Bowls: Sunderland, Houghton start new year with impressive Inter-County League victories

Houghton bowler Peter Harding
Houghton bowler Peter Harding
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Sunderland and Houghton both opened 2017 with fine victories in the Inter-County League.

Sunderland regained a little bit of pride after last month’s mauling against Hartlepool as the Wearsiders defeated Gateshead A 65-59.

At Houghton, the home squad struggled again. Peter Thomson (snr), Eric Downes, Billy Roberts and Peter Thomson (jnr) led 9-8 but finished 19-10 down, while Bobby Usher, Ian Fairweather, Richie Jobling and Frankie Froud turned around a 8-2 deficit to grind out a last end 16-15 win.

That left the home squad eight shots in arrears, however there was better news at Gateshead.

Karl Armstrong, Michael Carr, Richie Mckie and Phil Dixon blew an 11-6 lead and left it late to snatch a last-end double for a 14-14 draw, however the match winners were George Brown, Terry Todd, Peter Brickle and skip Stevie Angus.

Leading 15-11, with four ends to play, Angus rattled off another 10 shots to seal a 25-11 win, putting the away squad 14 shots up and ensuring an overall 65-59 win, with a 6½-3½ points return in Sunderland’s favour.

Durham will provide the next opposition in February.

Scores (Sunderland skips first): P Thomson 10 W Watson 19, F Froud 16 R Charlton 15, P Dixon 14 T Pope 14, S Angus 25 T. Magnay 11

Houghton produced a cracking result as they notched a first win of the season, convincingly beating second-placed The Parks 85-45½. All four rinks won.

At Houghton, Peter Harding’s quartet of John Doyle, Keith Waterson and Ian Whorlton were in impressive form, finishing 25-9 winners, while Mal Baker, Jules Biggerstaff and the Henderson father and son duo were never in trouble in a 21-9 win, leaving the home squad 28 shots up.

At The Parks, both Houghton rinks returned home victorious.

Alan J. Dunn steered Joe Sutherland, Richard Thorpe and Dan Todner to a cracking 24-16 victory, which was backed up by Jimmy McAdoo’s rink of Michael Wright, David Wright and David Armstrong securing a hard-fought 15-11¼ win.

Overall, Houghton collected all 10 points on offer and will face leaders Hartlepool next.

Scores (Houghton skips first): B Henderson (snr) 21 A Hall 9, P Harding 25 P Dawson 9, AJ Dunn 24 M White 16, J McAdoo 15 J Morgan 11¼

South Shields’ game against Hartlepool was cancelled at the 11th hour.

Latest standings: Hartlepool played 2 pts 19½, Parks 4-19, Durham 2-17, Sunderland 4-16½, Houghton 3-16½, South Shields 2-8, Gateshead A 3-3½

Both local teams endured disappointing defeats in the Seniors Inter-Club League.

Sunderland’s search for a win continued as they were beaten 4-1 at Hartlepool to leave them rock bottom of Group Two.

The only bright spot came from Peter Thomson, Eric Downes, Peter Brickle and Terry Todd, who eased to a 16-7 win.

Sadly, the other two rinks were beaten. Tony Grimes, Michael Carr, Frankie Froud and Richie Jobling were left to rue an early dropped five to go down 13-9, while George Brown, John Jones, Ronnie Robson and Billy Roberts only managed to score on a couple of ends in a 21-3 loss which sealed a 13-shot defeat overall, Sunderland next entertain Darlington B in a fortnight.

Scores (Sunderland skips first): TW Todd 16 A Ward 7, R Jobling 9 J Ainger 13, W Roberts 3 K Wilford 21

After ending 2016 joint top of Group Three, Houghton A got 2017 off to a disappointing start as they were beaten 4-1 at bottom-of-the-group Stanley A.

The only winning rink came from John Doyle, Foster Johnson, Jack Scullion and Peter Harding, who ran out 18-14 winners.

Pat Collins, John Godfrey, David Wright and Ian Whorlton let slip a 10-5 lead to finish 18-13 down. There was also no joy for David Sim’s quartet of Joe Sutherland, Mal Baker and Trevor Joicey, who led 8-6 after eight ends but failed to score again and went down 18-8, sealing an 11-shot defeat overall.

The Houghton squad have a bye next, but will have one eye on their nearest play-off place challengers, Gateshead, who entertain leaders South Shields.

Scores (Houghton skips first): P Harding 18 R Hailney 14, I Whorlton 13 K Christopher 18, D Sim 8 D Scanlon 18

Despite not having a venue, a small group of City of Sunderland members have been keeping the club’s teams running, however the sands of time have caught up with them and, with numbers slowly dropping, the decision has been made that this season will be the clubs final season competing in the Inter Club League and the Seniors League.

The club itself will maintain its membership to the EIBA for at least another 12 months which keeps open any funding support in the event of finding a venue.

It is hoped that Houghton may enter an extra Inter-Club team and a third Vets squad next season to take up the extra interest this will generate.

Houghton ladies put in a spirited performance in their latest Inter-Club League fixture against South Shields.

Shields ran out winners by 15 shots but the points return was only 7-5 in their favour.

At Houghton, the home squad ended 16 shots to the good.

Ellen Faith steered Betty Prudhoe, Ann Todd and Brenda Robson to a cracking 24-10 win, while Joan Watt, Sheila Moody, Jill Brown and Susan Forster finished 19-12 up.

The only loss saw Joan Rodgerson’s quartet of Jenny Hume, Olwyn Charlton and Gwen Eltringham go down 23-18.

Sadly, the away squad went down by 33 shots.

Doreen Fenwick, Margaret Eggleston, Ruth Turnbull and Jenny Smith were well beaten 28-8 and Maureen Hall, Evelyn Barkes, Audrey Vout and Norma Stephenson succumbed 22-10.

There was some good news as Florence Phythian’s rink of Margaret Metcalf, Eleanor Barren and Joan Baker held their nerve for a 15-14 win.

Scores (Houghton skips first): J. Rodgerson 18 D Sproates 23, S Forster 19 J Chapman 12, E Faith 24 A Stipolph 10, N Stephenson 10 P Carling 22, F Phythian 15 M Robson 14, JB Smith 8 J Craig 28

This season’s national competitions have resumed.

In the singles, Durham’s Gary Smith moved into the next round with a hard fought 21-17 win at West Denton against Clive Knott.

There was disappointment in the pairs for South Shields’ David Bolt as Gateshead’s Alec Bryden backed up his previous round win over Durham’s Gary Smith with a 19-18 win over Bolt.

Shields’ Billy Ferry saw his run in the Over-60s singles halted as club-mate Alan Lawton won a thriller 21-20.

Hartlepool’s Denny Cup hopes were dashed as Cumbria beat them by two shots to set up a quarter-final against Spalding.

In the Denny Plate, Darlington moved into the last eight with a dramatic extra-end win over Blackpool. They next face North Cave.

The Liberty Trophy quarter-finals take place today. Durham’s conquerors, Cumbria, face Lincolnshire at Hartlepool, while holders Kent meet Devon.

Weather permitting, South Shields will face Lincoln tomorrow in the last eight of the mixed Egham Trophy at neutral New Earswick.

The Durham County Seniors have given themselves a great chance of lifting the Midland Seniors League title.

Durham inflicted a first defeat of the season on table-toppers Yorkshire, 115-113. The 16-6 points return moves Durham to within 10 points of the leaders, with two games in hand.

Durham face bottom-of-the-table Lincolnshire at York on Thursday.

The regional finals of the EIBA’s School of Excellence takes place at Hartlepool tomorrow. The county’s best young bowlers will compete for a place in the national finals at Melton Mowbray in April.

There was more sad news for the local bowls scene following the loss of John “Scotty” Scott, a member of Thompson Park and City of Sunderland IBC.

John was a much-respected bowler and a popular figure around the bowls scene and will be missed by many.

Roker Marine are in mourning. Following the sudden loss of Keith Sunley, Jim Patterson passed away. Both were keen bowlers and good club members.