St Gabriel’s face battle at the top and bottom of Division Two
Promotion and relegation issues were at the fore in Sunderland Table Tennis League Division Two fixtures this week, with still much at stake for a number of clubs.
Third-placed Sacriston Bombers hosted second-bottom Silksworth IM B, and the underdogs received an early boost when Jeff McKenna defeated Ian McPherson 11-9 in the fourth.
This was followed by a typical Nigel Tree fight-back. Trailing 2-0 to Kevin Richardson, Tree drew level by taking a tight fourth end before completing wining the decider 11-5.
Bombers’ Richardson bounced back to beat McKenna and McPherson performed the same trick on Tree.
However, the two Silksworth men both despatched Nigel Coe to keep the margin of defeat down to the minimal 6-4.
That result piled extra pressure on third-bottom St Gabriel’s C, who had to face table-topping Gabriel’s B.
Joe Muldowney’s maximum guided the leaders to victory, but C team’s David Revell bagged impressive wins over Graeme Murden and Jake Helm (11-6 in the fifth end). Those points could yet prove crucial in the relegation shakeup.
Elsewhere, East Boldon Amigos capitalised on Sacriston’s failure by gaining an 8-2 success at Gabriel’s D.
Significantly, the three sets that were decided 11-9 in the fifth all dropped the way of the East Boldon team. Amigos are now on the cusp of clinching promotion to the top-flight.
Amongst the highlights in Division One were two hattrick displays.
At Unionist Club A, Richard Wilson defeated George Gibson and Tom Bainbridge from St Gabriel’s A before rounding off his superb display by taking a highly-competitive set against Tony Gelder, 20-18 in the fifth.
Wilson’s effort was supported by Mick Grimes’ double which included an 11-8 last-end win over Gelder as Unionists ran out 6-4 victors.
Another player in blistering form was Geoff Salter as he rattled off nine unanswered ends for Brandon Air in their 8-2 win at True Roof Direct.
Two battling five-end wins saved home-team blushes as Shirley Gelder overcame Lee Tinkler, before the final game saw Andrew Benjamin claw back a 2-0 deficit against Jamie Lupton. Benjamin edged the third end 13-11, before storming home 11-6 in the decider.
Despite a lack of action at the top of Division Three, there were two close contests played out amongst the remaining pack.
East Boldon Cowboys travelled to Backspin C and an Ethan Brown treble was pivotal in their 6-4 victory.
Lyndsey Irving (2) and Debbie Irwin grabbed sets for the home team, but Martyn Parry was twice denied in five-end tussles by Cowboys’ Bruce Davison, 11-6, and Sophie Richardson, 11-7.
Lanchester Eagles B were also 6-4 victors, overcoming Sacriston Scorpions. The opening three matches went the distance and, crucially, the Eagles prevailed each time; Nigel Cardale against Stephen Verde 11-6, Terry Charlton over Oliver Wilkinson 11-5, and James Barker against John Grainger 11-6.