Silksworth’s David Bolt ended his outdoor season on a high note with victory in the Northern Counties Championships singles.
Out of the six competitions at Heaton Park in Manchester, Durham secured the singles title and missed out on the fours title on a dramatic extra end.
In the singles, Bolt opened up with a 21-12 preliminary round win over Lancashire’s Jason Norris.
He followed up with a 21-5 semi-final success against Yorkshire’s Phillip Margerrison. In the final, Bolt was not to be denied, but had to be at his best to hold off the challenge of Northumberland stalwart Mick McGreevy to take it 21-19.
The victory was Bolt’s second Northern Counties singles title, following on from his 2012 success.
The remaining five competitions provided very little of note, apart from the fours where Silksworth’s Jaxon McKenna (sub), Stevie Cairns, Billy Ferry and Gary Farquhar missed out on a first Northern Counties Fours title.
They went down agonisingly 18-17 on an extra end to Northumberland’s Simon Richardson in the final.
Lancashire won the pairs, with Rob Stirling beating Cumbria’s D. Foster, and the triples, with Chris Gale seeing off Yorkshire’s Nigel Brignall.
Yorkshire took the Under-25 singles crown, with Scott Walton defeating Cumbria’s C. Hodgson, and then saw Paul Humphreys beat Ricky Gallagher (Cumbria) in the two-bowl singles final.
The Under-25 Tom Butler Trophy was also played at Heaton Park and was eventually won by Northumberland.
The Durham squad defeated Lancashire 9-7 but then lost to Northumberland (16-8) and Yorkshire (14-11).
A Northern Counties team of 24 Under-25s head to Sighthill Bowling Club in Edinburgh today to face the Scottish Young Bowlers Association as they fight it out for the Federation Cup.
Durham’s Joe Ballantyne, Josie Hodgson, Jordan Hartson, Mark Hodgson and Barry Hopkins have all been selected to play.
England completed a Home International Series clean sweep as the Under-25s clinched the series held at Moray Bowls Club in the north of Scotland.
With eight new caps, England defeated hosts Scotland by five shots before getting out of jail against Wales in their second game. With one end left to play, Wales were four shots up only for England skip Ryan Atkins to draw a fourth shot, with the final bowl of the match, to snatch a draw overall.
In the series decider against Ireland, the English lads put in a classic performance to run out winners by 40 shots and seal a third series in the last four years.
England now haven’t lost an Under-25 game since 2012, having won 10 and drawn two of their last 12 games.
Bowls England have announced the regional winners of its 2016 club of the year: North: Fitz Park BC, Cumbria; South: Gildredge Park BC, Sussex; East: White Hall BC, Essex; West: Wellington BC, Somerset
The first indoor action of the season took place this week as the opening round of the Inter-Club senior fixtures were played.
Houghton B were the only local squad in action as they played host to Hartlepool B.
Sadly for the Houghton squad, the season opener ended in a 5-0 defeat.
The pick of the bunch was Bob Johnson’s quartet, who saw a point slip away on the last end. Leading 15-12, Johnson dropped a four to finish 16-15 down.
The other two rinks suffered heavy defeats, Frankie Kell succumbing 20-6 and Richard Thorpe 24-4, sealing a 50-25 defeat overall.
Houghton ladies are due to be in action on Wednesday (12.30pm) as they face Durham in the opening round of Ladies Inter-Club League fixtures.
The team is yet to be finalised, with 21 names on the nomination sheet. Last season, Houghton finished fifth out of six teams, with Durham four4th.
Sunderland will continue to operate out of Houghton for at least another year.
They will continue to compete in the Inter-Club League, however, instead of two senior squads, only one will be fielded this campaign.
The senior squad will also compete in the Over-60s double fours.
The draw for the various Durham County Champion of Champions competitions has taken place, with local interest in the following ties.
Singles: A Hind (Ferryhill) v D Bolt (Sth Shields), P Thomson (Houghton) v W Routledge (Durham)
Pairs: J McKenna (Sth Shields) v J Moore (Park View), F Froud (Houghton) v M Ralphs (Ferryhill)
Triples: C Higgins (Hartlepool) v W Piggott (Houghton), J Moore (Park View) v GR Smith (Sth Shields)
Fours: J Taylor (Durham) v J Sutherland (Houghton), GR Smith (Sth Shields) v G Peacock (Darlington)
Senior singles: B Hutchinson (Gt Aycliffe) v M Wright (Houghton)
Senior triples: W Bell (Stanley) v W Holmes (Houghton), S Summers (Darlington) v E Dent (Sth Shields)
Senior fours: E Dent (Houghton) v B Turnbull (Park View), I Whorlton (Houghton) v E Henry (Stanley)