Bowls: Silksworth secure three County titles in a cracking finals week

Silksworth County title winners (left to right): Jaxon McKenna, County President Michael Carr, Gary Farquhar, Phil Dixon and David Bolt
Silksworth County title winners (left to right): Jaxon McKenna, County President Michael Carr, Gary Farquhar, Phil Dixon and David Bolt
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Silksworth made home advantage count with three successes in the County finals.

The pairs final saw Silksworth’s Gary Farquhar and David Bolt take on Darlington RA’s Mark Jones and Andrew Kirtland.

Barnes West End's winning 3-2-1 squad

Barnes West End's winning 3-2-1 squad

As expected, it was a cracker. With the scores tied at 16-16, Kirtland had the chance to spoil the Silksworth lads’ morning, but he failed to convert the head with the game’s final bowl, leaving Bolt a 17-16 winner.

There was more good news for the Farquhar/Bolt combination as they teamed up with Phil Dixon to take the triples title. In an all-Silksworth final against Jack Deverson, Paul Sainthouse and Josh Halcrow, the Bolt trio ran out 18-13 winners.

There was more Silksworth success in the Under-25 Singles as Jaxon Mckenna made amends for losing last year’s final by securing an impressive 21-13 win over Darlington RA’s Liam Macey.

Roker Marine member Patrick Thomson’s hopes of lifting the Two-bowl singles title were dashed as Stockton’s Mark Hodgson ran out a 17-9 winner.

The final piece of local silverware came in the George Turley Champion of Champions, as Houghton Dairy Lane’s Ken Briscoe survived a rain-interrupted final against Leadgate’s David Warnaby to take the title 21-14.

The blue riband singles title went, for the first time, to David Fenwick. The Elm Tree star beat Dunston’s Alex Bryden 21-13.

Leadgate’s David Reed, David Warnaby, Ian Peacock and Garry Robson took the fours crown, beating Hartlepool Park’s Dale Oram 23-15.

Darlington Woodland’s Ann Anderson secured her eighth women’s County singles title with a hard-fought 21-17 win over Stockton’s Teresa Parnell on a sodden Horden green.

Anderson’s first success was some 22 years ago. Both finalists qualify for the national championships at Leamington Spa, which start today. The 30-day festival of bowls runs until September 3.

Barnes West End last won the Earl Cup way back in 1944, however they are leading the pack with three games to go.

A cracking 6-1 win at previous leaders Roker Marine has moved them into top spot. The only other result received saw Barnes Park knock Hetton Workmen’s for a ton in a 7-0 home win.

In Division Two, Usworth’s 7-0 win over Roker Park secured a return to the top flight, the club bouncing back after their relegation in 2015.

Hylton CW’s 6-1 home win over third-placed Seaham Town virtually guarantees promotion as they only need a point from their final two games.

Third Division leaders North Biddick suffered only their second defeat of the season, 5-2 at Washington, however they look odds-on for promotion.

Grindon Mill’s draw against Ryhope has moved them off the bottom, albeit by just half a point.

Houghton Dairy Lane’s hopes of a fourth consecutive Swan Cup title received a double boost this week.

They made it eight straight wins, beating Barnes West End 6-1 away, while second-top Roker Marine went down 5-2 at home to Silksworth.

Dairy Lane are three points clear, having played a game fewer.

Seaham Town’s 6½-½ win over Usworth saw them leapfrog Usworth out of the second relegation place, although only one point covers three teams.

Bottom-of-the-table Thompson Park proved it was lucky 13 as they notched their first win of the season, 5-2 against Barnes Park.

In Division Two, leaders North Biddick were beaten 6-1 at Washington but they are still 9½ points clear at the top. Bottom club Grindon Mill had a cracking 5-2 win over Roker Park.

In the Harold Howey Trophy, Barnes Park B are the new leaders after a 3-1 win at Ryhope A. Barnes have a 1½-point lead over neighbours West End.

Third-placed Roker Park suffered a setback as they were beaten 3-1 by Houghton Dairy Lane A.

The fight to avoid the drop looks like it will go the distance as only 3½ points cover the bottom eight teams.

In Division Two, Wearmouth notched an eighth straight win, 3-1 over South Hetton, to maintain their stranglehold on the second promotion spot. Wearmouth are now only two points behind leaders Houghton Town A.

The Storey Bowl looks like a two-horse race as Seaham Town and holders Hetton Workmen’s have opened up an 11-point gap over the rest.

Seaham Town are still in pole position after a 7-0 win at bottom club Pennywell, with holders Hetton Workmen’s 5½ points adrift despite a 6½-½ win over Thompson Park.

This weekend could go a long way to decide the title as the top two meet at Hetton. Seaham won 5-2 when they met earlier this season.

As the number of times a club has played short this season has finally hit the unprecedented 100 mark, the time has come for the Sunderland & District Bowling Association to take a more proactive approach to deal with the situation rather than leave it until November’s AGM.

Ten years ago, a three-rink league was introduced in an attempt to assist those clubs struggling to field 16 players.

Back then, the Earl Cup had 27 teams and the Swan Cup 25. The experiment lasted one season before reverting back to a four-rink format.

This season, both the Earl Cup and the Swan Cup are down by six teams each compared to 10 years ago.

The Association has the ideal opportunity to get feedback from all the member clubs on their preferred format which can then be analysed and proposals put forward to the clubs.

The solution could be for those clubs able to field 16 players to create a division of four rinks, with clubs only fielding 12 having a three-rink division.

Sadly, if the Association and clubs continue to bury their heads in the sand and fail to see the bigger picture, the list of clubs unable to compete in the Association’s main leagues is likely to increase in 2018.

The Burkett Shield Triples will be played to a finish this week, with the quarter-finals at Roker Park on Tuesday, the semi-finals at Seaham Town on Thursday and the final at Usworth on Friday.

Quarter-final draw: F Knubley (Roker Marine) v B Henderson (Seaham Town) or F Froud (Barnes West End), A Patterson (Grindon Mill) v I Riches (Silksworth), P Harding (Hetton Workmen) v TW Todd (Silksworth), P Bamborough (North Biddick) or D Bolt (Silksworth) v V Avery (Silksworth) or R Graham (Roker Marine)

The final of the 3-2-1 Knockout Triples took place at Usworth this week.

The last club to lift the title three years on the trot was host club Usworth, so it was fitting that Barnes West End equalled that feat with a cracking 217-190 win over Silksworth.

West End won on three of the four rinks, with only Paul Baker getting home for SIlksworth. Next season, West End will attempt to become the first club to lift the shield four years in a row.

Scores (West End first): F Froud 10 D Bolt 0, R.Alexander 4 G McPheators 0, G Wallace 15 I Riches 0, B Sanderson 0 P Baker 2

The Grindon League title is still up for grabs as only half a point covers the top four teams.

In round 10 of 11, Houghton Dairy Lane moved joint top with a 4-1 triumph at Whitburn. Wearmouth secured a 5-0 win over Grindon Mill, while Usworth had a tremendous 5-0 victory at Barnes West End.

There are a few outstanding fixtures still to be played.