Bowls: Whorlton leads Houghton seniors into Champion of Champions semi-finals

Houghton bowler Ian Whorlton

Houghton bowler Ian Whorlton

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Houghton are through to the semi-finals of the Seniors County Champion of Champions competition.

The Houghton quartet of George Brown, Jimmy Swinney, Alan J Dunn (sub) and Ian Whorlton cruised to a 24-5 win over Hartlepool’s Mark Pavin.

Houghton bowler Jimmy Swinney

Houghton bowler Jimmy Swinney

The Houghton rink will face South Shields’ Ebby Dent in the semi-finals, at a yet-to-be-agreed neutral green.

In the senior triples, Houghton’s Jack Hutchinson, Tom Winship and Billy Piggott put in a spirited performance against the might of Stanley’s Brett Arkley, Ian Peacock and John Thurlbeck.

Despite dropping a first end eight, the Houghton trio got back to within six shots before the Stanley lads stepped up a gear.

The latest round of Seniors Inter-League fixtures take place next week, with the two local squads in action both looking for their first win of the season.

Sunderland entertain Area Two leaders Darlington B. With their play-off hopes already ended, the Sunderland lads will be playing for pride at Houghton on Wednesday.

Sunderland team: E Downes, P Thomson, P Brickle, TW Todd; G Brown, W Roberts, R Robson, J Jones; A Wood, M Carr, F Froud, R Jobling

In Area Four, Houghton B will also be looking to break their duck as they head to leaders Durham B on Friday.

Houghton B team: S Barnes, J Mathews, W White, F Kell; P Hicks, I Richardson, T Baister, B Johnson; K Waterson, A Glover, F Sanderson, R Thorpe

Seniors Inter-League standings, Area 1: Spennymoor 5-18, Shildon 4-15½, Darlington A 5-13½, Aycliffe 5-11, Durham A 5-2

Area 2: Darlington B 6-27, Hartlepool A 6-21½, Stanley 6-11, Ferryhill 5-5½, Sunderland 5-5

Area 3: South Shields 6-24, Houghton 6-20, Gateshead 5-10, Stanley B 5-9, Parks B 6-7

Area 4: Durham B 4-17, Hartlepool B 5-14, Parks A 4-12, Gateshead B 4-9½, Houghton B 5-2½

With Sunderland calling time on the Inter-Club League, there is now a nomination sheet on the notice board at Houghton to gauge the level of interest in playing in the league next season.

If there is sufficient interest, Houghton may enter another team.

Inter-County League standings: Hartlepool 2-19½, Parks 4-19, Durham 2-17, Houghton 3-16½, Sunderland 4-16½, South Shields 2-8, Gateshead A 3-3½

Despite the decision to call time on the various representative teams, Sunderland Indoor Bowling Club has not been dissolved.

It will still feature in the EIBA Yearbook as it will still pay its membership fee to the EIBA. By doing so, it will still keep open all lines of support to the governing body in the event of a new venue being unearthed.

In the event of any future dissolution, a meeting of all past members would be called to decide the fate of the club’s funds.

The local stages of this season’s national competitions are gradually reaching crunch time.

This week has seen no progress in the singles, pairs or fours, however, in the triples, Gateshead’s Malcolm Johnston clinched a cracking 15-14 win over Gary Farquhar at Shields.

In the Under-25 singles, Jaxon McKenna’s hopes of securing a place at the final stages were ended after a 2-0 sets defeat to Hartlepool’s Matty Ray in the Area Two final.

The Hartlepool youngster will travel to City of Ely next weekend for the final stages, and he will face Falcon’s Steven Dunn in the last 16.

In the Mixed Pairs, there were a couple of all-Shields affairs completed.

David Bolt defeated Jaxon McKenna 24-7, while Dave Paterson outgunned Paul Sainthouse 21-3. The winners meet each other in the next round.

There was better news for McKenna in the Mixed Fours, as a 19-18 win over club-mate Phil Dixon secured a place in the area final against Hartlepool’s Paul Hartley.

In the Top Club competition, Hartlepool will meet Lincoln in the last 16 after a smashing 14-2 win over Cumbria.

Stanley A moved into the last 16 of the Over-50s Double Fours following a tremendous 39-29 win over Cumbria A. Stanley take on Hornsea next.

There was disappointment for South Shields in the Egham Trophy as they were beaten 78-62 by Lincoln in the quarter-final at New Earswick.

The early stages saw Shields lead by 12, but that was over turned by Lincoln, who went 14 shots up in response.

Despite a spirited fightback, which got the deficit down to six shots, things slipped away from Shields and Lincoln secured a semi-final spot against Victory (Portsmouth).

Gary Farquhar posted a 31-9 success for Shields, while David Bolt won by six shots.

Scores (Shields skips first): G Farquhar 31 M Smith 9, D Bolt 20 B Jackson 14, J Minto 6 J Gilroy 26, I Riches 6 D Brown 30

Cumbria moved into the Liberty Trophy semi-finals after comfortably defeating Lincolnshire by 30 shots at Hartlepool.

Cumbria will face Leicestershire in the last four, while Northants take on Devon in the other semi-final. Devon knocked out holders Kent by 25 shots.

The Ladies Atherley Trophy semi-final line-up will see Norfolk up against Notts and Kent tackle Dorset.

Durham County Seniors have gone top of the Midlands Seniors League after an impressive 22-0 win over Lincolnshire at York.

The pick of the results saw South Shields’ Billy Ferry steer his quartet to a 43-12 win to maintain Durham’s unbeaten record.

Durham face unbeaten Warwickshire next, at Doncaster on February 2.

The 2017 Indoor World Championships are underway at Potters in Norfolk. Defending champion England’s Nicky Brett opens his defence on Monday against Israel’s Andrew Kyle.

The event will be covered on BBC2.