Andy Benjamin was in good form for Old England Jacks when they visited Cramlington Stingers in a bottom of the table clash in the Premier Division of the Northumbria League, winning his three singles victories plus the doubles with Alan Atkinson. With  Lynne Herrington getting two the Jacks ran out 7 – 3 winners.

Hat tricks by Josh Weatherby and Dan Dodds helped Saint Chads and Mount B  to defeat Saint Columbas and Mount C respectively.

Prudhoe  closed the gap on Matfen Senators in Division One when Andrew Firth, Mark O’Connor and Peter Stempczyk beat Mount D 6 – 4.

Cramlington Tigers won their first match of the season with two sets each by Blair Carmichael, Lynsey Storey  and Peter Wilkinson against Matfen Centurians.

In the second division Mitford seem to be all set for a quick return to Division One having won all six of their opening matches, the latest by 9 – 1 against Cramlington Trojans with both Barry Hill and Karen Henry unbeaten.

Two sets each by John Carr and Don Catley helped second placed  Tyneside TTC B to a draw against Old England FATTS.  Barry Matthews and Joe Perrin both got two for FATTS.

While Matfen Whitley Chapel continue to lead the way in the third division their nearest rivals Newton B and Ouston C shared the points with John Henderson and Ian Armstrong each getting two for Newton and Duncan Hindmarsh and Andy Harris doing likewise for Ouston.

James Moore, Paul Conn and Leo Conn  all won twice in Division Four for the leaders Tyneside C who beat Cramlington Knights 7 – 3 while second placed Ouston D lost out to Cramlington Dynamos , Alan Roskilly unbeaten for the winners.

The Northumberland County team of Graeme Barella, Joe Clark, Andrew Wilkinson, Christine Burke and Lynsey Storey are in action at the week end in the first group of matches in Division 1A of the County Championships.

The match between last year’s champions, North East Chinese Association and The Mount,  favourites to win the Northumbria League this year ended up all square with Graeme Barella winning all of his sets for Mount including victory over Chu Yin Yu who won his other two. Adam Webster got two for the Chinese with Mount’s Anthony Ainley and Phil Prady both managing one. The doubles set went to Chu and Webster.

Cramlington Casuals defeated Mount C 8 – 2 but their Stingers went down 10 – 0 to Mount B whilst NESLC Eagles beat Old England 10 – 0.

Peter Stempczyk and Andrew Firth were both in form for Prudhoe and District United Services in the first division both getting hat tricks to defeat Tyneside A 6 – 4.

The Mitford side of Barry Hill, Mick Bull and Bob Atwell kept up their unbeaten record in Division Two with an 8 – 2 victory over Tyneside B, Hill and Atwell both getting three whilst at the other end of the table a hat trick by Bernie McCardle helped Cramlington Reivers beat Matfen Tribunes to record their first win of the season.

Ouston A came away from Cramlington Trojans with a 7 – 3 victory and their B team beat Mount E 9 – 1.

In Division Three Andy Harris was on song for Ouston C, winning all of his singles matches and also the doubles partnered by Shirley Robson to give his team a 6 – 4 success when they visited Cramlington Jaguars. Mick Sursham and Abdel Warayet both picked up a couple for the losers.

Leaders Matfen Whitley Chapel lost for the first time at the hands of Saints for whom Steve Dawson won all of his sets and also the doubles with Vince Killen who got two singles. Dawson was also in top form with a hat trick in a 7 -3 win against Cramlington Falcons.

The Tynedale battle in division four between Newton C and Prudhoe B was won by Newton with Raymond Lazareto, Sam Beedle and David Neal all taking two sets as did Tom Firth for Prudhoe.

The Mount kept up their winning ways in the Premier Division of the Northumbria league by beating Saint Chads in a close fought match. Graeme Barella was unbeaten and backed up by two sets from Anthony Ainley and one from Phil Prady.

The  Chinese Association side defeated Old England Jacks 9 – 1 but then had to turn out a weakened side against Mount C team and went down 7 – 3.

Two of Mount’s other teams had matches against teams from Matfen. In Division One  their D team beat the Centurians 6 – 4 thanks to a hat trick by Bailey Pye and then lost out 8 – 2 to the Senators for whom Neil Forsyth won all of his sets.

In Division Two  a couple of sets each by John Rowell and Mike Bradley saw the E team  defeat the Tribunes 6 – 4.

Newton B had mixed fortunes in Division three as they defeated Cramlington Cobras 8 – 2 but lost out to the Falcons 6 – 4 and in Division Four Tyneside B fielded  a strong second division player in Chas Robertson who duly won all of his sets in a 5 – 5 draw with Matfen Consuls.

In the first round of the Handicap Cup  Ouston B came from 4 – 2 down to defeat Mount A 5 – 4 with David Byers and Tom Fowle getting two each and Kevin Richardson one. The Cramlington derby saw the Jaguars beat the Dynamos  by the same score thanks to a hat trick by Gavin Wilson whilst their Spartans lost out to Mount B , also by 5 – 4, with Bailey Pye taking full advantage of having a start against his third division opponents.

Cramlington’s young players Alfie and Archie Stokes, along with Oliver Ho overcame Premier Division St.Chads 5 – 3 with Archie and Oliver getting two each, three sets from Duncan Hindmarsh saw Ouston C knock out North East Chinese Association and  three from young Patrick Nicholson helped Brandon Bravehearts defeat Cramlington Knights 6 – 3.

Northumberland’s leading Veteran Andrew Wilkinson who is ranked at number three by the English Veterans Association won the over 40s singles at the Veterans Midlands Masters tournament beating Ritchie Venner of Sussex in straight games in the final having put out the number two seed, Mark Short of Nottingham in the semis. He was also runner up in the Over 40s doubles.

Another local winner was Geoff Salter who triumphed in both the Over 70s Singles and doubles.

In the Northumbria League Premier Division Wilkinson won all of his sets as NESLC Eagles ran out 9 – 1 winners over Mount B with Steve Penman also unbeaten.

The Cramlington derby  saw  Gareth Pearson, James Bradbury and Iain Wood all win twice as the Casuals beat the Stingers 7 -3. Steve Pearce got a couple for the losers.

The division one leaders Matfen Senators suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of Prudhoe and District United Services for whom Mark O’Connor won all of his sets.

The County team ladies Christine Burke and Lynsey Storey were up against each other with Christine coming from 2 – 1 down to win in five games as Saint Columbas B defeated Cramlington Tigers 9 – 1.

Another team to lose for the first time were the second division leaders Tyneside B who went down 7 – 3 to  the Ouston A team of Mike Lyons, Neil Rodgers and Mark Rodgers.

Young Ferg Kilsby played twice  for Matfen in the third division with mixed results, winning twice as Matfen Whitley Chapel beat Cramlington Spartans 8 – 2 but losing out in Matfen Cohorts 6 – 4 victory over the Jaguars.

Stephen Baxter was in form for Cramlington Dragons when they visited Prudhoe B in Division Four, winning all of his singles and the doubles with Paul Athey in a 7 – 3 victory, Pauline Long getting two as did young Tom Firth for the losing side.

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.