Wearsiders Gary Smith and Michael Laydon used home rink advantage to their benefit to claim places in the English Indoor Bowling Association’s Premier Threes grand final day.
Two places for the final day in Erewash in December were up for grabs as South Shields held the first qualifying event, with the quickfire format of three bowls, three ends and best of three sets ensuring that most games are done and dusted within half an hour.
In section one, Michael Laydon was a late invite but took the opportunity with both hands.
An opening 2-0 win over West Denton’s Peter Duffy was then followed by a 2-1 semi-final victory over the highly rated Josh Minto (South Shields).
In the section final, Laydon faced Hartlepool’s Paul Hartley. The first set was tied 2-2, while Laydon took the second set 4-0. Hartley won the third set 3-2 to send the game into a one-bowl tie breaker. Hartley’s effort ended a couple of feet away, and Laydon held his nerve to get inside the bowl and seal a place at Erewash.
The second section saw Smith continue his run of good form in televised events.
An opening 2-0 win over clubmate Phil Smithson was followed by a hard-fought 2-1 success against Phil Dixon, although Dixon was left rueing a missed opportunities to win the game. Wwith the final bowl in the second set, Dixon fell just short which left Smith shot and sent the tie into a decisive third set.
On the last end of the third set, Dixon, holding a good two, failed to put in a back bowl, which allowed Smith, with the game’s final bowl, to play overweight and move the jack to his back bowl for shot.
In the final, Smith looked on the verge of going out again this time against talented youngster Josh Halcrow. With the sets all square and the third set level, Halcrow held shot on the final end only to trail the jack a foot with his final bowl to a Smith bowl and hand Smith the remaining place at Erewash.
The Durham County IBA held an extraordinary meeting with all clubs except The Parks to decide the future of the Inter-Club League following the failure of five of the six teams in the First Division to complete their five-game programmes.
It was eventually agreed that clubs will be given an extension to submit Notices of Motion regarding the format etc at the AGM on May 25.
Bizarrely, it was also agreed to award the cup to the only club to complete all five games, Gateshead, who had finished 11 points behind table-toppers Hartlepool, as all the other clubs had been deemed to have defaulted and according to league rules their points had to be null and void it left the farcical situation of everyone on nil points. The two relegation places were not confirmed.
The final of the County Under-21 Doshi Pairs was played at Durham, with Darlington’s Liam Macey and Noah Cummings defeating Hartlepool’s Niall Thompson and Matty Ray.
The final league standings in the various leagues at Houghton were as follows -:
10.30am Men’s Fours – Carter 37, Wells 33, Duell 32, Scullion 32, Sim 25, Storey 23, Smith 23, Morris 19, Dinsdale 12, Thompson 12, Newton 10, Holland 7
2.30pm Ladies Pairs - Johnson 42, Middleton 29, Glover 28, Wilson 28, Watt 24, Reay 22, Mitchinson 17, Thompson 14, Robson 12, Todd 11, Maddison 7
6.30pm Men’s Fours - Henderson 38, Williams 35, Thuburn 31, Noble 28, Sim 25, Piggott 23, Johnson 22, Collins 20, New 16, Taylor 12, Charlton 10, Lobb 2
10.30am Men’s Fours – Thuburn 38, Godfrey 32 (+152), Joicey 32 (+72), Matthews 28, Barnes 25, Kerry 23, Barkes 22, Sowerby 16, Walker 15, Graham 13, Moore 10, Thompson 9
2.30pm Ladies Fours - Johnson 39, Middleton 37, Coulson 34, Smith 30, Charlton 24, Fenwick 22, Prudhoe 18, Stewart 14, Lowes 14, Moore 12, Banks 12, White 10
6.30pm Men’s Fours - Kempster 33, Wilson 30 (+89), Brickle 30 (+77), Dunn 29, Froud 28, Usher 25, Patterson 25, Pescod 25, Connolly 14, Elliott 11, Hills 10, Rothwell 2
10.30am Men’s Triples – Brown 36, Ramshaw 34, Scullion 32, Piggott 25, Lanagan 23, Barkes 22, Matthews 21, Joicey 21, Fletcher 18, Ward 16, Dinsdale 10, Thompson 6
4.30pm Mixed Triples - Henderson 46, Baker 37, Nicholson 34, Prudhoe 30, Holmes 27, Robson 25, Cowler 18, Martin 7
6.30pm Men’s Fours - Usher 35, Burt 32, Collins 28, Harding 27, Hutchinson 26, Carr 24, Sim 22, Morgan 17, Bowerbank 14, Classon 12, Robinson 0
10.30am Men’s Fours – Bew 38, Cooper 34, Scullion 32, Carter 29, Hartis 22, McAdam 20, Hills 20, Graham 16, Walker 15, Usher 12, Thompson 10, Rothwell 6
2.30pm Open Pairs - Brown 41, Houghton 33 (+217), Phythian 33 (+130), Laidler 26, Wells 25, Longley 24, Piggott 22, Waites 22, Thompson 14, Chalmers 10, Moore 10, Booth 4
6.30pm Men’s Fours - McAdoo 33, Wilson 30, Sykes 28, Hicks 26, Milner 26, Joicey 25, Piggott 21, Johnson 19, Hind 19, Grimes 17, Sumers 17, Armstrong 5
10.30am Men’s Triples – Jobling 40, Piggott 36, Baker 33, Holmes 29, Kerry 25, Usher 19, Walsh 19, Waterson 16, Hayley 12, Childs 11, Todd 10, Garrett 10
2.30pm Ladies Triples - Johnson 32, (+197), Robson 32 (+155), Glover 29, Middleton 28, Faith 28, Lowes 18, Banks 16, Nicholson 15, Todd 14, Bainbridge 13, Stewart 9
6.30pm Men’s Fours - McAdoo 35, Collins 32, Storey 30, Johnson 30, Patterson 26, Buckingham 25, Hills 20, Hartis 19, Longley 14, Nicholson 12, Smillie 12, Temple 9
10am Men’s Triples – Jopling 35, Harding 29, Henderson 26, Burt 22, Usher 21, Borthwick 21, Noble 21, Walsh 20, Holmes 10, Longley 9, Todd 6
10am Men’s Fours – Sykes 39, Thuburn 32, Hutchinson 31, Milner 31, Walsh 24, Sim 19, Williams 19, Robson 11, Bew 6
As all hardy outdoor bowlers know, the start of the outdoor season signals a change in the weather, but, despite the bitter conditions, the Howey Harold Trophy leagues signalled the start of the outdoor season.
In the First Division, there was an early setback for the defending champions Silksworth as they suffered a 16-shot 4-0 defeat away at Chester-le-Street.
There were mixed fortunes for the two Houghton Dairy Lane squads as the B team won by seven shots (3-1) at Washington, while the A team lost at home by three shots (3-1) to North Biddick A. Newly-promoted Roker Marine A lost by six shots (½-3½) at home to Seaham Town A.
Following their relegation to the Second Division, Hylton Colliery Welfare A got off to a cracking start with a 17-shot (4-0) home win over New Herrington.
On Wednesday, the Swan Cup gets underway. Holders Houghton Dairy Lane travel to newly-promoted Thompson Park, while last season’s runners-up, Silksworth, head to Houghton Town.
The season’s first casualty has occurred in the Second Division as New Herrington have dropped out.
Bowls England selectors have named a 48-man Under-25 trial, featuring Durham’s Noah Cummings and Northumberland’s Josh Minto. A squad of 24 will be selected for September’s Home International series at Elgin.
Bristol hosted the Denny Cup final, with Whiteknights lifting the title for the first time as they defeated Norfolk 74-69. Cumbria’s hopes were ended in the semi-finals after they were beaten by 10 shots by Norfolk.
In the ladies equivalent competition, the Yetton Trophy, the title went to Swale, who defeated York 77-75 in the final.