IT is crunch time in this season’s county competitions as they reach the semi-final stages, with only the winners guaranteed a place at the national championships at Worthing in August.
There is plenty of local interest and Silksworth could end up with five county finalists.
In the singles, Whitburn’s Stevie Don’s cracking run came to a soggy end against Dunston’s Alex Bryden, who will now face Silksworth’s David Bolt in the semis.
Bolt defeated Leadgate’s Gary Robson in the quarter-finals.
The other semi-final is an all local affair as Houghton Dairy Lane’s Kenny Briscoe faces the 1995 champion, Silksworth’s Paul Baker.
In the pairs, Roker Marine duo Bobby Graham and Ray Robinson had a cracking 18-17 win over Dunston’s Alex Bryden to set up a semi-final against the 2007 champions Silksworth’s Keith Avery and David Bolt.
In the other semi-final, the Silksworth father and son pair of Scot and Paul Baker look to maintain their hopes of becoming the second father and son county champions as they face Mainsforth’s Ritchie Walker.
In the triples, the Silksworth quartet of Scot Baker, Gary Farquhar and Wayne Funnell had a tremendous 25-10 quarter final win over Houghton’s Kenny Briscoe to set up a semi-final against the 2008 champion, Darlington RA’s Andrew Kirtland.
The other semi-final will see RA’s Neil Buckley face Owton Lodge’s David Fenwick.
In the fours, Silksworth’s Billy Ferry, Paul Baker, Keith Avery and David Bolt defeated Owton Lodge’s David Fenwick in the quarter-finals to set up a tasty semi against RA’s Andrew Kirtland, who ended Houghton’s David Morgan’s hopes.
The Roker Marine quartet of Phillip Dixon, Ray Robinson, Pete Thomson and Bobby Graham turned around a 15-6 deficit to record a 23-17 win to set up a semi-final against Dipton’s Michael English.
This year is the last season the two-bowl championship will not have a spot at Worthing at stake. In the semi-finals, Barnes Park’s Tommy Jopling faces Dipton’s Dave Warnaby while Hunden’s Graham Peacock faces Owton Lodge’s Tom Grainger.
In the junior singles, only the county champion progresses to Worthing, but the county final could be a repeat of either the 2007 or 2010 final.
Roker Marine’s Phillip Dixon faces current champion RA’s Barry Hopkins, while Silksworth’s Gary Farquhar faces RA’s Keith Burton.
The semi-finals are due to be played next week and will be split between the greens at Houghton Dairy Lane and Spennymoor.
The winners at Houghton will be given the Durham A tag at Worthing, while the Spennymoor winners will be given the Durham B tag.
H Last season, the Barley Mow club enjoyed a cracking finish to the season by lifting one team title and three individual titles.
Sadly, that seems a million miles away following the recent arson attack on one the oldest clubhouses in the city, where more than 90 years of memories went up in smoke – as well as many members’ bowls, shoes and club equipment.
In an attempt to rise from the debris, on Tuesday the Barley Mow club will continue their defence of the 3-2-1 knock out triples as they face Seaham Town in the semi-finals.
The other semi sees Lumley face Usworth. Both ties will take place on Tuesday at Thompson Park, starting at 6.30pm.
H The Durham County A team bring an end to their season this weekend with the final Middleton Cup group tie against Derbyshire.
With the tie a dead rubber and both teams playing to avoid the bottom spot in the group, the team manager has shuffled the pack and given all the fringe squad members a chance to impress.
Team: S.Northam (RA), H.Shields (Silksworth), N.Buckley (RA), A.Bryden (Dunston), P.Dixon (Roker Marine), G.Farquhar (Silksworth), M.Bertram (Park), C.Northam (RA), G.Peacock (Hundens), D.Todner (Houghton DL), A.Ward, (Owton Lodge), G.Skipp (Owton Lodge), B.Poulter (Usworrth), J.Fielding (RA), M.Jones (RA), A.Macey (RA), C.Boston (Elm Tree), V.Avery, P.Baker, W.Funnell (all Silksworth), D.Arkley (Dunston), D.Reed (Leadgate), D.Livingston (Dunston), J.Mansfield (Park).
Reserves: K.Burton (RA), A.Kirtland, C.Black, V.Rewcastle (all RA), D.Bolt, W.Ferry (both Silksworth), J.Wells (Park).
The match starts at 2pm at Houghton Dairy Lane.
The county B team gave themselves a cracking chance of lifting the Northern Counties Alsop Cup as they went to the top of the group after a 129-102 (16-6) win over group leaders Cumbria at Stockton.
Houghton’s Dan Todner and Alan Dunn were part of a 31-13 rink success, while Seaham’s Jimmy McAdoo’s quartet went down 18-16
Scores (Durham skips first): M.Bertram 12 P.Metcalfe 16, A.Taylor 31 R.Dent 13, A.Dunn 30 P Irving 12, D.Oram 17 S.Watson 23, J.McAdoo 16 J.Hynds 18, G.Cockerill 23 C.Phillips 20.
The win leaves Durham top of the group and with a final game against bottom-of-the-group Lancashire, they need a 16-6 win to take the Alsop.
Team, to play Lancashire at Darlington Woodlands on July 16: K.Chicken (Spennymoor), A.Greathead, H.Dougherty, A.Taylor (Park), P.Coulson (Leadgate), D.Todner (HDL), D.Warnaby (Dipton), A.Dunn (HDL), G.Dougherty (Park), L.Taylor (Silksworth), S.Clarke (Hundens), J.McAdoo (Seaham), A.Hartley (Park), A.Clarke (Dipton), R.Robinson (Roker Marine), D.Oram (Park), D.Reed (Leadgate), A.Middleton (Roker Marine), B.Watson, G.Cockerill (both Stockton), P.Dixon (Roker Marine), J.Jolly (Spennymoor), D.Ray (Park), M.Bertram (Park),
Reserves: M.Wright (Barnes Park), A.Parnell (Stockton), A.Mole (Park).
Latest group standings: Durham 50 (+66), Cumbria 44 (+44), N/land 36 (+41), Yorkshire 20 (-16), Lancashire 4 (-122).
H This season’s Earl Cup Division One race took another twist as second-placed Roker Marine were beaten 5-2 at Herrington Workmen’s.
That allowed Houghton Dairy Lane to extend their lead at the top to seven points, with holders Silksworth now in third with a game in hand, but nine points behind the leaders.
The win for Herrington Workmen’s keeps them out of the bottom three as Thompson Park and North Biddick occupy both spots.
In division two, Sunderland and Houghton Town maintained their places in the promotion race, while Houghton Town are still on course for a double promotion as they lead the Swan Cup Division Two promotion race.
In the Storey Bowl, holders Hetton Workmen’s appear to be running away with the title as they are 16 points clear of Houghton Town at the halfway mark.