Bowls: Magnificent seventh as Sunderland seniors claim cracking first win of the season

Houghton Ladies bowlers (from left): Ruth Turnbull, Susan Forster, Olwen Charlton and Joan Watt. Picture by Kevin Brady

Houghton Ladies bowlers (from left): Ruth Turnbull, Susan Forster, Olwen Charlton and Joan Watt. Picture by Kevin Brady

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Sunderland have finally broken their duck in the seventh round of the Seniors Inter-Club League, with a cracking 5-0 at Ferryhill.

Bobby Usher, Tony Grimes, Michael Carr and Frankie Froud raced into an 11-0 lead and never looked back against Colin Larcombe as Froud finished 18-9 up.

George Brown, Billy Roberts, Ronnie Robson and John Jones also got off to a flier against R.Jefferson as they led 11-1. At 18-7, Jones looked set for a handsome win, but, in the end, he had to settle for a 19-14 victory.

The remaining rink of Eric Downes, Tony Wood, Peter Thomson and Peter Brickle trailed 10-4 at halfway, but a cracking second-half comeback saw Brickle collect 13 shots without reply to eventually secure a 18-12 win over K. Weallans.

Overall, Sunderland finished 20 shots up, seeing them leapfrog Ferryhill in the table. The squad’s final competitive game is against Stanley B on Wednesday, February 23 (12.30pm).

Sunderland team (v Stanley B) – At Houghton: G Brown, W Roberts, R Robson, J Jones; P Thomson, E Downes, P Brickle, TW Todd; R Usher, M Carr, F Froud, R Jobling. Reserves: A Wood, A Grimes, J Maxfield, D Gowland, C Young

Latest standings, Area 1: Spennymoor played 6 pts 19, Darlington A 6-17½, Aycliffe 6-16, Shildon 5-15½, Durham A 6-2

Area 2: Darlington B 7-32, Hartlepool A 6-21½, Stanley A 7-12½, Sunderland 7-10, Ferryhill 7-9

Area 3: South Shields 7-28, Houghton A 6-20, Stanley B 6-12½, Gateshead A 6-11, Parks B 7-8½

Area 4: Durham B 5-22, Parks A 5-17, Hartlepool B 6-17, Gateshead B 6-11½, Houghton B 6-2½

Sunderland recorded an outstanding Inter-Club League win, ending Durham’s unbeaten record.

Both of Sunderland’s home squads put in spirited performances at Houghton.

Eric Downes, Dennis Gibson, Mel Milner and Richie Mckie recovered from 12-7 down to go into the last end 14-12 down. A final trail on the jack saw Mckie sneak a three and secure a 15-14 win against Jim Taylor.

Tony Grimes, Tony Wood, Billy Roberts and Richie Jobling were always a few shots down to Jim Hutchinson and, despite a last-end double, Jobling had to settle for a 15-12 loss, leaving the home squad a touch unfortunate to finish 29-27 down.

It was a different story at Durham, however.

Peter Thomson (snr), debutant Alan Patterson, Peter Brickle and Peter Thomson (jnr) were in awesome form as they notched 18 shots without reply against Alan Musgrove. By the 13th end, the lead was 26-2 and, despite a late Musgrove flurry, the Sunderland quartet finished 27-14 up.

The remaining rink of George Brown, Michael Carr, Terry Todd and John Jones also put in a cracking performance. At halfway, Jones led Dave Christie 12-5 and, despite dropping a late five, Jones held on for a 19-16 win.

That left the away squad 16 shots up, clinching a 14-shot win overall and a 7-3 points return.

Sunderland have a bye in March before making their league farewell in April.

Houghton looked to build on their cracking January win over The Parks as they faced leaders Hartlepool.

Sadly, despite a spirited performance by the away squad, Houghton suffered a 9-1 loss. At Hartlepool, Alan J. Dunn steered his quartet of Joe Sutherland, Richard Thorpe and Dan Todner to a cracking 18-12 win over Albert Ward.

Jimmy McAdoo’s rink of Michael Wright, David Wright and David Armstrong put in a good effort against former international Glen Skipp as they were only one down after 10 ends before things slipped away in the second half as McAdoo finished 18-10 behind.

That left the away squad only four shots in arrears, a good effort against a Hartlepool squad who have previously blitzed visiting teams.

Houghton’s home squad never recovered from a slow start.

John Doyle, Keith Waterson, Tom Patterson and Ian Whorlton were always chasing the game against Marc Squirrell and lost24-12, while Brian Henderson’s rink of Mal Baker, Jules Biggerstaff and Bryan Henderson (jnr) were in the same boat against Ian Jackson and had to settle for a 25-18 loss.

The home squad ended 19 shots adrift, completing a 23-shot defeat overall.

Houghton next face Gateshead A who thumped South Shields 10-0 (83-55).

There has been some confusion over the new rule in this year’s Inter-Club League, however the County League secretary has confirmed it is one shot on the first end only.

Latest standings: Hartlepool 3-28½, Sunderland 5-23½, Durham 3-20, Parks 4-19, Houghton 4-17½, Gateshead A 4-13½, South Shields 3-8

Houghton ladies returned to winning ways in the Inter-County League with a full house against Gateshead as all six rinks returned winning cards.

At Houghton, Susan Forster manoeuvred Joan Watt, Ruth Turnbull and Olwen Charlton to a 15-12 win over Maureen Charles, while Jenny Smith’s rink of Audrey Latimer, Hala Collingwood and Ann Banks defeated M. Warren 21-17.

The top rink at home was Ellen Faith’s squad of Betty Prudhoe, Eleanor Barren and Brenda Robson, who defeated A. Gregory 16-9 to leave the home squad with a 14-shot advantage.

At Gateshead, all three Houghton rinks enjoyed wins, with the pick of them being Norma Stephenson’s rink of Maureen Hall, Evelyn Barkes and Audrey Vout, who defeated E.Wright 20-11.

Florence Phythian steered Jenny Hume, C. Martin and Mary Melcalf to a 19-14 win over D. Kelly, while the full house was completed as Gwen Eltringham, Doreen Fenwick, M. Glover and Joan Baker defeated A. Hubbard 15-12, sealing an impressive 31-shot win overall.

South Shields star David Bolt’s hopes of lifting the Champion of Champions title at Hayling Island were dashed at the semi-final stage.

After opening wins against Egerton Park’s Rob Morphett (21-5) and Spalding’s Graham Smith (21-18), Bolt’s adventure was ended by the eventual winner, Exonia’s Jamie Chestney, going down 21-12 in the last four.

After securing the Open Singles Circuit title, Durham’s Gary Smith will need to get into the top 32 ranked players in order to defend his crown.

Last weekend, Smith competed in his first ranking tournament at Worksop.

After negotiating five rounds and only dropping a single set, Smith secured the £800 first prize with a straight 2-0 sets win over Sam O’Donnell in the final.

The win bounces Smith into the top 32 and, with a few more local events, he should easily seal a place at next season’s Grand Finals day again.

There was more good news for South Shields in the mixed dours as Jackie Tallack, Maureen Charles, Jaxon McKenna and Shaun McIntosh secured a place in the national finals by beating Hartlepool’s Paul Hartley 25-16.

The Shields quartet will face Bournemouth’s Chris Daniels at Lodden Vale in the last 16 on February 24.

Area Finals – Singles: GR Smith (Durham) or P Duffy (West Denton) v G Skipp (Hartlepool)

Pairs: B Arkley (Stanley) v P Hartley (Hartlepool)

Triples: M Johnston (Gateshead) or J Taylor (Durham) v P Hartley (Hartlepool) or L Macey (Darlington)

Fours: J Brass (South Shields) or G Farquhar (South Shields) v P Hartley (Hartlepool)

Over-50 triples: M Laydon (Durham) or D Paterson (South Shields) v D Oram (Hartlepool) or A Jones (Redcar)