The YMCA North Tyneside A team of Andrew Dryden, Nigel Rodgers and Paul Baines became the first Premier Division team for sixteen years to win the Northumbria League Handicap Cup when they defeated second division Cramlington Cobras in a thrilling final. Rodgers narrowly won the first match 25-23 in the third end, overcoming a nine point start against Alan Hedley who also had match point at 22-20. The Cobras quickly levelled things with the ever improving Duncan Wraight taking advantage of his 12 point start to defeat Dryden and then went ahead as John Morton(+7) to beat Baines. The match then swung the way of the YM with Rodgers unexpectedly winning 21-18 in the third end against Wraight despite giving him a nine point start and Baines just edging out Hedley 22 – 20 in the third, again overcoming a nine point handicap. But the Cobras were not to be outdone and they took the next two, Morton beating Dryden 21 – 17 in another three ender and Wraight defeating Baines. With the Cobras 4 – 3 ahead the last two matches were played on adjacent tables and Dryden was first to finish with victory over Hedley as Rodgers was leading against Morton. Rodgers went on to win his third set of the night and see his side triumph 5 – 4. (see menu bar for photos)
The YMCA side were also involved in an important league match earlier in the week when they visited Newton who needed to beat them to keep their place in the top flight. Anthony Ainley did his best to try to keep
his side up by winning all three of his sets and also the doubles partnered by Graeme Bell but it was not enough as Dryden and Baines both won their other two sets as did James Bradbury, the visitors winning 6 – 4.
Thirtytwo teams are competing in four divisions of the Summer League which gets underway next week.
Author: Dale Aitkenhead via Northumbria Table Tennis League