley, who is on the bench.

On Thursday, the Grand Final day of the EIBA’s Premier Three’s takes place at Erewash.

Two Durham players are in the last eight. Michael Laydon faces Tye Green’s Steve Mitchinson, while club-mate Gary Smith takes on Falcon’s Andy Squire.

All the action can be seen on British Eurosport 2, starting at 1am and continuing through to the final at 2.30pm.

At the 2016 outdoor World Championships in New Zealand, England collected gold and silver medals.

The gold success came in the men’s triples when Rob Paxton steered Jamie Walker and Andy Knapper to an extra end 15-14 win over Australia’s Aron Sheriff.

Ellen Faulkner skipped the ladies fours to the silver, with the England quartet well beaten 23-8 by Australia’s Natasha Scott in the final.