The first game of the week in Division 1 saw Cramlington Casuals beat Matfen Senators  8-2 to go top of the league. James Bradbury won his 3 games for the Cramlington team with Gareth Pearson and Steve Pearce winning 2 games each. However, that position was shortlived after a strong St Chads team of Chis Blake, Keith Weatherby and Josh Weatherby defeated Brandon Air 9-1 to go top. Josh Weatherby and Chris Blake won their 3 games. In the third game a strong Mount A team of Dave Robson, Adam Webster and Jamie Dent overcame an experienced NESLC Ministers team of James Scope, Martin Schapira and Andrew Wilkinson with a 6-4 win. Andrew Wilkinson was player of the match despite being on the losing side as he won his 3 games. Dave Robson and Adam Webster both won 2 games each, and they combined to win the doubles.

Mount B maintained top spot in Division 2 with an 8-2 win away to Durham Bombers. Tony Gelder and Bailey Pye both won their three games for Mount then Bailey Pye combined with Alex Smith to win the doubles. Ethan Brown secured the final point for Mount with Daniel Hutchinson and Ian McPherson gaining the consolation wins for Durham.  There was a close game between Newton and NE Chinese Association which ended in a 5-5 draw; Keming Lee was player of the match winning his three games for NE Chinese Association and maintaining his 100% record this season. The final game saw Tyneside TTC A edge out Old England with a 6-4 win, Bob Sanderson starred for Tyneside winning his three games supported by Mark Patterson who two and the pair combined to win the doubles.

The top two teams in Division 3 consolidated their positions with wins again this week. Cramlington Cobras made a dramatic comeback after falling 4-1 behind against an experienced Mount C team of John Rowell, Michael Bradley and William Edwards. The Cramlington won the next 5 games to secure a 6-4 win. Bernie McArdle was again man of the match winning his 3 games, with Peter Wilkinson winning 2 games and Lynsey Storey one game. Brandon Bullets had a straightforward 8-2 win over Cramlington Spartans. Jamie Westwater was player of the match winning his 3 games for Brandon.  The third game this week was close game between Tyneside TTC B and Matfen Tribunes which ended in a 5-5 draw. Morgan Charles and James Robertson won 2 games each for Tyneside; and Stefan Sobell and Pete Seago won 2 each for the Matfen team.

There was only one game in Division 4 this week which saw Cramlington Corinthians beat Tyneside TTC C 7-3. Jamie Hall and Rob Lee both won their three games for Cramlington and Adrian Barnes won one. Paul Conn and Leo Conn won one game each and then paired up to take the doubles.

There was only one game in Division 5 as well which ended up in a 6-4 win for Backspin C away to Cramlington Dragons. Backspin were helped to their win by John Cook and Graham Burton winning two games and combining to win the doubles. However, player of the match was Pauline Long who won her three games for the Cramlington team.  The win kept Backspin at the top of the table with 3 wins out of 3 games played.

There were two games in Division 1 this week which saw a strong Mount A team defeat an experienced Prudhoe team 9-1. Both Dave Robson and Jamie Dent won their three games for Mount, with Andrew Firth securing the consolation point for Prudhoe with a win against Troy Maddison. The second game was a closer affair between Brandon Air and Matfen Senators which Brandon edged with a 6-4 win thanks to Duncan Fraser winning all his three games and Lee Tinkler winning two games.

In Division 2 there was a comprehensive 10-0 win for the NE Chinese Association over Backspin TTC A with David Byers, Ken Lee and Keming Lee all winning their three games. A strong Mount B team of Rod Roberts, Ethan Brown and Bailey Pye defeated Old England 9-1 with Rod Roberts and Bailey Pye both winning their three games; Joe Perrin won the consolation game for Old England with a win over Ethan Brown. In the third game Mark Patterson was the man of the match for Tyneside TTC A as he won all three games in an 8-2 win over Newton. Mount B have made a strong start to the season with two wins in the first two games.

Cramlington Cobras ran out 9-1 winners over Cramlington Spartans in the all Cramlington affair in Division 3, with Bernie McArdle and Lynsey Storey both winning their three games and Blair Carmichael winning two games. Oliver Ho gained the consolation win for the Spartans by defeating Blair Carmichael. Brandon Bullets beat Matfen Tribunes 7-3 and the game between Tyneside TTC B and Cramlington Trojans was a 5-5 draw.  Paul Dale for Brandon and Chas Robertson for Tyneside secured player of the match both winning their three games.

In Division 4 there was a comfortable win for Ouston A who beat Tyneside TTC C 8-2. The other two games in the week were closer with Cramlington Ravens edging out Durham Comets with a 6-4 win; and game between Backspin TTC B and Cramlington Dynamos ending in a 5-5 draw.

In Division 5 there was a comfortable 9-1 win for Cramlington Jaguars over Ouston B. There were straightforward 7-3 wins for Backspin C over Cramlington Magpies, and Matfen Cohorts over Cramlington Knights. For the second week in a row Cramlington’s James Ainsley gained the player of the match yet ended up on the losing team.

The Northumbria Table Tennis League started its summer league last week with 35 teams entered across five divisions.

In Division 1 the experienced NESLC Minsters team of Steve Penman, Jimmy Scope and Martin Schapira gained a comprehensive 10-0 win over the newly promoted Matfen Senators team. Keith Weatherby and Chris Blake both won 3 games each as St Chads defeated Prudhoe United and District Services Club A 8-2. Cramlington Casuals secured a 7-3 win over Brandon Air with James Bradbury, Rob Reed and Gareth Pearson winning 2 games each; and Jamie Collins winning 2 games for the Brandon team.

In Division 2 there was a comprehensive 10-0 win for the Mount B team of Rod Roberts, Dan Dodds and Bailey Pye over Tyneside TTC A. The other two games were both drawn 5-5 when Backspin TTC A played Newton, and Durham Bombers played NE Chinese Association. Rob Lawson for Newton and Keming Le for the NE Chinese Association both secured man of the match performances winning their 3 games.

All three games in Division 3 were home wins with Brandon Bullets defeating Tyneside TTC B 7-3; Cramlington Trojans defeated Mount C by the same score and Cramlington Cobras ran out 9-1 winners over Matfen Tribunes.

There was only one game in Division 4 when Cramlington Corinthians defeated Durham Comets 7-3; Rob Lee winning his 3 games for the Cramlington team.

In Division 5 there were straightforward 7-3 wins for Backspin C over Ouston B, and Matfen Cohorts over Cramlington Jaguars. There was a closer game between two Cramlington teams with Cramlington Dragons coming out on top with a 6-4 win over Cramlington Knights, with the Knights’ James Ainsley getting player of the match being one of 4 players who won 2 games. l

Northumberland County Table Tennis Association held its an annual awards evening on Friday 10 May at Goals, Newcastle. Awards were given to the winners and runners-up in each of the league’s five divisions; and to the winners and runners-up from the recent Northumberland Closed and Northumberland Junior tournaments.

Graeme Barella won the Northumberland Closed Open Singles title for the fourth year, beating Chun Yin Yu in the final and was awarded the Alan Morpeth Memorial Cup.

Lynne Herrington won the Northumberland Closed Women’s Singles for the 13th time and was awarded the Philomena Clark Memorial Cup.

Andrew Wilkinson won the Northumberland Closed Veteran’s Singles for fourth time in a row.

Graeme, Lynne and Andrew all won the same competitions in the Sunderland Table Tennis League Closed competition making it a clean sweep for them in the local competitions.

For the Northumberland Junior Tournament Adam Webster won the Junior Singles for the fourth time in a row and was awarded the Norman Moore Memorial Cup; Ethan Brown won the Cadet Singles for the first time and was awarded the Harry Dignan Cup.

The Northumberland league Premier division winners were NESLC Eagles who won the title for the first time since the 2011/12 season. The team was Andrew Wilkinson, Steve Penman, Eddie Smith, Jim Stamas, Richard Wilson and Martin Schapira.

Matfen Senators won the First Division winners trophy and are promoted to the Premier Division for the first time; the team was Alex Holiday, Neil Forsyth and Stephen Oxley.

Division Four winners and winners of the Aubrey Drapkin Cup were Tyneside C; the team was James Moore, Paul Conn and Leo Conn.

The league management committee makes two special awards at the evening to young players who have impressed the committee with their performances and their enthusiasm for the sport. This year the Most Promising Young Player award went to Sara Haddi; and the Most Improved Young Player award went to Oliver Ho. Oliver and Sara both represent Cramlington Table Tennis Club.

Premier Division winners – NESLC Eagles – Richard Wilson, Jim Stamas, Gareth Pearson (NCTTA Chairman), Steve Penman and Andrew Wilkinson
First Division winners – Matfen Senators – Neil Forsyth, Stephen Oxley, Alex Holliday, Gareth Pearson (NCTTA Chairman)
Fourth Division winners – Tyneside C – James Moore, Paul Conn, Leo Conn, Gareth Pearson (NCTTA Chairman)
Northumberland Closed Tournament Open Singles Winner – Graeme Barella and Gareth Pearson (NCTTA Chairman)
Northumberland Closed Tournament Women’s Singles Winner – Lynne Herrington and Gareth Pearson (NCTTA Chairman)
Northumberland Closed Tournament Veterans Winner – Andrew Wilkinson and Gareth Pearson (NCTTA Chairman)
Northumberland Junior Tournament Cadet Singles winners – Ethan Brown
Most improved young player – Oliver Ho and Gareth Pearson, NCTTA Chairman
Most promising young player – Sara Haddi and Gareth Pearson, NCTTA Chairman

The last match in the Winter League 2018-19 was the final of the Team Handicap KO Cup which, as the name indicates, allocates a handicap to each individual player. This allows players from lower divisions to play against the stronger higher placed teams with a points start which enabling closer games.

Thirty-eight teams entered with the first matches being played in October 2018. All told there were six rounds with the final being played, at a neutral venue, between Prudhoe and District United Services Club and Cramlington Trojans on the last day of March 2019.

The route to the final for Prudhoe was 6-3 against Ouston A; 5-1 against Brandon Bravehearts; 5-4 against Cramlington Cobras and 5-4 against Cramlington Falcons.

The Trojans advance was through a 6-3 win over Cramlington Dragons; 5-4 against Ouston B; 7-2 against Cramlington Jaguars and 5-4 against Mount B.

In the Final Prudhoe’s team was Andrew Firth, Maurice Cheek and Mark O’Connor. Jack Cairns, Alastair  Johnson and Israel Shodeinde made up the Trojans.

Match 1 saw Andrew Firth giving a 7 point start to Alastair Johnson which he overcome to take the first game for Prudhoe.

Match 2 followed with Mark O’Connor giving 10 points to Jack Cairns. O’Connor found the rapidly improving Cairns too much and lost in 2 ends to make the match score one all.

The following 2 matches saw Maurice Cheek loose to Israel Shodeinde and O’Connor loose to Johnson both in 2 ends.

Match 5 between Firth and Shodeinde was the first 3 ender when Firth overcome the 8 start of Shodeinde to win 21-12; 11-21 and 21-18.

In match 6 Cheek lost against Cairns.

Match 7 again showed Firth overcoming an 8 point start when he beat Shodeinde 21-19; 21-19 to bring the score to 3 points for Prudhoe and 4 points to Trojans. The next match was going to be crucial.

Match 8 saw Cheek play Johnson with Johnson having a 4 point start. Never the less Johnson found Cheek’s pimples a little difficult and lost the first end to Cheek 21-12. In end 2 Johnson recovered to  take the end 18-12.  The last was again tight. At the half way turnover Johnson seemed to have the game in hand but Cheek stepped up to make it 19-16 to him. Johnson reacted and drew back the score to 20 all. In a nail biting finish Johnson then took the last 2 points to make it 20-22 to Trojans thus winning the overall match 5-3.

Firth and Cairns had both won their 2 matches and though the match was won it was good to see them playing in a ding dong match in which Firth was narrowly beaten, 21-17; 16-21 and 18-21.

The KO Cup and runner up and trophies from winter league and closed tournament will be presented at  Goals Newcastle, High Gosforth Park, Newcastle, NE3 5HP on Friday 10 May.

With the last of the winter matches finalised players can now enjoy the Summer League which begins on Monday 13 May.         

The North East Sports and Leisure Club Eagles based in Longbenton are the new champions of the Northumbria Table Tennis league. For their final match of the season against Saint Columba’s they were able to turn out their strongest team including the County’s top two veteran players Andrew Wilkinson and Eddie Smith along with Steve Penman and they were far too strong for the opposition, running out 10 – 0 victors.

This meant that the Dunston club, The Mount, had to win by at least 7 – 3 when they visited Saint Chads. However they were unable to turn out their regular first team players apart from Phil Prady  and had to bring in Dan Dodds and Jamie Dent. As a result they went down 9 – 1  with the home team turning out a strong side of Keith and Josh Weatherby and Chris Blake. Dodds was their only winner when he defeated Blake.

Whickham based Saints completed the third division fixtures when they came away from Matfen Cohorts with an 8 – 2 victory under their belts, Vince Killen and Steve Dawson both unbeaten.

Cramlington Trojans team of Alastair Johnson and the two youngsters Israel Shodeinde and Jack Cairns beat The Mount team of Dent, Dodds and Bailey Pye in the  semi final of the Handicap Cup 5 – 4  and will now face Prudhoe and District United Services Club side of Andrew Firth, Mark O’Connor and Maurice Cheek in the final which will be played at the Tyneside Badminton Centre on Tuesday April 30th.

After a short break in League play the Northumbria Summer league will start on May 13th.

Last year’s champions the North East Chinese Association finished in third place this year and their team of Adam Webster, Jamie Collins and Chun Yin Yu  ended with a 7 – 3 victory over Cramlington Casuals when both Webster and Chun were both unbeaten. This year’s title will be decided when Mount A visit Saint Chads and NESLC Eagles entertain Saint Columbas.

Prudhoe and District United Services Club made sure that they won the first division by beating Mount D 7 – 3 with Andrew Firth, Mark O’Connor and Peter Stempczyk each winning two singles and Firth and O’Connor combining to take the doubles set.

Matfen Senators side of Alex Holliday, Neil Forsyth and Steve Oxley beat their Centurians team to finish in second place.

Prudhoe had a really good week by also reaching the final of the Handicap Cup with a 5 – 4 victory over the young Cramlington Falcons in a hard fought match thanks mainly to Firth who won all three of his matches. O’Connor and Maurice Cheek got one each. Alfie Stokes got two for the losing side with his brother Archie getting one as did Oliver Ho.

Prudhoe will now meet either The Mount or Cramlington Trojans in the final.

In Division Three Cramlington Spartans had Sree Kanakala in fine form and he recorded a hat trick in their 7 – 3 victory over Newton B with Sam Nair and Jamie Hall both getting two but losing out to Tom Manuel. The victory means that the Spartans finish top of the division with the club’s  Falcons side in second place.

The Northumberland County veterans team of Andrew Wilkinson, Martin Schapira, Christine Burke and Phil Prady, a late replacement for Eddie Smith, drew all three of their matches against Worcestershire, Lancashire and Gloucestershire to end up overall with five draws and one defeat  to keep their place in the County Championships Veterans Division 1A.

Wilkinson was unbeaten in all of his singles and doubles matches.

At the other end of the age scale the Northumbria League Cadet side of Ethan Brown, Patrick Nicholson, Ferg Kilsby and Alan Roskilly finished third in the Northern Division of the National Cadet League after winning two and losing one in the final session.

In the Northumbria League Wilkinson helped  full strength NESLC Eagles to gain ten points with victory over Mount C and they are now three behind Mount A at the top of the Premier Division.  All will be decided in the final matches when Mount go to St. Chads and the Eagles entertain St.Columbas.

Prudhoe and District United Services Club and Matfen Senators are the teams to be promoted from the first division after Prudhoe drew at Newton and the Senators beat Brandon Anacondas. This is the first time ever that the Matfen players Alex Holliday, Neil Forsyth and Steve Oxley who all played in every match have reached the top division.

Ouston B  team of Kevin Richardson, David Byers and Tom Fowle beat Cramlington Swifts 9 – 1 to win the second division but the one set won by  Richard Williamson was enough to keep the Swifts in the division and relegate Cramlington Reivers. Mitford who drew  with Mount E are also promoted.

In Division Three Cramlington Falcons young side recorded another 9 – 1 success when they visited second placed Matfen Whitley Chapel to gain promotion along with the club’s Spartans who need three points from their final match to finish top.

The Mount now look certain to be champions of the Northumbria league after their team of Anthony Barella, Bailey Pye and Anthony Ainley easily defeated the bottom team Old England Jacks 10 – 0. With only one match to play they are now thirteen points ahead of NESLC Eagles  who have two to play. The Old England team and Cramlington Stingers will be relegated.

Prudhoe and District United Services Club only need one point from their last match to ensure promotion from the first division after a 10 – 0 victory over Cramlington Tigers. The other promotion place will be between Matfen Senators and Newton, the latter having won away to North East Chinese ‘B’ with only two players, John Rowell and Graeme Bell to go second. Matfen are three points adrift but have a game in hand.  Tigers and Brandon Anacondas will be relegated.

Ouston B team of David Byers, Kevin Richardson and Tom Fowle defeated Tyneside B  8 – 2 to edge two points ahead of Mitford at the top of Division Two, the latter only getting six points from their match with Matfen Tribunes. At the foot of the table the Cramlington derby saw the Swifts beat the Reivers 6 – 4 and in their last matches Ouston will now determine which of them join the Trojans in going down as the Swifts entertain Ouston B and the Reivers are away to Ouston A.

The young Cramlington Falcons side of Oliver Ho and the Stokes twins Archie and Alfie, have come into contention for promotion from Division Three after a 9 – 1 win over Ouston C. With one match to play the Spartans are top with 109 points, Matfen Whitley Chapel with 104 are second, the Falcons have 102 and Ouston 100 and In the last matches Whitley Chapel are at home to the Falcons. Matfen Cohorts and Cramlington Jaguars will go down

Tyneside C team will finish top of Division Four to claim the Aubrey Drapkin Cup with Ouston D in second place. lv

Seventeen year old Adam Webster turned in the performance of the week, if not of the season, in the Premier Division of the Northumbria League with victory over leading County player Andrew Wilkinson when his team the North East Chinese Association met second placed N.E.S.L.C. Eagles. The Chinese side were trailing 5 – 3 before Chun Yin Yu defeated Steve Penman to complete his hat trick leaving  Webster to play Wilkinson in the final set. The youngster won in four games to give his team a share of the spoils and put a large dent in the Eagles championships hopes.

They now trail The Mount who beat Cramlington Casuals 10 – 0 by thirteen points with only three matches to play although they do have a game in hand.

In the second division Mitford and Ouston B are now level on points at the top of the table after Mitford’s Micky Bull, Karen Henry and Barry Hill beat Cramlington Swifts 9 – 1.

There were two very close matches in the quarter finals of the Handicap K.O. Cup, the first being when the young Cramlington Falcons  came from 4 – 2 down away to Matfen Senators to win 5 – 4. Alex Holliday and Neil Forsyth had both won twice for Matfen but Alfie and Archie Stokes along with Oliver Ho took the last three matches.

The other one was at Prudhoe where the home side of Mark O’Connor, Andrew Firth and Maurice Cheek won the first three matches only for Cramlington Cobras’ Steve Ralph(1), Joe Hastings (1) and Alan Hedley (2) to take the next four before Firth beat Hastings and O’Connor defeated Ralph to give Prudhoe a 5 – 4 victory.

In the other matches Cramlington Trojans’ Mike Dunn, Israel Shodeinde and Jack Cairns beat Cramlington Jaguars 7 – 2 and the Mount B team of Bailey Pye, Dan Dodds and Jamie Dent won 5 – 0 away against the Tyneside TTC A team.

The semi final draw sees Prudhoe play the Falcons and Mount B take on the Trojans.