Pressure mounts on Silksworth

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SECOND-PLACED St Chad’s and reigning champions Thompson Insurance started the second half of the season with a victory apiece to maintain the pressure on current Table Tennis Sunderland League First Division leaders Silksworth IM A.

St Chad’s had an 8-2 win over St Gabriel’s A, who had Norman Pescod returning to the fold following a long-term injury.

Despite being back to full-strength, St Gabriel’s were unable to win despite a good display.

Keith Weatherby was man of the match after winning his three single sets with relatively comfortable wins over George Gibson and Tom Bainbridge.

Weatherby was closely supported by Adam Curran who also won his three single sets which included an epic 3-2 victory over Pescod after trailing 2-1. The set was settled in the fifth and deciding end which saw Curran win by the smallest of margins, 16-14.

The reliable Jimmy Scope chipped in by winning two of his three singles sets but was comfortably beaten in 3-0 by Gibson, who played some very controlled and consistent table tennis.

Gibson and Pescod then combined to take the only doubles set with a fine victory over Weatherby and Curran. Pescod’s return was very welcome and he should be a great asset to St Gabriel’s in the remaining games.

Thompson Insurance A kept up their challenge with a comfortable 9-1 victory over Durham CA. Chris Blake and Darren McVitie were unbeaten in the match and were well supported by Allan Thompson, who won two of his three sets – losing to Colin Hunt.

Gavin Bestford was voted man of the match for his excellent performance – particularly against Blake and McVitie.

Division Two leaders Sacriston St Bede’s A had a 10-0 win over lowly Redby CA, though the game was far tighter than the score suggests with six out of the 10 sets being decided in the fourth or fifth end. Both Allan Girdwood and Ian Wilson can count themselves unlucky not to pick up a least a set despite playing well all night – Girdwood losing to Kevin Smith by the narrowest of margins in the fifth and deciding end 11-9. Howard Forster (Redby) also put in a sterling effort but was just unable to register a win his performance deserved.

Paul Dale, Kevin Smith and John Manson were all undefeated for the Saints.

Second-placed Mortimer were surprisingly defeated 6-4 by Sacriston St Bede’s B. Duncan Fraser starred, remaining undefeated in the match including combining with Ian McAllister to win the only doubles set in an epic game – 12-10 in the fifth endand deciding end.

This set, together with the two single sets won by McAllister, ensured the Saints won the match 6-4 and picked up three points to Mortimer’s one.

Dave Cutler (2), Matty Hampton (1) and Ian Moore (1) helped to ensure that Mortimer at least gained their point and they remain in the hunt for second place.

Silksworth IM B kept up their challenge for second spot with a comfortable 9-1 victory over bottom-placed West CA B.

In Division Three, St Johns B have leapfrogged their A team following three wins over Sacriston St Bedes C (8 – 2), St Johns C (10 – 0) and Sacriston St Bedes D (8 – 2) respectively.

It’s now looking like the eventual winners of the league will be decided between the St John’s teams.

They play each other in February and the winner of this match may ultimately be crowned champions.

St Johns A had a comfortable 10–0 victory over Redby CA C who unfortunately were only able to field two players.

The experienced St Gabriel’s C side had a straight forward 10–0 win over Lanchester CC.

Week 12 results: Division One: Durham CA 1 Thompson Ins A 9, St. Chad’s 8 St. Gabriel’s A 2.

Division Two: Redby CA B 0 Sacriston St. Bede’s A 10, Sacriston St. Bede’s B 6 Mortimer CA 4, Silksworth IM B 9 West CA B 1.

Rearranged match results: St. Gabriel’s B 5 Silksworth IM B 5, St. Gabriel’s B 3 Sacriston St. Bede’s B 7, Mortimer CA 8 Sacriston St. Bede’s B 2, Mortimer CA 6 Redby CA 4.

Division Three: Redby CA C 0 St. John’s A 10, Sacriston St. Bedes D 2 St. John’s B 8, St. Gabriel’s C 10 Lanchester CC 0.

Rearranged Match Results: St. John’s B 8 Sacriston St. Bedes C 2 (Week 1), St. John’s C 0 St. John’s B 10 (Week 4), Redby CA C 3 Sacriston St. Bedes D 7 (Week 10).