Bowls: Riches leads the way as Durham start Middleton Cup bid with impressive victory

Roker Park president James McRoy bowls against Dawdon in last weeks Storey Bowl tie.
Roker Park president James McRoy bowls against Dawdon in last weeks Storey Bowl tie.
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Durham County’s A team made a winning start to their Middleton Cup campaign with a cracking 27-shot win over Nottinghamshire at Newark.

Across the green, Durham impressively returned five winning scorecards.

Dawdon captain Alan Henry bowls against Roker Park,

Dawdon captain Alan Henry bowls against Roker Park,

Silksworth’s Ian Riches steered his quartet of Darlington RA’s Keith Burton, Dairy Lane’s Dan Todner and Silksworth’s Gary Farquhar to an excellent 22-10 win over Steve Bailey.

Team manager David Bolt extended his Middleton Cup unbeaten run to 11 games with a 23-13 victory over Mike Owen, while there were wins for Silksworth’s Billy Ferry (26-19), Hartlepool’s John Mansfield (20-11) and Stockton’s Paul Mosley (19-15).

The only loss came from Silksworth’s Phil Smithson’s rink, who went down 25-14.

Points-wise, Durham sealed a tremendous 20-2 win, while Derbyshire beat Yorkshire 18-4. The next round of games take place next Saturday, with Durham entertaining Yorkshire at Houghton Dairy Lane (2pm).

Rink scores (Durham skips first): W Ferry 26 S Overton 19, J Mansfield 20 D Robinson 11, P Mosley 19 A Lockhart 15, D Bolt 23 M Owen 13, P Smithson 14 J Emmerson 25, I Riches 22 S Bailey 10

The Durham County ladies John’s Trophy squad had a day to forget in their opening group fixture against Nottinghamshire at Copmanthorpe, outgunned by 39 shots.

Durham could only muster one winning rink, as Consett Park’s Gill Jones beat Rose Lewis 24-13.

Darlington Woodland’s Ann Anderson was unlucky to lose by one shot, while Dairy Lane’s Joan Rodgerson went down 21-16 and Hetton’s Norma Stephenson lost 20-14.

Sunderland’s Sue Almond succumbed 28-14, while Durham City’s Joyce Woodward had a long afternoon, losing 39-15.

With only three teams in the group, the 20-2 points loss virtually ends Durham’s qualification hopes. It will take a set of perfect storm results for them to progress.

Durham return to Copmanthorpe next Saturday to face Derbyshire.

Rink scores (Durham skips first): S Almond 14 S Offler 28, A Anderson 18 E Adams 19, N Stephenson 14 I Wright 20, J Rodgerson 16 A Duceworth 21, J Woodward 15 T Wombell 39, G Jones 24 R Lewis 13

The ladies’ County B team endured a crushing 86-shot Stella Logan defeat at Bolton, on their infamous artificial surface.

Not surprisingly, with such a margin of defeat, Durham lost 10-0 on points and went down on all five rinks, Durham will look to bounce back on Friday as they entertain Yorkshire at Stockton.

Rink scores (Durham skips only): E Helm 11-37, V Gray 12-29, M Firth 6-24, J Collin 20-27, S Pattison 11-29.

There was also disappointment for the men’s County Balcomb Trophy double fours squad as they were well beaten 50-24 by Nottinghamshire.

With David Bolt on England squad duty, the Durham lads struggled. Stockton’s Paul Mosely lost 24-16 and Hartlepool’s John Mansfield succumbed 26-12.

Rink scores (Durham skips first): P Mosley 16 S Overton 24, J Mansfield 12 J Emmerson 26

The men’s county competitions lost out to the rain this week as Tuesday’s planned fours area finals at Barnes Park were washed out. The ties will now take place on Friday at the same venue.

The area finals of the triples, however, did take place at Barnes Park, on two playing surfaces that have seen better days.

Nevertheless, it was a good night for Silksworth as four of their five squads got home. Scott Baker, Paul Baker and Phil Smithson had a cracking 25-8 win over Dairy Lane’s John Thurlbeck and next face club-mate Ian Riches, who grabbed a last-end four to beat Marine’s Richie Mckie 17-16.

Josh Halcrow secured a 16-12 win over Dairy Lane’s Jeff Wilson and Gary Farquhar competed Silksworth’s four wins with a 19-12 victory against Marine’s Peter Thomson.

The only Silksworth loss saw Billy Ferry go down 14-13, on an extra end, to Barnes Park’s Albie Hill. Barnes Park’s Michael Laydon beat Marine’s Ray Bell 21-9.

The pairs area finals take place on Tuesday, with the singles on Thursday.

A couple of area finals in the singles have been played early, Gary Farquhar winning an all-Silksworth affair 21-15 against Gary McPheators and Dairy Lane’s Peter Hudspeth beating Silksworth’s Josh Halcrow 21-10.

In the ladies competitions, the pairs and singles took centre stage this week.

The Dairy Lane duo of Susan Forster and the 2015 county champion Glynis Morgan both made progress in the singles. Forster had a cracking 21-14 win over Newton Hall’s Anne Bernard, while Morgan came through a tough tie at Darlington North Park against Kath Toulson 21-17.

Defending champion Teresa Pearson (Consett Park) received a walkover, as did Hetton’s Norma Stephenson.

In the pairs, Sunderland’s Sue Almond enjoyed a thrilling 21-20 win over Darlington Woodland’s Ann Camp, but club-mate Janet Sykes lost 31-6 at home to Durham City’s Joyce Woodward. Dairy Lane’s Susan Forster and Joan Rodgerson, the 2014 county champions, eased to a 29-12 win at Dawdon against R. Bullen.

Bowls England have this season introduced a new senior fours competition and, at county level, Sunderland’s Sue Almond had a tremendous 22-11 win over Newton Hall’s Fay Slinn in the women’s event.

In the men’s competition, Hetton Workmen’s Peter Harding reached the semi-finals with a cracking 20-9 win over Darlington RA’s John Lynch. He next faces Spennymoor’s Barry Attwood.

Despite the rain, some Earl Cup games were played this week. The all-Barnes First Division derby only lasted seven ends before an abandonment, while, in Division Two, Usworth moved top with a 5-2 win over Whitburn. Hylton CW beat Thompson Park 6½-½.

All three Third Division matches were played. North Biddick remain unbeaten after a good 4½-2½ win at winless Pemberton, though Ryhope moved top with a 53-shot (7-0) victory over New Herrington. Washington beat Sunderland 5-2.

In the Swan Cup, leaders Barnes Park suffered their first loss of the season, 5-2 at Roker Marine, while holders Houghton Dairy Lane got back to winning ways, inflicting a sixth consecutive defeat on Thompson’s Park (6-1).

Silksworth lost again, 6-1 at Hetton Workmen’s, while Barnes West End beat Usworth 5-2 and Seaham Town leapfrogged Houghton Town with a 7-0 win.

Roker Park suffered their first loss in Division Two, 6-1 at Hylton CW, allowing North Biddick to extend their lead at the top with a good 5-2 at South Hylton. Washington rose to second place with a 7-0 defeat of Pemberton.

The weather played havoc with the Harold Howey Trophy. In Division One, Hylton CW A bagged their second win of the season, 3-1 at Chester-le-Street.

Ryhope A got the better of Ryhope B by three shots (3½-½), while, in Division Two, Roker Marine B ended a five-game losing streak with a 3-1 triumph against Pennywell.

The top-of-the-table Storey Bowl clash saw holders Hetton Workmen’s lose their nine-game unbeaten record to Seaham Town, who extended their own undefeated run to nine with a 5-2 31-shot success.

Despite their green woes, Houghton Town hit 111 shots as they beat Thompson Park 7-0, while Hylton CW inflicted a fifth straight defeat on Pennywell (6-1) and Roker Park defeated Dawdon 5-2.

So far this season, 41 league games have been played where clubs have played short. With the current four-rink format accounting for more than half that figure, surely it is time to revisit the format.

In the Grindon League, leaders and defending champions Houghton Dairy Lane lost their unbeaten record at Usworth, going down 56-51 (4-1).

Silksworth also suffered their first defeat as Barnes West End ran out 60-46 (4-1) winners. South Hylton moved into second place after a 51-44 (4-1) win over neighbours Pennywell.

In the Bowls England senior singles, Barnes Park’s Albie Hill went out 21-17 at Pelton Fell against Brian Brown, while Peter Hudspeth won an all-Dairy Lane affair against Kenny Briscoe 21-12. He faces Brown next.

Dairy Lane’s Ian Whorlton heads to Elm Tree to face Gordon Allison after receiving a walkover.