Durham look the strongest club in the Croquet North B Division as they are able to field two comparable teams for the two divisions.
Their match with Alnmouth and Alnwick appeared to be evenly contested in terms of the respective handicaps, but they are always hard to beat and so it proved again with the contest ending as a 9-9 draw, for which Alnmouth and Alnwick were grateful.
They had to rally from a 6-3 deficit, which is not easy, with only one point for a win.
The return match at The Riverside in August will probably decide the title, when the visitors will face the additional challenge of Durham’s very fast ex-bowling green surface.
Scores (Alnmouth and Alnwick first) – singles: D Gerrard (handicap 4) bt L Johnson (7) 7-1, bt M Hobbs (5) 6-4, bt C Rook (6) 7-4; J Howie (6) bt M Carpenter (8) 7-5, lost to Rook 5-7, bt Hobbs 7-5; E Sisterson (6) lost to Hobbs 7-3, lost to Johnson 7-5, lost to Carpenter 7-5; A Doughty (7) bt Rook 7-5, lost to Carpenter 6-7, lost to Johnson 5-6.
Doubles: Gerrard & Sisterson lost to Hobbs & Johnson 2-7; Howie & Doughty lost to Rook & Carpenter 3-7; Gerrard & Doughty lost to Hobbs & Carpenter 6-7; Howie & Sisterson bt Rook & Johnson 7-6; Sisterson & Doughty bt Johnson & Carpenter 7-3; Gerrard & Howie bt Hobbs & Rook 7-4.