Durham Seniors march into bowls final

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THE Durham County seniors reached the national final of the Over 60s National Inter County Cup after an 128-85 semi-final win over Essex at Nottingham.

The Durham squad returned five winning rinks out of the six with only S.Summers (Darlington) going down 19-17.

In the final, Durham will play the winners of the Kent v Northants tie which is due to be played on February 8 at Riverain. This year’s final will be played at Melton Mowbray on February 25.

Scores v Essex (Durham skips first): D.Craig (Stanley) 20 C.Bryan 18, G.Peacock (Darlington) 33 M.Robacs 10, S.Summers (Darlington) 17 J.Warman 19, D.Barron (Aycliffe) 21 A.Campbell 14, W.Bell (Stanley) 19 E.Josh 13, J.Layfield (Durham) 18 J.Barnes 11.

The county’s planned John Dodsworth Cup fixture against Yorkshire at Stanley on February 9 has been cancelled due to Yorkshire being unable to field a team. The Norman Routledge 20/20 pairs commenced at Crowtree last weekend with the first three groups being completed.

The three pairs definitely qualifying for the next stage on March 6 are J A.Smith and F. Knubley, K. Hulley and D.Hulley, P. Thomson and G.Farquhar.

The remaining two groups will be played on Sunday, February 6, at noon.

The best three runners-up places are currently occupied by P. Collins and E. Peacock, H. Shields and T. Jopling, P. Dixon and R.Robinson.

H There was a cracking champion of champion pairs game at Crowtree as Sunderland’s Hendy Shields and Tommy Jopling faced South Shields’ Ian Riches and Ian McIntosh.

Going into the final end the score was 17-17, and it was Jopling who got the all-important single after McIntosh narrowly missed with the final bowl.

On Thursday, the Sunderland Senior B team travel to Park View knowing nothing short of a win will keep their slim play-off hopes alive.

The following team has been selected: C.Ratcliffe, A.Cartledge, R.Adams, TW.Todd, T.Grimes, V.Hendry, D.Hulley, W.Conway, A.Ferguson, T.Wood, T.Jones, G.Gibson, Reserves – P.Duke, J.Banks.

H Sunderland ladies will return to Inter County action on Wednesday, February 9, with a tie against South Shields. The following team has been selected:

At Crowtree: A.Curtis, M.Robins, P.Johnson, E.Baker, J.Brown, M.Eggleston, H.Snell, A.Good, D.Kerrigan, V.Borgesson, M.Firth, A.Raines, Reserves – E.Watson, E.Manley, A.Bevan

At Shields: B.Forrest, E.Barkes, A.Rush, M.Mitchinson, A.Todd, M.Ramshaw, G.Eltringham, F.Rodenby, K.Hulley, M.Williamson, S.Thomson, E.Pattinson, Reserves – B.Thomspn, A.Short.

In the Yetton Trophy, South Shields’ run came to an end at the last 16 stage after a 84-61 defeat at the hands of York.

H This year’s World bowls singles championship final at Potters was an all-Scotland affair as Paul Foster defeated Alex Marshall 11-5, 8-8 to take the record-breaking £40,000 first prize.

Marshall had to settle for £2,000 plus appearance money. However, the two friends did team up together to lift the pairs title after defeating fellow Scots Michael Stepney and Andrew Barker 3-8, 7-2, 2-0.

The mixed pairs title went to Simon Skelton (England) and Alison Merrien (Guernsey), who beat Greg Harlow and Ellen Falkner (England) 7-4 5-5.

It was a case of third time lucky for Alison Merrien in the ladies singles final as she defeated Australia’s Karen Murphy 9-5 0-11 2-1

H Durham’s hopes of retaining the Liberty Cup were ended by Cumbria in November and it will be disappointing for the Durham lads to find out Cumbria went out at the quarter-final stage against Norfolk.

H The closing date for entries into the various Bowls England national competitions is February 1. To date, only Dawdon, Houghton Dairy Lane, Thompson Park and Roker Marine have entered the national champion of champions, while only Houghton Dairy Lane and Roker Marine have entered the double fours competition.

The draw for this season’s Sunderland & District 3-2-1 triples competition has been released.Holders Barley Mow will entertain Pennywell.

The full draw is: Ryhope v Herrington Workmen’s, Barley Mow v Pennywell, Grindon Mill v Thompson Park, Great Lumley v Whitburn, Seaham Town v Dawdon, North Biddick v Washington Glebe, Usworth v Roker Park. Silksworth have received a bye.

H Following on from last week’s news that Sunderland City Council is to force the remaining public clubs in the town to become self-administered – another example of the financial plight to hit bowls in the area – is the news that Darlington council was set to close six public bowling greens.

However, following meetings between the council and the Darlington Bowling Association, the six greens have been spared for another year as an increase in fees and a £5,000 donation from the Darlington Primary Care Trust has been agreed.