The Sunderland and District leagues are reaching a conclusion, with the outdoor season entering its final couple of weeks.
Swan Cup holders Houghton Dairy Lane’s rearranged 6-1 win over neighbours Houghton Town secured their second successive Division One title and extended their unbeaten run to 16 games.
The win also saw them break the 100 points mark, however 24 hours later the unbeaten run was ended by Silksworth, who inflicted a 5-2 defeat on the champions.
At the foot of the table, the bottom two clubs both lost – Usworth 5-2 at South Hylton while Roker Park succumbed 7-0 at Barnes Park.
In the Second Division, Seaham Town’s 5-2 victory at Thompson Park moved them to the top by three-and-a-half points, while second-placed Thompson Park only have a one-and-a-half point lead over third-top Hetton Workmen, with both teams only having one game left to play.
The promotion places in the Earl Cup Second Division have been decided.
Houghton Town’s 6-1 win at Roker Park ensured they finished as champions, while Seaham Town took the other promotion spot with a 6½-½ win over Sunderland.
With Ryhope already relegated, the remaining place will be filled by either Roker Park or Sunderland. Roker Park need at least four-and-a-half points from their outstanding game against Barnes West End to send the Ashbrooke club down.
North Biddick’s 6-1 triumph over New Herrington ensured they go up from the Third Division as champions and they will be joined in the Second division by Hylton Colliery Welfare, after a 7-0 win over bottom-of-the-table Grindon Mill.
The Harold Howey Trophy First Division title race will go to the final week as any one of three teams can still take the title.
In a top-of-the-table battle, Houghton Dairy Lane B defeated holders Silksworth 3-1 to remain in pole position, however Dairy Lane have completed all their fixtures. Barnes West End’s 4-0 win over Hylton CW has moved them into second place, only two points behind the leaders, with the final round of fixtures to due to be played on Thursday.
If Barnes West End beat neighbours Barnes Park B 4-0 then the title is theirs. Anything less and a Silksworth 4-0 win at Dawdon would then see Silksworth retain the title. If both challengers lose, Dairy Lane would hang on to top spot.
At the foot of the table, Ryhope B had a cracking 4-0 win over Washington A to bring them to within half a point of third-bottom Hylton CW A, who are also only two points above bottom club Wearmouth. Fascinatingly, the two teams meet in the final round of games.
The battle to avoid bottom spot in the Second Division took another twist as Roker Marine B enjoyed a cracking 4-0 success at Barnes Park A to leapfrog Hetton Park, who lost 4-0 at home to Sunderland B. To avoid bottom place, Hetton need to beat Roker Park B 4-0 in their final game.
The final line-up in the Champion of Champions has been decided and there will be new names added to the roll of honour.
In the main competition, Hylton Colliery Welfare stalwart Eddie Middlemiss will face Silksworth’s County star Gary Farquhar.
In the semi-finals at Dairy Lane, Middlemiss defeated 1991 champion Fred Knubley (Roker Marine) 21-12, while Farquhar convincingly saw off Seaham Town’s Mal Baker 21-6.
The seniors final will see Dawdon’s Billy Holmes taking on Sunderland’s Dennis New,
Holmes outgunned West End’s Richie Jobling 21-13 in the semi-finals, while New, after two walkovers, finally played a game, defeating Hetton Workmen’s R. Curry 21-9.
Both finals are to be played at North Biddick.
There was more disappointment for local hopes at the National Championships in Leamington Spa.
In the pairs competition, the Silksworth duo of Lee Maughan and Billy Ferry were beaten 22-11 in the first round by Hampshire’s Matt Marchant, while Barnes West End’s Bryan Sanderson saw his hopes in the two-bowl singles ended with a first round 16-3 loss to Peter Ward (Hampshire).
In the blue riband event, the four-bowl singles, both Durham’s hopes were beaten – Darlington RA’s Andrew Kirtland went down 21-18 in the second round, while Hundens’ Graham Peacock suffered a first round exit by the same 21-18 scoreline.
Durham County Ladies’ Northern Trophy squad narrowly missed out on an unlikely title success by a single point.
In their final game of the season, Durham defeated bottom of the table Northumberland by 14 shots to record a 8-3 points win. After the other results, it transpired that had Durham collected another rink point from that game they would have taken the title on shots difference.
Final standings: Cumbria 39½ (+27), Yorkshire 38½ (+54), Durham 38½ (+43), Northumberland 15½ (-124)
Durham County Ladies’ B team suffered another Stella Logan defeat, going down 137-105 to Yorkshire at York. Durham had three rinks up and a draw, however a 42-8 defeat for one rink proved pivotal.
Latest standings: Lancashire 51½, Cumbria 48, Durham 35, Yorkshire 32, Northumberland 9½.
The indoor season at Houghton starts next Saturday.