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Bowls: Smith rises Open Singles Circuit rankings despite Barwell disappointment

Houghton bowler Karl Armstrong
Houghton bowler Karl Armstrong

Durham’s Gary Smith moved up in the rankings in the Open Singles Circuit, despite disappointment at Barwell in Leicestershire.

Smith was looking for a decent run to collect important ranking points and improve his 98th position.

A comfortable 10-1, 11-3 win over Tony Barwell set up a second round tie against Cypher’s Tom Doig, but, sadly for Smith, a narrow 6-4, 7-6 loss ended his hopes.

That solitary victory, though, has moved the former title winner up to 74th in the rankings.

This weekend, Spalding host an event with Durham’s Michael Laydon, currently ranked 55th, in action.

After the New Year, the indoor season is straight into the thick of it as the Seniors Premier League returns on Thursday, with Ferryhill playing hosts for round six.

Both Houghton squads are in action.

Houghton team: P Thomson (snr), R Thorpe, F Froud

Houghtonians team: J Sutherland, F Johnson, TW Todd

Latest standings: Gateshead A played 3 pts 6, Stanley A 4-6, Houghtonians 4-6, Darlington B 4-4, Stanley B 3-4, Houghton A 3-4, Gateshead B 4-4, Durham 3-2, Ferryhill 3-2, Ferryhill A 3-0, Drlington A 4-0

Houghton Gilpin return to Inter-County League action against The Parks next Sunday, looking to bounce back from their loss to Gateshead B.

Team – at Houghton: M Baker, S Patterson, D Wright, B Henderson (snr); J Sutherland, D Armstrong, R Robson, B Henderson (jnr); At The Parks: K Waterson, F Johnson, I Whorlton, F Froud; M Noble, T Patterson, M Davis, J Jones

Houghton Kepier are due to meet bottom-of-the-table Darlington, but are still to name their team.

Latest standings, Division One: Gateshead 2-19, Durham 2-18, Hartlepool 2-16½, Houghton GIlpin 2-10, Houghton Kepier 3-8½, The Parks 3-5, Darlington 2-3

Division Two: Dunelm 2-11, Sth Shields 1-10, Ferryhil 1-6, Aycliffe 2-6, Stanley 1-4, Gateshead A 1-3, Shildon 0-0

In the Seniors Inter-Club League, Houghton Sancroft have a vital trip to leaders Stanley on Monday, January 8 (10.30am).

Sancroft are a couple of points outside play-off qualification, and anything from this trip will keep alive their hopes.

Sancroft team: J Sutherland, A Wood, D Wright, TW Todd; P Thomson (snr), B Race, D Sim, I Whorlton; J Swinney, T Joicey, J Jones, F Froud.

Houghton Gilpin also return to action as they face a tough trip to unbeaten group leaders Hartlepool A on Wednesday January 10 (10.30am).

Gilpin team: K Waterson, A Ross, W Longley, W Roberts; E Downes, P Robinson, P Noble, D Gibson; R Leonard, M Walker, R Robson

Latest standings, Area 1: Aycliffe 4-16½, Darlington A 4-15, Spennymoor 4-10½, Shildon 3-5, Durham 5-3

Area 2: Hartlepool A 5-22, Darlington B 5-18, Ferryhill 5-12, Houghton Gilpin 4-6, Sth Shields 5-2

Area 3: Stanley 4-18, Sth Shields 5-14, Houghton Sancroft 5-12, Gateshead A 4-10, Parks B 4-1

Area 4: Hartlepool B 5-22, Parks A 5-16½, Durham B 4-13, Gateshead B 5-5½, Houghton Kepier 5-3

Houghton ladies’ Inter-Club League squad are back in action against South Shields on Wednesday, January 10. The team has not yet been selected.

The latest standings in the various club leagues at Houghton are as follows.

Monday 10.30 fours: Sim 20, Scullion 19, Carter 15, Storey 14, Duell 14, Dinsdale 10, Thompson 10, Close 10, Pattison 8, Wells 8,Holland 2, Newton 2

14.30 pairs: Johnson 18, Mitchinson 16, Stephenson 15, Angus 14, Watt 11, Todd 8, Glover 7, Stirman 4, Summers 3, Pullan 2

18.30 fours: Johnson 18, Harding 16, Sim 14, Collins 14, Henderson 14, Noble 12, Piggott 12, Joicey 11, Lobb 8, Charlton 6, New 4, Taylor 3

Tuesday 10.30 fours: Harding 18, Owens 14, Joicey 13, Kerry 13, Barnes 13, Close 12, Matthews 12, Oakes 10, Graham 8, Barkes 8, Moore 7, Thompson 4

14.30 fours: Smith 20, Johnson 18, White 16, Stephenson 16, Coulson 14, Prudhoe 10, Fenwick 10, Stewart 8, Lowes 8, Charlton 8, Moody 2, Moore 2

18.30 fours: Kempster 19, Usher 16, Patterson 16, Brickle 15, Froud 13, Wilson 12, Dunn 10, Prescod 10, Connelly 8, Hills 6, Elliott 4, Rice 3

Wednesday 10.30 triples: Ramshaw 16, Barkes 15, Brown 14, Fletcher 14, Williamson 14, Joicey 14, Piggott 13, Matthews 10,Wright 8, Lanagan 7, Dinsdale 4, Thompson 3

16.30 mixed triples: Brickle 22, Henderson 19, Prudhoe 18, Coulson 18, Robson 15, Nicolson 13, Holmes 7, Pattison 0

Thursday 10.30 fours: Usher 16, Scullion 16, Cooper 14, Duell 14, Rothwell 13, Carter 13, McAdam 12, Stephenson 12, Graham 8, Bew 5, Thompson 5, Holland 4

14.30 pairs: Houghton 19, Brown 18, Phythian 15, Chambers 14, Smith 14, Longley 12, Wilson 10, Laidler 10, Bamborough 8, Dinsdale 8, Booth 2, Moore 2

18.30 fours: Milner 18, McAdoo 18, Sykes 16, Lumsden 13, Wilson 11, Hind 10, Joicey 10, Grimes 10, Storey 8, Summers 2, Classen 2

Friday 10.30 triples: Walsh 18, Piggott 17, Baker 16, Jobling 15, Laidler 14, Usher 11, Todd 11,Waterson 8, Kerry 8, Childs 8, Garrett 4, Bamborough 2

14.30 triples: Faith 20, Johnson 19, Glover 17, Robson 16, White 13, Stephenson 13, Nicolson 8, Lowes 8, Todd 6, Stirman 6, Stewart 4, Brenheny 2

18.30 fours: Johnson 20, McAdoo 20, Storey 16, Patterson 15, Buckingham 15, Collins 11, Patterson 10, Temple 8, Hills 7, Nicolson 5, Longley 4, Smillie 1

Saturday 10.30 triples: Jobling 20, Henderson 18, Harding 17, Noble 14, Borthwick 13, Burt 13, Todd 10, Holmes 9, Longley 4, Pattison 2

Sunday 10.00 fours: Walsh 20, Sykes 20, Joicey 17, Milner 14, Sim 14, Hutchinson 13, Oakes 7, Thurburn 6, Pattison 3,

Prior to the Christmas break, it was hectic at Houghton as the club competitions were played down to the latter stages.

Defending club singles champion Peter Thomson’s hopes of a fourth consecutive title were ended without a bowl being bowled.

Due to the tight schedule and a winter bug, Thomson had to concede his quarter-final tie. The latter stages are due to be played in March and April.

Men’s semi-final draws, Singles: F Froud v B Henderson (jnr), P Brickle v P Thomson (snr)

Pairs: W Piggott v F Froud, B Henderson (snr) v P Thomson (jnr)

Triples: A Patterson v F Johnson, C Higgins v H Shields

Fours: B Henderson v TW Todd, AJ Dunn v P Thomson

Over-60s singles: TW Todd or P Thomson (snr) v W Holmes, R Robinson v P Brickle or F Froud

Over-60s pairs: W Piggott v F Froud, R Thorpe v W Laidler

Over-60s triples: TW .Todd v F Froud, I Whorlton v W Piggott

Over-60s fours: D Wright v F Froud, I Whorlton v TW Todd

Ladies’ finals, Singles: N Stephenson v J Watt

Pairs: N Stephenson v E .Morris

Triples: J Baker v J Watt

Mixed pairs semi-finals: W Laidler v F Froud, W Piggott v E Stirman

The local stages of the national competitions are taking a break until after the New Year, however there are plenty of local favourites still in the running

Singles draw, Northern section: I McIntosh (Shields) v GR Smith (Durham), S McIntosh (Shields) v S Hubbard (Shields)

Southern section: P Hartley (Hartlepool) v C Higgins (Hartlepool)

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)

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)

Fours draw, Northern section: B Arkley (Stanley) v .Farquhar (Shields), P Thomson (Houghton) v B Orrell (Gateshead)

Southern section: P Hartley (Hartlepool) v B Attwood (Aycliffe), P Bostock (Redcar) v G Skipp (Hartlepool)

Mixed pairs draw, Northern section: M Laydon (Durham) v P Browne (Parks), D Bolt (Shields) v J McKenna (Shields)

Southern section: C Larcombe (Ferryhill) v P Hartley (Hartlepool), P Mosley (Hartlepool) v J Robinson (Aycliffe)

Mixed fours draw, Northern section: S McIntosh (Shields) or P Dixon (Shields) v M Higgins (Durham)

Southern section: S Pattison (Darlington) v C Higgins (Hartlepool) or P Mosley (Hartlepool)

A look back through 2017 saw Silksworth continue to build an impressive array of league and county titles.

Their Earl Cup success was backed up by county titles for Gary Farquhar and David Bolt in the pairs.

They were joined by Phil Dixon to take the triples title too.

Jaxon McKenna collected the Under-25 county title and the Farquhar/Bolt partnership collected a Northern Counties title.

Those successes were all the more welcome as Silksworth’s Michael Carr was county president.

Houghton Dairy Lane continued their dominance of the Swan Cup with a fourth consecutive success and only need another 21 to match Herrington Workmen’s unbelievable 25-year run over three decades.

Dairy Lane also had county success as Ken Briscoe lifted the Champion of Champions crown.

Barnes West End retained the Harold Howey Trophy as well as a third 3-2-1 knockout triples title in a row.

Sunderland & District saw two long-serving officials standing down, in secretary Eric Weightman and competition secretary George Charlton.

Sadly, 2017 also saw the loss of several well-known bowlers, including John “Scotty” Scott (Thompson Park), Jim Patterson (Roker Marine), John Wilson (Roker Park), Kathy Cassap (Thompson Park), Les Gardiner (Hylton CW), Billy Hearne (Barnes West End) and Jimmy Crone (Hylton CW).

There was more sad news this week as former LNER and Roker Marine member Kevin Wilkinson sadly lost his battle against ill health. A gentleman on and off the green, Kevin was one of the most underrated leads of the 1980s.

2018 will be a big year for Silksworth’s David Bolt.

In March, he will feature for England at the indoor Home International series in Paisley before heading to the Gold Coast in April to represent England at the Commonwealth Games.

To cap it off, Bolt will skip for England in the outdoor Home International series at Leamington Spa in June.