Two young players, Peter Smallcombe and Adam Webster are certainly making a name for themselves in the Northumbria League Premier Division. Durham’s Peter Smallcombe, who is now ranked at number five in the England Junior rankings, recently beat the County Senior champion Graeme Barella and was unbeaten again when his team Saint Columbas beat Old England Jacks 9 – 1. His only defeat so far was at the hands of Joe Clark, a University student from Cleveland.

Adam Webster who also features at fiftytwo in the national junior rankings has also made a good start to the season playing once again for the North East Chinese Association and his three sets helped his team to beat Cramlington Stingers 8 – 2.His only defeat to date was at the hands of Andrew Wilkinson.

Andrew Firth and Mark O’Connor both won all of their sets for Prudhoe and District United Services  9 – 1 in Division One. Graeme Bell did likewise for Newton who won 7- 3 away to Cramlington Tigers, Lee Tinkler got three as Saint Columbas B team won 6 – 4 against Mount D and Neil Forsyth was unbeaten in Matfen Senators victory over their Centurians side.

MItford defeated Old England FATTS and Tyneside TTC beat Cramlington Swifts as they both  completed their fourth successive victories in Division Two.

In Division Three Matfen Cohorts gained their first win of the season,  Richard Rayfield winning all of his sets in a 7- 3 win over Cramlington Spartans.

Despite being a player short leaders Whitley Chapel managed to get a draw away to Brandon Bravehearts thanks to a hat trick by Stefan Sobell.

James Moore was once again unbeaten for Tyneside C in a drawn match with Newton C in the fourth division. Paul Conn backed him up with two victories while Julian Manwell got a couple for Newton.

In the same division young Matthew Mastaglio was unbeaten for Cramlington Knights in their 7 – 3 success away to Matfen Consuls.

Andrew Wilkinson and Steve Penman have both moved from Cramlington to N.E.SL.C.Eagles this season in the Northumbria League Premier Division and both of them along with Jim Stamas featured in their home match against the League Champions N.E. Chinese team of Chun Yin Yu, Adam Webster and Harry Saxton.

Despite the fact that Wilkinson won  his first two matches his side trailed 3 – 2 at the half way stage but Stamas then produced the surprise result of the day when he defeated Yu 11- 7 11- 8 11- 9 and this was followed by victory for Penman over Saxton and another defeat for Yu at the hands of Wilkinson. Webster pulled it back to 5 – 4 but Stamas gave the home side victory by beating Saxton.

Mount A had university student Joe Clark from Cleveland in their team and he duly won his three sets as they beat Saint Columbas 6 – 4 who had previously had a 6 – 4 success over Cramlington Casuals with Duncan Wraight turning in an unbeaten performance.

Saint Chads beat Cramlington Stingers 8 – 2 and Mount B won by the same score at Old England Jacks.

Matfen Senators side of Alex Holliday, Neil Forsyth and Steve Oxley are top of Division One but they only just beat Saint Columbas B team 6 – 4 for whom Lee Tinkler was undefeated and their Centurians side moved into second spot by beating Prudhoe and District United Services 6 – 4 thanks mainly to Chris Kilsby who won all of his singles and also the doubles with Phil Rainford.

Mitford won their third successive game in a row with victory over Ouston B in Division Two as did Tyneside TTC B team with a 10 – 0 success over Cramlington Reivers.

In the third division Jamie Milroy of Ouston C was undefeated in an 8 – 2 victory over Brandon Bravehearts as was the Bravehearts Alan Perry when they got a draw against Cramlington Cobras.

A hat trick from James Moore helped Tyneside TTC C to  make it three out of three in the fourth division by beating Cramlington Dragons 8 – 2.

Saint Columba’s followed up their victory over Cramlington Stingers by defeating Mount B 9 – 1   in the Premier Division of the Northumbria League with both Paul Baines and Peter Smallcombe winning all of their matches while an unbeaten performance by Dan Dodds helped Mount’s first team to  make it two out of two with an 8 – 2 success against their C team.

The closest contest in the top division was at Cramlington when seven of the ten sets in the match between the Casuals and Old England Jacks needed a fifth end to decide them. Fittingly the match was drawn with Gareth Pearson of the Casuals and Old England’s Alan Atkinson and  Andrew Benjamin all taking two sets.

An unbeaten Andrew Wilkinson helped NESLC Eagles to an 8 – 2 win over Saint Chads in their opening match.

All four matches in Division One were drawn with Matfen’s Senators being held by Newton A thanks mainly to John Russell and their Centurians  having to share the points with Saint Columba’s B who had Duncan Wraight in fine form, while Cramlington Tigers and Tyneside as well as Mount D and NECA B also ended 5 – 5

In Division Two a hat trick by Keith Hodges helped Matfen Tribunes to win 8 – 2 away to Cramlington Trojans but another player to get a hat trick in Phil Smith was on the losing side as Cramlington Swifts went down 6 – 4 away to OldEngland FATTS.

Jamie McIroy won all of his sets for Ouston C in the third division as they held early leaders Whitley Chapel to a draw while a similar performance by John Foster saw Brandon Bravehearts beat Matfen Cohorts 6 – 4.

In Division Four Ouston D beat Matfen Consuls 7 – 3 with Ouston’s Lewis Kilkenny beating Matfen’s Ferg Kilsby in  the battle between two young and upcoming young players.

The newly formed Saint Columba’s club made the best possible start in the Premier Division of the Northumbria League when their team of Duncan Wraight, Dale Aitkenhead and Paul Baines overwhelmed Mount C to the tune of 10 – 0.

The Mount A team of Graeme Barella, Phil Prady and Dave Pringle also made a great start by defeating Cramlington Stingers by the same score and an unbeaten performance by Tony Gelder saw their B side win 7 – 3 when they entertained Cramlington Casuals.

The match between Tyneside TTC and Mount D in Division One swung one way and then the other with Mount looking likely winners when Mohinder Rawat completed his hat – trick to give them a   5 – 3 lead but victories by Mark Patterson and Mark Kimberley ensured that the match was drawn.

Lee Tinkler was another player to get a hat trick in this division when playing for Saint Columba’s B but it was in vain as Prudhoe and District United Service Club beat them 6 – 4.

Both Steve Dickinson and Charlie Robertson were in fine form for Tyneside B and along with Don Catley they came away from Matfen with a 7 – 3 victory against the Tribunes under their belts in the second division.

Barry Matthews and Nigel Coe were both unbeaten in the singles as Old England FATTS beat Cramlington Reivers 8 – 2.

The closest fought match in the third division was the Cramlington derby between the young Falcons side of Alfie Stokes, Oliver Ho and Matthew Mastaglio and the Spartans with the Falcons winning the last two sets to triumph 6 – 4 while Newton’s B team of John Henderson, Tom Manuel and Ian Armstrong trounced Cramlington Jaguars 10 – 0.

There were two other Cramlington derbies in the Fourth Division with the all youngsters match between the Knights and the Dynamos going to the Dynamos and the veterans Dragons team beating the Magpies.

The Northumbria League champions, North East Chinese Association  were without two of their leading players when they took on The Mount B team in their opening match of the season and despite a hat trick from young Adam Webster lost  7 – 3 with Jamie Dent, Dan Dodds and Allan Thompson all beating Terry Kwong and Ken Lee. 

The Mount C team also made a winning start with a 6 – 4 victory over Cramlington Stingers, Tony Gelder being undefeated while Saint Chads defeated Old England Jacks 8 – 2. 

Both of Matfen’s sides got off on the right foot in the First Division.The Senators team of Alex Holliday, Steve Oxley and Neil Forsyth triumphed 7 – 3 over Tyneside TTC and the Centurians’ Chris Kilsby, Keith Hodges and Phil Rainford made it a very bad week for Ken Lee and Terry Kwong who also turned out for North East Chinese B team but were beaten 10 – 0. 

The newly formed St.Columba’s club’s  B team defeated Newton B with Lee Tinkler unbeaten and Mount D beat Brandon Anacondas 8 – 2. 

It was a really good start to the season for The Mount as their E team were also successful in Division Two, an unbeaten performance from John Rowell helping them to win 7 – 3 away to Old England FATTS. 

A close match in Division Three was at Brandon where the Bravehearts took on Cramlington Falcons. John Spencer and John Foster both won two for the home side but the Falcon’s youngster Oliver Ho won all of his singles and also the doubles with another young player Alfie Stokes as the match was drawn. 

It was certainly a case of old versus young in Division Four with the Association President, 80 year old Aubrey Drapkin together with Pauline Long and Stephen Baxter who are both in their seventies, taking on Matfen Consuls youngsters, thirteen year old Ferg Kilsby, Phillipe King-Lewis(14) and Toby Dancer(11). The veterans ran out 7 – 3 winners but the star of the match was young Ferg Kilsby who easily defeated all of them.

Prior to the start of the new season in the Northumbria League several of the local players took part in the Northern Veterans tournament which was staged in Newcastle this year.

 Leading Northumberland player Andrew Wilkinson was successful in two events, taking  the Over 40s Mens Singles by beating Simon Pugh  of Yorkshire  in the final and pairing up with Lancashire’s Stephen Scowcroft to win the Over 40s Mens Doubles.

He also reached the semi finals of the Over 40s Mixed doubles with Emma Rose of Hertfordshire.

 Another local winner was Shirley Gelder who took the Over 60s Womens Singles title with victory over Helen Shields of Yorkshire.

Shirley also teamed up with Yorkshire’s Sandra Rider but the pair who had been so successful in the World Championships in Las Vegas had to be content with reaching the semi finals in the Over 60s Womens Doubles.

 Dave Robson reached the semi finals of the Over 50s Mens Singles and  Geoff Salter did likewise in the Over 60s Mens.  Salter, partnered  by Barry Hill  was also runner up in the Over 60s Mens Doubles and Hill lost in the final of the Over 70s Mens Singles.

 Pauline Long was runner up in the Over 70s Womens Singles.

 The County team , who were promoted from Division 2 of the County Championships last year are in Division 1A this time round and will be up against teams from Bedfordshire, Cheshire, Essex, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Middlesex and Northamptonshire this time round.

 The Veterans side are back in the Veterans Division 1A after a brief spell in the Premier Division .

 The Northumbria League will be fielding teams in the North East Divisions of the National Junior and National Cadet Leagues.

 

The winter season of the Northumbria League gets under way next week when fifty teams will start in five divisions.

 Three teams from last year have dropped out but there are four new teams. One of Cramlington’s top sides is no longer operating with Andrew Wilkinson going to register for NESLC Eagles, and Duncan Wraight, Dale Aitkenhead, and Peter Smallcombe now going to play for the newly formed Saint Columba’s in Wideopen who will also have Paul Baines from NESLC Eagles in their squad.

Cramlington have also lost Steve Penman but they will still have fifteen sides spread throughout the various divisions.

Saint Columba’s have also entered a second team which has been placed in the first division.

 Old England Crocks and Prudhoe and District United Services B team are no longer operating in division one but Prudhoe have entered a new team in the bottom division

as have Matfen.

 The champions, North East Chinese Association start the new campaign  with a home match against The Mount B side and their main challengers this time round could well be The Mount A team who have signed top ranked player Joseph Clark from Cleveland who is now at University in Newcastle.  Clark is  at number twelve in the English Under 21 Ranking List. With the county champion Graeme Barella also in the team they will certainly be a force to be reckoned with. They start with a home fixture against another strong side in NESLC Eagles.

 Newton , relegated from the Premier Division, will hope to make a swift return to the top flight and start life in division one with a visit to the newly formed Saint Columba’s B team.   Three teams,Brandon Anacondas, Matfen Senators and The Mount D have all been promoted to the first division. 

Young Adam Webster had another excellent match for the North East Chinese Association in the First Division of the Northumbria Summer League, winning all of his games in the bottom of the table clash with Old England. Unfortunately it was in vain with Alan Atkinson, Jacob Helm and Lynne Herrington winning two singles each and Atkinson and Helm taking the doubles set.

Matfen Senators, who finished as runners up in the second division, were beaten for the first time in their final match away to Tyneside TTC. Despite a hat trick from Alex Holliday they went down 6 – 4 . Mark Kimberley and Steve Dickinson each had a couple of wins for the victors.

The Mount C team finished in style to win Division Three with emphatic victories over Matfen Tribunes (8 – 2) and Brandon Crusaders (9 -1) with Alan Livingstone unbeaten in both matches.

East Boldon had already won Division Four but they very nearly lost their unbeaten record when they visited Cramlington Spartans. Joe Hastings beat Ryan Campbell and Adam Allsopp, Oliver Ho defeated Campbell but lost to Jordan Dove, Alan Hedley got the better of Allsopp and Hastings and Ho won the doubles to put the Spartans 5 – 1 up. But the visitors then hit back with victories by all three of their players. Dove then completed his hat trick by beating Hastings to make it a draw.

The Spartans went on to beat Ouston B to finish as runners up.

Paul Conn and Tony MCann both won a couple of sets against Prudhoe and District United Services B and with young Leo Conn getting one a draw was enough to ensure that Tyneside TTC B team finished as runners up to Sacriston Comets in Division Five.

Matfen Cohorts side of Richard Rayfield, LInda Pinkham and David Crompton wrapped up the sixth division with a 7 – 3 win over Brandon Fire.

Saint Chads finished as runners up in the first division of the Northumbria Summer League when they defeated Cramlington Casuals 7- 3 with Chris Blake winning all of his singles matches and combining with Jimmy Scope to take the doubles.

As expected Dave Robson was unbeaten for the champions, Mount, as they defeated their B team 6 -4 while the young Brandon Air side finished on a high note with victory , also 6 – 4, over Old England. 

Prudhoe and District United Service Club have won the second division after beating Tyneside TTC 7 – 3 at Prudhoe. Mark O’Connor picked up a hat trick with Peter Stempczyk and Maurice Cheek getting two each. Mark Kimberley got a couple for the losers.

 Mount C team took another step towards winning the third division when Charlie Mouzon, Alan Livingstone and Bill Edwards were far too strong for Ouston A and ran out 10 – 0 winners.

Sacriston Bombers who mathematically are still in the hunt lost ground when Redby, thanks to a hat trick by Istvan Franko, restricted them to a 6 – 4 win, Daniel Hutchinson, Kevin Richardson and Jonathan Mawson all getting two.

 East Boldon are already the winners of Division Four but second spot and promotion is still being fought out by two Cramlington teams. The Corinthians side of Sam Nair, Adrian Barnes and Matthew Mastaglio finished with a 7 – 3 success over Ouston B but the Spartans team of Alan Hedley, Joe Hastings and young Oliver Ho could well overtake them as they are only seven points behind and still have to play Ouston as well as East Boldon.

 Either Tyneside B or Backspin C could join Sacriston Comets in promotion from Division Five, both having  home matches to play against Prudhoe B.

At the top of division six N.E.S.L.C finished  with a 9 – 1 win over Sacriston Scorpions but Matfen Cohorts only need three points from their final match against Brandon Fire to win the division.

The Mount table tennis club from Dunston duly clinched the First Division title of the Northumbria Summer League when they visited Cramlington Casuals. Even without one of their regular players in Jamie Dent they still won 6 – 4 with both Dave Robson and Dan Dodds unbeaten in the singles.

Tony Gelder was man of the match for their second team when his hat trick helped his team to a 5 – 5 draw with Brandon Air and in the bottom of the table clash the Old England side of Steve Penman, Alan Atkinson and Jacob Helm comprehensively defeated the North East Chinese Assn 10 – 0. 

 The Prudhoe and District side of Mark O’Connor, Andrew Benjamin and Peter Stempczyk were far too strong for Mitford and a 10 – 0 victory gives them a seven point lead at the top of the Second Division over Matfen Senators with only one match to play.

 Sacriston Bombers hopes of winning the third division took a turn for the worse when they lost out 7 – 3 to the  Matfen Tribunes side of Phil Rainford, Keith Hodges and Nigel Tree leaving them a point behind Mount C who have a game in hand .

An unbeaten performance by Richard Williamson gave the Trojans victory over the Ravens in the Cramlington derby.

 Fourth Division leaders, East Boldon, were given a close match by Brandon Devils and were in danger of losing their unbeaten record when the score stood at 4 – 4 but 

Ryan Campbell defeated John Foster and Jordan Dove completed his hat trick by beating Tony Taylor as they scraped home 6 – 4.

 Sacriston Comets, who had already been assured of winning Division five, found John Cook in fine form for Backspin C and his three wins in the singles plus success in the doubles partnered by Martyn Parry, meant that they lost their 100% record in a drawn match. 

With Tyneside B being held to a draw by Cramlington Dragons, Backspin now have a good chance of finishing second and gaining promotion.