DURHAM County A crashed to a costly 138-113 (18-4) defeat to Northumberland in their opening Middleton Cup group fixture.
On a tricky Alnwick green, the fact it was a high-scoring game showed how unreliable the surface was and, with a trip to Nottingham to come, hopes of progressing to the next stage are already looking slim.
Out of the six rinks, Durham had two winners. Team manager Andrew Kirtland skipped his quartet, which included Silksworth’s Billy Ferry at third, to a 31-13 win over Stan Lant, while John Mansfield recorded a 31-13 win over Richard Train.
However, the remaining four rinks went down.
New England cap David Bolt lost 30-12 to Kevin Wall, John Wells succumbed 27-10 to Steven Harvey and former Northumberland star Robert Chisholm lost 27-10 to Chris Palmer.
The remaining Durham rink, skipped by Tony Macey, went down 19-16 to Paul Ging.
Notts defeated Derbyshire 121-82 (18-4), so Durham will need to win, and win well, when they visit Nottingham next Saturday.
Group standings: Northumberland 18, Nottingham 18, Durham 4, Derbyshire 4.
Durham County B had a better afternoon against Northumberland as they enjoyed a 140-107 (18-4) win in their opening Alsop tie.
Rink scores (Durham skips first): D Oram 31 B Fairburn 9, A Taylor 28 G Parker 16, G Cockerill 24 J Curtis 19, J McAdoo 18 P Dawson 30, A Parnell 18 J Tweddle 19, A Dunn 21 K Rowe 14
The B team face Yorkshire at Kirbymoorside today, with team manager Paul Heath making a couple of changes.
Team: K Chicken (Spennymoor), A Greathead, H Dougherty, A Taylor (Park), P Coulson (Leadgate), J Godfrey (Houghton Dairy Lane), B.Henderson (Seaham), A Dunn (HDL), G Dougherty (Park), L Taylor (Silksworth), K Wilford (Owton Lodge), J McAdoo (Seaham), A Hartley (Park), A Clarke (Dipton), D Warnaby (Dipton), R Robinson (Roker Marine), D Reed (Leadgate), A Middleton (Roker Marine), B Watson, G Cockerill (Stockton), P Dixon (Roker Marine), D Ray (Park), M Bertram (Park), A Parnell (Stockton). Reserves: S Clarke (Hundens), A Mole (Park), M Wright (Barnes Park), J Jolly (Spennymoor)
Houghton Dairy Lane’s Glynis Morgan, Susan Forster and Joan Rodgerson collected the ladies’ County triples title, beating county secretary Gill Jones in the final.
Local bowlers will have the chance to catch up on Gary Smith’s run in this year’s indoor singles competition, at Nottingham in April.
Sky Sports has produced six one-hour programmes with highlights of the singles and pairs from the quarter-finals onwards. The programmes run until July 7 and are repeated regularly.
Barley Mow, holders of the Sunderland and District 3-2-1 knockout triples, have progressed into the quarter-finals following a 238-194 win over Pennywell.
In the last eight, Barley Mow host 2008 winners Silksworth.
Storey Bowl holders Hetton Workmen (25) have made a flying start with four straight wins and lead Houghton Town by 5½ points.