The weather restricted this week’s Earl Cup to a just a couple of First Division matches, including the big battle of last season’s top two.
Silksworth managed to stage their home clash with defending champions Houghton Dairy Lane, and, after 13 consecutive wins, Dairy Lane’s unbeaten run, which stretched back to the start of last season, finally came to an end.
Silksworth bounced back impressively from the previous week’s loss to Roker Marine to record a 73-65 (5-2) win.
The only other game to get the go-ahead saw Roker Marine follow up that win over Silksworth with a hard-fought 6-1 victory at Barnes Park.
In the Swan Cup, Silksworth hit the ton mark for the second consecutive home game as they romped to a 7-0 win over Barnes West End.
Defending champions Houghton Dairy Lane defeated neighbours Houghton Town 7-0 to go eight games unbeaten, while Usworth won the battle of the promoted teams 7-0 at home to Hetton Workmen’s.
Roker Marine’s dismal run of eight defeats came to an end as they beat Thompson Park 6-1.
In Division Two, North Biddick defeated Hylton Colliery Welfare 6-1 and South Hylton saw off Ryhope 5½-1½
Harold Howey Trophy holders Barnes West End remain unbeaten after a 3-1 home win against Ryhope B.
Hylton CW B, also unbeaten, sneaked home 3-1 by a single shot at North Biddick A, and Seaham Town A defeated Hetton Workmen 3-1 to keep up their fine start. Seaham head to Hylton for a potentially pivotal battle on Thursday.
In the Second Division, the early leaders are Washington A, who remain unbeaten after a good 4-0 win at Pennywell, while there was a first win for Thompson Park A, 4-0 at home to Roker Marine B.
In the Storey Bowl, Seaham Town hit the ton as they extended their unbeaten run to six games with a 7-0 win over Wearmouth to move to the top of the early-season table.
Roker Park ended a five-match losing streak with a cracking 6-1 win at Thompson Park and there was a first win of the season for Dawdon at Hylton CW.
Today’s fixtures (2pm): Hetton v Houghton Town, Pennywell v Thompson Park, Roker Park v Seaham Town, Wearmouth v Hylton CW.
The Grindon League got underway last week, with a string of 4-1 wins. Houghton Dairy Lane defeated Hylton CW, Silksworth beat Grindon Mill and Barnes West End enjoyed a good 4-1 win at South Hylton.
The County competitions are underway, with the early rounds of the Area 2 singles and pairs played this week.
In the singles, defending champion David Bolt (Silksworth) received a walkover against Roker Marine’s Stevie Don.
Michael Laydon won an al-Barnes Park affair 21-17 against Albie Hill and will next head to Roker Marine to face Jimmy Richardson, who defeated Silksworth’s Neil Reid 21-7.
Marine’s Peter Thomson, the 2008 County champion, ground out a 21-16 win at Dairy Lane against Dan Todner, while the battle of the County leads saw Dairy Lane’s Mal Peach just get the better of Silksworth’s Jaxon McKenna, winning 21-19.
Barnes West End’s Frankie Froud had a cracking 21-13 win at Silksworth against Phil Dixon.
In the pairs, Silksworth’s Gary Farquhar and David Bolt won a high-scoring game 27-19 against Barnes Park’s Albie Hill, while there were wins for three Dairy Lane pairs, skipped by Ian Whorlton, Keith Makepeace and Stevie Krimpen.
Roker Marine’s John Smith ran out a 19-7 winner at Dairy Lane’s David Armstrong, while fellow Marine member Fred Knubley defeated Dairy Lane’s Brian Cain 21-12.
This week, it’s the turn of the fours, triples and two -bowl singles to take centre stage. The first round of the two-bowl is being played on a home and away basis, with only the area finals played at Barnes Park.
The Durham County ladies’ Northern Trophy squad made a winning start to their eight-game campaign with a cracking 10-shot win over Yorkshire at Scarborough.
Durham had four winning rinks, including a 22-17 victory for the Houghton Dairy Lane quartet of Susan Forster, Mary Metcalfe, Gylnis Morgan and Joan Rodgerson.
Hetton’s Norma Stephenson steered her rink to a 20-12 triumph, but there was a 27-18 defeat for County secretary Sue Almond (Sunderland).
In the other game, Cumbria defeated Northumberland by 82 shots (11-0).
The first round of the ladies’ County triples took place this week, with plenty of local interest.
Dairy Lane’s Susan Forster, Glynis Morgan and Joan Rodgerson, the reigning champions, got their defence off to a winning start with a 16-12 home win over Durham’s Joyce Woodward to set up a trip to Darlington-based Hundens on Monday.
Sunderland’s Janet Sykes moved into the next round with a 19-15 home win over Darlington’s Anne Camp and will head to Pelton Fell next.
The only local loss saw Hetton’s Norma Stephenson go down 24-17 to Stockton Elm Tree’s Lisa Simpson.
The ladies fours semi-final and county final takes place at Pelton Fell on Wednesday 10am, Sunderland’s Sue Almond faces Darlington North Park’s Jane Pattison while Hetton Workmen’s Norma Stephenson faces Consett Park’s Gill Jones.
In the ladies’ County champion of champions competition, Sunderland’s Jean Graham secured an impressive 21-14 win at Darlington’s Sam Pattison.
There was more good news for Graham as she receives a bye into the semi-finals after her next opponent withdrew.
The Durham County men’s A team open up their three-match Muras Trophy campaign today against Northumberland at Dairy Lane.
Durham have beaten Northumberland on the last two occasions at Dairy Lane, but, with the loss of a few regulars, it is an ideal opportunity to experiment.
With places in the Middleton Cup squad up for grabs, team manager David Bolt will be keeping a close eye on proceedings.
Durham team: M Gleeson (Spennymoor), K Burton (Darlington RA), J Bannantyne (Stockton), P Mosley (Stockton); S Baker (Silksworth), J McKenna (Silksworth), P Smithson (Silksworth), G Farquhar (Silksworth); M Peach (Houghton DL), M Higgins (Barnes Park), L Maughan (Silksworth), W Ferry (Silksworth); P Dixon (Silksworth), N Ridley (Silksworth), D Fenwick (Elm Tree), D Bolt (Silksworth); J Halcrow (Silksworth), A Ward (Owton Lodge), I Jackson (Park), J Mansfield (Park); V Rewcastle (Darlington RA), D Todner (Houghton DL), S McIntosh (Silksworth), I Riches (Silksworth)
Reserves: D Ray (Park), P Sainthouse (Silksworth), J Harston (M Hodgson (Spennymoor), J Taylor, M Laydon (Barnes Park)
There was some sad news for the local bowls scene as Thompson Park’s Kathy Cassap (87) and Hylton Colliery Welfare’s Les Gardiner sadly passed away. Both were much-respected bowlers and good club members and will be missed.