There was very little to cheer about for the Durham County qualifiers in the recent National Championships at Leamington Spa.
However, at the Northern Counties Championships, held at Driffield, it was a different story.
In the singles, Darlington RA’s Andrew Kirtland took the title with a 21-11 win over Yorkshire’s Nigel Brignall, having beaten Cumbria’s newly-crowned national champion Ben Sherwin 21-15 in the semis.
In the pairs, Elm Tree’s Rob Carson and Glenn Skipp narrowly missed out on the title after going down 17-16 to Lancashire’s Rob Stirling.
The triples hopes of Leadgate’s Dave Warnaby, Ian Peacock and Garry Robson were ended at the semi-final stage, going down 14-9 to eventual winners Paul Wallace (Cumbria).
The fours saw RA’s Barry Hopkins, Mark Jones, Tony Macey and Andrew Kirtland outgun Cumbria’s Ricky Gallagher 14-3 in a final which was restricted to 10 ends due to bad light.
Elm Tree’s David Fenwick missed out on the two-bowl singles final, beaten 16-11 by Cumbria’s David Forster.
Darlington RA’s Barry Hopkins was beaten 21-11 by Northumberland’s Josh Minto in the junior singles final.
Durham landed the Under-25 rinks title, thanks to wins over Northumberland (23-18) and Yorkshire (28-17).
The outdoor season, which began on April 30, finally came to an end on September 10, ironically in bright sunshine.
Surprisingly, for the second year running, the Earl Cup, Swan Cup, Harold Howey and Storey Bowl titles were all retained by last year’s winners.
The Earl Cup title went to Silksworth for a fourth year on the trot. With only one defeat during the t12-game season, they lifted the title by 12½ points from Houghton Dairy Lane. Usworth and South Hylton were relegated
Division Two saw Houghton Town and Seaham Town both promoted, with nine wins apiece, with the fancied early leaders, Barnes West End, fading to finish third. Roker Park and Ryhope were relegated with only two wins each.
In the Third Division, North Biddick and Hylton CW each secured nine victories on the way to promotion, while Grindon Mill went the full season without a single success.
Earl Cup final tables, Div One: Silksworth 71pt, Houghton DL 58½, Roker Marine 55, Barnes Park 42, Thompson Park 33, Usworth 18½, South Hylton 16.
Div Two: Houghton Town 61½, Seaham Town 59½, Barnes WE 55½, Hetton Workmen’s 50½, Sunderland 26, Roker Park 23½, Ryhope 17½.
Div Three: North Biddick 57, Hylton CW 53, Washington 49½, Whitburn 43½, New Herrington 41, Pemberton 40, Grindon Mill 10
The Swan Cup title was retained by Houghton Dairy Lane, who became the first club to break the 100 points barrier, with runners-up Silksworth on 98½ points. Roker Park and Usworth both completed a Earl-Swan relegation double.
The Second Division title went to Seaham Town, who completed a Earl-Swan promotion double.
The other promotion place went to the final round of matches as Thompson Park pipped Hetton Workmen’s by half a point, Grindon Mill finished bottom but did win three games.
Swan Cup final tables, Div One: Houghton DL 110, Silksworth 98½, Roker Marine 76½, Barnes WE 73, North Biddick 53, Barnes Park 51, South Hylton 50½, Houghton Town 47, Roker Park 41½, Usworth 29
Div Two: Seaham Town 86, Thompson Park 75, Hetton Workmen 74½, Pemberton 54½, Ryhope 51, Hylton CW 50, Washington 48½, New Herrington 37½, Grindon Mill 27
The best finish came in the Harold Howey Trophy First Division, where anyone of three teams went into the final round of games with a chance of taking the title.
In the end, a 4-0 win at Dawdon was enough for Silksworth to retain their title for a third consecutive season, albeit by only half a point.
The final relegation place was decided this week when Hylton CW needed to beat bottom of the table Wearmouth 4-0 to send Ryhope B down, however the game finished 2-2, a result which saw both Hylton and Wearmouth relegated.
The Second Division title went to Roker Marine A, who only suffered two defeats in 16 games.
Thompson Park A held off a late charge from Seaham Town B to take the other promotion place, while Hetton Park finished bottom.
Harold Howey Trophy final tables, Div One: Silksworth 53½, Barnes WE 53, Houghton DL B 52, Houghton DL A 45½, North Biddick A 41, Ryhope A 40½, Hetton Workmen 39, Thompson Park B 38½, South Hylton 37½, Barnes Park B 34½, Seaham Town A 33, Roker Park A 32, Chester le St 30½, Hylton CW B 30, Washington A 28, Dawdon 26, Ryhope B 23½, Hylton CW A 22, Wearmouth 20
Div Two: Roker Marine A 61½, Thompson Park A 53, Seaham Town B 49, Roker Park B 47, North Biddick B 47, Pemberton A 45½, Sunderland A 44, Pennywell 37½, Houghton Town A 37½, Barnes Park A 35½, Houghton Town B 33½, Pemberton B 32, Sunderland B 30½, Washington B 29½, Whitburn 25½, Grindon Mill 25½, New Herrington 24½, Roker Marine B 14½, Hetton Park 11
Hetton Workmen retained the Storey Bowl crown.
Hetton have dominated the Storey Bowl in recent years, with this summer’s success their seventh in 14 seasons. Sadly, Pennywell had to drop out, reducing the league to eight teams.
Storey Bowl final table: Hetton Workmens 74½, Seaham Town 66, Houghton Town 57½, Hylton CW 54½, Roker Park 46, Thompson Park 44½, Dawdon 29½, Wearmouth 19½
The Sunderland Women’s Bowling Association completed their final competition this week as the popular Round Robin Pairs, sponsored by Jeff Wilson (Ashbrooke Funeral Directors), was played to a finish at Roker Park.
The eventual winners were Whitburn’s Brenda Harper and Muriel Felce, who defeated Thompson Park’s K. Hulley and A. Raine 10-3 in the final.
Quarter-finals: M Pullan & S Rinaldi (Sunderland) 8 K Hulley & A Raine (Thompson Park) 15, I Cantes & M Firth (Roker Park) 12 A Short & S Thomson (Ryhope) 7, B Hardy & A Westray (Ryhope) 1 L Forrest & G Eltringham (Barnes Park) 20, E Waters & E Pattinson (Barnes Park) 3 B Harper & M Felce (Whitburn) 17
Semi-finals: Cantes & Firth 10 Hulley & Raine 11, Forrest & Eltringham 9 Harper & Felce 16
The SWBA’s annual general meeting and luncheon will take place on Wednesday, November 18 at The Chesters.
The Durham County Ladies’ B team ended their Stella Logan campaign on a high with a cracking 110-108 (8½-2½) win over Cumbria at Lyndhurst.
Despite the victory, Durham finished a lowly fourth, while other results saw Cumbria take the title by four points from Lancashire.
Final table: Cumbria 59½pt, Lancashire 55½, Yorkshire 44, Durham 43½, Northumberland 17½