Durham youngster Bryan Henderson produced a string of cracking wins to reach the final of the latest Open Singles Circuit at Hartlepool.
An opening 9-5, 8-6 win over South Shields’ Josh Minto was followed by a 2-0 tie breaker win over the host club’s Paul Mosley.
In the last 16, Henderson eased past Mark Lee 10-1, 11-2 before despatching Alan Taylor 8-3, 6-6.
Henderson followed up with a narrow 6-6, 7-6 semi-final win over Kingsthorpe’s Jamie Walker to book a final spot against Scotland international Robert Gordon.
Sadly for the Durham youngster, he missed out on the £1,000 first prize as Gordon ran out a 6-6, 10-2 winner.
Previous grand final winner Gary Smith (Durham) picked up good ranking points by reaching the semi- finals only to lose out to the eventual winner.
Smith has climbed up to 49th place and is only 19 ranking points outside the top 32, who are automatically invited to the grand final weekend at Potters in November.
Smith’s final chance to amass enough points will be the South Shields event on April 21-22.
There are still places available for the Shields event, with the entry fee at £22.50 and a first prize of £750 on offer.
Hartlepool’s Paul Hartley was left thinking what could have been as his attempt at lifting his first national singles title at Melton Mowbray was dashed at the semi-final stage.
Hartley has been in cracking form this season, having qualified for three competitions at Melton, and continued to produce the goods with a 21-15 last-16 win over Lincoln’s Kevin Rands.
In the quarter-finals, Hartley defeated former internationalist Paul Coleman (Wey Valley) 21-15 before succumbing 21-8 in the semis to Torquay’s Ryan Whitlock.
Scarborough’s Jack Bird beat Whitlock 21-10 in the final.
The second week of national championships get underway at Nottingham today, with the senior fours kicking off the 10-day extravaganza.
Hartlepool’s Albert Ward’s rink of Tony Greathead, Mick Hagon and Jimmy Ainger will be carrying the region’s hopes as they take on Sutton’s John Graham in the last 16.
On Monday, Ian Jackson, Glenn Skipp and Dale Oram compete for Hartlepool in the Over-50s triples. In the last 16, Oram takes on Egham’s Steve Fortescue.
In the ladies’ competition, West Denton’s Annie Lennie takes on Dolphin’s Penny Cresswell.
Aycliffe’s Fred Edwards and Barry Attwood are in Over-60s pairs action on Wednesday as they take on Desborough’s Brett Long.
Redcar’s Beryl Alderson and Kath Delacoe take on Rivermead’s Dalhne Jacob in the ladies’ event.
Gateshead’s Ronnie Richardson brings the curtain down on the individual events on Friday as he tackles Malvern Hill’s Martin Smith in the Over-60s singles.
Pat Browne (The Parks) is the region’s hope in the ladies’ singles. In the last 16, Browne takes on Bound Green’s Rhoda Young.
There could be a national title heading north tomorrow as South Shields visit Nottingham looking to lift the Denny Plate.
Despite missing talisman David Bolt, who is on Commonwealth Games duty, the Shields squad is more than good enough to secure the national title, up against West Berks.
Shields squad: S Baker, M Peach, P Dixon, Kris Storf; J McKenna, P Sainthouse, S Hubbard, S McIntosh; N Ridley, S Cairns, I Riches, I McIntosh; P Paterson, J Minto, J Sneller, G Farquhar; Reserves; B Upsall, J Morgan, D Robson, M Carr
Shields still harbour hopes of landing the Top Club title.
In the semi-final next weekend, they face Nottingham, however they will be without David Bolt and the McIntosh brothers. The latter duo will feature in the final stages of the Family Pairs event.
Houghton Kepier bring their Inter-County League season to a close tomorrow as they take on title-chasing Gateshead B.
With relegation looking likely, Kepier need a win to avoid the drop, while Gateshead will be crowned champions, for the first time in 31 years, if they win 7-3 or better..
Kepier team – At Houghton: E Downes, B Johnson, P Thomson (snr), D Todner; A Grimes, C Wallace, B Walsh, TW Todd; At Gateshead: G Brown, T Joicey, S Tindall, P Thomson (jnr); M Wright, K Armstrong, A Patterson, R Mckie
Houghton Gilpin are also in action tomorrow as they face Durham.
Gilpin are also in need of points to avoid relegation, but they do have another game against bottom-of-the-table Darlington to play next Sunday morning.
Gilpin team – At Houghton: M Baker, F Johnson, D Wright, P Harding; D Armstrong, R Jobling, F Fletcher, I Whorlton; At Durham; K Waterson, I Fairweather, J Scullion, F Froud; AN Other, T Patterson, S Patterson, J Jones
Latest standings, First Division: Gateshead B played 5 pts 41, Hartlepool 5-38, Durham A 5-28, Houghton Kepier 5-16½, The Parks 4-15, Houghton Gilpin 4-14, Darlington 4-7
Second Division: South Shields 5-43, Great Aycliffe 5-35, Stanley 4-25, Gateshead A 4-21, Ferryhill 6-21, Dunelm 4-14, Shildon 4-1
The 12th round of the Seniors Premier League takes place at Ferryhill on Thursday (12.30pm).
Houghtonians are already finished, but the other Houghton squad, of Peter Thomson Richard Thorpe and Frankie Froud, are due to be in action.
Houghton’s Top Ten squad head to Stanley today to bring down the curtain on their season. A Houghton win would cement a third-place finish.
The final of the men’s club singles at Houghton will see Frankie Froud take on Peter Brickle.
Froud received a bye in the semi-finals, while Brickle proved too strong for Peter Thomson (snr), powering home 21-4.
Brian Henderson’s squad of Joe Sutherland, Peter Harding and Freddie Fletcher secured their place in the fours final with a 17-14 win over Richie Mckie.
The other finalist will be decided on Thursday.
The line-up for the mixed pairs final has been decided, with Joan Baker and Frankie Froud facing Ellen Faith and Billy Piggott.
Men’s semi-final dates
Wednesday, April 11 – Over-60s triples (10.30am): TW Todd v F Froud, I Whorlton v W Piggott
Pairs (6.30pm): W Piggott v F Froud, B Henderson (snr) v P Thomson (snr)
Thursday, April 12 – Over-60s fours (10.30am): D Wright v F Froud, I Whorlton v TW Todd
Fours (6.30pm): AJ Dunn v P Thomson
Friday, April 13 Over-60s pairs (10.30am): W Piggott v F Froud, R Thorpe v W Laidler