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.



KO HANDICAP CUP 2017 – 2018:  Draw for semi finals


Home team   Away team
1 Cramlington Ravens V Prudhoe & District United Services Club
 2 Mount B V Mount C


Regulation 9 of the Handicap rules states that, “The semi-finals and final will be played at venues mutually agreeable to the competing teams.”

Fixtures for the semi-final to be played as soon as possible to allow the final to be played prior to the start of the Summer season.



KO HANDICAP CUP 2017 – 2018:  Results from Round 4


Home team   Away team  
1 Prudhoe 5 Cramlington Trojans 4
 2 Tyneside C 3 Mount C 6
 3 Cramlington Ravens 8 Ouston B 1
4 Mount B 7 Old England FATTS 2


Mount A had a game to catch up on this week in the Premier Division and therefore found themselves playing against both Cramlington Tigers and Prudhoe United Services Club A. Both matches were fairly comfortable for Mount as their line-up of Graeme Barella, Phil Prady and Anthony Ainley cruised to a 10-0 whitewash of the Tigers and an 8-2 victory over Prudhoe. With the Tigers’ usual James Bradbury out injured, Division 2 player Blair Carmichael stepped up but was unable to take any ends off the experienced Premier players of Mount. Rob Reed and Gareth Pearson both took a few ends each but couldn’t string a result together in any match. Prudhoe fared marginally better as top O60 veteran Jeff Salter beat both Prady and Ainley, but succumbed to Barella. Teammates John Williamson and Peter Stempczyk were unable to pick up any wins.

The other Mount Premier team was also in action as the B team travelled to China Town to face NECA A. Jamie Dent managed to beat recently-signed Newcastle University student Harry Saxton but neither he nor teammates Rodney Roberts and Dan Dodds were able to beat Chun Yin Yu or Adam Webster.

Harry Saxton also played in Division 1 as NECA B travelled to Cramlington to play against the Reivers. The home side’s Steve Pearce and Paul Jamieson were in good form as they beat Bernie Morris and Ken Lee, but Philip Smith also deserves a mention as he recorded one of his best wins to date as he beat Ken Lee 3-2 in a close match. Smith, playing up from Division 3, also took an end off both Morris and Saxton and was arguably unlucky to take more. Saxton took Player of the Match however as he won his hat-trick, but the home side took the doubles to claim a narrow 6-4 victory overall.

The two Division 1 Old England teams also faced off against each other this week in what was a fairly one-sided affair for the Jacks. The Crocks’ Colin Robson took a win against Jake Helm, but neither Brian Bateman nor Joseph Perrin were able to beat Joseph Muldowney or Lynne Herrington. The away side did however manage to win the doubles, making it 8-2 to the Jacks.

Mark Kimberley won Player of the Match when Tyneside A hosted Mitford, beating Karen Henry, Barry Hill and Michael Bull. Bull beat both Mark Patterson and Steven Dickinson, but Henry and Hill only won 1 each leading to a 6-4 victory for the home side.

Prudhoe B fielded a strong team at home to Ouston A, Andrew Firth and Mark O’Connor both winning their hat-tricks. Maurice Cheek beat Neil Rodgers, but was unable to beat Michael Lyons or Mark Rodgers. Father and son combination Neil and Mark Rodgers won the doubles in a hotly-contested match which went to deuce in the deciding end, but it will make little difference as Ouston’s relegation back to Division 2 is looking nearly guaranteed. They are now 16 points away from safety and three of the teams above them have a game in hand.


KO HANDICAP CUP 2017 – 2018:  Draw for Round 4

Home team   Away team Normal home night
1 Prudhoe V Cramlington Trojans Tuesday
 2 Tyneside C V Mount C Monday
 3 Cramlington Ravens V Ouston B Friday
4 Mount B V Old England FATTS Wednesday


 Fixtures for round 4 to be played in (or before) w.c.19 March a specific week set aside for these matches.

Results to be sent to Alan Hedley, Competition Secretary, by the secretaries of the winning teams to arrive no later than 25 March, by post or (preferably) email.

Home teams are responsible for contacting the away team to confirm the match will be played on their normal home nights, which are shown in the table above.

Clubs should be aware that failure to fulfil their commitments in the Handicap Cup and will result in a fine of £10.



KO HANDICAP CUP 2017 – 2018:  Results from Round 3

Home team   Away team   To round 4
1 Tyneside C 6 Tyneside A 3 Tyneside C
 2 Cramlington Ravens 6 Mount A 3 Cramlington Ravens
 3 Saints 3 Ouston B 5 Ouston B
4 Cramlington Magpies 2 Cramlington Trojans 7 Cramlington Trojans
5 Prudhoe 6 Cramlington Jaguars 3 Prudhoe
6 NECA A 3 Mount B 6 Mount B
7 Mount C 5 Corinthians 2 Mount C
8 Old England FATTS 5 Cramlington Swifts 1 Old England FATTS


Until last week, 16 teams were still in the draw for the Northumbria League Knock Out Handicap Cup. This format sees teams from all divisions competing against each other, higher-ranked players facing head-starts from lower-ranked players. In some situations, this can see the league’s top players having an 18-point deficit to overcome with each set going to just 21 points in a best of 3 format.

Ouston B travelled down the road to face a Saints line-up of Steve Dawson, Ray Joynson and Ken Greatbatch. Joynson won 2, losing out to Jeff Mckenna, Dawson beat Kevin Richardson but that was all the home side could manage as they lost 5-3 overall.

Prudhoe hosted a young Cramlington Jaguars team as Mark O’Connor, Andrew Firth and Maurice Cheek faced off against Joe Hastings, Jamie Hall and Andrew Matfin. The away team had some sizeable head-starts, with the biggest advantage going to Joe Hastings with a 13-point start over Andrew Firth, but the home side showed their quality and won 6-3. Mark O’Connor won his three, Firth won two (including beating Hastings in the aforementioned match) and Maurice Cheek won one.

It was another 6-3 win for the Cramlington Ravens when they played at home to Mount A. The competition’s youngest side consisting of Israel Shodeinde, Ethan Brown and Jack Cairns did incredibly well to beat the experienced Division 1 line-up of Dave Cutler, Rod Roberts and Jamie Dent albeit with double-digit handicaps. Brown won all three, Shodeinde took two and Cairns helped out with a single win over Jamie Dent – finishing 21-18 in the deciding end.

On the other hand, Mount’s C team were at home to another Cramlington team, the Corinthians. Mount A’s league player Anthony Ainley was registered lower for this competition and he was joined by Rob Lawson and Alan Livingstone as they won a fairly comfortable 5-2 victory. Phil Smith did well for the away team as he beat Lawson and Livingstone but it wasn’t enough, Alan Hedley and Richard Williamson unable to pick up any wins for the away side.

John McKenna did well for the Cramlington Magpies as they faced club-mates Cramlington Trojans. He beat Premier Division player Gareth Pearson with just a 12-point start, narrowly lost by just 2 points in the deciding end against Blair Carmichael and took Adam Hardiman to a deciding end. Despite Aubrey Drapkin’s win over Pearson, the home team couldn’t get the wins they needed and ended up losing 7-2.

Old England Fatts stormed to victory over Cramlington Swifts as after the initial loss of Lynsey Storey beating Barry Matthews, they won 5 matches on the bounce and only dropped a single end. Steve Martin and Joe Perrin both winning two matches each and Matthews recovering to beat Pete Wilkinson.

The only North Tyneside YMCA team, now playing for Tyneside C, managed a good win over their club’s A team when Tom Manuel, Ray Pini and Ron Bain won 6-3 against John Donnelly, Mark Kimberley and Mark Patterson. Kimberley won two of his three and Donnelly beat Manuel, but Mark Patterson wasn’t able to pick up any wins.

The most one-sided game of the week saw Mount B, the artists formerly known as Birtley, take NECA A apart. Chun Yin Yu who has one of the highest grades in the competition found himself on the receiving end of 14, 15 and 16-point head-starts and was unable to overcome these deficits. Bill Edwards, Mike Bradley and John Rowell each won 2 matches leaving Yu, Terry Kwong and Kit Robinson with a 6-0 defeat.

The fourth round matches will be played week commencing 18th March, a week free of league fixtures.

Northumberland Table Tennis Association’s Junior Championship was held at The Sporting Club at Cramlington on Friday 16th February, 2018.

The tournament hosts four different events – Junior Singles (under 18), Cadet Singles (under 15), Under 13 Singles and Under 12 Singles. Due to time constraints, with the tournament being held on a Friday evening, every match is played as a best of 3 ends. Any player registered for a club associated with the Northumbria Table Tennis League can enter but local schools are also approached to involve students with an interest in the game.

The biggest event, the Junior Singles, had a turn-out of 21 players with Adam Webster of NECA and Andrew Matfin and Sree Kanakala of Cramlington being the top seeds. The number 2 and 3 seeds met in the semi-finals but it was the number 3 seed Kanakala who triumphed to make his way to the final. In the other half of the draw, top seed Webster beat Alan Roskilly in the quarters then Ethan Brown in the semis. In the end Webster, who was the only player playing above division 3 standard of the Northumbria Winter League, took a comfortable win against Kanakala in the final to become the 2017/18 Junior Champion.

In the Cadet Singles, Kanakala had the opportunity to regain some pride and did so promptly when he beat Freddie McKenna in the quarter-finals, Alan Roskilly in the semi-finals and then Ethan Brown in the final. Brown, who plays for Cramlington Ravens in division 3, has had a good local league season but came unstuck against Kanakala.


Cramlington’s superb young player Oliver Ho did well to win both the Under 13 and Under 12 Singles. In the Under 13 event he beat Jake Borg, Archie McLean and Jessica Yang to get himself into the final against Leo Conn. Conn beat Yang in the group stages, had a bye into the first round then beat Freddie McKenna in their semi-final. The final was a close-fought affair with Ho taking the first end then Conn taking a comfortable 11-6 end. The deciding end was won 11-9 by Ho, giving him his first title of the day.

Only a few players under the age of 12 signed up for the tournament and in a round robin format Oliver Ho beat both Jessica Yang and Leo Conn to take his second title of the day, Conn winning yet another runner-up medal.