SUNDERLAND made it four wins out of four in the latest round of Inter Club fixtures by defeating Houghton 169-92 (11-1).
At Crowtree, all three Sunderland rinks recorded victories.
Keith Hopper, Bobby Usher, Ray Robinson and Hendy Shields survived a late scare to beat Stevie Tindale 28-16.
George Brown, Michael Carr, Dan Todner and Pete Thomson ground out a 25-8 win over Jimmy McAdoo, while the remaining rink of Michael Wright, Billy Roberts, Stevie Angus and Billy Ferry produced a second-half onslaught to recover from 8-7 down to run out 36-11 winners over Eric Weightman.
At Houghton Neil Ridley, Michael Laydon, Phillip Dixon and Gary Farquhar eased to a 34-10 win over J.Biggerstaff, Tony Grimes, Dale Fenwick and Alfie Ferguson, while John Jones turned around a 16-13 deficit with only six ends left into a 29-21 win over J.Scullion.
The only bright spot for Houghton came via the rink of J.Doyle, V.Sowerby, M.Baker and Peter Harding who defeated Pat Collins, Billy Hearne, Terry Todd and Mark Higgins 26-17.
The result leaves Sunderland clear at the top while Houghton’s hopes of sneaking into the second promotion place look slim.
The next round of fixtures take place on Sunday 10th February when Sunderland face bottom of the table Ferryhill and Houghton have a bye.
Latest table – Division Two: Sunderland (played) 4 – (points) 40½, Durham 3-20, Gateshead 2-17, Hebburn 3-15, Houghton 4-13, Ferryhill 1-4
H In the national Over 60s pairs, there was disappointment for the last Sunderland hope as Joe Flett and Tommy Jopling went out 23-18 at The Parks to Ian Brown.
In the singles, Stanley’s Gary Smith booked a place in the area final after winning an all-Stanley affair 21-17 against J.McKenna.
South Shields’ Ian McIntosh moved into the pair’s area final after defeating Stanley’s Ian Riches 25-13.
H The various club competitions at Crowtree continue to progress. In the men’s singles, Pat Thomson moved into quarter-finals with a 21-12 win over Ray Robinson.
Tony Grimes defeated Alan Thompson 21-6 and Michael Laydon defeated Michael Wright 21-13.
Defending champion Gary Smith faces George Brown in the last 16.
In the senior singles, Fred Knubley beat Ritchie Jobling 21-5 and will now face Bobby Graham in the semi-finals after the latter beat Jimmy Coundon 21-4.
Joe Flett defeated Peter Thomson 21-11 and will face the winner of Terry Todd and Ray Robinson in the semi-finals.
In the ladies singles, Margaret Eggleston won a thriller 21-20 against Florence Rodenby. Defending champion Alice Curtis defeated Evelyn Barkes 21-5, while there were wins for E.Barren and A.Bevan.
H Durham County remain on course for a 13th Liberty Trophy title after defeating Norfolk 123-102 in the quarter-final tie played at South Forest.
Durham had three winning rinks. Darlington’s Andrew Kirtland won 30-12, Hartlepool’s Vinnie O’Neill won 30-16 and Stanley’s Gary Smith won 20-17.
The other three rinks went down – Stanley’s David Bolt lost 17-16, Stanley’s John Thurlbeck lost 19-15 and Hartlepool’s Glen Skip lost 21-12.
In the semi-finals, Durham will face Cumbria but the tie will not be on a neutral green as Cumbria are top of the draw – therefore the tie will be played at Carlisle.
Prior to the quarter-final tie, a presentation was made to the former Sunderland player and now Stanley stalwart John Thurlbeck in recognition of becoming the first Durham player to reach 100 Liberty Trophy appearances.
The feat is so rare that Thurlbeck becomes only the third player around the country to have broken the 100 barrier.
The Stanley star made his Liberty debut playing third bowl in 1981 and by 1991 had been promoted to skip. Thurlbeck has enjoyed 10 Liberty titles while having a playing record of won 69, drawn 5, lost 26.
H This year’s Indoor World Championships has begun at Potters and already there has been an early exit for two of the fancied players.
The World Number 1 ranked player and second seed for the championships Greg Harlow went out in the first round 9-4, 3-9, 2-1 to Scottish qualifier Colin Walker and then fellow Scot Steven Allan – who got a wild card invite – defeated the eigth seed Simon Skelton 8-8, 7-5.