Title defence over for Bolt

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DAVID BOLT’S hopes of repeating last year’s tremendous Bowls England national singles title success at Worthing are over.

At the national championships, the Silksworth bowler suffered a third round 21-16 defeat at the hands of Westlecot’s Mel Biggs.

Earlier, the defending champion enjoyed a first round 21-13 win over Mid Surrey’s Tim Orr before collecting a last-gasp three to defeat Northumberland’s Steven Harvey 21-20 in the second round.

In the pairs, Houghton Dairy Lane’s Ian Whorlton and Alan Dunn went out in the preliminary round 27-11 to a pair from Essex. As reported last week, Darlington RA’s Andrew Kirtland had progressed to the Champion of Champions quarter-finals but sadly that was as far as he got.

H As the outdoor season enters its final couple of weeks, the majority of Sunderland and District leagues have reached a conclusion.

In the blue riband Earl Cup division one, Silksworth have taken only their second Earl title from Houghton Dairy Lane by 6½ points with holders Roker Marine finishing third. The latter finished outside the top two for the first time in 12 years.

Making a swift return to division two are Sunderland, while the remaining place has yet to be confirmed.

After a three year-exile in division two, Hylton CW make a return to division one and go up as champions while either Barnes West End or Barley Mow will join them.

In the Swan Cup, Usworth’s 6-1 win over Barnes West End ensured a repeat of their 2001 title success. This completed a domestic double following their earlier 3-2-1 knock-out triples success.

Usworth held off a late challenge from Roker Marine to seal a third Swan crown.

Holders Silksworth missed out on a fourth consecutive title. finishing third. The relegation places have yet to be confirmed.

In division two, South Hylton go up as champions alongside North Biddick while New Herrington finished bottom.

In the Howey division one, Barnes Park B became only the fourth team to win three consecutive Howey titles, with Silksworth B having to settle for runners-up place. Washington A are relegated while Lumley need to beat the newly-crowned champions to stay up – that would send Roker Park B down.

In division two, Houghton Dairy Lane have been champions for weeks and ended of the season by setting a new record, 14 straight wins collected 55½ points out of a maximum 56 sealed back-to-back promotions.

The other promotion spot went to the final round of games as Hetton Workmen’s held off Roker Marine B by 1½ points.

Both Grindon Mill and Whitburn are relegated to division three.

After relegation last year, Sunderland A will make a return to division two after winning the division three title. They will be joined in division two by Hylton CW A, while the wooden spoon went to Roker Marine B.

Last weekend, the top two in the Storey Bowl faced off as leaders Seaham Town travelled to Houghton Town needing four points from the game to clinch the title.

However it was the hosts who came out on top with a 5-1 win. That means Houghton will now take the title if they collect two points from their final game this weekend at bottom-of-the-table Dawdon.

H The remaining domestic competition takes place next week as the S&D Champion of Champions is played to a conclusion.

On Tuesday, the quarter-finals take place at Seaham Town, the semis are on Thursday at Houghton Town and the final at Barnes West End on Friday.

H There was some sad news for the Houghton Town club following the bereavement of Robert Hicks (86). A much-respected member of the club and Houghton Indoors club, he will be missed by his peers.