Super Saints seal promotion at first attempt

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St John A’s 6-4 victory over Sacriston Chargers guaranteed their immediate return to Division Two of the Sunderland & District League.

The Saints, who have been in formidable form this season, fielded all their big guns – Istvan Soos, Craig Hilton and Craig Burton.

Improving Chargers also rang the changes, bringing in the reliable Jeff McKenna, Anna Kiwitt and debutant Simon Hackett.

Soos (2), Hilton (2), Burton picked up the sets for St John, with the former two players combining to win the all-important doubles set 3-1 victory over Kiwitt and Hackett, to secure the win they desired and promotion to Division Two.

Hackett was voted player-of-the-match having finished the night unbeaten, notably claiming an excellent win over Soos.

Team-mate McKenna’s victory over Hilton ensured the Chargers were awarded a point for their efforts.

The Saints now require only two points from their remaining four matches to finish the season as the champions.

Meanwhile, the fight for second place continues.

West CA B appear to be favourites having opened up a three-point lead over East Boldon Methodists with four games remaining.

Both teams enjoyed 8-2 wins over St John B and St John C respectively, to keep their promotion hopes alive.

Lanchester CC remain fourth, but have three games in hand, and are ready to pounce should either West or East Boldon slip up.

In Division Two, leaders Durham CA and second-placed Redby CA A were dealt severe blows to their promotion hopes when they were both defeated.

The leaders lost out 7-3 to Silksworth IM, while St Gabriel’s C defeated Redby 8–2.

Saints’ win sees them move within one point of Redby with a game in hand.

It promises to be a close finish as the season draws to a close.

Durham, however, remain firm favourites for promotion, with the battle for the runners-up spot being between Redby and St Gabriels.

At the other end of the table, the battle to avoid relegation continues.

West CA A’s 6-4 win over Redby CA B was enough to see them leapfrog their opponents.

In Division One, the top three sides – Thompson Insurance A, St Chad’s and Durham CA A – all enjoyed comfortable victories to ensure the battle for the title continues.

Defending champions Thompson, who have opened up a 10-point gap, have pedigree and should be able to close out the season to retain their title.

However, they will be hoping to avoid further injuries which have seen them without the services of Chris Blake (shoulder injury) for the last two months and, more recently, player/manager Allan Thompson (back injury).

St Chad’s and Durham CA A will be hoping for the leaders to slip are battling for second place.

Results, Div One: Durham CA A 10 Sacriston Aces 0, Mortimer CA 3 Thompson Insurance B 7, North East Bed Centre 3 St Chad’s 7, Thompson Insurance A 7 St Gabriels A 3

Div Two: Redby CA B 4 West CA A 6, Sacriston Bombers 4 St Gabriels B 6, Silksworth IM 7 Durham CA B 3, St Gabriels C 8 Redby CA A 2

Div Three: Sacriston Desperadoes 2 Lanchester CC 8, St John A 6 Sacriston Chargers 4, St John C 2 East Boldon Methodists 8, West CA B 8 St John B 2.

H The Sunderland & District Closed Tournament was held at the weekend with a very strong entry and some excellent table tennis played.

Star player was former England Junior Andrew Wilkinson, who secured a hat-trick of titles.

Wilkinson won the Open Singles, Open Doubles (with Thompson Insurance team-mate Marc Cotton) and the Mixed Doubles (with partner Diane Cartmell).

It was particularly pleasing for officials to see strong entries for the Cadet, Under-11, Under-13 and Junior events, with a lot of promising talent on show.

See next week’s column for a full report on the Closed Tournament.

Sunderland & District Closed Tournament results – Open Singles: Andrew Wilkinson (Thompson Ins. A) beat Anthony Barella (Thompson Ins. A) 13-11, 11-6, 11-2. Women’s Singles: Lynne Herrington (Thompson Ins. B) beat Diane Cartmell (Thompson Ins. A) 11-2, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4. Open Doubles: Andrew Wilkinson/Marc Cotton (Thompson Ins. A) beat Adam Curran/Steve Penman (St Chad’s) 11-2, 6-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-3). Mixed Doubles: Andrew Wilkinson/Diane Cartmell (Thompson Ins. A) beat Anthony Barella (Thompson Ins A)/Lynne Herrington (Thompson Ins. B) 11-6, 11-4, 11-5. Veterans Singles: Keith Weatherby (St Chad’s) beat John Williamson (Durham CA A) 11-9, 11-9, 11-7. Over-60 Singles: Geoff Salter (Durham CA A) beat Jimmy Scope (St Chad’s) 11-5, 9-11, 6-11, 11-3, 13-11. Consolation Singles: Syd Gooding (St Gabriels C) beat Diane Cartmell (Thompson Ins. A) 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-3. Junior Boys Singles: Adam Curran (St Chad’s) beat Robert Renton (St John B) 11-2, 11-5, 11-6. Junior Girls Singles (Round Robin): Winner – Erin Harrison (Sacriston Desperadoes). Runner up – Lauren Cook (Lanchester CC). Under-13 Singles: Simon Knopf (Sacriston) beat Joshua Weatherby (St Chad’s) 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-9. Under-11 Singles (Round Robin): Winner – Peter Smallcombe (East Boldon Methodists). Runner up – Jack Slane (Lanchester CC). Cadet Boys Singles: Joshua Weatherby (St Chad’s) beat Robert Renton (St John B) 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7. Cadet Girls Singles (Round Robin): Winner – Charlotte Weatherby (St Chad’s). Runner up – Shelly Brogden (John Spence)