Peter Thomson has created history by becoming the first player to win the Houghton men’s singles title for a third successive year.
In the final, Thomson outgunned 2012 champion Joe Sutherland.
There was nothing between them in the early stages, with Thomson edging it 8-6. A three count opened up an 11-6 lead and Thomson then hit a purple patch, rattling nine shots without reply to lead 20-11, finishing off with a match-winning single for a 21-11 victory.
Both players deserved more than the seven spectators who witnessed the final, although the lack of spectators has plagued all the club finals.
In the semi-finals, Thomson defeated Sam Patterson 21-8, while Sutherland produced a great comeback from 17-11 down to pip Peter Thomson (snr) 21-20.
In the triples final, Colin Brown, David Armstrong and Alan J. Dunn secured a 20-15 victory over Tom Patterson, Bob Curry and Sam Patterson.
The Dunn trio turned around a 6-3 deficit to lead 12-6 at halfway. A count of four on the 12th made it 16-8, and a three left Dunn 19-10 ahead with four ends to play. Patterson won three of those last four ends but still went down by five shots.
The fours final saw holders Mal Baker, Joe Sutherland, Bryan Henderson and Jimmy McAdoo take on George Brown, Jimmy Swinney, Stevie Kempster (sub) and Stevie Tindale.
Tindale opened up a 10-6 lead before a McAdoo four on the 11th end levelled the game. The next seven ends were all singles, as Tindale led 15-12 with three ends to play.
A treble on the 19th end, followed by a 20th end double, was enough to secure a first fours title for the Tindale quartet, winning 14 of the 20 ends for a 20-12 victory.
The pairs final is set to be played on Thursday (6.30pm), with Joe Sutherland and Alan J. Dunn taking on Jack Harrison and Billy Piggott.
Frankie Froud was unstoppable in the Over-60s singles final, defeating Peter Thomson (snr) in only 12 ends.
Froud completed a double in the Over-60s pairs alongside Richie Jobling. They recovered from 11-3 down against Jack Harrison and Billy Piggott to run out 27-16 winners.
The Over-60s triples final will be played on Tuesday at 10.30am, with Michael Wright, Michael Carr and Terry Todd up against Joe Sutherland, Ian Whorlton and Alan J. Dunn.
The Over-60s fours title went to Mal Baker, Tommy Winship, Arthur Baker and Billy Piggott, who overcame Bobby Usher, Peter Thomson (snr), Richie Jobling and Frankie Froud.
The ladies singles final saw Norma Stephenson lock horns with defending champion Ellen Faith.
Faith opened up an early 13-3 lead, but, within the space of four ends, Stephenson stormed back to 13-12 down. With Faith 16-14 ahead, Stephenson dropped a crucial four, and the champion sealed a seventh singles title on the next end, ending 21-14 up.
After losing two finals, Stephenson got some relief in the pairs final, playing alongside Maureen Hall.
Eleanor Barren and Margaret Eggleston were quickest out of the blocks to lead 5-0, however a count of six on the 10th end, and a couple of fours, saw Stephenson fight back to take the title 18-12, despite only winning six of the 16 ends played.
The ladies triples final was a straightforward affair as Margaret Metcalfe, Joan Baker and Ellen Faith eased to a 27-6 win over previous winners Maureen Hall, Audrey Vout and Norma Stephenson.
In the mixed pairs final, Joan Watt and Billy Laidler were looking for a fourth consecutive title, with Ellen Faith and Billy Piggott standing in their way.
Everything looked to be going to plan for the holders as Laidler led 15-6 with only five ends to play, however the wheels came off in spectacular fashion as Piggott rallied and scored 11 shots without reply to secure the title, winning 17-15.
The final Inter-County League table shows both Sunderland and Houghton avoiding relegation.
Both teams finished on 29½ points, with Houghton finishing a place higher on shots difference. Gateshead A and South Shields will be relegated, with Darlington and Gateshead B being promoted.
The league will lose at least two teams next season. Great Aycliffe failed to fulfil their fixtures in Division Two and Sunderland have called time on the league. There are also concerns for South Shields, who struggled all season to muster a squad.
Final standings, Division One: Hartlepool 50½pt, Durham A 34, Parks 32, Houghton 29½, Sunderland 29½, Gateshead A 19½, South Shields 15.
Division Two: Darlington 54, Gateshead B 46½, Dunelm 28½, Spennymoor 22½, Shildon 22, Stanley 21, Ferryhill 15½
Houghton ladies finished a creditable fifth in their Inter-Club League, with South Shields crowned champions.
Final standings: South Shields 55pt, Great Aycliffe 48, Hartlepool 46, Durham 43, Houghton 32½, Darlington 15½, Gateshead 12.
The seniors National Championships are currently being held at Nottingham.
In the men’s fours, there was disappointment for Gateshead’s George Hackett, who, after leading all the way, was pipped 19-18 in the last 16 by Scunthorpe’s Alex Mullin, who finished as runner-up.
In the Over-50 triples, the Shields trio of Dave Paterson, Ian Riches and Alan Lawton were left to wonder what might have been as they lost on the last end 16-15 in the last 16 to Hounslow’s Ron Leleux.
Stanley’s Brian Harris and David Webb defeated Banister Park’s Brian Barber 24-17 and followed up with a comfortable 21-4 win over Barking’s Terry Hughes.
That set up a semi-final clash against Wellingborough’s Walt Winsor. The Stanley duo were left to rue a slow start which saw them trail 14-0 before going down 22-15. Winsor went on to win the final.
Hartlepool youngster Matty Ray went out in the last 16 of the two-bowl singles, losing 21-19 to eventual winner Michael Cheeseman (Cyphers).
Darlington’s hopes of a fourth Denny Plate win were left in pieces as they were well beaten 78-38 in the final by Wellingborough.
All four Darlington rinks – Noah Cummings (21-7), Andy Kirtland (20-8), Barry Hopkins (22-9) and Mark Jones (15-14) – were beaten.
In the ladies equivalent, the Yetton Plate, ISCA defeated Northampton 58-54.
The Liberty Trophy final takes place tomorrow as Cumbria and Devon go head to head.
As the outdoor season approaches, the Barnes Park men’s and ladies clubs are holding an open day on Monday, April 24 between 11am and 3.30pm.
The council finally confirmed that Pemberton will still operate out of their current base as plans to close the green have been put on the back burner this season.