Houghton’s Inter-Club League squad went into their final game of the season against unbeaten leaders The Parks needing four points to overtake Durham and take the remaining Second Division promotion place.
But the Houghton lads produced one of their best team performances for years to record a tremendous 10½-1½ win which secured promotion and almost pipped The Parks to the title.
At Houghton, all the damage was done by Peter Harding’s rink of John Doyle, Tom Patterson and Jules Biggerstaff as they produced a quality performance defeating Brian Houghton 32-15.
Mal Baker, Matty Henderson, David Wright and Bryan Henderson snr were unlucky to have to settle for a 14-14 draw against Billy Blyth, while Trevor Joicey, Bob Johnson, Richard Thorpe and Ian Whorlton let a 15-10 lead slip away but still managed to hold their nerve to beat Ian Brown 17-16. Those scores left the home squad 18 shots to the good and the return of 4½ points was enough to seal promotion.
As it happens, at The Parks, the away squad also collected four points which would have also sealed promotion.
Billy Davis’s rink of John Godfrey, Sam Patterson and Karl Armstrong never looked back after collecting a first-end five and went onto defeat Peter Dawson 22-17, while Keith Waterson, Fred Sanderson , Freddie Fletcher and Dan Todner ground out a hard-fought 13-10 win over Michael Simmonette.
The rink of Joe Sutherland, Dave Armstrong, M. Thompson and Alan J. Dunn were level at 12-12 with three ends to go but slipped to a 17-12 defeat at the hands of the talented Josh Minto.
Despite that slip-up, the away squad finished three shots up, sealing a cracking 21-shot win overall against a team which had only dropped four-and-a-half points over the previous four games.
Inter-Club League, Second Division final table: The Parks 45, Houghton 44½, Durham 37, Shildon 29½, Ferryhill 14, Spennymoor 10
The first club final at Houghton was played this week as Michael Wright faced Freddie Fletcher in the senior singles final.
The earlier exchanges saw Wright open up a 9-1 lead. Fletcher recovered to 9-5 only for Wright to notch seven shots without reply to lead 16-5.
With Wright only needing a single for victory, Fletcher hit a purple patch and got back to 20-16, however Wright held his nerve and got the match-winning single to finish a 21-16 winner.
In the men’s semi-finals, defending champion Peter Thomson ground out a 21-12 win over Ray Robinson, while Billy Holmes turned around a 20-15 deficit to edge past Jeff Wilson 21-20.
The line-up for the pairs final has been decided after semi-final wins for Jack Harrison and Billy Piggott and Billy Roberts and Frankie Froud.
On Wednesday, the ladies triples final will take place between Norma Stephenson and Ellen Faith (2.30pm).
Over the next 10 days, a host of internationals and world champions descend on Melton Mowbray as this season’s National Championships are played out.
Locally, there is plenty of interest. In the pairs, the South Shields duo of Phillip Dixon and Gary Farquhar face a last-32 opener against Isle of Wight’s Keith Beckett and Bryn Davies. Later in the week, Farquhar is joined by Mal Peach and David Bolt in the triples, but the draw has been unkind to the Shields lads as they face a tough opener against Whiteknights’ Robert Newman.
In the fours, South Shields Ian McIntosh will attempt to steer his quartet to national glory. In the last 16, McIntosh faces Church Gresley’s Mark O’Connell.
The remaining national finals at Nottingham were completed this week.
In the final of the Denny Plate, City of Ely comfortably defeated Victory 89-55, while Acle eased past Torbay 109-53 in the final of the ladies’ Yetton Plate.
The remaining seniors titles were also decided. In the Over-60s singles, local hope Hartlepool’s Albert Ward was beaten 21-12 in his opener, with the title eventually going to Hounslow’s David Pitt.
The Over-50s triples title went to Lincoln’s Danny Brown, while the Hartlepool trio of Dale Oram, Ian Jackson and Glenn Skipp went out in the last eight. The Over-60s double fours went to host club Nottingham after beating West Berks 37-28.
Another round of the Open Singles Circuit was played in the region last weekend as York hosted a field of 59 players competing for the £800 first prize.
South Shields’ Gary Smith has enjoyed his venture into the circuit after earlier tournament wins at Hornsea and Peterborough, plus a runners-up finish at Hartlepool’s Easter event.
At York, the Shields star enjoyed wins over James Sneller (1½-½), Carl Stoakes (2-0), Stuart Airey (2-1), Jamie Walker (2-0) and a semi-final success against Paul Hartley (2-0). Sadly, in the final, Smith was beaten 2-0 by Lincoln’s Kevin Rands, however that loss will have been eased by the fact Smith has moved to top of the rankings.
The top 32 ranked players qualify for the grand finals in October.
The draw for the District 2 outdoor county competitions have been made.
Singles: N Ridley (Silksworth) v J McKenna (Silksworth), JS Richardson (Roker Marine) v P Baker (Silksworth), J Halcrow (Whitburn) v N Reid (Silksworth), T Dean (Silksworth) v D Bolt (Silksworth), J Maddison (Sunderland) v A Hill (Barnes Park), G Farqhuar (Silksworth) v I Riches (Silksworth), A Thompson (South Hylton) v M Higgins (Silksworth), RW Graham (Roker Marine) v K Donkin (Silksworth), R Mckie (Roker Marine) v Pat Thomson (Silksworth), C Jefferson (Silksworth) v P Smithson (Silksworth), B Sanderson (Barnes WE) v P Dixon (Silksworth). Byes: M Laydon (Silksworth), K Avery (Silksworth), S Don (Roker Marine), Peter Thomson (Silksworth), S Baker (Silksworth)
Pairs: S Baker (Silksworth) v D New (Sunderland), W Ferry (Silksworth) v J Halcrow (Whitburn), R Mckie (Roker Marine) v J Kelly (Silksworth), D Bolt (Silksworth) v M Higgins (Roker Marine), M Laydon (Silksworth) v I Riches (Silksworth), J Richardson (Roker Marine) v D Wilson (Whitburn), S Don (Roker Marine) v A Hill (Barnes Park), B Sanderson (Barnes WE) v P Dixon (Silksworth), S Summers (Sunderland) v J Britton (Barnes WE), J Tulip (Sunderland) v P Smithson (Silksworth). Byes: P Thomson (Silksworth), K.Richardson (Barnes Park)
Triples: I Riches (Silksworth) v S Baker (Silksworth), R Mckie (Silksworth) v D Bolt (Silksworth), A Hill (Barnes Park) v P Thomson (Silksworth), J Kelly (Silksworth) v D Wilson (Whitburn), E Cook (Roker Marine) v P Campbell (Sunderland), K Richardson (Roker Marine) v M Laydon (Silksworth). Byes: R Graham (Roker Marine), W Ferry (Silksworth)
Fours: S Summers (Sunderland) v J Kelly (Silksworth), A Hill (Barnes Park) v W Ferry (Silksworth), P Thomson (Silksworth) v M Laydon (Silksworth). Byes into the green finals: R Graham (Roker Marine), S Baker (Silksworth), R Campbell (Sunderland), M Winter (South Hylton), D Wilson (Whitburn), D Bolt (Silksworth), R Mckie (Roker Marine)
Two-bowl singles: G Farquhar (Silksworth) v P Dixon (Silksworth), B Sanderson (Barnes WE) v A Thompson (South Hylton), M Laydon (Silksworth) v N Reid (Silksworth). Byes into the green finals: J McKenna (Silksworth), J Richardson (Roker Marine), N Ridley (Silksworth)