Durham’s brave run in the Denny Cup came to a cruel end.
Trailing by 14 shots with only three ends to play, they gallantly clawed their way back to finish level, only to go out on an extra against York.
At Durham, Mark Higgins outgunned Craig Newton 32-13, while Michael Laydon beat Jeff Normanton 24-16, leaving the home squad 27 shots up.
Things did not go to plan at York, however.
Gary Smith’s quartet were in all sorts of trouble, trailing Jason Parkinson 22-2 after only nine ends, but they did stem the flow of shots to finish 27-13 down.
Phil Smithson’s rink were always playing catch-up after a slow start and eventually succumbed 26-13 to Dave Stroughair.
That left Durham’s away squad a shell-shocked 27 shots adrift.
With the match level, the choice of extra end was in York’s hands and Smithson’s disappointing day was capped off by losing the extra end, leaving York 83-82 winners.
In the last 16, York will face Cumbria, who cruised past West Denton 98-50.
South Shields moved into the last 16 of the Denny Plate with an impressive 78-49 victory over Copeland.
At Shields, both home squads recorded good wins to go 19 shots up.
Neal Ridley, Stewart Hubbard, Ian Riches and Ian McIntosh defeated Ian Williams 19-8, while Shaun McIntosh steered Jaxon McKenna, Josh Minto and Chris Yeomans to a 19-11 success against David Forster.
Over on the west coast, Gary Farquhar’s rink of Dave Paterson, Paul Sainthouse and James Sneller romped to a cracking 31-10 win over Ryan Prince.
A slow start for Phil Dixon, Stevie Cairns, Kris Stof and David Bolt saw them go down 20-7 to J. Park which left the away squad eight shots to the good.
Overall, Shields won 78-49, ensuring a last-16 tie on January 6 against Darlington, who beat Hornsea 79-60
In the ladies’ Yetton Plate, despite a spirited display Houghton were beaten 94-70 by Eden and there was disappointment for South Shields’ Yetton Trophy squad as they were beaten 79-73 by Cumbria.
The South Shields juggernaut stalled last weekend as they were beaten by Hartlepool in the last 16 of the mixed Egham Trophy.
At Shields, both home rinks were beaten.
Pam Carlin, Ann Upsall, Phil Dixon and Shaun McIntosh succumbed 15-13 to Paul Hartley, while Jackie Tallack, Maureen Charles, Stewart Hubbard and Ian Riches had a tough day, losing 23-10 to Paul Mosley.
That left the home squad 15 shots in arrears.
Down the A19, Shields’ Marilyn Robson, Karen Paterson, Dave Paterson and David Bolt slumped to a 25-8 loss to Marc Squirrell.
The only winning Shields rink saw Nina Riches, Jean Chapman, James Sneller and Gary Farquhar beat Mark Jones 15-10.
Overall, Hartlepool won by 27 shots to seal a quarter-final date with Lincoln, who beat Shields in last season’s semi-finals.
There has been plenty of local action in the national competitions.
Houghton’s Peter Thomson clinched a superb 24-11 win in the fours at West Denton against Peter Duffy.
Thomson will next meet Gateshead’s Brian Orrell, who defeated Shields’ Neal Ridley 22-14.
The all-Shields clash between Dave Paterson and Gary Farquhar saw the latter run out a 15-11 winner, setting up a classic trip to Stanley to face Brett Arkley.
Latest fours draw, Northern section: B Arkley (Stanley) v G Farquhar (Shields), P Thomson (Houghton) v B Orrell (Gateshead)
Southern section: P Hartley (Hartlepool) v B Attwood (Aycliffe) or R Hudson (Redcar), P Bostock (Redcar) v G Skipp (Hartlepool)
Durham’s Gary Smith overpowered South Shields’ Paul Sainthouse 21-1 in the northern section singles to set up a trip to Shields to face Ian McIntosh.
Shaun McIntosh (Shields) put in an impressive performance at Durham, defeating Michael Laydon 21-6.
In the quarter-finals, McIntosh will meet club-mate Stewart Hubbard, who eased past Gateshead’s Alan Jobling 21-13.
In the southern section, Paul Hartley won an all-Hartlepool affair 21-2 against David Fenwick and now faces club-mate Paul Mosley, who saw off Redcar’s Paul Bostock 21-13.
Another all-Hartlepool affair saw Carl Higgins book a semi-final spot with a narrow 21-19 win over Josh Halcrow.
Latest singles draw, Northern section: I McIntosh (Shields) v GR Smith (Durham), S McIntosh (Shields) v S Hubbard (Shields)
Southern section: P Hartley (Hartlepool) or P Mosley (Hartlepool) v C Higgins (Hartlepool)
The only pairs action was in the southern section. Paul Hartley beat Hartlepool club-mate Matty Ray 20-13 and will now have home advantage against Aycliffe’s Barry Attwood, who defeated fellow Aycliffe player Matthew Gleeson.
Latest pairs draw, Northern section: M Higgins (Durham) v GR Smith (Durham), J Minto (Shields) v G Farquhar (Shields)
Southern section: P Hartley (Hartlepool) v B Attwood (Aycliffe), A Hind (Ferryhill) v A Ward (Hartlepool)
In the triples, South Shields completed a double over Durham.
Dave Paterson, James Sneller and Alan Lawton secured a cracking 16-9 home win over Durham’s Russell Bewick, Phil Smithson and Gary Smith.
That set up an all-Shields affair with Gary Farquhar.
The second Shields success saw Stewart Hubbard narrowly get home 17-16 against Michael Laydon. Next up, Hubbard will entertain Stanley’s Garry Robson.
Latest triples draw, Northern section: D Paterson (Shields) v G Farquhar (Shields), S Hubbard (Shields) v G Robson (Stanley)
Southern section: P Bostock (Redcar) v P Mosley (Hartlepool), R Hudson v B Attwood (Aycliffe)
In the Over-60 singles, Alan Lawton (Shields) eased past Stanley’s Derek Craig 21-7 and will face either Gateshead’s Ronnie Richardson or Durham’s Steve Krimpen in the quarter-finals.
Houghton’s Michael Wright, Terry Todd and Frankie Froud moved into the next round of the Over-50 triples with a 22-13 victory at West Denton against Raymond Robson.
In the next round, the Houghton trio will host Stanley’s Brett Arkley.
Houghton’s David Armstrong will also have home advantage against South Shields’ Dave Paterson, who defeated Gateshead’s Alec Bryden 19-14.
In the two-bowl singles, David Bolt (Shields) enjoyed a good 21-15 win at Durham over Michael Laydon and next tackles club-mate Alan Lawton.
The area final of the Under-25 singles will see Thornaby’s Joseph Dadd up against West Denton’s Aaron Robson. The winner will qualify for the final stages at Ely in January.
It has been a long wait, but Durham County finally get their Liberty Trophy campaign under way at Durham today.
The 11-time title winners take on Cumbria and will be looking to avenge last year’s disastrous 50-shot loss.
There is only one change from the selected squad as Shields’ Gary Farquhar replaces the unavailable Marc Squirrell (Hartlepool).
Team: J Forcer (Hartlepool), C Higgins (Hartlepool), G Farquhar (Shields), P Hartley (Hartlepool); M Barkess (Durham), K Minnis (Durham), R Bewick (Durham), GR Smith (Durham); P Dixon (Shields), M Peach (Shields), I Riches (Shields), D Bolt (Shields); J Halcrow (Hartlepool), M Higgins (Durham), G Skipp (Hartlepool), V O’Neill (Hartlepool); B.Arkley (Stanley), B Houghton (Stanley), M Jones (Hartlepool), J Thurlbeck (Stanley); M Ray (Hartlepool), C Boston (Hartlepool), P Smithson (Durham), P Mosley (Hartlepool).
Reserves: J Sneller (Shields), P Sainthouse (Shields), B Henderson, M .Laydon (Durham), M Wright (Durham)
Houghton Kepier return to Inter-Club League action tomorrow as they face a big ask against defending champions Hartlepool.
Team – at Houghton: M Wright, G Simpson, B Johnson, TW Todd; A Grimes, E Downes, B Walsh, J McAdoo; At Hartlepool: P Thomson (snr), S Tindale, D Todner, P Thomson; G Brown, R.Thorpe, A.Patterson, R Mckie
Durham County Under-25s are also in action tomorrow, facing Lincolnshire in the first round of the Double Fours at neutral York.
Team: J Cairns (Darlington), J Minto (Shields), M Barkess (Durham), M Ray (Hartlepool); J Harston (Darlington), K Burton (Darlington), M Gleeson (Aycliffe), J Halcrow (Hartlepool)