Houghton and Sunderland went head to head in a thriller on the opening day of the opening round of the newly-revamped Inter-County League.
Dramatically, the result was not decided until the final bowl.
As all four rinks played at Houghton, it produced a cracking atmosphere which saw Sunderland run out 70-69 winners on the very last end.
Sunderland’s top rink was Billy Roberts, Karl Armstrong, Peter Brickle and Phil Dixon, who ran out 26-16 winners over Brian Henderson.
Houghton’s top rink was Joe Sutherland, Davie Armstrong, Freddie Fletcher and Dan Todner, who produced an impressive 22-10 win against Peter Thomson.
Sunderland’s other winning rink came from behind.
Bobby Usher, Ian Fairweather, Richie Jobling and Frankie Froud found themselves 12-8 down with two ends to play, but a count of five on the second last end put them one up and a final-end double secured a 15-12 victory for Froud’s lads over Jimmy McAdoo.
The remaining Sunderland rink of George Brown, Michael Carr, Richie Mckie and Stevie Angus were last on the green and held on for a shot on the game’s final end against Peter Harding to snatch a 19-19 draw.
More importantly, that secured the overall 70-69 triumph, giving Sunderland 6½ points, while Houghton secured 3½.
Results, Division One: The Parks 3 Durham 7, Gateshead A 0 Hartlepool 10, Sunderland 6½ Houghton 3½
Division Two: Gateshead B 6 Great Aycliffe 4, Darlington 8 Dunelm 2, Ferryhill 4 Stanley 6, Shildon 1 Spennymoor 9
In the seniors Inter-Club League, the Houghton A team came back to earth with a bump after their opening 5-0 win over Stanley B.
They were well beaten 54-24 at South Shields to suffer a 5-0 points defeat.
Peter Harding’s rink of John Doyle, Jack Thuburn and Freddie Fletcher were the nearest to getting their point, going down on the last end 13-12 to former Sunderland star Billy Ferry.
Sadly, the other two Houghton squads were well beaten.
Pat Collins, Joe Sutherland, P. Noble and Jack Scullion were outgunned 19-7 by Alan Cummings, while David Simpson, John Godfrey, Jimmy Swinney and Ian Whorlton went down 22-5 to Alan Lawton.
Sunderland return to seniors action on Friday as they travel to an in-form Darlington B, who have collected 10 out of 10 points from their opening two games.
The following team will attempt to get a result: R Usher, W Hearne, R Jobling, F Froud; G Brown, A Wood, R Robson, W Roberts; P Thomson, E Downes, M Carr, TW Todd. Reserves: C Younger, D Gowland.
Houghton B team’s game at Durham, which was due to take place this week, has been cancelled and rearranged for Thursday, November 20.
Houghton ladies are back in action on Wednesday as they face Darlington (12.30pm start).
After their narrow opening-game defeat against Durham, the Houghton ladies will be looking to bounce back.
Houghton B team – At Houghton: E Prudhoe, J Classen, G Eltringham, F Phythian; J Watt, D Fenwick, J Brown, S Forster; N Colling, M Eggleston, B Robson, E Faith
At Darlington: M Hall, E Barkes, A Vout, N Stephenson; M Metcalf, R Turnbull, J Baker, JB Smith; J Hume, H Collingwood, A Todd, A Banks
The Durham County Vice-Presidents pay a visit to Houghton tomorrow for the first of their two friendly fixtures.
The following Houghton squad will provide the opposition (2pm start): J Lawson, W Race, J Baker, S Tindale; R Turnbull, J Eggleston, S Patterson, T Patterson; A Pratt, S Robson, C Middleton, J Robson; C Martin, C Wallace, P Martin, F Phythian; J Watt, O Charlton, D Robson, B Robson; M Glover, G Charlton, M Eggleston, A Glover
Houghton are in Egham Trophy action next Sunday as they face Durham in the opening round of this year’s competition.
The teams met at the same stage two years ago, with Durham running out winners by 20 shots.
In fact, Houghton have failed to progress past the first round in their last four attempts.
The following squad will look to change that – at Houghton: J Watt, R Turnbull, D Armstrong, B Henderson; M Baker, S Richardson, B Robson, F Fletcher
At Durham: M Hall, J Sutherland, N Stephenson, J McAdoo; C Wallace, E Barkes, F Phythian, TW Todd
The Durham County seniors are in action on Thursday as they face Yorkshire at Durham in the one-off John Dodsworth Trophy match (12.30pm start).
Locally, only South Shields’ Billy Ferry makes the team, with Durham’s Ray Robinson on the bench.
There was some sad news for the local bowls scene as John Dunn (83) sadly passed away.
The long-standing Dawdon member took on the running of the Grindon League when many walked away. John was a much respected bowler and was a very popular figure on the local bowling scene and will be a loss to the sport.
The Bowls Development Alliance have announced that both of the four-year participation targets, as set out in the 2013-2017 Whole Sport Plan, have been achieved six months ahead of schedule.
The first participation target required 10,810 new people over the age of 55 to take out membership of an affiliated club or take part once a week for 30 minutes or more on a regular basis.
Through the efforts of hundreds of clubs, and thousands of coaches and volunteers, this target has been not only achieved but surpassed, with the current figure standing at 11,769.