Sunderland’s title dreams are still alive

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IN THE latest round of Inter County fixtures, Sunderland recorded a vital 123-109 (7-5) win over bottom-of-the-group Great Aycliffe to keep alive hopes of avoiding a return to division two.

At Aycliffe, George Brown, Keith Hopper, Joe Flett and Tommy Jopling made a late charge to defeat M.Parker 19-16.

A dropped seven proved vital for Pat Collins, Billy Hearne, Alfie Ferguson and Ray Robinson as they went down 21-16 to D.Barron.

The remaining rink of Phillip Dixon, Peter Brickle, Gary Farquhar and Mark Higgins collected a maximum eight to lead 21-16 but let it slip and went down 25-21 to A.McDonald.

Those scores saw the away squad finish six shots down overall and collecting a single point.

At Houghton, where results have been hard to come by for the Sunderland lads, things didn’t look likely to improve until a late charge saw a 22-8 return change the game around.

Peter Bulmer, Michael Carr, Pete Thomson and Stevie Angus recovered from 13-8 down to record a 22-17 win over W.Duffy while Neal Ridley, Billy Roberts, Dan Todner and Billy Ferry did well to finish only 20-15 down against A.Cooper after trailing 17-4.

The remaining rink of Tony Grimes, Peter Thomson, Terry Todd and an inspired John Jones proved the match winners with a cracking 30-10 win over J.Potter.

That win secured a 20-shot home advantage and four points as well as the extra two overall match points.

Latest Group standing: The Parks 4-32, Darlington 4-30, Sunderland 4-21, Gateshead 4-20, Great Aycliffe 3-17, Hartlepool 3-14

Remaining fixtures: The Parks v Aycliffe, Darlington v Gateshead, Sunderland v Hartlepool, Great Aycliffe v Hartlepool

H Sunderland complete their Inter County season with another winner-takes-all game against fellow relegation-threatened Hartlepool next Sunday.

Due to Houghton also playing on the same day, there is no rink space to accommodate Sunderland so all six Sunderland rinks will head to Hartlepool for a 2pm start. Players are reminded the game will be played in greys.

The following team has been selected –

All players at Hartlepool (Greys) 2pm: P.Bulmer, M.Carr, PThomson, G.Farquhar, E.Dent, R.Jobling, H.Shields, W.Ferry, A.Grimes, P.Thomson, TW.Todd, J.Jones, G.Brown, K.Hopper, J.Flett, T.Jopling, P.Collins, W.Hearne, P.Brickle, R.Robinson, N.Ridley, W.Roberts, P.Dixon, M.Higgins.

H The Sunderland senior B team bring an end to their season as Stanley are the visitors to Houghton on Wednesday.

With the play-offs a distant dream, the Sunderland squad will be looking to end the season on a high.

Squad (12.30 start): G.Brown,E.Dent,A.Ferguson,TW.Todd, A.Grimes, T.Wood, F.Froud, P.Brickle, P.Bulmer, P.Thomson, W.Roberts, R.Jobling.

Latest Group 2 standings: Darlington B 8-28, Hartlepool A 7-20, Stanley 7-15, Sunderland B 7-13½, Park View 7-13½

H In group 3, current county play-off holders Sunderland A have already completed their fixtures and are waiting to find out who will be their opponents in the quarter-finals.

However, Houghton A have a cracking chance of sneaking into the second play-off place in the group as they need a minimum 3-2 win at bottom-of-the-group Gateshead.

Latest Group 3 Standings: Sunderland 10-41½, The Parks B 10-25, Houghton A 9-23, South Shields 9-20½, Hebburn 9-18, Gateshead A 9-12

H The local bowls scene lost another well-known name as Jack Nevin (78) sadly passed away.

Jack was a much-respected and well-liked bowler and was a member of the City of Sunderland Indoor Bowling Club, but he will be best remembered as a member of the Roker Marine club.

Although it has been ten years since Jack played, his highlight came in 1998 when, leading in for Gordon Cook, they lifted the Durham County Pairs title, which also saw a visit to the then Wembley of bowls - Worthing.

H Durham County seniors completed their season in the Midland Senior League with a 134-114 (18-4) win over Warwickshire.

In a game played at Doncaster, Durham were successful on four of the six rinks and will finish runners-up to Lincolnshire in the table.

Latest table: Lincolnshire 5-90, Durham 5-80, Yorkshire 4-47, Notts 5-48, Warwickshire 4-27, Leicestershire 5-14.

H The future of the area’s oldest indoor club Spennymoor Indoor Bowling club has been secured.

In December, the local brewery called time on a loan, leaving the bowls club three weeks to raise £24,000.

Following fund raising events and members buying into a share scheme, the club has managed to repay the outstanding loan and ensure the club will be able to celebrate its 50th anniversary.