Bowls: David Bolt goes for four county titles on finals day at Houghton Dairy Lane

Yorkshire delight and Cumbrian despair after the final delivery in last week's Middleton Cup quarter-final at Silksworth.
Yorkshire delight and Cumbrian despair after the final delivery in last week's Middleton Cup quarter-final at Silksworth.
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The county finals take place at Houghton Dairy Lane on Sunday and it could be a magnificent day for our local hopes.

Wearside bowlers have chances in eight of the nine finals, with Silksworth star David Bolt going for four titles.

The action starts at 11am with four finals taking place.

In the fours final, the 2014 champions, Silksworth’s Phil Dixon, Neal Ridley, Gary Farquhar and David Bolt, face the current county champions, Leadgate’s David Reed, David Warnaby, Ian Peacock and Garry Robson.

The Under-25 pairs final not only has a county title at stake, but the sole place at the national championships is also on the line.

The Silksworth duo of Jaxon McKenna and Josh Halcrow will attempt to prise the title away from defending champions Darlington RA’s Keith Burton and Liam Macey to clinch their place at Leamington Spa.

Roker Marine’s Peter Thomson will look to get the better of Dunston’s Alan Jobling as they clash in the George Turley Champion of Champions final.

The other 11am final sees the defending senior fours champions, Dipton’s Michael English, taking on Spennymoor’s Barry Attwood in a repeat of last season’s final.

In the afternoon, another three finals take place.

In the blue riband four-bowl singles final, Bolt will look for a fourth singles crown as he takes on the host club’s Mal Peach, who is appearing in his first final.

Peach maintained his great run to reach the final thanks to a tremendous 21-17 semi-final victory over Darlington RA youngster Liam Macey at Roker Marine. It was Macey’s third semi-final loss in a busy week.

The Dairy Lane club is also represented in the pairs as Ken Briscoe and John Thurlbeck tackle the 2016 winners, Dipton’s Michael English and George Williams.

The third final will see Silksworth’s Jaxon McKenna attempt to retain his Under-25 singles crown against Darlington RA’s Keith Burton.

Late in the afternoon, in the two-bowl final, Bolt could create a bit of county history as former winner Darlington RA’s Peter Coulson stands in the way of his bid to become the first player to have won all six major county titles. Only the two bowl is missing from Bolt’s CV.

He eased into the final with an immense display in an 18-4 semi-final triumph against Dipton’s Michael English at Roker Marine, with six ends left unplayed.

The finals day bonanza is then rounded off as Bolt, in his fourth final of the day, is joined by fellow Silksworth players Phil Dixon and Gary Farquhar as they try to defend their triples title against past winners Darlington RA’s Barry Hopkins, Mark Jones and Andrew Kirtland.

In the Bowls England Top Club competition, it was always going to be a tough ask for Silksworth at Darlington RA.

Sadly it proved to be so as the fancied RA squad ran out 4-1 winners.

In the last 16, RA will face either Leicestershire’s New Lount or Kingscroft for a place at Leamington Spa for the nationals.

There was disappointment for the Dairy Lane duo of Ken Briscoe and John Thurlbeck, in the senior pairs area final.

Despite having home advantage, the Dairy Lane pair were beaten 22-19 by Hartlepool Park’s Dale Oram, who now qualifies for the latter stages at Leamington.

In the senior singles, Dunston’s Alan Jobling secured a trip to Leamington after defeating Leadgate’s Ian Peacock 21-16.

Stockton’s Lauren and Paul Mosley have qualified for the latter stages of the mixed pairs after defeating club-mates Teresa Parnell and David Fenwick 19-18 in a tight area final.

There was a classic Middleton Cup quarter-final tie played at Silksworth last weekend as Cumbria and Yorkshire went head to head for a semi-final place at Leamington Spa.

As expected, the lead exchanged hands several times in an absorbing clash.

Yorkshire led by 14 shots before Cumbria turned it around to go eight shots up.

Yorkshire, though, got back on top. It all came to epic end and, after 125 ends, the match came down to the 2,016th and final bowl of the day.

With Yorkshire two shots up across the green, and holding shot, it was all down to Cumbria’s England international, Stephen Farish.

Despite Farish catching the shot bowl and moving the jack, Yorkshire held onto the shot to get home by three shots overall.

In the semi-finals, Yorkshire will face Leicestershire, while Buckinghamshire tackle mighty Devon in the other semi.

In the latest round of Northern Trophy fixtures, the Durham County ladies’ A team bounced back to winning ways in emphatic fashion as they cruised to a 72-shot victory over Northumberland at Ashbrooke.

Across the green, Durham won on five of the six rinks, with the pick of them being Consett Park’s Gill Jones racking up a 42-7 triumph.

Locally, Susan Forster (Dairy Lane), Lorraine Breheny (Sunderland), Glynis Morgan (Dairy Lane) and club-mate Joan Rodgerson got home 17-13, while Durham City’s Joyce Woodward, with Hetton Workmen’s Maureen Hall at lead, ran out 26-16 winners.

Hetton’s Norma Stephenson steered her quartet, including Sunderland’s Charlotte Bayliss at second, to a 21-15 success.

Points-wise, it finished 9-1 in Durham’s favour.

With one round of fixtures to go, there are only three points between Durham, Cumbria and Yorkshire, although the latter must be favourites as they face bottom-of-the-table Northumberland.

Northern Trophy standings: Yorkshire 31½, Cumbria 31, Durham 28½, Northumberland 9

Stella Logan standings: Lancashire 36½, Cumbria 34, Yorkshire 30½, Durham 23, Northumberland 16

The ladies’ county Champion of Champions title went to Stockton’s Teresa Parnell.

In the final at Bishop Auckland, Parnell defeated the defending champion, Lyndhurst’s Sandra Hind, 21-11.