Houghton ladies’ Inter-Club League squad made a losing start to their campaign, suffering a narrow 12-shot defeat at the hands of Durham.
Things looked bright at the halfway mark, as, across the green, Houghton led 55-45, but a bad run from the 10th to the 15th end saw them slip to 84-79 down.
They could not bounce back and finished up succumbing to a 102-90 defeat.
At Houghton, Ellen Faith’s rink had a cracking 20-10 win over Eileen Horan, while Jean Lewins narrowly went down 19-17 to Arleen Stafford.
A 13-2 return in the middle of the match proved decisive for the third home rink, skipped by Joan Rodgerson, as they went from 12-8 down to 23-10 down. In the end, Rodgerson lost 25-11 to Ann Bernard, leaving the home squad six shots in arrears.
At Durham, it was a case of déjà vu as the Houghton away squad also went down by six shots but they can feel hard done to after leading for most of the game.
Jenny Smith’s quartet enjoyed a cracking 17-6 win over D. Appleby, while Norma Stephenson was a tad unlucky to be beaten 17-15 by H. Thompson.
The remaining rink, skipped by Margaret Eggleston, was always playing catch-up and finished 25-10 down against I. Pickford.
The latest round of Senior Inter-Club League fixtures take place this week.
In Area 2, Sunderland open up their campaign at Houghton against Hartlepool A on Wednesday.
Last season, Sunderland missed out on a play-off place by a single point and did actually beat the group winners, Hartlepool, 4-1 in the corresponding fixture.
Sunderland: J Maxfield, R Usher, F Froud, R Jobling, D Gowland, A Wood, G Brown, W Roberts, P Thomson, E Downes, P Brickle, TW Todd. Reserves: W Hearne, R Robson
In Area 3, Houghton A open up their campaign with a home game against the newly-formed Stanley B team.
The newly revamped Inter-County League starts next Sunday with a local derby as Houghton and Sunderland meet in the opening round of fixtures.
The format has been altered to a Denny-style two rinks home and away in order to help clubs around the area to field teams.
The change has attracted Stanley back into the fold, while Gateshead now have two teams and Durham also have an extra team under the banner of Dunelm.
Despite the cracking weather, the outdoor season is already a distant memory, however the final tables have been confirmed.
The only relegation that was left in the air was in the Swan Cup Division One as Houghton Town finished above North Biddick by half a point to relegate the latter.
Earl Cup, Division One: Houghton DL 73, Silksworth 60, Roker Marine 49, Barnes Park 38, Houghton Town 30, Thompson Park 23, Seaham Town 21
Division Two: Hetton Workmen 63, Barnes WE 61, Hylton CW 39½, Sth Hylton 39, Usworth 37½, North Biddick 31, Sunderland 23
Division Three: Whitburn 65½, Roker Park 60, Washington 51, Ryhope 36½, Grindon Mill 33½, Pemberton 31, New Herrington 16½
Swan Cup, Division One: Houghton DL 103, Silksworth 94, Roker Marine 69½, Barnes WE 69½, Barnes Park 66½, Thompson Park 54½, Seaham Town 47½, Houghton Town 45, North Biddick 44½, Sth Hylton 36
Division Two: Usworth 74½, Hetton Wkm 71½, Washington 53, Ryhope 51½, Roker Park 50, Hylton CW 45, Pemberton 23½, Grindon Mill 16
Harold Howey Trophy, Division One: Barnes WE 61½, Houghton DL B 52, Houghton DL A 47½, Thompson Park B 46½, Hetton Wkm 41, North Biddick A 40½, Silksworth 39, Barnes Park B 38½, Sth Hylton 38½, Hylton CW B 37, Roker Marine A 36, Chester le St 34, Ryhope B 32½, Seaham Town A 31, Roker Park A 30½, Ryhope A 25, Thompson Park A 21, Washington A 16, Dawdon 12
Division Two: Washington B 45, Hylton CW A 45, North Biddick B 41½, Sunderland B 40, Houghton Town A 39½, Seaham Town B 37½, Pemberton A 35½, Sunderland A 32, Houghton Town B 31½, Roker Marine B 31, Barnes Park A 30½, Whitburn 30½, Wearmouth 27½, Hetton Park 23, Pennywell 22, Pemberton B 21, New Herrington 11
Storey Bowl: Hetton Wkm 81, Seaham Town 61½, Thompson Park 49½, Roker Park 48, Houghton Town 44, Hylton CW 43, Dawdon 33, Wearmouth 25
The following games were not played, so the offending team will be fined, as per Association rules - Swan Cup, Division Two: Pemberton v Grindon Mill; Harold Howey Trophy, Division One: Silksworth v Thompson Park; Storey Bowl: Houghton Town v Wearmouth