Cuthbertson rallies for title double

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BARRY Cuthbertson enjoyed double delight when he was crowned the new Sunderland and District singles handicap champion – after previously helping St Chad’s win the Team Handicap Cup.

In the singles handicap final, Cuthbertson was forced to give Second Division opponent Billy Upton (Durham CA B) an eight-point start in a best-of-five-sets match.

Cuthbertson got off to a flier and soon caught up to his opponent before taking the first end 21-15. But Upton changed his tactics, preferring a more steady and controlled pushing game, limiting his opponent to few attacking opportunities.

Cuthbertson had poor starts in the second and third ends and lost them 21-12 and 21-13. Cuthbertson won the fourth 21-13 to level and ensure a deciding end. Both players continued the measured approach, rarely looking to bring in their attacking play which they have both built a reputation for.

Cuthbertson got the better start, clawing the eight-point handicap back at 11-11, however, Upton dug deep and the game ebbed and flowed until it reached 19-19. Cuthbertson won both points to win the match 21-19 in an excellent tactical final.

In the Team Handicap Cup final, Division One side St Chad’s were drawn against Third Division St John’s B, who fielded Robert Renton, Jacob Helm and Sean Gleghorn.

With St Chad’s having to give their opponents anything between eight and 13 points start, it promised to be a very close match. St Chad’s stayed faithful to their semi-final winning side, who disposed of Division One champions Thompson Insurance, and were represented by Dave Bissett, Barry Cuthbertson and Jimmy Scope.

First up was Bissett against Helm (+10), with Helm drawing first blood, winning 21-12, but Bissett drew level 21-16. In the deciding end, Bissett got off to an excellent start to move within two points of his opponent.

But he could not keep the momentum going and Helm held out to win the final end 21-18 to put the Division Three side into a 1-0 lead.

In the second set, Scope narrowly won the first end 22-20 against Renton (+12) before playing excellently to comfortably win the second 21-13 to level the match.

St Chad’s moved 2-1 up with a hard-earned win, thanks to Cuthbertson’s narrow 21-19 win over Gleghorn (+9).

St John’s drew level as Helm (+12)secured a fine 2-0 win over the experienced Scope. Bissett played well to overcome Gleghorn (+11) with some excellent defending, eventually winning 21-15, 21-19 to put St Chad’s 3-2 ahead.

Next up was the set of the match between Cuthbertson and Renton (+8).

The pair played excellent attacking table tennis throughout, with Cuthbertson edging it 21-19, 21-19 and putting his team into a 4-2 lead.

Scope had the very difficult task of having to beat his opponent despite giving Gleghorn a 13-point start.

The match could not have been any closer, with Scope triumphing 22-20, 22-20 to win the match 5-2.

Sunderland and District League result – Division One: St Chad’s 3 Thompson Insurance A 7

Division One

P W D L F A Pts

Thompson Ins A 15 15 0 0 124 26 59

Durham CA A 15 11 0 4 99 51 44

St Chad’s 15 10 0 5 103 47 41

Thompson Ins B 15 4 0 11 45 105 16

Sac St Bede’s A 14 2 0 12 40 100 9

Mortimer CA 14 2 0 12 29 111 7

Division Two

NE Bed Centre 21 18 1 2 154 56 74

Sac St Bede’s B 21 14 0 7 121 89 56

West CA A 21 12 2 7 108 102 48

Silksworth IM B 21 9 4 8 99 111 42

Redby CA A 21 6 3 12 97 113 34

Durham CA B 21 7 2 12 87 123 29

St Gabriel’s B 20 4 5 11 86 114 26

St John TTC A 20 3 3 14 78 122 23

Division Three

Redby CA B 21 18 1 2 155 55 71

St Gabriel’s C 20 13 5 2 134 66 63

St John TTC B 20 11 2 7 121 79 49

West CA B 20 13 1 6 120 80 49

Sac St Bede’s D 21 8 3 10 99 111 40

Sac St Bede’s C 20 6 2 12 96 104 31

Lanchester CC 16 2 0 14 33 127 8

St John TTC C 18 0 0 18 22 158 1