Double fours blow rocks Durham boss Bolt ahead of Middleton Cup crunch

Pondering the next move: (from left) Fred Lulham and Alan Ganley (both Roker Park) with Andrew Wright) and Fred Sanderson (Seaham Town) in last weeks Storey Bowl clash
Pondering the next move: (from left) Fred Lulham and Alan Ganley (both Roker Park) with Andrew Wright) and Fred Sanderson (Seaham Town) in last weeks Storey Bowl clash
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Durham endured disappointment in the men’s Balcombe Double Fours as they were beaten 37-34 at a wet Houghton Dairy Lane by a new-look Cumbria side.

Silksworth’s David Bolt steered his quartet to a hard-fought 17-16 win over Ben Sherwin, however RA’s John Fielding’s quartet were always playing catch-up and, despite a late charge, went down 21-17 to Steve Irwin.

Prince Charles bowls the first bowl at Sunderland Indoor Bowling Club in 1977, watched by Gordon Thompson, who has sadly passed away

Prince Charles bowls the first bowl at Sunderland Indoor Bowling Club in 1977, watched by Gordon Thompson, who has sadly passed away

The Durham County Middleton Cup squad head to Selby today for a make-or-break game in the latest round of group matches against Derbyshire.

Following the 18-4 loss against Lancashire, the Durham lads will need around a 20-2 win and then hope Cumbria beat Lancashire narrowly in order to extend the group to the final round of fixtures.

Team manager David Bolt has made a couple of enforced changes to the team which was beaten in Manchester.

Durham: S Baker (Silksworth), A Ward (Owton Lodge), C Boston (Elm Tree), P Mosley (Stockton); V Rewcastle (Darlington RA), N Ridley (Silksworth), M Jones (Darlington RA), G Farquhar (Silksworth); M Peach (Houghton DL), L Maughan (Silksworth), W Ferry (Silksworth), P Smithson (Silksworth); P Dixon (Silksworth), M Gleeson (Spennymoor), I Riches (Silksworth), D Bolt (Silksworth); K Burton (Darlington RA), B Hopkins (Darlington RA), N Cummings (Darlington RA), A Kirtland (Darlington RA); M Ray (Owton Lodge), D Fenwick (Elm Tree), I Jackson (Park), J Mansfield (Park)

The County B team are also in action today as they take on Northumberland at Stockton in the latest round of Alsop Trophy fixtures,.

After the disappointing showing at Dairy Lane last time out, team manager Paul Heath has shuffled the pack as the B team look to avenge last season’s 17-shot loss at Morpeth.

Durham: G Dougherty (Park), M Hodgson (Stockton), R Robinson (Houghton DL), AJ Dunn (Houghton DL); J Sutherland (Houghton DL), S Tindale (Houghton DL), S Land (Spennymoor), D Oram (Park); A Mole (Park), A Middleton (Roker Marine), S Clarke (Hundens), H Dougherty (Park); J Harston (Hundens), J Ballentyne (Stockton), J Halcrow (Whitburn), D Todner (Houghton DL); A Greathead (Park), S Patterson (Hetton WM), P Coulson (Darlington RA), J McAdoo (Houghton DL); B Poulter (Usworth), J Godfrey (Houghton DL), V Tunstall (Hundens), A Hill (Barnes Park)

The Durham County Ladies Northern Trophy squad suffered a rare defeat at the hands of a resurgent Northumberland at Horden last week.

Despite having three winning rinks, Durham went down by seven shots (8-3).

Locally, Dairy Lane’s Joan Rodgerson’s rink maintained their unbeaten run with a five-shot win and Sunderland’s Sue Almond got back to winning ways with an eight-shot success.

The defeat leaves Durham in third trailing the leaders Cumbria by 9½ points who they entertain in July at Dairy Lane.

Latest standings (after three rounds): Cumbria 23pt, Northumberland 16½, Durham 14, Yorkshire 12½

This week will see the first half of the men’s County competition second stages getting underway, with plenty of local interest in all competitions.

On Monday in the singles, three Silksworth hopefuls will be in action at Stockton. Neil Reid faces Vane Tempest’s Paul Bailey and Colin Jefferson tackles another Vane Tempest entry, M. Robinson, while David Bolt meets Darlington RA’s Vince Rewcastle, who ended defending champion Andrew Kirtland’s hopes in the first round.

Silksworth will host the first part of the fours competition on Tuesday.

Seaham Town’s Brian Henderson takes on Vane Tempest’s Paul Bailey, while an all-Roker Marine affair will see Bobby Graham up against Richie Mckie.

Blackhall host the triples on Wednesday, when Roker Marine’s Bobby Graham faces Hartlepool Park’s County B team skip Dale Oram, Silksworth’s Ian Riches meets Leeholme’s Barry Attwood and two Dairy Lane triples, David Armstrong and Jimmy McKinney, tackle Spennymoor’s Stuart Land and Hartlepool Old Boys’ Ian Jackson respectively.

Pairs (Friday at Leadgate): J Mansfield (Hartlepool Park) v G Robson (Leadgate), B Cain (Houghton DL) or B Henderson (Seaham Town) v M English (Dipton), C Higgins (Old Boys) v S Land (Spennymoor)

Two-bowl singles (Thursday at Barnes Park): D Warnaby (Leadgate) v N Tallentine (Spennymoor), A Bryden (Dunston) v M Johnston (Dunston), D Fenwick (Elm Tree) v L Macey (Darlington RA), J Taylor (Newton Hall) v P Coulson (Darlington RA)

In the Ladies County Pairs, the Dairy Lane duo of Susan Forster and Joan Rodgerson are still on course for the third county title after a 27-8 win over Shildon’s Esther Helm.

In Monday’s quarter-final, the Dairy Lane duo have a tough trip to Newton Hall to face Anne Bernard.

In the singles, Forster’s hopes were ended at Pelton Fell by Joan Brown, losing 21-16. The semi-finals and final of the singles take place at Dairy Lane on Wednesday from 10am.

Earl Cup leaders Houghton Dairy Lane maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 5½-1½ win over Seaham Town.

Defending champions Silksworth managed to close the lead at the top to 1½ points with a 6-1 home win over Thompson Park, while Barnes Park moved third by beating Houghton Town 6-1.

In Division Two, leaders Hetton Workmen went down 6-1 at Barnes West End while there were good wins for Usworth and South Hylton.

The top two in the Third Division didn’t play, allowing Washington Glebe and Ryhope to close the gap. Bottom club Grindon Mill have only played one game and that was on week one.

In the Swan Cup, Houghton Dairy Lane made it six out of six with a 6½-½ win over South Hylton and have a 7½-point lead over Barnes West End, who defeated Roker Marine 5-2.

In Division Two, Roker Park’s 5-2 win over second-placed Washington Glebe moved them level on points with the latter, while leaders Hetton Workmen had a bye.

The last time Thompson Park won the Harold Howey Trophy was 58 years ago in 1958, but they are on a roll this season as their B team recorded a seventh win on the bounce, 3-1 at Washington A, to maintain a four point lead at the top.

Dairy Lane B beat Roker Marine A 4-0 to keep on the leaders’ heels while holders Silksworth are 10 points adrift in sixth.

In Division Two, Washington B are the pacesetters with a three-point lead over Hylton CW A.

In the 3-2-1 Knockout Triples, Houghton Town recorded a 246-188 win at Sunderland, while Seaham Town narrowly defeated Thompson Park 217-215, Ryhope beat Dawdon 233-199 and last year’s beaten finalists, Roker Marine, came from behind at Washington Glebe to win 221-211.

Silver Jacks results: A Patterson (Grindon Mill) 27 D Murphy (Hetton Wkmn) 10, K Armstrong (Houghton Town) 11 B Henderson (Seaham Town) 18, C Fish (Hetton Wkmn) 11 D Raine (Thompson Park) 18, P Thomson (Thompson Park) 18 F Knubley (Roker Marine) 19

In the Bowls England Champion of Champions competition, Silksworth’s Gary Farquhar is the remaining local hope after a 21-20 win over Darlington South Park’s Paul Bailey.

Farquhar will play either Spennymoor’s Stuart Land or Lyndhurst’s Peter Hudspith in the next round.

In the senior pairs, three Dairy Lane pairs made progress. Jimmy McKinney defeated Elm Tree’s Gordon Allison 20-5 to set up a trip to Dunston’s Alec Bryden, Keith Makepeace eased past Pelton Fell’s Alan Stannard 33-5 and Kenny Briscoe defeated Pelton’s Brian Brown 21-18.

There was some sad news for the local bowls scene as Gordon Thompson (84) sadly passed away.

The former Grindon Mill, Pennywell and South Hylton member was a much-respected bowler.

Gordon will be fondly remembered from the photograph which hung in the bowls hall at Crowtree since 1977 depicting HRH Prince Charles delivering the first bowl at the indoor arena.

Bowls England have announced the introduction of three new competitions in 2017 – men’s senior fours (eligible 55 and over on April 1 annually), women’s senior fours (55 and over on April 1 annually) and men’s junior pairs (Under-25 years on April 1 annually).

The new competitions will be run at county level with only each county champion qualifying for the National Championships at Leamington Spa.