THIRD Division newcomers East Boldon Methodists have started the Sunderland and District League season in style, winning two and drawing two to lead the table.
The team, represented by Neil Wilkinson (with a win rate of 83 per cent), Jeff Hope (78 per cent), Dave Butler (44 per cent) and James Collar (33 per cent), appear to have strength in depth, which should stand them in good stead as the season unfolds.
They picked up a hard-earned 5-5 draw against West CA B, who are expected to push strongly for promotion. The match ebbed and flowed before ending all square, with both teams picking up two points.
West’s Alan Whitwham was man of the match, having won all of his singles matches, before combining with Vic Austin to win the doubles.
Tom Turner picked up the remaining set with a straight sets win over Butler.
Wilkinson (2), Hope (2) and Butler picked up the sets for East Boldon.
West CA B also recorded a fine 8-2 win over St John B.
Michael Redfearn played well, finishing the night undefeated in his singles matches and the doubles.
Redfearn was well supported by Whitwham (3) and Turner, who lost out to Chris Wold and Michael Wilson, who both played extremely well to record victories.
St John C gave a good account of themselves against East Boldon, narrowly losing out 6-4.
Dave Aldridge (2), Richard Pattinson and Viv Ford picked up sets for Saints. Wilkinson (3), Collar and Butler, who also combined with Hope to win the doubles, led East Boldon.
St John A enjoyed a comfortable 10-0 win over Sacriston Chargers.
Craig Burton (3), Istvan Soos (3) and Craig Hilton (3) finished the night undefeated, with Soos and Hilton also combining to win the doubles.
In Division Two, newly-promoted St Gabriel’s C stormed to the top of the league by winning their first three matches.
However, their unbeaten run was brought to a halt when they lost out 6-4 to Redby CA A in a very entertaining match – six out of 10 sets were decided in either the fourth or fifth ends.
Ken Tweedy (2), Frank Booth (2) and Malcolm Deneven picked up the singles for Redby, with the latter pair also combining to win the doubles.
Saints’ sets were won by Jacob “Bomber” Helm (2), who has started the season in excellent form winning 10 out of his 12 sets, losing out 11-8 (fifth end) against Booth, and 12-10 to Linda Spensley in a separate match against West CA A.
Graham Murden recorded the other two sets to ensure St Gabriel’s picked up a point for their efforts.
Syd Gooding could count himself unlucky not to record a win, having played well throughout.
However, Redby’s promotion push was dented when they were defeated 6-4 at home by Sacriston Bombers.
Sacriston produced an excellent team performance, with all three players recording victories; man of the match Ian McPherson (3), Daniel Nicholson (2) and Nigel Coe, with the former two players teaming up to win the doubles.
Deneven (2) and Booth (2) secured Redby’s sets.
St Gabriel’s B, who have been handed a particularly tough start to the season, finally recorded their first win, beating Sacriston 6-4.
Dave Revell bagged three singles wins to be man of the match and was well supported by the Young brothers, Stephen (2) and Geoff, to put their first points on the board.
In Division One, St Chad’s kept the heat on leaders Thompson Insurance A with a relatively straightforward 9-1 win over North East Bed Centre, who have started the season strongly.
Jimmy Scope was star man for Saints, while Alex Smith recorded the only set for newly-promoted NEBC.
NEBC recovered well to record an excellent 9-1 win over Mortimer CA, who in turn defeated Thompson Insurance B 6-4.
Thompson Insurance A had a comfortable 9-1 triumph at Sacriston Aces, who were only able to turn out two players.
Leaders Thompson Insurance A and second-placed St Chad’s play next week in which promises to be a very close and entertaining match.
H The league’s website – tabletennis365.com/Sunderland – is now up and running. Teams are asked to send scorecards promptly.
Results, Division One: North East Bed Centre 9 Mortimer CA 1, Sacriston Aces 1 Thompson Insurance A 9, Mortimer CA 6 Thompson Insurance B 4, North East Bed Centre 1 St Chad’s 9
Division Two: Redby CA A 4 Sacriston Bombers 6, West CA A 3 St Gabriel’s C 7, St Gabriel’s C 4 Redby CA A 6, Sacriston Bombers 4 St Gabriel’s B 6
Division Three: East Boldon Methodists 5 West CA B 5, St John C 4 East Boldon Methodists 6, St John A 10 Sacriston Chargers 0, West CA B 8 St John B 2.