Houghton still in the hunt for Champion of Champions title

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HOUGHTON have never lifted a County Champion of Champions title, but still have two chances of breaking their duck.

In the fours semi-finals, Stevie Kempster navigated his rink of the Henderson father and son combination, plus Jimmy McAdoo to a cracking 25-9 win over Ferryhill’s C.Larcombe.

In the final, Kempster will face Stanley’s Brett Arkley.

The second Houghton hope is in the Senior Singles final where Billy Piggott faces Gateshead’s R.Graham.

On route to the final, Piggott defeated Stanley’s Billy Bell and Hartlepool’s J.Ainger.

Despite having no home green, the Sunderland trio of David Morgan, Jimmy Lambert (sub) and David Bolt moved into the triples final after defeating Shildon’s D.Simpson.

In the final, the Sunderland trio will face Darlington’s Andrew Kirtland.

All the senior finals take place at Darlington on March 13, while the main four finals take place at Hartlepool over weekend March 23 and 24.

H The current Senior Inter County play-off champions Sunderland A finished off their group matches with an impressive 55-35 (5-0) win over South Shields at Houghton.

Pat Collins, Arthur Baker, John Jones and Tommy Jopling eased to a 24-14 win over J.Kelso, while Joe Flett, Ronnie Robson, Ray Robinson and Bobby Graham defeated D.Robson 14-8.

The remaining rink of Ted Forster, Hendy Shields, Fred Knubley and Billy Ferry collected a late six to record a 17-13 win over A.Cummings.

The five points leaves the Sunderland squad on 41½ points out of a maximum of 50. In the same group, Houghton A can still take the second play-off spot, but will need to beat Gateshead in their final group game.

Latest Group standing: Sunderland A 10-41½, Parks B 10-25, Houghton A 9-23, Sth Shields 9-20½, Hebburn 9-18, Gateshead A 9-12.

H This weekend the Sunderland Inter County squad face another must-win game as they entertain Aycliffe. The following squad has been selected:

At Houghton – P.Bulmer, M.Carr, R.Mckie, S.Angus, N.Ridley, W.Roberts, D.Todner, W.Ferry, A.Grimes, P.Thomson, TW.Todd, J.Jones. At Aycliffe – G.Brown, K.Hopper, J.Flett, T.Jopling, P.Collins, W.Hearne, A.Ferguson, R.Robinson, P.Dixon, P.Brickle, G.Farquhar, M.Higgins

The away squad are reminded it is a 1pm start at Aycliffe.

Latest Inter County League standings: Division One – The Parks 4-32, Darlington 4-30, Gateshead 4-20, Hartlepool 3-14, Sunderland 3-14, Aycliffe 2-10

H In Division two, Houghton’s promotion hopes took a knock after a narrow defeat against Durham.

However, a good points win over bottom-of-the-table Ferryhill will seal promotion to Division One.

Division Two: Houghton 4-28½, Sth Shields 3-27½, Durham 4-26½, Shildon 3-20, Hebburn 2-12, Ferryhill 4-5½

H Stanley have never lifted the Denny Cup, but remain on course after a hard-fought 70-62 quarter-final win over Exonia.

In the semi-finals, the current holders Wey Valley will provide the opposition. The semi-finals and final are being held at Darlington on April 19.