Bowls: Farquhar and Bolt seal Northern Counties pairs crown on weekend of delight for Durham

Silksworth's and Durham's Gary Farquhar and David Bolt, the Northern Counties Pairs champions, with Bowls Durham president Michael Carr.
Silksworth's and Durham's Gary Farquhar and David Bolt, the Northern Counties Pairs champions, with Bowls Durham president Michael Carr.

Durham County’s champions collected three titles in the Northern Counties Championships at Gosforth last weekend.

Durham also had runners-up in two events over two cracking days of competition. In the pairs, the Silksworth combination of Gary Farquhar and David Bolt were in impressive form all day and took the title with a 20-12 win over Northumberland’s Les and Chris Yeomans.

Harold Howey Trophy Division One champions Barnes West End.

Harold Howey Trophy Division One champions Barnes West End.

It secured Farquhar’s first Northern Counties success, while Bolt added to his 2007 win alongside Paul Baker.

Sadly, in the triples final, Farquhar and Bolt, joined by Phil Dixon, lost to Yorkshire’s Stephen Dilks, Craig Baker and Scott Walton.

Elm Tree’s David Fenwick joined an elite band of Durham players by completing a full set of Northern Counties titles with a victory in the singles.

Fenwick was in awesome form in the final and ran out an impressive 21-5 winner against Yorkshire’s Scott Walton. That secured a third consecutive win in the singles for Durham.

Durham’s third title came in the fours, with the Leadgate quartet of David Reed, David Warnaby, Ian Peacock and Garry Robson defeating Yorkshire’s Mick Baker, Shaun Wells, Dominic Kelly and Nigel Brignall.

Stockton’s Mark Hodgson was unlucky to lose the two-bowl singles final on an extra end to Cumbria’s Kevin Harrison.

Other winners, U25 singles: Callum Hodgson (Cumbria)

Under-25 rinks: Lewis Rimmer, Daniel Catterall Jack Lockhart, John Yates (Lancashire)

Some of the best Under-25 players will be on show at Gosforth tomorrow as the Northern Counties Select face the Scottish Young Bowlers Association in their annual Federation Cup clash (1.45pm).

Silksworth’s Jaxon McKenna and Norton’s Jennifer Parkin are in the Northern Counties side.

The final Sunderland & District League game of the season saw already-crowned champions Barnes West End defeat Washington Glebe 4-0 in the Harold Howey Trophy’s First Division.

The West End lads’ final winning margin at the top was 8½ points and they will look for a third consecutive title next season.

Fair play to Sunderland & District as they are now looking for feedback from clubs on the preferred league formats. It is now down to the clubs to respond via the league secretary so a favourable solution can proposed at the AGM in November.

Final league standings

Earl Cup, Division One: Silksworth 63½, Barnes WE 55½, Roker Marine 55½, Barnes Park 41, Houghton DL 40½, Hetton Workmen’s 25, Houghton Town 13

Division Two: Usworth 55½, Hylton CW 53, Seaham Town 51, South Hylton 40, Whitburn 36½, Roker Park 36, Thompson Park 22

Division Three: North Biddick 60, Washington 53½, Ryhope 52½, Sunderland 40½, Pemberton 33, Grindon Mill 31½, New Herrington 23

Swan Cup, Division One: Houghton DL 92½, Silksworth 89½, Roker Marine 84½, Barnes WE 74½, Barnes Park 63½, Hetton Workmen’s 61½, Seaham Town 56½, Houghton Town 46, Usworth 43½, Thompson Park 18

Division Two: North Biddick 68½, South Hylton 64½, Hylton CW 59, Roker Park 53, Washington 49½, Ryhope 39½, Grindon Mill 31½, Pemberton 26½

Harold Howey Trophy, Division One: Barnes WE 56½, Houghton DL B 49, Barnes Park 47, Silksworth 44, Washington Glebe B 42, Houghton DL A 40½, Roker Park 40, Seaham Town A 35, Hetton Workmens 34, Ryhope B 31½, North Biddick A 27½, South Hylton 27, Hylton CW A 25½, Hylton CW B 25, Ryhope A 24½, Roker Marine 22, Thompson Park 21, Chester-le-Street 20

Division Two: Houghton Town 48, Whitburn 44, Wearmouth 40½, Washington Glebe A 36, Houghton Town B 35, North Biddick B 30½, Pennywell 29, Pemberton B 28½, Sunderland A 28, Pemberton A 26½, Thompson Park A 25, Dawdon 24, Roker Marine B 23, New Herrington 22½, Sunderland B 21½, South Hetton 18

Storey Bowl: Seaham Town 93, Hetton Workmen’s 92½, Houghton Town 74½, Hylton CW 64½, Roker Park 49½, Dawdon 42½, Wearmouth 31½, Thompson Park 29, Pennywell 27

The first event of the season’s indoor Open Singles Circuit event was held at South Shields last weekend.

Durham’s overall defending champion, Gary Smith, saw his hopes of a winning start to the new campaign dashed in the second round.

After a first-round walkover, Smith was beaten 5-4, 6-7, 1-2 by club-mate Mark Barkess. The title and the £750 first prize eventually went to Scarborough youngster Jack Bird, who defeated Durham’s Andrew Barkess 3-8, 5-4, 2-1 in the final.

The draw for this season’s Denny Cup has produced a couple of interesting ties.

In the first round, South Shields face Stanley, while Durham face last season’s Plate runners-up, Darlington, in the second round. Houghton face West Denton in round two.

In the ladies’ Yetton Trophy, Houghton have been drawn against South Shields, with the winners to play West Denton. The teams have also been drawn together in the mixed Egham Trophy.

At County level, Durham have a very rare home tie against Cumbria at a venue yet to be decided.

This season will see the return of a familiar face to the bowls scene as former Boldon and Sunderland star Russell Bewick returns to the game.

Bewick will now play out of Durham alongside Gary Smith, so it is quite ironic that the two have been drawn against each other in the first round of the national singles.

England missed out on a clean sweep of Home International Series titles in 2017 as the men’s Under-25 team failed to add to the successes recorded by the senior men, senior women and women’s U25s.

The England young guns went into the series, at Llandrindod Wells in Wales, with an unbeaten record going back four years.

However, defeats to Scotland and Ireland ended their title hopes, although a win over Wales saw them avoid the wooden spoon.