Only one local squad is through to the end-of-season play-offs in the Seniors Inter-Club League.
In Group Three, Sunderland A needed a point from their trip to leaders South Shields to secure the runners-up spot in the section and a play-off place.
After a torrid campaign, it was team captain John Jones’s rink of Pat Collins, Billy Hearne and Fred Knubley who got the all-important point as they defeated John Kelso 21-8.
Bobby Graham’s rink of Ronnie Robson, Michael Carr and Ray Robinson lost the last four ends to let slip a 10-8 lead and finish 16-10 down against Alan Lawton, while it was a tough afternoon for Peter Bulmer, Barney Walsh, Michael Davis and Billy Ferry.
They never recovered from an opening end dropped six to finish 20-4 down against Alan Cummings, but, despite the nine-shot overall defeat, Sunderland A seal a play-off place.
In the same group, Houghton A’s hopes of catching Sunderland were ended as they could only manage a 3-2 points win at The Parks B although shot wise the game finished as a draw.
Peter Harding’s rink of P. Noble, C. Wallace and Jack Thuburn pipped R. Harrison 13-12 and David Simpson, Fred Sanderson, Trevor Joicey and Ian Whorlton edged home 11-9 against P. Varty.
The only defeat came from Tom Winship, John Godfrey, Freddie Fletcher and David Wright, who let a 10-8 lead slip away to finish 14-11 down to C. Boyle.
Houghton have one more game to play as they entertain Gateshead A. The losers will finish bottom of the group.
In Group Two, the Sunderland B team produced a cracking performance to defeat a strong Stanley squad 5-0 at Houghton.
Peter Thomson, Joe Maxfield, Peter Brickle and Terry Todd combined to defeat Ian Staplin 22-13, while Bobby Usher, Tony Grimes, Frankie Froud and Richie Jobling saw off Dave Webb 17-8.
The remaining rink of George Brown, Tony Wood, Billy Conway and Billy Roberts ground out a 14-12 win over Billy Bell to secure a 20-shot overall win.
Despite the defeat, with Darlington B losing, Stanley held on to the second play-off spot by a single point from Sunderland B, who will now be regretting last week’s 4-1 loss at bottom-of-the-group Park View.
In Group Four, Houghton B slipped to the bottom of the group after a 5-0 home defeat by leaders The Parks B.
All three Houghton squads were beaten.
Frank Kell went down 17-6 to Ian Brown, Richard Thorpe lost 17-8 to M. Groundwater and Bob Johnson was beaten 17-6 by Brian Houghton, sealing a 51-20 defeat.
Houghton will need to beat play-off chasing Durham B in their final game to avoid finishing bottom of the group.
Latest standings, Group 1: Great Aycliffe played 7 puts 26, Spennymoor 8-25, Shildon 7-17½, Darlington A 7-17, Durham A 7-4½
Group 2: Hartlepool A 7-24½, Stanley 8-22½, Sunderland B 8-21½, Darlington B 8-19, Park View 7-7½
Group 3: South Shields 8-33, Sunderland A 8-21, Parks B 8-15, Houghton A 7-13, Gateshead A 7-13
Group 4: Parks A 9-35, Hartlepool B 9-31½, Durham B 7-26, Gateshead B 8-15, Ferryhill 10-13, Houghton B 9-9½
Houghton ladies head to the Jack Charles Centre in Leeds today for their Yetton Plate quarter-final against Lincoln.
The winners will face either Avon Valley or Acle in the semi-finals.
Houghton team – J Watt, M Eggleston, S Forster, B Johnson, E Prudhoe, E Barkes, B Robson, J Rodgerson, M Hall, A Vout, M Middleton, JB Smith, A Todd, E Barren, J Baker, F Phythian. Reserve: O Charlton
In the Area final of the national singles, David Bolt won an all-South Shields affair against Ian McIntosh.
He trailed 16-12, but Bolt recovered to seal a 21-16 and a place at the National Championships iat Melton Mowbray in April.
The next World Bowls Tour event starts on March 6, with the Co-Operative Funeral Care International Open taking place at Newton Hall, Blackpool.
Former Sunderland star Gary Smith is flying the region’s flag but has been handed a tough opener as he has been drawn against newly crowned world singles champion Nicky Brett.
Last weekend, Lincoln held the latest round of The Open Singles Circuit.
Locally, only South Shields’ David Bolt made the trip. A cracking 5-4, 4-6, 2-1 win over home player Danny Brown was backed up with a second round 8-3, 5-7, 2-1 defeat of Ipswich’s Lea Blackham. Sadly, Bolt’s hopes were ended in the third round by Spalding’s Jordan Philpott, who triumphed 8-0, 2-8, 2-1.
As many local bowlers know, the Houghton Indoor club is attached to one of the council’s flagship Primary Care Centres.
This week, during the first end of an evening league game, club member Malcolm Smith’s replacement hip shattered. Somewhat surprisingly, it wasn’t until after midnight that an ambulance arrived – a five-hour wait.
There was some sad news for bowlers this week as former Sunderland Indoor member Tommy Murray (73) sadly passed away.