THE Houghton trio of Michael Wright, Pat Thomson and Peter Thomson secured a cracking 19-13 win over Stanley’s David Webb in the area semi-finals of the national triples.
Thomson will now face Stanley’s John Thurlbeck in the final.
In the singles, there were semi-final victories for both Gary Smith and David Bolt.
This year, the English Indoor Bowling Association are trialing a new format for the singles by introducing a regional finals play-off, where qualifiers from areas one, two, three and four head to Hartlepool for a redraw with the winners finally clinching a place at Melton Mowbray.
From area one. the beaten area semi-finalists face each other, with the winner then progressing to that regional final which bizarrely could see a national title going to a player in a knockout competition who has already been beaten.
Latest national draws (Area 1) – Singles semi-finals: J Halcrow (S Shields) 4 GR Smith (Stanley) 21, D Bolt (Stanley) 21 B Arkley (Stanley) 11
Pairs semi-finals: B Arkley (Stanley) 21 G Robson (Stanley) 7, GR Smith (Stanley) v D Patterson (S Shields)
Triples semi-finals: P.Thomson (Houghton) 19 G Robson (Stanley) 13, B.Arkley (Stanley) 30 DW Kennerley (West Denton) 10
Fours semi-finals: P Duffy (West Denton) 12 C Yeomans (Parks) 21, B Arkley (Stanley) 18 I Riches (S Shields) 22
In the mixed fours, South Shields’ Nina Riches, Ann Upsall, Stewart Hubbard and Ian Riches have secured a place in the final stages with a cracking 24-11 win over Cumbria’s David Forster.
The Shields quartet face Hornsea’s Mark Goodfellow in the last 16 at Lincoln on February 20.
Durham have made a couple of enforced changes to the team for their Liberty Trophy quarter-final against Lincolnshire at York next Saturday (noon).
The Hartlepool duo of Paul Hartley and Carl Higgins are unavailable, however team manager Gary Smith returns to take Hartley’s skip role and Hartlepool’s Ian Jackson takes Higgins’ second man’s berth.
Despite off-the-green issues, a much-changed Stanley team moved into the last eight of the Denny Cup with an 81-65 win over Alfreton. In the quarter-finals, they will face Folkestone on Valentine’s Day at Rugby.
In the Denny Plate, Darlington eased past North Cave 102-68 to set up a quarter-final clash with Croydon.
The Sunderland & District Bowling Association’s special general meeting last weekend saw the executive’s proposal that all clubs must be affiliated to Bowls England to compete in the various leagues carried, therefore ensuring a vital funding avenue for the sport is maintained.
Bowls England’s closing date for National entries is next Sunday, February 1.
To date, from a North East point of view, the following entries have been registered:
Top Club: Darlington RA, Stockton BC
Double fours: Darlington RA (x2), Roker Marine, Stockton BC
Mixed pairs: Darlington North Park, Darlington South Park, Pelton Fell, Roker Marine, Stockton BC (x2)
Mixed fours: Pelton Fell
Family pairs: Darlington South Park (x2)
Senior singles: Elm Tree, Pelton Fell, Seaham Town, Stockton
Senior pairs: Darlington RA, Elm Tree, Pelton Fell, Roker Marine
Champion of Champions: Darlington RA, Darlington South Park, Lyndhurst, Roker Marine, Stockton
Women’s senior singles: Darlington Woodland (x2), Pelton Fell
Women’s senior pairs: Darlington Woodlands (x2), Durham City, Houghton Dairy Lane, Owton Lodge (x2), Pelton Fell, Roker Marine, Shildon
Women’s Champion of Champions: Darlington South Park, Lyndhurst