Table Tennis England this week issued another Club Volunteer of the Year award. Alan Hedley of Cramlington Table Tennis Club was presented this honour by club Treasurer Aubrey Drapkin. Alan’s implacable positive attitude and relentless hard work with young people and less young people alike is seen and appreciated on a weekly basis by the players in the Northumbria Table Tennis League.
The highlight of the Premier division this week was the clash between annual rivals Cramlington Casuals and NESLC Eagles. Andrew Wilkinson won his 3 as usual for the Casuals and Peter Smallcombe beat Paul Baines and Richard Wilson. Jim Stamas played well for the Eagles to beat Smallcombe and Steve Penman, Baines chipped in with another by beating Penman then Richard Wilson and Stamas combined to take the doubles leading to a narrow 6-4 home victory for the Casuals. Cramlington Stingers were again unable to field 3 of their own players against Riding Mill, borrowing Gareth Pearson from the Tigers and Paul Jamieson from the Reivers. Stingers’ Kevin Wilson won his 3 and Paul Jamieson beat Peter Stempczyk to help save a draw.
Mitford B are 3 points top of the division 1 table with a game in hand over second placed Riding Mill B. This week they faced NECA B and won 8-2, Bob Atwell and Karen Henry both picking up 3 wins. Riding Mill on the other hand could only field 2 players which caused them difficulties as they lost 8-2 away to Matfen Centurions, Robert Neil Forsyth taking a well-deserved Player of the Match award for them.
Along with playing for the Centurions and getting 2 wins, Alex Holliday also played for Matfen’s Senators in division 2 this week where he won all 3 and Player of the Match in a 6-4 win against club-mates Matfen Tribunes.
Despite turning up with only 2 players, the Cramlington Ravens team of Adam Hardiman and Mackenzie Clark did well to beat Backspin 7-3 in division 4 this week. In the first inter-club game of the week, Cramlington Jaguars’ Steve Round and John Murrells won their hat-tricks, supported by 2 wins from Aubrey Drapkin, to beat the Knights 9-1. The second Cramlington derby saw the Dragons take a comfortable 10-0 victory over the Magpies as Mick Sursham, Sree Kanakala and Paul Athey only lost a single set between them.
In division 3, Cramlington Spartans faced a very tough lineup of Mick Dunn, Joe Swinburn and Bernie Mccardle for the Cramlington Cobras. The games were closer than the 9-1 score suggests but in the end only Sam Nair could pick up a win for the Spartans. Saints held home team Brandon Anacondas to a 5-5 draw, Killen and Dawson winning 2 each and Joynson chipping in with a third. The Anacondas’ Jamie Lupton only dropped a single end however as he won his 3 games.
Mike Lyons took Player of the Match for Ouston A in division 2 as they scraped a 6-4 win away to Cramlington Trojans. Old England Fatts drew 5-5 with Matfen’s Tribunes and Neil Wilkinson won another 3 games for Ouston B as they beat Cramlington Swifts 8-2.
In the Premier division, Lynne Herrington beat Duncan Wraight to get the only win against Mitford A in a 9-1 loss for Old England Jacks. NESLC beat NECA A 6-4 despite a hat-trick from Chun Yin Yu, Cramlington Stingers beat Byker A 9-1 and Riding Mill held Mount A to a draw. Josh Weatherby was in decent form against a strong Cramlington Casuals side when he beat Steve Penman and Peter Smallcome but was beaten 3-0 by Andrew Wilkinson.
Thirty six teams were entered into the competition. Round 1 features 8 of these teams. All other teams entered have byes into round 2. For full information on the rules, guidance, draw and gradings go to the KO Cup page.
The star of this week’s show is Steve Dickinson, a long-time representative and advocate of table tennis in Northumberland, as he was presented with a “Club Volunteer of the Year” award from Table Tennis England. Steve’s hard work and constant positivity and passion for table tennis is renowned across the region.
Back to the league, the Premier Division this week was host to a number of seemingly one-sided scores. Kevin Wilson played well to win 2 games against Mount A but Graeme Barella was too strong for the Cramlington Stingers as he picked up 3 wins alongside Ainley and Prady’s 2 to take the match 7-3. Michael Boyce for Cramlington Tigers and Mark O’Connor for Riding Mill A were the only players to win games for their teams as they faced Mitford A and Cramlington Casuals respectively. NECA beat St Chads 8-2 and NESLC achieved a healthy 10-0 win against Old England Jacks.
In Division 1, Riding Mill B did well to hold out for a draw when they were only able to field 2 players against Mount C, Shirley Gelder taking 3 wins and Player of the Match. Another top female player took Player of the Match for Mitford B when Karen Henry won her 3 games. Teammates Barry Hill and Bob Atwell also picked up 2 wins each as they beat Cramlington Reivers 8-2, Alex Hinchliffe winning the only games for the Cramlington side.
Matfen Senators lost their first match of the season when they travelled to Ouston this week. Ouston A’s Neil Wilkinson, recently returned to table tennis after a lengthy spell out of the game, won his hat-trick to take Player of the Match. Holliday won 2 for Matfen and Oxley won 1, but it wasn’t quite enough as Ouston edged out the win at 6-4.
Steve Dickinson receives his certificate
Three big victories in the Premier Division this week with Mitford A beating Byker A 9-1, NESLC Eagles beating Cramlington Tigers 10-0 and Cramlington Casuals beating Mount A 9-1 though it’s only fair to point out that the common denominator for the losing teams was that they each had a player playing up from a lower division. A highlight of these games was up-and-coming superstar Peter Smallcombe for the Casuals beating the 2015 Northumberland Closed Open Singles winner Graeme Barella, albeit with Mount’s key player recently returning from injury.
The Mount were on form in Division 1 as their B team beat Matfen Centurions 9-1 and their C team beat Newton B 7-3. Byker’s Mark Kimberley, who will be an important part of their Premier team this year, won his hat-trick for the B team against Mitford B but it was only enough to steal a draw for the home side.
Philip Smith once again took Player of the Match for Cramlington Corinthians as he won all 3 to scrape an overall match win against Byker D. Bernard McCardle, recently returned to the game, won his hat-trick for the Cramlington Cobras, Mick Dunn also picking up 3 as they beat club rivals Cramlington Lions 9-1. Anna Sowerby played well for the Lions to get the concessionary game against Joe Swinburn.
In Division 4, Matthew Mastaglio took Player of the Match for Cramlington Knights when he won all of his games against Backspin. Brandon Bravehearts beat Newton C 8-2 and Israel Shodeinde won 3 games, including a really close game against Archie Stokes, for Cramlington Dynamos as they beat Cramlington Falcons 7-3. The Ravens were too strong for the Magpies, winning 10-0, in another inter-club game at Cramlington.
In the Premier Division this week, St Chads beat Cramlington Tigers 6-4 despite the Tigers’ Michael Boyce winning his 3 games. Cramlington Casuals also had a close game with Cramlington Stingers, Andrew Wilkinson winning a hat-trick and Steven Penman only losing to Iain Wood. Paul Jamieson, playing up from Division 1, did well to beat Barry Richardson with his many years of top-level experience.
Jamieson was in action again for his Division 1 team as they played Matfen Centurions. He won his hat-trick, but Cramlington Reivers weren’t able to field a full-strength team as Phil Smith and Jamie Hall both played up in a 7-3 loss. David Cutler won Player of the Match for Mount B when he won his 3 away to Riding Mill B in a close-fought 6-4 win.
Two Matfen teams, Two Ouston teams and Two Cramlington teams saw action in Division 2. Matfen Tribunes drew 5-5 with Byker C whilst Matfen Senators continued their impressive run from last week and last season by beating Cramlington Trojans 8-2. Cramlington Swifts lost 4-6 away to Birtley despite Ron Scott winning his 3 and Ouston faced Ouston with the A team showing why they got the pick of the letters as they beat their B team 10-0.
Phil Smith was the hero of the hour when Cramlington Corinthians faced inter-club rivals Cramlington Lions in Division 3, winning all of his games to help his team win the match 6-4, Jamie Hall also picking up 2. All of the Brandon Anacondas players picked up 2 wins as they beat Byker D 7-3, Thomas Manuel getting 2 for the losing side.
Mick Sursham played twice in Division 4, once for the Cramlington Jaguars, winning 6-4 against Backspin, and once against them, drawing 5-5 for the Cramlington Dragons.
This week saw the eagerly-awaited return of the Northumberland League winter season. In the Premier division, Byker A were unable to field a full-strength team leading to a 10-0 loss against St Chads. The Mount A were too strong for Old England with Graeme Barella, still recovering from a knee injury which kept him away from the summer league, not dropping an end as they won 10-0. Kevin Wilson was the star of the show against new team Mitford A when he won all 3 and the doubles with Gareth Pearson but unfortunately the Cramlington Stingers couldn’t field a full team and they lost 6-4.
Division 1 was host to a raft of tight games which could have gone either way. Cramlington Reivers drew against Riding Mill and Newton A drew against Mitford B whilst The Mount B and Matfen Centurions beat The Mount C and Byker B 6-4 respectively. Allan Thompson for the Mill, Caron Guthrie for Mount C and John Russell for Newton all received Player of the Match awards as they picked up 3 wins each for their teams.
Matfen Senators, led by Alex Holliday, clearly showed their intent to win Division 2 as they beat Birtley 9-1, only losing the doubles. Byker C got a walkover as Old England Crocks were unable to field a team but the Old England Fatts drew 5-5 against Cramlington Trojans.
No less than four Cramlington teams played in Division 4 this week as the Knights beat in-house rivals Magpies, the Falcons lost 9-1 to Newton C and the Dragons lost 8-2 to Brandon Bravehearts, who surely win the award for best-named team this year. Ryan Morton was the Player of the Match in that affair, winning his hat-trick of games.
The first round of the Veterans British League is to be played this weekend. The picture below shows Geoff Salter (red shirt), one of the Northumberland League players who will be involved.
This week’s matches saw the Cramlington Stingers clinch the Northumbria Summer league title with a resounding 9-1 win away at Byker on Thursday evening. Dale Aitkenhead, Iain Wood and Adam Webster turning out for the Stingers and only Steve Dickinson of the home side winning against Iain Wood in three straight games saved the whitewash. Dean Eadington and Bob Sanderson being the other two for Byker. The Stingers who were last year’s champions only needed one point from this match to overhaul the Kimblesworth Rockets who in their first season pushed the Stingers all the way. Byker finishing bottom of the division are relegated with the Chinese Community team who have suffered as always in the summer with their top student players returning home for the holidays.
In division two the Sacriston Aces won their last match against Backspin 8-2 but this was not enough to save them from relegation for the second season in a row having dropped down from Division one last year. Ian Mcallister winning 3 supported by Duncan Fraser and Jon Mawson who both won 2. Only Jamie Dent winning the two for Backspin.
In Division 4 Matfen C kept their hopes of avoiding relegation alive by winning 7-3 at home to mid table Ouston B. Keith Hodges and Richard Rayfield getting maximums for the home side and 1 from Andrew Potter giving them the points. They now need another 7-3 win in their last match against Whitley Chapel to be safe.
Some more sad news again this week when we heard of the passing of Joe Tron who had been associated with Ouston TTC for 45 years and held many roles in this club as well as supporting the Northumbria League.
The final week of fixtures in the regular summer season sees some critical matches being played to determine who will be champions of all divisions and of course relegation too.
In the first division the Cramlington Stingers needing 10 points from their last two re arranged matches won 9-1 against the North East Chinese Association leaving them only requiring one point from this last match to clinch the title. However the Kimblesworth Rockets in second place played a day later and won 10-0 against Mount A keeping their slim title chances alive. The Stingers only needing a point from their last match away at Byker.
In the very closely contested Div 3 the leaders Brandon anacondas lost 4-6 away at Cramlington Cobras and relinquished that lead to Byker in their very last match winning 10-0 against Backspin B to win the Division by just 4 points.
In Division 2 the Casuals are favourites despite having lost 4-6 against Ouston A this week, Dave Pringle getting man of the match in winning his 3 supported by Neil and Mark Rodgers with 1 each. The Casuals lead second placed Old England by 7 points and both teams have one match left.
In Div 4 Brandon Bees won against the Lions 9-1 with Brian Childs and Jack Jacomb both getting maximums and Jordan Dove two to win the division before Cram Corinthians had the chance to play Matfen C which confirmed them as runners up winning 6-4
Division 5 has already been won by the Cram Jaguars before their last match against NESLC which they won 8-2 and Brandon devils had already clinched 2nd spot before their re arranged match vs NESLC next week.
I finish with some sad news this week as we learnt of the passing of Joe Tron, long time Northumbria player and Club secretary from Ouston.
The match between summer league contenders Kimblesworth Rockets and St Chads saw any hope the Rockets had of wrestling the title away from last years winners Cramlington Stingers evaporate when they were defeated 7-3. The Rockets coach Dave Godbold again easily winning his three being the only bright spot of the evening. Chads players Keith Weatherby, Jimmy Scope and Paul Baines all winning 2 each and also the doubles. St Chads now having completed their summer program sit top but with 2 games in hand over them and one in hand vs the Rockets and only needing 10 points the Stingers looks odds on the win the Summer league.
Division 3 leaders Brandon Anancondas played second placed Byker TTC and lost 6-4 with Steve Dickinson getting 3 supported by Chas Robertson 2 and Dave Craddock 1. The Anacondas missing regular player Simon Knopf who was substituted by Tony Taylor. This now means that the divisional winner will be decided in the last week of matches as only 2 points separate the two teams. Byker play bottom placed Backspin who are already relegated and the Anacondas play mid table Cramlington Cobras.
Brandon Bees kept up the pressure at the top of Division 4 with a 7-3 win away at Cramlington Magpies and with only a home match remaining vs Cramlington Lions look set to win the division as they are currently 6 points clear of closest rivals Cramlington Corinthians who won 6-4 against Ouston B this week to keep any title hopes alive. However its a tall order as they have a home match left against Matfen C who are looking to avoid relegation and in recent weeks have been fielding a much stronger team.
Entries closed on Monday for the forthcoming winter league and there are 51 teams entered across 5 divisions which is slightly down on last season.