Dominoes league keeps traditional pub sports alive
By Trevor Brookes - Editor
TEESDALE’S 5s and 3s dominoes league, which is hailed for supporting local pubs on quiet winter evenings, came to a finale with two teams sharing the spoils, leading to a play-off for the cup.
Bowes Dragons and Royal Oak A were joint winners of the A Division after the teams tied on 133 points, but Bowes Dragons won the decider.
Teams from across the dale picked up their trophies last Monday night at Barnard Castle Workingmen’s Club.
League chairman Eddie Tinkler said: “There are 14 teams in the A league and 12 in the B league. That’s about 200 people playing dominoes on Monday nights.
“They’re supporting local pubs on a quiet night and they’re getting together for a social evening when all they would be doing otherwise is watching TV. I joke that there used to be three TV channels and about 300 pubs but now there are about 300 TV channels and three pubs.”
High Force dropped out of the league this year but that led to Langdon Beck Hotel putting in two teams.
One of their players, Trevor Hutchinson, presented the prizes at the Barnard Castle and District League finals night.
Former Forest-in-Teesdale farmer Mr Hutchinson, 78, said: “I’ve played in the league for 57 seasons. There are not quite as many teams now but it’s still going strong. It’s a good way to spend a winter’s night.”
Some of the cups show the league’s heritage as well as charting the demise of a number of dale pubs with references dating to 1967 when the Oddfellows Arms, in Bridgegate, won the league. Other long-gone pubs listed as winners include the Beaconsfield, in Barnard Castle, and the Royal Star, in Startforth.
Nick Peckett, committee member and Royal Oak player, said: “You don’t have to go too far back into the records to see 16 teams in each league, so there has been a slight decline. But it’s a lovely game when you get into it and we want to encourage the younger players.”
BARNARD CASTLE AND DISTRICT 5S AND 3S
A Division champions: Bowes Dragons.
A Division joint champions: Royal Oak A.
(Both tied on 133 points, but Bowes Dragons won the playoff).
B Division champions: Black Horse.
Joint B Division runners up: Middleton Club B and Langdon Beck A.
Team knockout winners: Cricketers Arms.
Team knockout runners-up: Red Lion A.
Consolation knockout winners: Middleton Club A.
Consolation knockout runners up: Bowes Club B.
Gents pairs winners: Blacksmiths Arms.
Gents pairs runners up: Wheatsheaf B.
Ladies pairs winners: Barnard Castle WMC B.
Ladies pairs runners up: Moorcock.
Captains’ winner: Cricketers Arms.
Captains runner-up: Middleton Club A.
A Division highest scorer: Ray Goldsbrough 49 points (Red Lion A).
B Division highest scorer: Jeff Newbiggin 43 points (Black-Horse).