Sunderland escape relegation

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Bowls notes with Richard Mckie

SUNDERLAND’S Inter County squad have avoided relegation to Division Two.

The Sunderland lads’ fate was in the hands of the only remaining game as Aycliffe needed to collect five points against Hartlepool to jump above Sunderland.

In the end, Hartlepool ran out 10½-1½ winners to send Aycliffe down alongside Gateshead.

Next season, Sunderland will be joined by Houghton in Division One.

Final Tables

Division One: Darlington 39½, The Parks 39, Hartlepool 33½, Sunderland 24, Gateshead 22½, Aycliffe 21½

Division Two: Sth Shields 46, Houghton 37½, Durham 34½, Shildon 29½, Hebburn 24, Ferryhill 6½

In the Inter County Seniors play-off final, Darlington B made the host of hosting the finals by defeating Hartlepool A 57-43 to take the title.

The Durham County IBA will hold its AGM on Tuesday, May 6, at Houghton Dairy Lane (7.30pm).

After a five-year exile, the EIBA national championships returned to Melton Mowbray this week.

However, it has been a disappointing week for the local qualifiers.

In the last 16 of the fours championship, the fancied Stanley quartet of Brian Harris, Jaxon McKenna, David Bolt and Gary Smith were beaten 21-18 by Norfolk’s Wayne Wilgress.

The Stanley squad led 5-4 after five ends and 10-9 after 10 ends, but then failed to score over the next five ends to trail 19-10.

Despite getting back to 19-15 after 18 ends, the Stanley squad were left to rue the earlier fruitless five-end spell.

There was more disappointment for Bolt and Smith in the triples, alongside Phil Smithson. They saw a 7-5 10-end lead turned into a 14-9 defeat at the hands of Adur’s David Hubbard.

In the pairs, the Stanley duo of Brett Arkley and John Thurlbeck came undone in the first round. Facing Swale’s Roger Kendrick and Perry Martin, the Stanley pair went from 6-5 up to 15-7 down within the space of five ends.

A spirited fight-back saw Thurlbeck get back to 17-12 after 15 ends but things slipped away over the next three ends which left the score 22-13 to the Swale pair.

Darlington’s Mark Jones and Andrew Kirtland fared better. Wins over Barking (21-14), Clarrie Dunbar (23-18) and Isle of Wight (20-19) set up a semi-final against Kingsthorpe’s Neil Mckee.

Sadly, the Darlington pair came unstuck and were beaten 15-12.

In the singles, Stanley’s David Bolt faces Angel’s Duncan Hanmore in the last 32 while Hartlepool’s Glenn Skipp plays Watchett’s Steve Hooper.

The final of the Liberty Trophy will see Cambridgeshire face Kent, while the Atherley final will see Nottinghamshire face Dorset.

Next weekend there is a chance for local bowlers to see the final stages of this year’s Denny Cup and Yetton Trophy as both events are being staged at the Darlington Indoor Bowling club.

In the Denny semi-finals, Stanley will face current holders Wey Valley while Desborough face Wellingbrough.

The Yetton semi-final line up is Yorks v City of Ely, and Egham v Madeira.

The latest round of Premier Threes rolled into York this week as two groups were televised and shown on British EuroSport.

The invitation event saw two local lads attempt to progress to the finals day event later in April.

In group one, Stevie Angus went down 2-0 to Malvern Hill’s Luke Harwood while Gary Farquhar defeated Hornsea’s Phil Hargreaves 2-1 and then Harwood 2-0 before losing the group final to Hartlepool’s Glenn Skip 2-0. The winner of group two was Featherstone’s Craig Newton.

More group matches take place on April 24 and 25 at Erewash IBC and will be available on British Eurosport 2 on both days.

Bowls England have revealed the shortlist of players in contention for places at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this year.

The shortlist will eventually be whittled down to a team of five men and five ladies. The current list is as follows.

Men: Stuart Airey (Cumbria), Jamie Chestney (Devon), Andrew Knapper (Berkshire), John McGuinness (Buckinghamshire), Robert Newman (Berkshire), Robert Paxton (Devon) and Sam Tolchard (Devon)

Ladies: Ellen Falkner (Cambridgeshire), Sian Gordon (Sussex), Wendy King (Kent); Natalie Melmore (Devon); Sophie Tolchard (Devon) and Jamie Lea Winch (Warwickshire).