Last-gasp heartache as Sunderland seniors are pipped at the post in Inter-Club League opener

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There was plenty of local action in the latest round of Senior Inter-Club League fixtures.

In Group Two, the Sunderland senior squad snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in their opening group match against last season’s group winners, Hartlepool A.

At the halfway mark across the green, Sunderland were in total control, leading 35-21, however the wheels fell off over the run-in as the visitors rattled off a 23-8 return to steal a 44-43 win overall.

Team captain Terry Todd steered his rink of Peter Thomson, Ernie Downes and Peter Brickle to a cracking 23-5 win over A. Bridgewater, however Billy Roberts’ rink of George Brown, Tony Wood and Ronnie Robson were always playing catch-up against Albert Ward and eventually finished 17-7 down.

The remaining rink of Bobby Usher, Billy Hearne, Frankie Froud and Richie Jobling led 12-7 with five ends to play but ended up losing 14 shots in three ends to finish 22-13 down.

That left the shell-shocked Sunderland squad on the end of a 4-1 defeat.

They return to action with a trip to Darlington in two weeks.

In Group Three, the Houghton A team got off to a winning start as they defeated Stanley B 57-32.

With the centre at Park View having closed, Stanley saw a host of Park View players join, hence they now have two senior teams.

Nevertheless, it was a good day for the Houghton squad as they notched wins on all three rinks.

David Wright navigated John Doyle, Jack Thurburn and Freddie Fletcher to a 21-8 win over P. McCue, while Pat Collins, Charlie Wallace, Trevor Joicey and David Sim defeated B. Turnbull 20-11.

The remaining rink of David Simpson, John Godfrey, Foster Johnson and Ian Whorlton ground out a 16-13 over D. Scanden to seal a 5-0 win.

On Tuesday, Houghton travel to South Shield to play the rearranged opening fixture.

There is a local derby tomorrow as Houghton and Sunderland go head to head in the revamped Inter-County League.

The new Denny Cup-style format has been introduced to help clubs who were struggling to get 24 players, hence a drop to 16.

Although the change was not welcomed by larger clubs, it has seen a return to the leagues by Stanley, while Gateshead and Durham are fielding two teams, although the latter’s second team are under the Dunelm banner.

The action at Houghton starts at 2pm.

Houghton: J Doyle, F Sanderson, T Joicey, P Harding; M Baker, M Thompson, J Biggerstaff, B Henderson; J Sutherland, Armstrong, F Fletcher, D Todner; M Wright, K Waterson, D Wright, J McAdoo.

Sunderland: P Thomson, E Downes, A Thurlbeck, P Thomson; G Brown, M Carr, TW Todd, S Angus; R Usher, I Fairweather, R Jobling, F Froud; W Roberts, K Armstrong, P Brickle, P Dixon

On Wednesday, the second round of the Seniors Premier League takes place at Gateshead (2.30pm).

Peter Harding, John Doyle and Terry Todd will be flying the flag for Houghton as they take on Ferryhill B. The other games see Gateshead A tackling Durham, Darlington A up against Ferryhill A and Stanley B facing Darlington B.

After their opening defeat to Durham in the Ladies Inter-Club League, the Houghton ladies will be looking to bounce back as they face Darlington on Wednesday, October 12.

Another team looking to bounce back is the Houghton B seniors.

After the heavy loss to Hartlepool B, they entertain Durham B on Tuesday, October 11 at 12.30pm.

Houghton B: S Barnes, GW Charlton, B White, F Kell; P Hicks, J Eggleston, A Newton, B Johnson; J Matthews, A Gregory, K Waterson, R Thorpe

This month, bowlers get the chance to watch 45 hours of live indoor bowls as England face Wales and Scotland (twice) in the Co-op Funeralcare Test matches.

The first test against Wales takes place at Bristol Indoor Bowls Club on Tuesday and Wednesday, with live coverage on ITV4 from 10.30am.

Despite the outdoor season having officially finished, there is still one outdoor competition to be decided as Houghton Town host the annual Houghton Feast Open Singles today.

A field of 50 players from around the area will take to the green from 10.30am. The latter stages of the competition, from the quarter-finals onwards, will be played next Saturday.

Bowls England have confirmed that the qualification criteria for counties to have three qualifiers in the National Championships has been amended.

In the singles, two-bowl singles, pairs, triples and fours, any county with 5% or more of the total number of entries in the National Championships from the previous year will be entitled to three qualifiers.

Following the success in the Home International Series, the England selectors have named the team for the 2017 series.

Durham’s David Bolt was already guaranteed his place and will skip Lee Haywood (Devon), Louis Rideout ( Devon) and Northumberland’s Chris Yeomans.

The series takes place at Belmont BC, in Belfast, on Saturday and Sunday, July 1-2.

The final few months of the outdoor season have been a testing time for many a bowling club, following the council’s decision to impose cutbacks which ultimately has seen nine greens placed on the closure hit list.

Sadly, bowls isn’t deemed as one of the big profile sports and Sunderland Council are oblivious to the benefits that the sport brings to a wide range of age groups.

On Tuesday, clubs are due to attend a meeting with council officials, when it is expected that the final draft of the planned green licence will be presented to the clubs.