The Mount virtually made sure of the First Division title in the Northumbria League when they comprehensively defeated their nearest rivals, Saint Chads 8 – 2.  Their sets were won with unbeaten performances by Dave Robson and Graeme Barella  and two from Dan Dodds. Paul Baines got one for the losers who also won the doubles when Keith Weatherby and Chris Blake got the better of Robson and Barella.

 At the other end of the table the Chinese outfit N.E.C.A. managed a draw against Mount B team with Adam Webster unbeaten. Another player to win all of his matches in the top division was Lee Tinkler of Brandon Air in a drawn match with Cramlington Casuals.

 Dave McAllister was in fine form for Second Division Backspin Legend TT and his hat trick helped his side to a 6 – 4 victory over Tyneside A.   Leaders Matfen Senators defeated Mitford 7 – 3 and Prudhoe beat Cobras 10 – 0.

  The top two teams in the third division, Mount C and Sacriston Bombers had big wins against Trojans and Ouston A while Frank Booth and Istvan Soos were both undefeated as Redby won 8 – 2 away to Brandon Crusaders.  Lowly Cramlington Ravens beat a weakened Matfen Tribunes 6 – 4.

 Third placed Corinthians defeated Brandon Devils 7 – 3 in the Fourth Division to stay in contention for promotion when young Sree Kanakala got a hat trick and Backspin Legend TT had a similar scoreline when they visited Brandon Energy with Debbie Irwin and Craig Henderson also claiming hat tricks.

 Father and son Chris and Ferg Kilsby both did well  in Division Five for Matfen Centurians winning all of their singles and also the doubles set against Tyneside B to give their team a 7 – 3 success.  In the same division Lanchester Eagles thrashed Cramlington Dragons 9 – 1 with Reuben Emery and Alan Kent undefeated and Jeff Singleton getting two.

 Three sets each from Rahul Chabbra and Pauline Long helped Division Six team NESLC beat Redby B 9 – 1.

England No. 3 Cadet Josh Weatherby turned out for Saint Chads in the Northumbria Summer league First Division along with his father Keith and sister Charlotte when they entertained Brandon Air. Father and son were unbeaten in singles but were defeated in the doubles by Geoff Salter and Jamie Lupton. The final result saw a 6 – 4 victory for St Chads..

 In Division Two Alex Nichol, Dave McAllister and John Cook gave Backspin Legend TT a 3 – 1 lead at Mitford after Barry Hill had won the first set. Bob Atwell then took the doubles for the home side but McAllister beat Hill to put his side  4 -2 ahead. Atwell pulled one back but McAllister completed his hat trick for Backspin.

However the match ended in a draw when Atwell beat Cook and Hill defeated Nicholl. 

 Leaders Matfen Senators were held to a draw at bottom side Cramlington Cobras. Lynsey Storey and Ron Scott both got two sets  for the home side with Alex Holiday unbeaten for Matfen. The Cobras were denied victory when they ran out of time and had to concede the final set. 

 The top sides in the Third Division were both successful with Mount C beating Ravens 8 – 2 and Sacriston Bombers overcoming Brandon Crusaders by the same score.

 Young Oliver Ho won all of his sets again to help Cramlington Spartans to an 8 – 2 victory  in Division Four with Joe Hastings and Alan Hedley getting two apiece when they visited Backspin Legend TT B side.. 

 Fifth Division Lanchester Eagles had mixed fortunes in Division Five, losing 9 – 1 at home to Tyneside B, when another young player Leo Conn was unbeaten, then winning 6 – 4 away to Matfen Centurians,Reuben Emery, Alan Kent  both winning twice.

 In Division Six leaders Matfen Cohorts had Richard Rayfield back in their side and gained revenge over NESLC who had beaten them in their previous match.

James Bradbury was the star player in a closely fought Division One match in the Northumbria Summer league, winning all of his sets as his team Cramlington Casuals came away from Old England with a 6 – 4 victory. Gareth Pearson got a couple and Steve Pearce one. Alan Atkinson won two for the home side.

 The top two sides Mount A and St. Chads both had 7 – 3 victories against Brandon Air and N.E.C.A. respectively.

 Neil Forsyth made sure Matfen Senators kept their unbeaten record and top place in Division Two by getting a hat – trick against second placed Prudhoe and District A to see his side to a 6 – 4 success and the losers slip to third behind Tyneside A who beat Brandon Bravehearts 8 – 2.

 Mount C, who defeated Matfen Tribunes 9 – 1 and Sacriston Bombers with a 10 – 0 victory over Ouston A continue to dominate Division Three and at the other end of the table a 9 – 1 win for Redby A over Cramlington Ravens moved them out of the bottom two. Joe Miller and Istvan Soos were undefeated in that match.

 Seventeen year old Jordan Dove was in fine form for leaders East Boldon against Ouston B in the Fourth Division winning all of his matches in a hard fought 6 – 4 victory. Veteran Norman Badger won two for the defeated side.

 There seems to be no stopping the Sacriston Comets side of Nigel Coe, Peter Whitfield and Paul Salkeld in Division Five as they ran up another big win against Matfen Centurians.

 The top of the table clash in Division Six was won by N.E.S.L.C. when they visited Matfen Cohorts.  Rahul Chhabra and Pauline Long won all of their singles with  Mark Alexander getting one and  taking the doubles set with Chhabra. 

 Long and Chhabra were again undefeated as they went on to beat Cramlington Dynamos 8 – 2.

Mount A retained their unbeaten record and stay top of the First Division of the Northumbria Summer League despite having to turn out a weakened team for their visit to Old England. Dan Dodds won all of his sets and was backed up by Dave Cutler and Rod Roberts who won one each and with Dodds and Roberts taking the doubles set they ran out 6 – 4 winners.

 Unfortunately Roberts and Cutler were both on the losing side when Mount B lost 7 – 3 to Cramlington Casuals who had James Bradbury in top form with a hat trick.

 Tyneside A won a close encounter with Mitford in Division Two when the player of the match was Mark Kimberley who was unbeaten as his side won 6 – 4.

 Brandon Crusaders had close encounters in Division Three.  They were held to a draw by Matfen Tribunes despite holding a 4 – 1 lead at one stage.  John Spencer was their most successful player but a hat trick by Keith Hodges made sure the Tribunes got a draw.

When they entertained Ouston A Jamie Westwater won all of his sets but it was in vain as two each from Andy Harris and Jamie Milroy helped the visitors to a 6 – 4 victory.

 Some  younger players caught the eye in the lower divisions.  Eleven year old Oliver Ho had two wins over senior opposition for Cramlington Spartans who drew with Corinthians in division four.

 Another eleven year old, Leo Conn, did likewise for Tyneside B in Division Five to help his team to a 6 – 4 win over Backspin Legend Tt C

  Prudhoe’s Teenager Tom Firth was Player of the Match with a hat trick against Cramlington Dragons in his club’s 8 – 2 victory, the first time he has won all three of his sets in a match.

 Another teenager, fourteen year old Alan Roskilly was unbeaten in a drawn match between Cramlington Dynamos and Matfen Cohorts. 

Young Adam Webster was unbeaten for the North East Chinese Association in the First Divison of the Northumbria Summer League but his team lost out 6 – 4 to Brandon Air for whom Jamie Lupton and Troy Maddison both won their other sets.

Another player to be unbeaten was Allan Thompson playing for Mount B who defeated a weakened Saint Chads 8 – 2.

 Matfen Senators went to the top of the Second Division when two singles each by Alex Holliday, Stephen Oxley and Dave Swan together with victory in the doubles by Holliday and Swan saw them defeat Backspin A 7 – 3.

 In Division Three the top of the table clash between Mount C and Sacriston Bombers went the way of the Dunston team as Caron Guthrie won all of her sets and was backed up by Alan Livingstone and Charlie Mouzon who both got two in a 7 – 3 victory.

Brandon Crusaders looked to be on the path to victory when two wins by Jamie Westwater and one by Alan Perry put them 3 – 1 up away to Cramlington Trojans. But after Phil Smith and Daniel McManus took the doubles set the home side got on top to win 6 – 4. Smith and McManus finished with two sets each as did Westwater.

 Jordan Dove was in form for the Fourth Division leaders East Boldon and his hat trick helped his team to beat Backspin B 6 – 4 an stay unbeaten. 

In the same division an unbeaten performance by Norman Badger helped the  Ouston B to draw with Brandon Devils. 

 Another victory for Sacriston Comets in Division Five when they defeated Tyneside B sees them twelve points clear at the top.

 Whilst Matfen Cohorts are running away with Division Six, NESLC are also yet to be beaten. Hat tricks for Rahul Chhabra and Pauline Long helped them to come away from Brandon Fire with an 8 – 2 success under their belts.

 

All three leading teams in the first division of the Northumbria Summer League had big wins with leaders Mount A team of Jamie Dent, Dave Robson and Graeme Barella running out 10 – 0 winners over their B team.

 Saint Chads won 8 – 2 at Cramlington Casuals with  maximums by Chris Blake and Paul Baines and  two sets from Jimmy Scope  while hat tricks by Jamie Lupton and Lee Tinkler who also won the doubles backed up by two from David Byers gave Brandon Air a 9 – 1 success away to Old England.

 Prudhoe and District United Services A lost 6 – 4 away to Tyneside TTC A in division two but the four sets still took them to the top of the table.  Mark Kimberley and Steve Dickinson were both unbeaten for Tyneside. Their B teams were also in opposition in division five when the outcome was exactly the same.

Backspin A had a fruitful journey to Brandon, coming away with a 9 – 1 win over the Bravehearts and Mitford saw off Cramlington Cobras to the tune of 8 – 2.

 The closest match of the week was in the third division when Cramlington Ravens met Brandon Crusaders who got off to a great start  with John Spencer and Tony Taylor winning the  first two sets  only to be quickly pegged back as Ethan Brown defeated Paul Lupton and Adrian Barnes got the better of Spencer. The visitors then again went two sets ahead before three wins in a row put the home side ahead for the first time but they eventually had to settle for a draw. Player of the match was the Raven’s Ethan Brown who won all of his matches.

 Jordan Dove and Ryan Campbell were both unbeaten and helped East Boldon consolidate their position at the top of division four by defeating Cramlington Spartans 8 – 2.

 Matfen Cohorts are running away with division six and had another big win by 9 – 1 over Redby B.

 

Leaders Mount A are still unbeaten in Division One of the Northumbria Summer League after their team of Dave Robson, Jamie Dent and Dan Dodds ran out 10 -0 winners over Cramlington Casuals.

Duncan Wraight was in fine form with a hat trick for their second team in a drawn match away to Brandon Air for whom Jamie Lupton won two.

In Division two the leaders, Matfen Senators, were held to a draw  by Tyneside A. Neil Forsyth and Stephen Oxley got two sets each with Mark Patterson doing likewise for  Tyneside.

A hat trick by Jamie Collins helped Brandon Bravehearts to a narrow 6 – 4 success away to Cramington Cobras whilst Mark O’Connor and Andrew Benjamin won all of their sets for Prudhoe & District United Services Club who beat Mitford 9 – 1.

Sacriston Bombers retained their 100 % record in the Third Division  with an 8 – 2 victory over Matfen Tribunes with Daniel Hutchinson getting a hat trick and being backed up by Ian McPherson and Jonathan Mawson who got two apiece to make them joint leaders with Mount C. The latter saw Alan Livingstone and Charlie Mouzon win all of their singles as they crushed Brandon Crusaders 9 – 1.

Division Four leaders East Boldon were given a close game by Brandon Devils for whom Patrick Nicholson was unbeaten but two sets each from Jordan Dove and Ryan Campbell, one from Adam Allsopp and  victory for Dove and Allsopp in the doubles saw them win 6 – 4.

 For once Brandon Energy were not beaten thanks mainly to an unbeaten performance by Bill MacLennan as they drew with Ouston B.

There was a first win of the season for Cramlington Dragons in Division Five as Mick Sursham, Abdel Warayet and Gavin Wilson each got two singles in a 6 – 4 win away to Tyneside B.

Sacriston Scorpions side of Paul Salkeld, Stephen Verde and Oliver Wilkinson had mixed fortunes in Division Six, losing 3 -7 away to Matfen Cohorts but beating Brandon Fire 9 – 1.

 Shirley Gelder who plays for Prudhoe in the Northumbria League has won a bronze medal at the World Veterans Championships in Las Vegas. Partnered by another English player they reached the semi finals of the Over 60’s Womens Doubles before losing out to an Indian pairing of Rita Jain and Mangal Saraf.

 

In Division 6 of the Northumbria Summer League Matfen Cohorts had another convincing win away to Brandon Fire. The Cohorts team of Linda Pinkham, David Crompton and new player Gillian Law won 10-0 against the Fire team of Daniel Blanchard, Gordon Mitchell and Paul Dunn. This puts them top of the table having only lost one set out of 30 played so far in the 3 matches played. Whilst Redby B who are in second place and have now played 4 matches could only manage a draw away to NESLC and dropped which stopped their 3-match winning streak. Bruce Davison and Jonathan Haynes winning 2 each and combining to win the doubles for their 5. Player of the Match Pauline Long winning 2 along with Rahul Chhabra and Mark Alexander weighing in with 1 for the home side. This division will be one to watch as several of the teams are fielding players who are new to table tennis and have never played in the League before and could be stars of the future.

In Division 5 Sacriston Comets maintained their unbeaten run of 4 matches with a home win against Prudhoe by 6 games to 4. The Experienced team of Paul Salkeld, Colin Pritchard and Nigel Coe proving just too strong for a Prudhoe team that included 2 new veteran signings Christopher Raffo and David Peel along with man of the match Andrew firth who won 3 of their 4 sets. However this division is quite tight after 4 weeks of the season with Lanchester, Tyneside, and Backspin are all very much in contention with only 6 points difference between all 4 teams and they all recorded wins last week. The coming week all 4 of the teams have tough matches when they play each other, Lanchester host Prudhoe and Sacriston host Backspin which may give an indication as to who may win the division although its still early days.

This week also sees the Veterans World Championships take place in Las Vegas and the Northumbria League will be represented by Geoff Salter, Paul Stead, Shirley and Tony Gelder as well as John Williamson. The League wishes them the best of luck.

The Northumberland Table Tennis Association Team Handicap Knockout Cup may have a lengthy title but its format is hugely enjoyed by swathes of league players every year. Teams opt in to the competition at the start of the season and fixtures are picked at random then played on designated league break weeks throughout the winter season.

During a match, every individual player has a handicap. When players with different handicaps face each other, the higher handicap player gets a head-start, the size of which is determined by the difference in handicaps. The old scoring rules are used in this competition too so players play to 21 points in each end, and best of 3 ends wins.

These handicaps are developed by a complex formula based on players’ results across multiple seasons. Every player, at some point, starts on a handicap of 60 – but as they earn wins in the winter and summer leagues, this figure will start to drop. Losses take their toll too however and unexpected defeats can incur significant damage to a player’s handicap when the results are calculated at the end of each league season.

The real benefit of the team handicap format is that players in lower divisions often get the chance to play against stronger teams, and importantly, face them on a level pegging. Top Premier Division players can often find themselves on the receiving end of an 18-point deficit against Division 4 players which means it only takes 3 good shots from the higher handicap player (or 3 mistakes from the Premier player) to win an end. Sounds easy for the player with such a big advantage, but once you take spin and wicked serves into the equation, these games can still often be very tight.

Three rounds of matches were played before 8 teams made it into the quarter-finals. Prudhoe narrowly beat Cramlington Trojans 5-4, Mount C beat Tyneside C 6-3, Cramlington Ravens nearly whitewashed Ouston B 8-1 and Mount B beat Old England Fatts 7-2.

In the semi-finals, the two Mount teams were drawn against each other leaving Cramlington Ravens to play Prudhoe at home.

The Ravens made short work of Prudhoe as a young team of Ethan Brown, Jack Cairns and Israel Shodeinde had 9, 10, 11 and a single 12-point head-starts against Prudhoe’s experienced line-up of Shirley Gelder, Mark O’Connor and Maurice Cheek. All three of the away team players nearly managed to win matches as they had 5 close deciding end matches but in the end only Gelder was able to pick up a win as the youngsters battled to an 8-1 victory. The other fixture was also relatively one-sided as Mount C dispatched their compatriots with ease, winning 5-1.

This led to an interesting final as Mount C’s team comprised of Division 2 player Alan Livingstone, Division 1 player Dan Dodds and Premier player Anthony Ainley against Cramlington’s Division 3 players Ethan Brown, Jack Cairns and Israel Shodeinde. The match started out with Alan Livingstone facing Ethan Brown, Livingstone losing the first end with just 8 points. The second end was closer but Brown pipped it 22-20 to give the Ravens a 1-0 start. Anthony Ainley then stepped up to face Israel Shodeinde and was unfortunate to lose the first end by just 4 points. In the second end however Ainley’s resolve disintegrated and Shodeinde cruised to a 21-4 victory.

The third match between Dan Dodds and Jack Cairns was a close call, Dodds facing a 10-point deficit, but after taking the first end 21-17, Cairns got to grips with Dodds’ play style and won the next two ends -9 and -10. Ainley stepped up again to face Ethan Brown and did incredibly well to get to 18 points in both ends despite a 14-point start for the youngster but it wasn’t enough to stop a 2-0 loss, taking the Ravens to 4-0 in matches and only requiring a single win to take the Handicap Knockout Cup trophy.

The last match was the closest as Alan Livingstone stared down a 10-point disadvantage to beat Jack Cairns 22-20 in the first end. Cairns got his game together however and won the next end -13. Cairns needed just one more end to seal victory for the Ravens and he did so dutifully by winning 21-15, giving the Ravens a seemingly comfortable 5-0 victory.

All three youngsters were identified by top local coach David Godbold as part of after-school sessions at John Spence school in North Tyneside a couple of years ago and the league community are delighted that such promise is starting to take shape in a competitive environment.

Ravens – KO Cup winners : Ethan Brown, Jack Cairns and Israel Shodeinde

Mount C – KO Cup runners up :  Dan Dodds, Alan Livingstone and Anthony Ainley

 

It was a slightly disappointing set of results for Northumberland Table Tennis League players at last weekend’s VETTS Northern Masters. Thirteen players travelled to Preston to enjoy a mix of top quality table tennis and top quality social interaction.

The region’s best hopes lay on the shoulders of Andrew Wilkinson in the men’s Over 40s category, and Jeff Salter in the men’s Over 60s. Both players have, in recent times, won these events at other tournaments and would go into the events as number 3 seed and number 8 seed respectively.

Wilkinson cruised through the group stages, beating Brian Allison, Anthony Dixon and Tony Bartram in three comfortable sets apiece. He’ll be the first to admit he finds himself in a slump of form lately and undoubtedly the losses in both local leagues’ Closed Tournaments will have knocked his usually-untouchable confidence. Either way, he will be disappointed to fall at the first knock-out stage hurdle on the second day of the event as he succumbed 11-6 in the deciding end to unseeded Malcolm Mcevoy. The O40s was a slightly strange event at Preston however as the eventual winner, Thomas Haddley, was unseeded – and found himself in the final against the number 7 seed, Ritchie Venner. Mark Short and Andy Trott, number 1 and 2 seeds respectively, both found themselves knocked out in the quarter finals; the number 4 and 5 seeds Simon Pugh and Chris Clinton not even able to get that far.

Salter fared slightly better as he won his group in the Over 60s and qualified for the knock-out rounds by placing second in the Over 50s. He decided to concentrate on the Over 60s however and in doing so, gave himself a good run as he progressed fairly easily to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, there he met companion left-hander Phil Cawser, the eventual winner of the Over 60s, losing 3-1.

The only player to come home with any silverware was classic defender Jimmy “Chopfloat” Scope, who narrowly missed out on qualifying into the main O60s event to end up in the Consolidation tournament. There he did well to beat fellow league and long pimple player John Williamson in the first round, albeit in a very close-fought encounter which Scope scraped 12-10 in the deciding end. Scope then enjoyed a comparatively straightforward run to the title, never dropping an end before beating Lionel Royle 3-0 in the final.

Shirley Gelder was also in form, reaching the quarter-finals of the women’s Over 50s and the semi-finals of the O60s. In the 50s she was knocked out by semi-finalist Denise Mcevoy and in the 60s she lost to the event’s winner Diane St Ledger. Husband Tony was less successful, winning just one match in both his Over 40s and Over 50s groups. He did however have a close-fought deciding-end game with Mark Evans, a player who progressed very well in the main Over 40s event before losing out to finalist Ritchie Venner.

Evans was the player responsible for knocking another highly-rated Northumberland player out of the Over 40s event as he took down number 12 seed Eddie Smith 11-7 in the fifth end. Smith, like Evans, also lost out to Venner – this time in the quarter-finals of the O50s event in which he was seeded tenth.

Two players who will likely be disappointed with their performances are Steven Penman and David Craddock. Penman, a high-averaging player in the league’s Premier division and regular title winner, was expecting to perform well at the national level but ended up losing all three of his Over 40s group matches against Brian Oldfield, Chris Maiden and classical defender and off-the-table long pimple retriever “Super” Steve Horton. David Craddock was unable to win an end in any of the six matches he played.

Jim Stamas reached round 3 of both the Over 50s and Over 60s, losing to Mark Romano 3-1 in the former and aforementioned Jeff Salter 3-1 in the latter. Paul Stead reached round 3 of the O60s, losing to Phil Bowen three straight, but was unable to make it out of his group in the O50s event.

Phil Prady and Robert Reed both ended up in the Consolidation side of the O40s event with Prady losing 3-1 in the quarter-finals to Semi Idowu and Reed getting knocked out in the first round. Prady also made it through his group in the Over 50s event but was unceremoniously removed from the competition by Raymond Hurst, losing in three straight ends.