Bowls: Barnes West End and Roker Marine barge into Earl Cup title race

Dipton's senior fours national runners-up (from left): Michael English, Michael Creegan, Cyril Pearson and George Williams.
Dipton's senior fours national runners-up (from left): Michael English, Michael Creegan, Cyril Pearson and George Williams.
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Barnes West End and Roker Marine took advantage of leaders Silksworth’s blank week to drag themselves back into the Earl Cup title race.

West End’s 6-1 win over holders Houghton Dairy Lane moved them top by a point, while Marine’s 6-1 triumph at Hetton Workmen leaves them a point adrift in third, level with Silksworth.

Houghton Town’s relegation was confirmed with a 6-1 home loss to Barnes Park.

With a few outstanding games to play, Monday’s final round of fixtures will not decide the title. Barnes West End are on a bye, while Silksworth head to Barnes Park, Marine entertain Houghton Town and there is a relegation battle as Hetton Workmen need to win at Dairy Lane otherwise they will go down.

With both Second Division promotion spots already done and dusted, Usworth and Hylton CW are still battling it out for the title.

Leaders Usworth had a bye this week but still have a half-point lead over Hylton, who lost 6-1 at Whitburn.

In Division Three, North Biddick are already promoted but the remaining place is still up for grabs.

Washington’s 6-1 win at New Herrington moved them within two points of second-placed Ryhope, who were on a bye. Washington also have a game in hand.

Houghton Dairy Lane remain on course to retain their Swan Cup title, after hitting bottom club Thompson Park for a ton in a 7-0 win.

That maintained a three-point lead over Silksworth, who beat Hetton Workmen 7-0. Third-placed Roker Marine won 5-2 at Barnes Park, while Seaham Town leapfrogged Houghton Town after a 6-1 away success.

Usworth’s 6½-½ home loss to Barnes West End leaves them in the second relegation spot albeit only by 1½ points.

In Division Two, North Biddick won the battle of the top two, 6-1 against South Hylton, to go 14½ points clear.

The fight for the second promotion spot is between South Hylton, Hylton CW and Roker Park. Hylton outgunned Roker Park 6-1 this week.

In the Harold Howey Trophy, holders Barnes West End are the favourites to retain their title after a 3-1 win at North Biddick A.

Beaten just once all season, West End have a game in hand on the chasing pack.

Roker Park’s challenge is fading after a 4-0 home loss to Washington B, while Ryhope B eased any relegation worries with a tremendous 4-0 derby win over Silksworth.

South Hylton’s 3-1 victory over Hylton CW B moves them out of the drop zone, but bottom-of-the-table Thompson Park B remain rooted after a 4-0 loss to Seaham Town.

In Division Two, the top three surprisingly all lost. Leaders Houghton Town A were beaten 3-1 at home by North Biddick B, second-placed Wearmouth saw their eight-game unbeaten run end as they lost 3½-½ at Washington A, and third-top Houghton Town B went down 3-1 at New Herrington.

Whitburn won 3-1 at South Hetton.

The Storey Bowl’s top two went head to head last weekend and it was a thriller as leaders Seaham Town beat holders Hetton Workmen’s 63-62.

More importantly, it was 6-1 to Seaham, moving them 10 points clear of Hetton, who do have a game in hand but will need Town to lose one of their last two games to secure a fourth consecutive title.

Bottom-of-the-table Pennywell recorded only their second win, 6-1 at mid-table Hylton CW, while Dawdon defeated Roker Park 6-1.

The Burkett Shield was due to be played to a finish this week, however Tuesday’s scheduled quarter-finals were washed out.

The ties got the go-ahead 24 hours later, and David Bolt beat Roker Marine’s Richie Mckie 17-14 to set up an all-Silksworth semi against Billy Ferry, who knocked out Grindon Mill’s Alan Patterson.

The other semi-final will see Hetton’s John Purdy take on Marine’s Stevie Don, after wins over Silksworth’s Gary McPheators and Barnes West End’s Frankie Froud respectively.

The semis are set to take place at Seaham, with the final at Usworth on a date yet to be confirmed.

On Tuesday, Roker Park will host the Silver Jacks quarter-finals.

In the Grindon League, the final week of scheduled fixtures saw Houghton Dairy Lane go top after a 5-0 win over South Hylton.

With Dairy Lane having completed their fixtures, the door is open for Silksworth, who are only a point behind after a 4-1 victory at Pennywell.

The second-placed club have one game to rearrange against South Hylton and will need only a point to take the title as they have a superior shots difference.

Whitburn signed off with a 4-1 win at Hylton CW, while Usworth’s 5-0 triumph over Wearmouth gives them a chance to finish third if they beat Grindon Mill in a rearranged game.

The Tommy Thompson double fours semi-finals will feature Barnes West End against Silksworth, while Pennywell meet Usworth. The final is due to be played on Friday.

The National Championships are underway at Leamington Spa, with the Durham County qualifiers have had a mixed start.

The big highlight was the achievement of Michael English, who steered his quartet to the final of the inaugural men’s senior fours.

After navigating four rounds, the Dipton rink were beaten 19-16 by Wiltshire’s former England international, Mel Biggs.

In the junior pairs, Darlington RA’s Liam Macey made it through the first round only to lose 20-13 in the next to Middlesex’s Glen Adams.

Darlington Woodland’s Ann Anderson was well beaten 25-8 in the first round of the women’s senior pairs, while Norton’s Jennifer Parkin also made a first-round exit, losing 21-15 to Leicestershire’s Alice Atkin.

In the junior singles, Darlington North Park’s Stacy Pattison won her opener but then exited 21-9 to Warwickshire’s Hannah Smith.

In the women’s fours, Hetton Workmen’s Maureen Hall, Evelyn Barkes, Audrey Vout and Norma Stephenson beat Huntingdon’s Dina Barlow 23-9 in the preliminary round. But they then lost 21-16 to Notts’ Jayne Croxall.

Darlington North Park’s Jane Pattison made the second round before succumbing to a 28-9 loss to Cambridgeshire’s Jean Stephens.

The women’s singles has just started and Stockton’s Teresa Parnell had a cracking 21-6 first-round win over Warwickshire’s Elizabeth Wooding.

Tomorrow, Houghton Dairy Lane’s Susan Forster, Glynis Morgan and Joan Rodgerson will open their triples campaign against Leicestershire’s England international, Jamie-Lea Winch.

The men’s Middleton Cup title went to Devon for a third year running. In a repeat of last season’s final, Devon beat Kent by 32 shots.

Kent, though, won the women’s John’s Trophy final, beating Norfolk by 14 shots.