The Denny Cup first round threw up a cracker of a tie between South Shields and Stanley.
The last time the sides met, Shields ran out winners by 36 shots, but the table was turned this time around as Stanley sprang a surprise, albeit by a single shot.
At Stanley, both Shields rinks put in spirited performances.
David Bolt’s quartet of Phil Dixon, Jaxon McKenna and Dave Paterson were beaten 16-12 by Davey Webb, while Chris Yeoman’s rink of Mal Peach, Paul Sainthouse and Josh Minto also finished four shots down, losing 16-12 to Brett Arkley.
Those scores left the away squad only eight shots adrift.
At Shields, Scott Baker, James Sneller, Gary Farquhar and Shaun McIntosh went down 19-13 to John Thurlbeck, who played some big bowls over the latter stages of the game, notably drawing shot when seven down and trailing the jack on the last end for a count of four.
The other Shields rink of Neal Ridley, Stewart Hubbard, Ian Riches and Ian McIntosh nearly proved to be the match-winners as they defeated Brian Houghton 27-14, a score which actually flattered the Stanley quartet.
That left the Shields home squad seven shots up, but saw Stanley edged home as narrow 67-66 winners.
In the next round, Stanley will face Gateshead, who eased past The Parks 84-46, while Shields will now have to concentrate on the Denny Plate, in which they meet The Parks.
Houghton open up their Denny Cup campaign next weekend as they face West Denton – a first meeting of the clubs in the Denny. Durham entertain Darlington and Hartlepool face Redcar.
Houghton squad – At Houghton: M Noble, AJ Dunn, J McAdoo, B Henderson; M. Baker, S Tindale, I Whorlton, F Froud. Reserves: A Patterson, M Wright
At West Denton: S Patterson, D Todner, M Davis, P Thomson (jnr); F Fletcher, TW Todd, J Jones, R Mckie. Reserve: A Wood
Houghton ladies are due to be in Yetton Plate action against Darlington next Saturday, but as yet they only have eight nominations of the 16 players required.
Houghton are in Egham Trophy action tomorrow as they face a South Shields squad who last season reached the national last eight.
Despite missing several players, Shields will be strongly fancied to make progress into the next round.
Teams at Houghton – Houghton: J Watt, A Wood, F Phythian, TW Todd; E Morris, S Patterson, B Robson, F Fletcher
Shields: N Riches, J Chapman, J Sneller, G Farquhar; A Upsall, P Carlin, J McKenna, S McIntosh
At Shields – Houghton: M Hall, A Grimes, N Stephenson, F Froud; P Thomson (snr), E Barkes, J Baker, R Mckie
Shields: J Tallack, M Charles, N Ridley, C Yeomans; M Robson, K Paterson, D Paterson, S Hubbard
Other local ties see Durham away to West Denton and Ferryhill visiting Hartlepool, while Great Aycliffe have been given a walkover against Thornaby.
In the local section of the national singles, Phil Dixon (Shields) produced a cracking performance to knock out Stanley’s Brett Arkley 21-6 away.
Dixon’s reward is a trip to West Denton to face Cecil Swick.
Fellow Shield’s player Paul Sainthouse had a good 21-3 win at West Denton against Jacky Taylor and will now host Stanley’s Eddie Henry.
Houghton’s Dan Todner went down 21-4 at home to Gateshead’s Alex Bryden.
In the southern section of the draw, Hartlepool’s Carl Higgins defeated Ferryhill’s N. Tallentire 21-8.
In the pairs, Neal Ridley and Billy Ferry (Shields) cruised to a 38-4 win at Gateshead against C. Copp and will now host Stanley’s Garry Robson in the next round.
West Denton youngster Aaron Robson had a good 17-7 win over Shields’ Dave Paterson and Ian Riches (Shields) eased to a 20-9 win at Houghton against Dan Todner.
Durham’s Mark Higgins notched a second pairs win with an 18-14 home victory over West Denton’s Michael Bennett.
In the triples, Stewart Hubbard (Shields) defeated Houghton’s Dan Todner 20-8 and Durham’s Mark Higgins narrowly beat Gateshead’s Malcolm Johnston 22-21.
Hartlepool’s Paul Mosley defeated club-mate Paul Hartley 22-3 in the southern section.
An all-Shields affair in the two-bowl singles saw David Bolt beat Phil Dixon 21-16 while an all-Gateshead duel saw Alex Bryden beat Malcolm Johnston 21-17.
Houghton’s Freddie Fletcher narrowly went out 16-15 at home to South Shields’ Derek Robson in the Over-60s pairs.
In the mixed pairs, Durham’s Michael Laydon eased to a 20-5 win over Shields’ Paul Sainthouse and West Denton’s Aaron Robson narrowly beat Dave Paterson (Shields) 13-12. He entertains The Park’s Mathew Raftree in round two.
In the Top Club competition, South Shields secured the top-of-the-draw spot with a comfortable 14-2 win over The Parks.
In the two singles, Ian McIntosh went down 17-13, while Nina Riches collected a last-end double to get home 14-13.
Jackie Tallack and David Bolt cruised to a 43-4 mixed pairs win while Phil Dixon, Ann Upsall and Ian Riches secured the mixed triples 23-11.
Karen Paterson, Pam Carlin, Chris Yeomans and Shaun McIntosh completed Shields’ triumph with an 11-9 victory in the mixed fours.
In the next round, Shields will host Cumbria or Blackpool Newton Hall on November 5.
On Wednesday, it is Houghton’s turn to host the Seniors Premier League (12.30pm).
Houghton face Durham, while the Houghtonians tackle unbeaten Stanley B.
The other two games see Darlington A meet Gateshead B and unbeaten Stanley A taking on Darlington B.
Houghton triple v Durham: P Thomson, R Thorpe, F Froud
Houghtonians triple v Stanley B: F Fletcher, J Sutherland, TW Todd
Durham County seniors got their season off to a winning start with a narrow 124-121 win over Yorkshire to retain the John Dodsworth Cup.
Despite only having two of the six rinks up, Durham got home on the last two ends.
Darlington’s Alan Stephenson steered T. Griffiths (Shields), R. Metcalfe (Ferryhill) and G. Alderson (Durham) to a 29-19 success, while Hartlepool’s Dale Oram skipped Stevie Krimpen (Durham), Alan Mole (Hartlepool) and Alan Taylor (Hartlepool) to a 22-10 victory.
Durham’s Liberty Trophy planned squad day at Hartlepool today will be missing a host of players due to a clash with the qualifying event for the World Singles and Pairs at Carlisle.