Newton A clinched an unbearably close Division 1 title this week as they beat Mount B in a head-to-head countback. Both teams finished on 126 points by winning 126 sets and losing just 54 so the winner of the division is worked out by looking at the two teams’ matches against each other. In the end, the division was decided by just a single match as Mount lost 8-2 away to Newton. Newton’s Graeme Bell took Player of the Match as he and John Russell sealed the game and division title with hat-tricks. Craig Fryer chipped in with a single win over Alan Livingstone but lost out to David Cutler and Rodney Roberts. The sting of losing the title by such a small margin probably won’t last too long for Mount as they have certainly achieved their main objective of gaining promotion to the Premier division. The closest competitors to the top two teams were Mount’s third team with 92 sets won, followed closely by Matfen Centurions.
Newton will have no teams in Division 1 next season unfortunately as their B team was to be found propping up the bottom of the table with 68 sets won, meaning they will be relegated alongside Byker B who won just 3 more sets despite former Premier division player Mark Kimberley winning nearly two thirds of all the games he played.
Newton’s John Russell finishes the season as the division’s star player, winning 48 matches out of 54 played. Not only is this a hugely impressive ratio of wins but it shows Russell’s determination and professionalism as he turned out for every single match his team played. David Cutler deserves a mention too with a win percentage of 78.43% as he won 40 matches out of 51 played.
In Division 2, the two teams to be promoted are Ouston A and Old England Crocks. Ouston ended up winning 114 sets to the Crocks’ 113. Had Old England been able to earn one more win, they would’ve taken the title as the team comfortably beat Ouston A 7-3 both home and away. Matfen Senators weren’t far off promotion either with 108 sets won and they may well rue a 7-3 home loss to bottom team Old England Fatts just before Christmas.
Two teams will drop down to Division 3 and this season it’s Matfen Tribunes and Old England Fatts. The Fatts weren’t able to make an impression on the division and they find themselves bottom by over 20 sets difference to the Tribunes. The Matfen team however were only 3 sets short of saving themselves from relegation with 77 sets won in comparison to Birtley’s 80.
Neil Wilkinson found himself top of the averages for Division 2 as we won nearly 93% of his games. Wilkinson, playing for Ouston B, won over 40% of his team’s total sets, 39 out of 42 played. Alexander Holliday from Matfen Senators who just missed out on promotion took second place, turning out for an impressive 51 matches and winning 45 of them.