Sunderland seniors’ play-off hopes dashed

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SUNDERLAND’S senior B teams slim hopes of making the end of season play-offs were finally squashed when they went down 54-27 (5-0) at leaders Darlington B.

George Brown, Tony Wood, Alfie Ferguson and Terry Todd saw an early 7-2 lead wiped out to trail 14-7 against A.Stephenson. In the end, Todd finished 19-13 down.

Tony Grimes, Billy Conway, Frankie Froud and Peter Brickle collected a seven on the 12th end to get back to within three against J.Green, but ended up going down 17-11.

The remaining rink of Peter Bulmer, Peter Thomson (snr), Billy Roberts and Richie Jobling never got going and went down 18-3 to A.Henderson.

The next fixture on Wednesday, will see the B team attempt to avoid the wooden spoon in the group as they entertain Park View at Houghton.

The following team has been selected: G. Brown, E. Dent, A.Ferguson, T.W.Todd, A.Grimes, W.Conway, F. Froud. P.Brickle, P.Bulmer. P.Thomson, W.Roberts, R.Jobling. Reserve: A.Wood.

Players are reminded the start time for this game has been moved back to 2.30pm at Houghton.

Latest standings: Group Two: Darlington B 7-25, Hartlepool A 5-16, Stanley 7-15, Sunderland B 6-9½, Park View 5-9½

H The Sunderland A team are also in action on Wednesday when they travel to Gateshead, looking to seal a play off place.

The following team has been selected: P.Collins, H.Shields, F.Knubley, W.Ferry, A.Baker, W.Hearne, J.Jones, T.Jopling, J.Flett, R.Robson, R.Robinson, R.Graham. Reserve: EJ.Forster. The game starts at 2.30pm.

Group Three: Sunderland A 8-31½, Houghton A 8-19, Parks B 7-19, Sth Shields 7-17½, Hebburn 7-12, Gateshead A 7-11

Group Four: Parks A 8-27, Ferryhill 8-26½, Hartlepool B 8-22½, Durham b 7-20½, Gateshead B 7-12½, Houghton B 8-7

H Tomorrow, the Sunderland Inter County squad return to action when they entertain Gateshead.

After two opening defeats, Sunderland must beat Gateshead to maintain hopes of avoiding the drop into Division Two.

The following team has been selected: At Houghton – P.Bulmer, M.Carr, H.Shields, S.Angus, M.Wright, W.Roberts, R.Jobling, W.Ferry, A.Grimes, P.Thomson, TW.Todd, J.Jones.

At Gateshead: G.Brown, K.Hopper, J.Flett, T.Jopling, P.Collins, W.Hearne, A.Ferguson, R.Robinson, N.Ridley, P.Dixon, G.Farquhar, M.Higgins.

The fixture against Aycliffe takes place on February 23, while the final fixture against Hartlepool has been moved back one week due to a clash with the League Cup final.

However, due to Houghton playing on the same day, all six Sunderland rinks will travel to Hartlepool on March 9.

Latest Standings: Division 1 – Parks 3-22, Darlington 3-22, Gateshead 3-17, Hartlepool 2-12, Aycliffe 1-6, Sunderland 2-5

Division 2 – Houghton 3-26, Durham 2-16½, Sth Shields 2-16, Hebburn 2-12, Shildon 2-9, Ferryhill 3-4½

H After his World Singles experience, the Sunderland club champion Gary Smith heads to the Warners Complex at Hayling Island this weekend to compete in the final stages of the National Champion of Champions event.

Smith faces York’s D.Stroughair and is one of only two current England players in the sixteen man strong field.

On Monday, Smith heads to Blackpool to take part in the final World Bowls Tours event, the UK International Open.

In the first round, Smith will face the number 11 seed, Scotland’s Jonathon Ross at 6pm.

Live score updates will be available via the website.

H South Shields’ talented youngster Emily Maher travelled to Loddon Vale to take part in the latter stages of this year’s Ladies Under-25 Singles competition.

The Shields youngster had the daunting task of facing Ipswich’s Katherine Rednall, who was fresh from winning the World Matchplay title at Potters.

Despite going down 2-0 in sets, the Shields youngster will have gained a lot of experience and will have some consolation as Rednall went on to take the Under-25s title.

As the local stages of this year’s national competitions reach the key stages, there was a bizarre Area Singles final played out at Stanley, when club-mates David Bolt and Brett Arkley faced each other.

It was bizarre because in theory they played on rink 6½.

Rather than going to a neutral green, they decided to play between rinks six and seven.

In the end, it was Bolt who came out on top, winning 21-14 and sealing a place at the National Championships, which are returning to Melton Mowbray in April.

The pair’s final will also be played at Stanley when David Bolt and Gary Smith will face club-mates Brett Arkley and John Thurlbeck for a place at Melton Mowbray.

In the triples, Stanley’s David Bolt moved into the area final after a tight 14-13 win over Gary Robson, while Sunderland’s final hope Billy Ferry went down 23-13 at Stanley to South Shield’s Dave Patterson.

The fours final is another all Stanley affair, as David Morgan faces Michael Laydon.

To make things complicated this season in the triples and fours, the area final will not be played on a neutral green as a rule change saw it moved to top of the draw, gets home advantage.

Not only that, but only 16 qualifiers make it to Melton instead of the 32 in the singles and pairs. Therefore, area one winners will play off against area two for a place at Melton.