Thompson Insurance A turned on the style during a pulsating 10-0 win over second-placed St Chad’s to open up a nine-point lead at the top of Division One in the Sunderland and District League.
Both sides were forced to make last-minute changes, with Thompson’s Marc Cotton replacing shoulder injury victim Chris Blake and Saints bringing Dave Bissett in for the unavailable Keith Weatherby.
The signs looked ominous for St Chad’s, with Thompson’s fielding three players – Andy Wilkinson, Darren McVitie and Cotton – all boasting 100 per cent records this season, and so it proved to be.
Both sides played some excellent table tennis throughout, with some unbelievable rallies taking place, most notably three fantastic points.
The first, midway through the second end of the match between Wilkinson and Barry Cuthbertson, saw impressive attacking play, before Wilkinson finally won the point.
The second, during the match between Cotton and Bissett which saw Bissett turn back the clock with a ferocious forehand kill three metres off the table from an acute angle.
Finally, the third, the point of the night, saw a fast exchange of counter-hitting between McVitie and Jimmy Scope before McVitie played a drop shot which was well read and smashed by Scope only for McVitie to loop the smash the bounce down the line for an outright winner.
All three Thompson Insurance players finished the night unbeaten.
In Division Two, Durham CA B have moved into third place following back-to-back wins over Silksworth IM (6-4) and Redby CA B (8-2).
Durham’s Brian Bateman was voted man of the match each time after finishing both games unbeaten, winning all six of his singles sets and two doubles sets with team-mate Billy Upton.
Bateman was well supported in both matches by Upton and Paul Wiggins, who picked up three sets apiece to help the team register seven points out of eight for their efforts.
Alan Bickle and Howard Brown won two sets each for Silksworth, but narrowly lost out to Bateman, 3-1 and 3-2 respectively.
Graham Sleep was unlucky not to pick up a set on the night, in particular in his match against Wiggins when he lost out 3-1, losing two of these ends 12-10.
Joe Muldowney recorded the only two sets won by Redby in their match against Durham.
Redby CA A have leapfrogged St Gabriel’s C to go top of the table following their excellent 10-0 success over Silksworth IM.
The game was far closer than the score suggests, with several games going to the deciding end.
This was a great team performance by Redby, who are hoping to mount a sustained challenge for promotion this season after finishing mid-table in last year’s campaign.
Ken Tweedy, Malcolm Deneven and Frank Booth finished the match unbeaten, with the latter being voted man of the match.
Silksworth finally had something to shout about when they produced a strong display to record a hard-earned draw against St Gabriel’s B.
Division Three leaders East Boldon beat Sacriston Chargers 9-1 to remain top of the table.
Dave Butler played well, finishing the night unbeaten and pairing up with Peter Smallcombe to win the doubles.
Butler was well supported by Neil Wilkinson (3) and William Walton (2), who was beaten by Barry Dingwell.
Sacriston’s Paul Henderson and John Reid can count themselves unlucky not to pick up a set on the night, both losing 12-10 in the fifth and deciding game to Walton.
A strong St John A side played well to pick up maximum points in a fine 8-2 win over St John B, and are now only one point behind the leaders with a game in hand.
While Istvan Soos recorded three singles wins, and played his part to win the doubles, the man of the match award was given to young Robert Renton for his impressive all-round display.
West CA B enjoyed a comfortable 10-0 win over Sacriston Desperadoes with both teams unanimous in awarding Sacriston’s Erin Harrison most valuable player for her excellent performance.
St John C edged a very entertaining match against Sacriston Chargers, eventually winning 7-3 to record their first victory of the season.
There were some great rallies throughout an evenly contested match, most notably excellent defensive work from Derek Buller, who finished the night unbeaten and also combined with Viv Ford to win the doubles set 3-2.
With Ford and Richard Pattinson (2) chipping in, Saints picked up three league points for their efforts.
Dingwell (2) was most valuable player for Sacriston and he was joined by Reid who recorded a narrow fifth end 12-10 win over Ford.
Henderson narrowly lost 3-1 in two of his sets and, unfortunately, was forced to concede his final singles sets due to time constraints.
Results, Div One: Thompson Insurance A 10 St Chad’s 0
Div Two: Durham CA B 8 Redby CA B 2, Silksworth IM 4 Durham CA B 6, Silksworth IM 0 Redby CA A 10, St Gabriel’s B 5 Silksworth IM 5
Div Three: Sacriston Chargers 1 East Boldon 9, Sacriston Chargers 3 St John C 7, St John A 8 St John B 2, West CA B 10 Sacriston Desperadoes 0.