Last Friday the Northumbria Table Tennis League hosted an Awards Evening which they hope to become a new annual tradition. Players who won events at the Northumberland Closed and Northumberland Junior Closed tournaments were presented with awards, as were the Handicap Cup winners and then, last but certainly not least, the team winners and runners-up from each division in the Winter league. The event was held at Goals Newcastle’s function room which was beautifully presented and the buffet went down a treat with the 60 or so people in attendance. Next year additional awards are being planned including committee and team-voted inclusions such as “Most Improved Veteran” and “Most Sporting Team”.
One of the players who unfortunately couldn’t be there to pick up his awards for winning the Premier division title with the Cramlington Casuals and also winning the Open Singles in the Northumberland Closed tournament was Andrew Wilkinson. Wilkinson was competing in his first Veteran’s Nationals competition in Wolverhampton where he did extremely well to win a Silver medal in the most strongly-competed event, Over 40’s. Wilkinson, seeded 8th, beat the number 2 seed Neil Charles in the semi-final. By all accounts the game was superb to watch and Wilkinson showed immense ability and mental strength to overcome Charles 11-8 in the fifth and deciding end. In the final he faced Premier British League player Lorestas Trumpauskas. Wilkinson played well and found himself ahead at the start of each game but in the end lost 3-0 to the well-known veteran. Considering the tournament was his first, Wilkinson can certainly be proud of his accomplishments and will no doubt set his sights on the title next year.
The Summer league kicks off this week and in Division 1 Cramlington Stingers immediately indicated their intent by beating new Division 1 team Brandon Air. Marc Cotton came back from being 2-1 behind against Jamie Lupton to win 3-2 but then had to retire injured. Steve Penman also had a close game with Jamie Lupton, coming back from 2-0 to win 3-2 in a match which saw two players with very similar styles duking it out with long rallies and great retrieving. In the end the Stingers only lost the matches that Cotton had to forfeit, winning 8-2 overall.