Thompson close in at the top after Silksworth slip

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THERE were mixed fortunes for Division One leaders Silksworth IM A in the Sunderland leagues this week.

They had a straight-forward 10-0 victory over bottom-placed Redby but then dropped two valuable points against fourth-placed West CA A.

With both teams only able to field two players only five sets could be played during the match – four singles and one doubles.

West’s John Williamson had a 3-0 win over Silksworth’s Bernie Morris to give first blood to West.

Silksworth’s Anthony Barella and Morris then narrowly beat West CA’s Williamson and Mark Shingler (12-10 in the fifth) in the doubles set.

Barella had a straight sets win over Shingler to edge Silksworth ahead only for Shingler to storm back and level the match by beating Morris 11-9 in the fifth in an excellent display of attacking table tennis.

The final set saw a great attacking display from West’s Williamson and Silksworth’s Anthony Barella.

Williamson lost the first end before storming back to take the second and third ends (both 11-9). Barella won the fourth relatively easily to take the set into the fifth and deciding end.

In the final end, some great table tennis was played with both players looking to bring in their attacking flair, with Barella finally getting the upper hand to win the set 11-9.

With the remaining four singles being classified as walkovers these were shared two sets apiece – which meant Silksworth edged the match 5-4.

The points were therefore shared – two points to Silksworth (for scoring five sets) and one point to West CA (for scoring four sets).

The result was a huge blow for Silksworth’s title challenge – particularly having played so well this season.

Thompson Insurance A took full advantage of the slip-up with an 8-2 victory over West CA A to move into second place and close the gap to three points on the leaders.

It was a great team effort from Thompson’s Darren McVitie, Chris Blake and manager Allan Thompson.

West’s two sets were picked up by John Williamson over Blake (11-9 in the fifth) – with Blake unable to stem the flow of Williamson’s attacking play – and Mark Shingler, who had a fine victory over former team-mate Allan Thompson in a very entertaining game.

In Division Two, second top Mortimer CA were surprisingly beaten by mid-table Redby CA. Man of the match was Redby’s Rob Kerr, who had excellent wins over Dave Cutler, Ian Moore and Matty Hampton and also combined with Dave Thomson to win the doubles set.

Kishore Sridharan chipped in with two sets to help Redby secure their 6-4 win.

Wins by Cutler (2), Moore and Hampton helped ensure that Mortimer at least picked up a point for their efforts.

Silksworth IM B remain in the hunt for runners-up spot with a great 7-3 win over lowly Redby CA B. George Carlyon, Alan Bickle, and Howard Brown won two sets apiece – the last two combining to win the only doubles set to secure maximum points for their win.

Joe Muldowney (Redby CA B) was voted man of the match.

The game of the week in Division Three saw the young St John’s C side of Jacob Helm, Sean Gleghorn and Jake Hannah pitched against the experienced Redby CA side of Hugh Bevan, Tom Turner and David Aldridge and it produced one of the closest and most entertaining matches played in Division Three for many years.

The Saints won 8-2 but the final score does not accurately reflect how close the match actual was – with seven of the nine singles sets being decided in the fifth end and one in the fourth.

The experienced Tom Turner won the only singles set for Redby with a win over Jake Hannah and combined with team-mate David Aldridge to edge the only doubles set of the match.

Hannah recovered well to win his remaining two matches – a fine 3-2 win over Redby’s number one player Hugh Bevan having initially been 2-0 down to edge the fifth (11-8).

His win over Aldridge followed the same pattern, Hannah eventually overcoming Aldridge 11-3 in the fifth.

Saints’ number one player Jacob Helm was forced to dig deep to win his three singles sets and remain unbeaten. Sean Gleghorn chipped in with three excellent wins over Aldridge, Bevan and Turner – all of which were decided in the fifth end 11-7, 11-8 and 11-8 respectively.

St John’s manager Michael Wilson said: “The youngsters are gaining so much valuable league experience and are improving in every match they play. This match was a fantastic effort.

“The final result was 8-2 in our favour but with so many sets being decided in the fifth end, the outcome could have easily been 8-2 to Redby!”

In the remaining fixtures, St John’s A had a 9-1 win over Sacriston St Bede’s D to return back to top spot.

Debbie Irwin had a fine win over St John’s Craig Burton to register the only set won by Sacriston. The final score was very harsh on Sacriston, who saw six of their nine singles sets being decided in the fourth or fifth end – of which they were only managed to win one.

Istvan Soos and Craig Hilton were unbeaten for St John’s A and while Sacriston’s Nikki Irwin and Terry Charlton failed to win a set between them, they should be pleased with their performance.

Fourth-placed St Gabriel’s C had a 6-4 win over third-placed Sacriston St Bede’s C. Syd Gooding was man of the match for St Gabriel’s having remained unbeaten in his singles and combining with Ronnie Douglass to win the doubles set. Alan Ray chipped in with two sets, beating Lee Maher and Pritchard to seal a 6-4 win.

Wins by Grant (1), Pritchard (1) and Maher (2) ensured Sacriston picked up a point.

Results: Division One: Silksworth IM A 10 Redby CA A 0, West CA A 4 Silksworth IM A 5, Thompson Ins. A 8 West CA A 2.

Division Two: Redby CA 6 Mortimer CA 4, Redby CA B 3 Silksworth IM B 7.

Division Three: Sacriston St Bede’s C 4 St Gabriel’s C 6, St John’s A 9 Sacriston St Bede’s D 1, St. John’s C 8 Redby CA C 2.