Sunderland ended their 37 years of competing in the Inter-County League on a high.
The city club earned a 6-4 (70-60) win over bottom-of-the-table South Shields, completing a decent final season with four wins out of six.
Since the move to Houghton, the Sunderland home squad have always struggled to get decent results, with only five wins out of 18 and, sadly, it was business as usual as the home squad went down by 13 shots.
Eric Downes, Peter Thomson, Michael Davis and Pete Thomson were always in with a chance of a point against Gary Farquhar’s quartet, but, when trailing 12-10, Thomson’s quartet dropped five shots late on to leave Farquhar a 17-11 winner.
Frankie Froud’s rink of Bobby Usher, Billy Roberts and Richie Jobling were left to rue a slow start against Ian Riches as they trailed 9-2.
Despite getting a five on the 13th end to get back to 13-12 down, the Sunderland rink couldn’t get their noses in front and finished 20-13 behind.
At Shields, it was a different story as the away squad produced a couple of cracking performances.
George Brown, Michael Carr, Terry Todd and Stevie Angus got off to a flier, leading 7-0, and were always ahead against Arthur Harrison. Despite getting pegged back to 13-11, Angus rallied and finished 21-13 up.
The cream of the crop was the rink of Tony Grimes, Peter Brickle, John Jones and Phil Dixon.
Trailing 4-1, Dixon went onto to score 16 shots without reply to lead 17-4 and never looked back as they ran out comfortable 25-9 winners over Jaxon McKenna.
That left the away squad 24 shots up, ensuring a 10-shot overall victory.
Houghton ended their Inter-County campaign with a cracking 7-3 win over Durham.
Jimmy McAdoo’s rink of Michael Wright, Freddie Fletcher and David Armstrong recovered from a 7-1 deficit to lead 9-7 away, however they only scored on one of the remaining 10 ends to finish 22-10 down against Alan Musgrove.
Joe Sutherland, Tom Patterson, Dan Todner and Alan J Dunn had a cracking 16-13 win over David Christie, leaving the away squad nine shots adrift.
At Houghton, both home rinks recorded wins.
Mal Baker, David Wright, Bryan Henderson (jnr) and Brian Henderson (snr) turned around a 12-9 deficit to go into the final end level at 16-16 against Phil Smithson. After four missed draws by the Durham backend, Henderson picked up a four and a 20-16 win.
The top rink was Ian Whorlton’s quartet of Keith Waterson, Jack Scullion and Peter Harding. With Whorlton playing out of his skin, Houghton romped to a 25-6 win over John Hutchinson to leave the home squad 23 shots up, securing a 14-shot win overall.
The club competitions at Houghton have recommenced as all the leagues have been completed.
In the men’s singles, Peter Thomson stayed on track for a third consecutive title with a 21-13 quarter final win over Stevie Tindale.
In the semis, Thomson will face Sam Patterson, who defeated Brian Henderson (snr) 21-10.
2012 winner Joe Sutherland moved into the last four with an impressive 21-8 win over Patrick Thomson and will meet Peter Thomson (snr), who beat Eddie McKeown 21-11.
In the senior singles, Frankie Froud took three hours to record a 21-20 win over defending champion Michael Wright.
In the final, he meets Peter Thomson (snr) , who saw off Richie Jobling 21-13.
The senior fours semi-finals take place today, with Billy Piggott facing Bob Johnson and Frankie Froud up against Terry Todd.
The senior pairs semis are tomorrow, with Billy Piggott tackling Peter Brickle while Alan J. Dunn attempts to stop Frankie Froud’s attempt at a third consecutive pairs title.
Norma Stephenson and Ellen Faith lock horns in Monday’s ladies singles final, while Stephenson is joined by Maureen Hall for Tuesday’s pairs final against Sheila Moody and Margaret Eggleston.
The mixed pairs final, on Wednesday, sees Billy Piggott and Ellen Faith taking on Joan Watt and Billy Laidler, who are seeking a fourth successive title.
The ladies triples final saw Margaret Metcalfe, Joan Baker and Ellen Faith come out on top against Maureen Hall, Audrey Vout and Norma Stephenson.
The Seniors Premier League title was decided at Ferryhill this week.
Long-time leaders Gateshead A avoided defeat against Stanley A to secure the title.
The Houghton trio of John Doyle, Peter Harding and Terry Todd ended their campaign with a cracking 20-10 win over Gateshead B, clinching a very respectable fourth-place finish.
The first part of the season’s National Championships came to a close with both singles competitions at Melton Mowbray.
Sadly, there was no national glory for the region’s representatives.
In the men’s event, Hartlepool’s Glenn Skipp saw his hopes dashed in the last 16, narrowly going down 21-20 to Bedford Borough’s Russell Thompson.
In the ladies’ singles, Hartlepool’s Lauren Mosley enjoyed wins over Lincoln’s Penny Strong (21-14) and King George’s Diane Double (21-8) before succumbing 21-14 in the semi-finals to eventual winner Michelle Barlow (St Neots).
Norfolk retained the ladies’ Atherley Trophy after defeating Kent 100-82.
The final of the mixed Egham Trophy was played at Boston and the strong Torquay United squad took the title with a 27-shot win over South Shields’ conquerors, Lincoln.
The national bandwagon moves onto Nottingham this week as the seniors take centre stage.
In the singles, South Shields’ Alan Lawton faces Exonia’s Kevin Phillips while Stanley’s Brian Harris and David Webb tackle Banister Park’s Brian Barber in the pairs.
The Over-50 triples will see South Shields’ Dave Paterson, Ian Riches and Alan Lawton taking on Hounslow’s Ron Leleux, while, in the Over-60 fours, the Gateshead quartet of Brian Orrell, Brian Poulter, Robert Graham and George Hackett meet Scunthorpe’s Alec Mullin.
The ladies equivalent events run alongside the men. Local hopes are carried in the pairs by West Denton’s Norma Craig and Ann Lennie.
Darlington will look to secure a fourth Denny Plate title as they face Wellingborough tomorrow in the final at Nottingham, while, in the two-bowl singles, Hartlepool’s Matty Ray faces Cyphers Michael Cheeseman in the last 16.
Durham’s Gary Smith heads to Wellingborough tomorrow looking to collect a few more ranking points in the latest Open Singles Circuit event.
Only the top 32 players are guaranteed a spot in the Grand Finals weekend in November. Defending champion Smith has already collected one title, last month at Worksop, and is currently ranked 33 so needs a decent run here, or at Hartlepool next weekend, to break into the top 32.
With the outdoor season only a couple of weeks away, there was some sad news for the Roker Park club as John Wilson (92) sadly passed away.
John was a very popular member of not only the Roker club but amongst his fellow bowlers and, even at the tender age of 92, still knew the way to the jack. He was a gentlemen on and off the green and will be missed.
Former Durham County president Bill Howie has also sadly passed away.
Bill was county president in 2004 and was a member of Eldon Grove bowls club.