Bowls: Durham B can end Alsop Trophy drought after dramatic comeback victory

Seaham Town's Brian Henderson bowls in the County pairs competition.
Seaham Town's Brian Henderson bowls in the County pairs competition.
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Durham County’s B team had to dig deep to beat table-topping Cumbria – and they now have the chance to win the Northern Counties Alsop Trophy for the first time in five years.

Only a win would do against Cumbria at Houghton Dairy Lane, but a very slow start saw Durham trailing by 15 shots at halfway.

However, the Durham lads rallied in the second half to squeeze home by five shots.

Team captain Dale Oram steered his rink of Brian Poulter (Usworth), Alan Mole and Alan Taylor to a 33-15 win over Chris Phillips.

Durham had another two wins – Dairy Lane’s Alan J Dunn beat Barry Watson 25-15 and Roker Marine’s Richie Mckie defeated Peter Banister 21-12.

The 16-6 points return leaves Cumbria still top by three points but they have completed their games, Durham will be champions if they beat Lancashire at Dairy Lane in a fortnight.

Scores (Durham skips first): D Oram 33 C Phillips 15, AJ Dunn 25 B Watson 15, R Mckie 21 P Bannister 12, R Robinson 17 P Metcalfe 20, J McAdoo 16 J Barber 30, A Hill 8 M Little 24

Latest table: Cumbria played 4 pts 52, Durham 3-49, Northumberland 3-40, Lancashire 3-20, Yorkshire 3-15

Durham County’s A team head to Kirkbymoorside this afternoon to face Derbyshire in a winner-takes-all final Middleton Cup group tie.

The victors will clinch a quarter-final place.

Durham: M Peach (Houghton DL), P Sainthouse (Silksworth), L Maughan (Silksworth), W Ferry (Silksworth); J Halcrow (Silksworth), J Ballantyne (Stockton), M Higgins (Barnes Park), P Mosley (Stockton); S Baker (Silksworth), J McKenna (Silksworth), D Fenwick (Elm Tree), C Boston (Elm Tree); J Harston (Hundens), A Ward (Owton Lodge), I Jackson (Park), J Mansfield (Park); K Burton (Darlington RA), R Mckie (Roker Marine), G Farquhar (SIlksworth), I Riches (Silksworth); P Dixon (Silksworth), N Ridley (Silksworth), P Smithson (Silksworth), D Bolt (Silksworth)

Reserves: M Laydon (Barnes Park), J McAdoo (Houghton DL), J Richardson (Roker Marine), M Gleeson (Spennymoor), D Todner (Houghton DL)

There was disappointment for the Ladies’ County A team as they lost their Northern Trophy game 126-97 (9½ points to 2½) to Yorkshire at Pelton Fell.

Durham’s top rink was Durham City’s Joyce Woodward’s quartet of Dawn Jackson (Owton Lodge), Edna Stokoe (Consett Park) and Jane Pattison (Darlington North Park), who ran out impressive 29-13 winners.The only other winning rink was from Consett Park’s Gill Jones, who maintained her seasonal Trophy unbeaten record with a 10-shot victory.

The other four rinks went down by a combined total of 55.

Durham, who face Northumberland next at Ashbrooke on July 21, are third in the table, 9½ points behind leaders Cumbria.

Latest standings: Cumbria 4-31½, Yorkshire 4-28½, Durham 4-22, Northumberland 4-6

The latter stages of the Ladies’ County senior fours took place at Horden this week, with Consett Park’s Trudy Kitto, Edna Stokoe, Teresa Pearson and Gill Jones crowned champions.

In the semi-finals, Hetton Workmen’s Norma Stephenson narrowly went down 18-15 to Jones, while Sunderland’s Jean Graham, Brenda Parkins, Janet Sykes and Sue Almond enjoyed a hard- fought 18-17 win over Hundens’ Kath Campbell.

In the final, the Consett squad had too much in the tank as they eased to a 25-9 win and will now represent Durham in the National Championships at Leamington Spa on Wednesday, August 23, facing Middlesex.

The ladies’ two-bowl day was due to take place at Barnes Park, but, due to the condition of the greens, it has been switched to Horden. The singles final takes place on Friday at Horden as Stockton’s Teresa Parnell plays Darlington Woodland’s Ann Anderson.

The second stage of the men’s county competitions are progressing.

The singles has been dominated by Darlington RA’s Andrew Kirtland and Silksworth’s David Bolt over the last eight years.

With Bolt already out, Kirtland’s hopes were ended at a sodden Leadgate as 2002 champion Alex Bryden (Dunston) won a cracker 21-19.

Dairy Lane’s Peter Hudspith beat Marine’s Richie Mckie 21-13, Peter Coulson (Darlington RA) defeated Hundens’ Vince Tunstall 21-7 and Silksworth’s Gary Farquhar was an impressive 21-11 winner over Dipton’s Michael English, last year’s beaten finalist.

Quarter-final draw: JS Richardson (Roker Marine) v A Bryden (Dunston), M Hodgson (Stockton) v P Hudspith (Houghton DL), J Hills (Darlington RA) v G Farquhar (Silksworth), P Coulson (Darlington RA) v D Fenwick (Elm Tree)

In the pairs at Nevilles Cross, there were mixed results for local hopes.

Silksworth’s Gary Farquhar and David Bolt eased past Hundens’ Stuart Clarke 26-13, but club-mates Lee Maughan and Billy Ferry were left shell-shocked.

They led 12-0 and 14-2, but the wheels came off in spectacular fashion as Darlington RA’s Andrew Kirtland hit a purple patch to run out a 26-15 winner.

Seaham Town’s Henderson father and son combination put in a polished performance to see off pairs champions Dipton 22-15.

Quarter-final draw: G Farquhar (Silksworth) v I Whorlton (Houghton DL), P Mosley (Stockton) v A Bryden (Dunston), M Robinson (Vane Tempest) v A Kirtland (Darlington RA), B Henderson (Seaham Town) v G Robson (Leadgate)

The triples quarter finals were due to be held at Silksworth on Tuesday, but they were washed out. They will try again at Silksworth this Tuesday.

Quarter-final draw: K King (Dunston) v G Farquhar (Silksworth), M Hodgson (Stockton) v M Johnston (Dunston), P Mosley (Stockton) v J Halcrow (Silksworth), V Rewcastle (Darlington RA) v P Brickle (Silksworth)

The fours quarter-finals were held at Stockton and it was a mixed night for our local hopes.

The defending county champions, Silksworth’s Shaun McIntosh, Lee Maughan, Billy Ferry and Gary Farquhar, were in awesome form as they defeated Darlington RA’s Andrew Kirtland 26-8.

But the Silksworth rink of Phil Dixon, Neal Ridley, Ian Riches and David Bolt were left stunned as they dropped a last-end three to do down 18-17 to Hartlepool Park’s Dale Oram.

Semi-final draw: G Farquhar (Silksworth) v D Oram (Hartlepool Park), P Mosley (Stockton) v G Robson (Leadgate)

The remaining last-16 ties in the two-bowl singles were due to be held at Barnes Park, however they were hastily switched to Pelton Fell due to unsafe playing conditions.

Roker Marine’s Jimmy Richardson was beaten 14-10 by Hundens’ Graham Peacock and Ray Robinson was beaten in the last eight on an extra end, 15-14 by Hundens’ Stuart Clarke.

In the County Senior Fours, Hetton Workmen’s hopes of a first county title were ended in the semi-finals as Peter Harding’s quartet were beaten 30-18 at Leadgate by Spennymoor’s Barry Attwood.

Grindon League leaders Whitburn only just kept their unbeaten record intact with a rearranged 4-1 win over Pennywell, albeit by a quarter of a shot.

The only scheduled game to avoid the rain saw Hylton CW beat Barnes West End 4½-½.

Latest standings: Whitburn 5-21½ , Houghton DL 5-18½, Usworth 5-15, Hylton CW 5-14½, Silksworth 4-14, South Hylton 5-14, Barnes WE 6-11, Grindon Mill 5-8, Wearmouth 4-5½, Pennywell 6-3½

Grindon Mill and Thompson Park have enjoyed a good week, lifting morale at both clubs.

Grindon Mill notched their first win of the season, in their annual friendly against the Sunderland & District, and then they got off the mark in the Earl Cup with a cracking 6-1 home win over Sunderland to move off the foot of the table.

Thompson Park have been battling just to field full teams, so wins in the Earl Cup (6-1 at Roker Park) and in the Harold Howey Trophy (for both A and B teams against Chester-le-Street and Sunderland A) will have lifted spirits.

Barnes West End have only ever won the Earl Cup once – some 73 years ago – but, after a 6-1 win at Hetton Workmen’s, they moved top of the Division One table.

Holders Dairy Lane got back to winning ways with a 6-1 success at bottom club Houghton Town.

Usworth’s 4½-2½ win over South Hylton kept them top of Division Two, while Seaham Town hit Whitburn for a ton. Their 7-0 win enhanced their promotion prospects.

In Division Three, Ryhope’s 5½-1½ win over Washington kept them top, by a point from North Biddick, who won 7-0 at New Herrington, who dropped to bottom after Grindon Mill’s victory.

The Swan Cup title is up for grabs as only five points cover the top four.

Holders Dairy Lane’s 5½-1½ win at Hetton Workmen’s kept them top, but only on shots from Barnes West End, who beat Thompson Park 6-1.

Silksworth’s 7-0 victory at Houghton Town moved them into third, while early leaders Barnes Park are fourth after a 5-2 loss at Usworth.

In Division Two, North Biddick’s 7-0 win at Roker Park has opened up a 10-point lead, with only half a point covering the next three teams. South Hylton occupy the other promotion place after a 6-1 win at Grindon Mill.

Harold Howey Trophy holders Barnes West End moved top in Division One with a 4-0 win at Hylton CW B.

Washington Glebe B are three points behind after a 3-1 win over Ryhope, while unbeaten Roker Park, in fifth, saw off South Hylton 4-0. Bottom club Roker Marine A notched a second win at Houghton Dairy Lane A, while Barnes Park B’s 4-0 win at Seaham moved them third.

Houghton Town A won the battle at the top of Division Two, 3½-½ at home to Washington Glebe A. Wearmouth are racing up the table and sit third after four straight wins.

The Storey Bowl title race was thrown wide open after leaders Seaham Town lost their unbeaten record, going down 4-3 at home to Houghton Town in a rearranged game.

The leaders only just avoided a second defeat at Hylton CW, taking a single-shot 4½-2½ win, but their lead is down to just 3½ points.

Hetton Workmen’s charge for a fourth consecutive title is gathering momentum after a fourth straight 6-1 win, this time at Roker Park. Hetton also have a game in hand.

At the start of the season, Houghton Town had to play away from home due to the condition of their playing surface, and North Biddick had to do likewise as their green wasn’t ready.

Silksworth, where this year’s county finals will take place, did not receive their first cut until days before the season started.

More worrying is the deterioration witnessed on the two greens in Barnes Park. The once immaculate playing surfaces are a pale shadow of themselves.

With council cutbacks, the greenkeepers’ hands are tied and are lucky to get an hour to cut them, which leaves them no extra time for much-needed TLC.

This week, two County events were switched from Barnes Park due to the condition of the surface and the Barnes Park club are trying to get a site visit arranged with council representatives to discuss a way forward.

England completed a third consecutive Home International series win in Belfast last weekend.

Following wins over Wales (120-112) and hosts Ireland (121-109), they clinched the series with a hard-fought 122-116 win over Scotland.

Durham and Silksworth star David Bolt had a good series at skip, winning two and narrowly losing the third. He will have enhanced his chances of securing a Commonwealth Games berth.

In the Bowls England senior pairs, the last local hope made an exit as Roker Marine’s Rod Maxwell and Ray Bell were narrowly beaten 14-12 by Gordon Allison in a reduced 15-end game at Elm Tree.