It was a good week for the Newcastle Community club in the second division of the Tesco Express Northumbria League with victories for both of their teams. The A team recorded their third successive victory when they entertained North Shields YMCA B team. Ben Yu and Ken Lee won all of their sets and Rixian Hu got two as they ran out 9 – 1 winners. The only success for Shields came when Jim Robertson defeated Hu. The Chinese club’s B team were also victorious when they beat Old England Crocks 7 – 3. Aziz Al Ghambdi was undefeated whilst Maoge Hou and Alan Lam got two sets each. Colin Robson and Ken Clark won one each for the Crocks and also combined to beat Hou and Lam in the doubles match.

The clash between the two Cramlington teams, Venture Portraits and Casuals in the Premier Division was a hard fought affair with the Casuals eventually coming out on top with a 6 – 4 win. Barry and Ryan Richardson were both in top form for the Casuals winning all of their sets. Dale Aitkenhead, Gary Sangster and Ellis Cooper got one apiece for Portraits who also won the doubles set . NESLC Legends also had a hard fought match with St.Chads but eventually won 6 – 4  after being held to 3 – 3 at one stage. Andrew Wilkinson, as expected, was unbeaten on the night and received good support from Neil McMaster who beat Keith Weatherby and Dave Bissett. Jimmy Scope did best for the losing side with wins over Marc Cotton and McMaster.

In division one Karen Henry was the star player for North Fire B with three wins as her team beat Old England Jacks 6 – 4.

Ouston A were too good for Cramlington Magpies when they ran out 8 – 2 winners in a third division match, Allen Tarn being unbeaten and their B team drew 5 – 5 with Cramlington Dragons. Neil and Mark Rodgers won two each for them whilst Alastair Johnson won all of his sets for the Dragons.

Geoff Salter, who is ranked at number 4 in the National Veterans Over 60 list, won the Over 60 Singles title at the recent Midland Masters Veterans tournament and teamed up with Dave Welsman of Northampton whom he had beaten in the final to gain success in the Over 60s doubles.

At the other end of the age scale, Akshay Pabary has been honoured by the English Table Tennis Association  for making the most progree up the National Junior Rating list in the past year. He will receive an award at the Junior National Championships in November.

The new season is not quite upon us but already some of our Veteran players have been in action in the North East Veterans tournament held at Seaburn Leisure Centre, when Eddie Smith triumphed in the Over 40s Singles. Last year’s winner, Dave Robson went out this time round in the semi finals when he was beaten by Andy Trott from Northampton. Trott, however, was then well beaten by Smith in the final. In the same event Jim Stamas had an excellent victory over the Yorkshire player, Richard Lightowler.

Meanwhile Robson had to be content with the Over 40’s doubles title which he won with Trott.

In the Over 60’s singles Geoff Salter reached the semi final stage before losing out to the eventual winner, Brian Hill of Lincolnshire, whilst Stamas was the losing finalist in the Over 50’s plate event.

Pauline Long was losing finalist in the Over 60’s plate.

Paul Drinkhall, the England number 1, won the Mens Single title at the Teessport Newcastle Grand Prix held at Eldon Leisure. After winning his group he accounted for Colin Dalgleish and Chris Main, both from Scotland, then another Scot, Richard Main in the semis to set up another England v Scotland affair in the final. Scotland’s top player Gavin Rumgay had come through the other half of the draw but he was no match for Drinkhall in the final.

Joanna Parker, recently elevated to number one in the English rankings duly took the Womens title by beating Melissa Wright of Avon in the final. Wright had taken advantage of the absence of the number two seed Hannah Hicks who withdrew because of illness to get to the final but she did cause an upset by beating the number three seed, Karina Le Fevre of Cleveland. The under 21 Mens title went to Ireland’s Ashley Robinson with the Under 21 Womens event being won by Wright who again did well to beat the favourite Yolanda King.

Cheshire’s Tomasz Rzeszotko defeated Scotland’s Gerry Campbell in the final of the Veterans singles.

The best performance of the week end by a local player came when young Akshay Pabary  got through to the final of the Band 6 Singles with victories over Noor Owadally(Middlesex), Shaun Ellis(Yorkshire) and Ian Johnston(Scotland) before losing out to Adam Harrison of Lincolnshire who was also the Band 5 winner.