DESPITE putting in a battling performance in their final league fixture, Sunderland’s Inter County squad still tasted defeat against Hartlepool 119-93 (9-3).
With no green space left at Houghton, all six Sunderland rinks had to play at Hartlepool.
Due to the points structure of the overall game prior to the start, Sunderland nominated three rinks which would be classed as the home leg.
A late charge by Peter Bulmer, Michael Carr, Pete Thomson and Gary Farquhar resulted in a 23-17 win over K.Wilford.
The other two nominated rinks were desperately unlucky not to secure wins and went down on the last ends.
Tony Grimes, Peter Thomson (snr), Terry Todd and John Jones led for most of the game only to let slip a 15-13 lead to go down 17-15 to D.Oram.
The remaining rink of Ebby Dent, Richie Jobling, Hendy Shields and Billy Ferry narrowly went down 14-12 to G.Skipp.
For the points system, that meant the nominated home rinks finished two shots up - but more importantly secured three points.
The remaining three rinks all went down. A.Triallist, Billy Roberts, Phillip Dixon and Mark Higgins were left to rue a dropped seven as they went down 20-15 to I.Jackson while Pat Collins, Billy Hearne, Peter Brickle and Ray Robinson went down 24-21 to J.Wells.
The remaining quartet of George Brown, Keith Hopper, Joe Flett and Tommy Jopling were heavily beaten 27-7 by J.Lutz.
Those scores left the nominated away rinks 28 shots down.
To avoid relegation, Sunderland must hope that both Gateshead and Aycliffe fail to collect five points in their outstanding games against title-chasing Darlington and Hartlepool.
Latest table: The Parks 5-39, Darlington 4-30, Sunderland 5-24, Hartlepool 4-23, Gateshead 4-20, Gt Aycliffe 4-20.
In Division two, Houghton defeated Ferryhill 10½-1½ to secure the second promotion place.
Latest table: South Shields 5-46, Houghton 5-37½, Durham 5-34½, Shildon 4-23½, Hebburn 4-18, Ferryhill 5-6½.
H In the Seniors Inter Club quarter-final play-off, current title holders Sunderland A will entertain Hartlepool A at Houghton on Wednesday, March 26 at 12.30.
H The Stanley trio of Phil Smithson, David Bolt and Gary Smith secured a place at the National Championships following a 19-12 Area play-off victory over Cumbria’s Trevor Taylor.
At the Melton Mowbray event, the fancied Stanley triple will face Adur’s David Hubbard in the last 16 on April 9.
H International bowls returned to Stanley as the British Isles Championships and Home International series have been taking place. England collected four titles - Katherine Rednall (Ladies U25 Singles), Wayne Ditchfield (Men’s U25 Singles), Mark Dawes (Men’s Singles), Robert Elmore, Greg Harlow and Nick Brett (Men’s Triples).
In the ladies Home International series, England comfortably retained their title. Victories over Scotland 115-103, Ireland 163-82 and Wales 144-95 secured a sixth consecutive series win.
In the opening round of games in the men’s series, England defeated Ireland 132-91 and Scotland defeated Wales 119-91.
H The English Indoor Bowling Association and British Eurosport have agreed a major broadcast partnership for 2014.
The partnership will see the EIBA’s exciting and shorter format competition, The Premier Threes, and England Test Matches against other home nations, being shown exclusively live on British Eurosport starting on Wednesday, April 9.