Bowls: Silksworth defy the cold to get off to a flier in Earl Cup title defence

Gary Smith misses out on a place in the Open Singles Circuit's Grand Finals event
Gary Smith misses out on a place in the Open Singles Circuit's Grand Finals event

Holders Silksworth defied the freezing conditions to make a winning start to their Earl Cup title defence on Monday.

It was a morale-boosting triumph for Silksworth, who outgunned last season’s runners-up, Barnes West End, 6-1.

Houghton Dairy Lane had a tough time last season, but they are off to a winning start this year, thanks to a good 6-1 success at newly promoted Hylton CW, while Roker Marine defeated Houghton Town 6-1.

There were also impressive 6-1 away wins for Usworth and Hetton Workmen’s, against Barnes Park and Seaham Town respectively.

In the Second Division, the result of the night saw Grindon Mill hit Washington for a ton in a 7-0 whitewash.

Whitburn defeated North Biddick 6-1 and there was a home defeat for South Hylton at their new base, going down 6-1 at the hands of Ryhope.

The best finish of the night saw Thompson Park get home by a single shot to beat Sunderland 5-2.

The remaining game saw Pemberton fail to turn a team out. They conceded the match against Roker Park.

Swan Cup holders Houghton Dairy Lane thumped Roker Marine 7-0 in their opening match, while SIlksworth, runners-up last season, had a good 6-1 win at Seaham Town.

In the Second Division, Grindon Mill enjoyed a cracking 5-2 win over Hylton CW.

Last season’s relegated duo, Usworth and Thompson Park, went head to head and it was the Washington side who ran out 6-1 winners. Ryhope defeated Roker Park 6-1.

In their pursuit of a third consecutive Harold Howey Trophy title, Barnes West End made a victorious start with a hard-fought 3-1 triumph at Ryhope B.

Houghton Dairy Lane B and Barnes Park B, second and third last season, met on opening night, with the Barnes lads coming out on top 4-0.

Promoted Whitburn were beaten 4-0 at home by Washington Glebe B. Chester-le-Street suffered relegation last season, but they have made a winning start to life in the Second Division, sinking Pennywell 4-0.

Storey Bowl holders Seaham Town survived a scare at Wearmouth in their opener.

Despite only having one rink up, the holders got home 4-3.

Houghton Town sealed a good 85-38 win at Pennywell and Roker Park defeated Thompson Park by 23 shots.

The second round of games take place this afternoon. Holders Seaham Town entertain Roker Park, runners-up Hetton Workmen’s get their campaign underway at Houghton Town and Hylton CW host Wearmouth.

The first County game takes place at Gosforth today as the Durham County ladies’ Stella Logan squad take on Northumberland.

Last season, Durham completed the double over their neighbours and will be looking to improve on last season’s fourth-place finish.

Durham’s Gary Smith’s made a late decision to head to the final Open Singles Circuit event at Ipswich in an attempt to qualify for the Grand Finals weekend in November at Potters.

Smith needed to make at least the quarter-finals to collect enough ranking points for a place in the top 32.

A first round 9-4, 7-3 win over the home club’s Simon Toop was followed by a straight forward 10-1, 9-2 defeat of Erewash’s Jacqueline Henderson.

However, Smith’s hopes were dashed at the last-16 stage as the host club’s Dom Warren inflicted a 9-1, 6-6 defeat to end Smith’s qualification hopes.

Smith finished 41st for the season, with club mate Michael Laydon 35th.

The only local hope at the Grand Finals weekend will be South Shields’ David Bolt, who finished 13th.

The final national indoor title was decided at Bournemouth at South Shields’ conquerors, Nottingham, lifted the Top Club title, beating Falcon 11-1 in the final.

There was some sad news for the local bowls scene as Ethel Pattison (87) sadly passed away.

A popular character both on and off the green, Ethel was a former Services and Barnes Park member and was also part of the City of Sunderland Indoor committee.

Houghton Indoor final league standings

Monday 10.30 fours: Scullion 39, Sim 34, Storey 32, Barnes 29, Duell 24, Pattison 20, Wells 19, Thompson 18, Dinsdale 16, Close 12, Holland 11, Newton 9.

Monday 6.30 fours: Harding 34, Henderson 33, Collins 27, Noble 27, Johnson 26, Sim 25, Piggott 21, Joicey 21, Charlton 15, Lobb 13, New 11, Taylor 10.

Tuesday 10.30 fours: Harding 36, Joicey 28, Owens 28, Matthews 28, Barkes 22, Close 21, Barnes 20, Kerry 20, Oakes 18, Moore 15, Graham 13, Thompson 8

Tuesday 6.30 fours: Usher 32, Johnson 32, Patterson 28, Froud 28, Dunn 26, Wilson 24, Prescod 14, Elliot 14, Connelly 12, Rice 11, Joicey 8.

Wednesday 10.30 triples: Brown 31, Barkes 31, Ramshaw 30, Williamson 30, Piggott 26, Matthews 23, Fletcher 23, Joicey 21, Lanagan 14, Wright 12, Armstrong 8, Dinsdale 7.

Wednesday 6.30 fours: Hutchinson 40, Usher 30, Johnson 28, Bowerbank 28, Sim 26, Harding 25, Burt 22, Classen 18, Grimes 16, Dixon 7, Robinson 0.

Thursday 10.30 fours: Scullion 36, Usher 30, Carter 30, Duell 22, McAdam 22, Rice 21, Cowell 20, Stephenson 20, Graham 18, Bew 13, Thompson 13, Holland 10.

Thursday 6.30 fours: Milner 34, McAdoo 32, Sykes 28, Storey 21, Joicey 21, Hind 20, Wilson 19, Piggott 19, Grimes 16, Classen 8, Summers 8.

Friday 10.30 triples: Laidler 32, Baker 31, Jobling 29, Piggott 26, Kerry 20, Todd 19, Waterson 18, Childs 18, Garrett 14, Bamborough 6.

Friday 6.30 fours: McAdoo 37, Johnson 34, Storey 36, Patterson 28, Buckingham 25, Collins 22, Pattison 18, Temple 15, Nicholson 13, Barkes 13, Longley 12, Smillie 3.

Saturday 10.00 triples: Henderson 42, Jobling 36, Burt 34, Harding 31, Borthwick 28, Noble 28, Holmes 25, Todd 18, Longley 10, Pattison 8.

Sunday 10.00 fours: Sykes 38, Joicey 35, Milner 26, Hutchinson 25, Sim 24, Walsh 22, Oakes 21, Thuburn 12, Pattison 7.

Monday 2.30 ladies’ pairs: Johnson 34, Stephenson 32, Mitchinson 28, Watt 28, Wilson 24, Todd 18, Angus 16, Glover 15, Summers 8, Pullan 2.

Tuesday 2.30 ladies’ fours: Johnson 38, Smith 38, Stephenson 34, White 26, Coulson 24, Prudhoe 18, Charlton 18, Fenwick 18, Lowes 14, Stewart 14, Moore 10, Moody 6.

Wednesday 4.30 mixed triples: Brickle 40, Henderson 37, Coulson 31, Prudhoe 20, Robson 28, Nicholson 25, Holmes 23, Pattison 2.

Thursday 2.30 open pairs:Houghton 35, Phythian 34, Brown 32, Smith 30, Laidler 28, Chambers 24, Dinsdale 22, Longley 19, Wilson 14, Bamborough 11, Booth 6, Moore 6.

Friday 2.30 ladies’ triples: Johnson 35, Robson 34, Faith 34, Glover 33, Stephenson 29, Lowes 18, White 17, Todd 16, Breheny, Nicholson 14, Stirman 11, Stewart 7.