Thompsons turn on style to hit the top

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THOMPSON Insurance A are the new leaders of Division One in the Sunderland and District Table Tennis League following 10-0 wins over Redby CA A and St Gabriel’s A.

Darren McVitie was in excellent form, well supported by Chris Blake and Dave Blackburne, who were undefeated in both matches.

With manager Allan Thompson and former England junior Andrew Wilkinson starting their comebacks following long-term injuries, Thompsons could soon be back to full strength for the run-in.

Second-placed Silksworth IM A had a comfortable 9-1 win over lowly Durham CA to move within seven points of Thompsons with a game in hand (a maximum of four points).

Silksworth and Thompsons still have each other to play – a potential title decider.

At the bottom, Durham CA’s survival chances were dented by a 7-3 defeat to rivals St Gabriel’s A. George Gibson, Tom Bainbridge and Norman Pescod each won two sets apiece, while Colin Hunt was undefeated for Durham, winning all three sets.

The match was effectively decided by the two sets which went to a fifth end. Gibson and Bainbridge edged the doubles 11-9 over Hunt and Gavin Bestford before Saints’ Pescod came from 2-0 down to pip Stuart Anderson 13-11.

In Division Two, in-form Sacriston St Bede’s B were held 5-5 by St Gabriel’s to dent their promotion hopes.

Duncan Fraser starred for Sacriston, winning all three sets but narrowly losing in the doubles with Dan Nicholson – crashing 11-9 in the fourth to Dave Revell and Steve Young. Nigel Coe won two of his three sets.

Young played well for St Gabriel’s, picking up two sets, while Revell and Mark Burton each won once.

Silksworth IM B had to fight hard to beat Redby CA 7-3. Alan Bickle starred, winning his three sets, backed by George Carlyon and Howard Brown (2), who also partnered Carlyon to win the doubles. Dave Barber played well for Redby, winning twice and losing 12-10 to Bickle.

The battle for automatic promotion appears to be between Mortimer CA and the A and B teams of Sacriston St Bede’s.

St John’s B lead Division Three, followed closely by St John’s A, and both teams only require one victory from their remaining matches to clinch promotion.

Lanchester CC beat Redby CA 6-4 to record only their second win of the season, with Jack Brewis winning all three sets. Viv Ford stood out for Redby.

Sacriston St Bede’s D rallied from 5-2 down to draw 5-5 with St Gabriel’s C.

Results, Div One: Silksworth IM A 9 Durham CA 1, St Gabriels A 7 Durham CA 3, Thompson Insurance A 10 Redby CA A 0, Thompson Insurance A 10 St Gabriels A 0.

Div Two: Silksworth IM B 7 Redby CA 3, St Gabriel’s B 5 Sacriston St Bede’s B 5.

Div Three: Redby CA C 4 Lanchester CC 6, St Gabriel’s C 5 Sacriston St Bede’s D 5.

H In the Team Handicap Cup, Third Division Sacriston St Bede’s C are the first team through to the semi-finals following a 6-3 win over St John’s C.

Chris Grant gave Sacriston an excellent start with a fine win over Sean Gleghorn (+5) after taking the deciding end 21-16.

Man of the match Lee Maher doubled Sacriston’s lead with a 21-18, 21-16 win over Jacob Helm despite giving away a seven-point start. St John’s pulled back a set when Jake Hannah (+10) beat Ian McPherson 21-13, 17-21, 21-11.

Maher edged home 24-22 against Gleghorn for 3-1, cancelling out an eight-point advantage, then Grant beat Hannah (+4) for a 4-1 lead. Helm (+10) squeezed past McPherson to give St John’s hope, but Maher soon ensured Sacriston’s win with a 21-15, 21-19 defeat of Hannah (+7).