PROMOTION AT LAST!!
After narrowly losing out in the last 3 to 4 seasons the Mens County team have gained promotion from Division 2 after a very close weekend of matches. With a home venue of Tynemouth and with East of Scotland withdrawing odds were in our favour as only one win was needed to finish in the top 2 and therefore get promoted to division 1.
First match on the Saturday lunchtime was against Ulster who on paper were the weaker opposition, so this was the one to win! It didn’t however go to plan we lost our first 2 matches with Nick Hale (number 5) and Andrew Staley (3) losing the opening matches. Dave Barnett (1) comfortably won to get back to 1-2 but Craig Forsyth(4) had a very close 3-1 loss so the match was lost, however Jon Tate (2) won the last match on 3-1 which meant Ulster won 3-2 (15 points to 8).
On the Saturday afternoon as expected Merseyside beat Ulster 5-0 (20 points to 1) so it was going to take a big upset to get Northumbria promoted.
The match vs Merseyside was on Sunday morning and there was a slight change of team for Northumbria with Mick Smith coming in for Andrew Staley and Craig Forsyth was pushed up to number 3. The first 2 matches on were marathons with the courts very warm and the players closely matched. Jon Tate was always ahead during his match against Paul Bell but it was tight all the way with Tate eventually winning 3-1 to get us off to a great start. Forsyth was the other match on and he didn’t start so well he was 2-0 down and losing in the third before a brilliant come back winning the next 3 against a tiring opponent to set up a 2-0 lead. Next on were Nick Hale and Dave Barnett. Nick like the day before played well but wasn’t quite enough as he lost 3-1, Barnett was up against Steve Siviter and it was nip and tuck all the way but it was Barnett who won in the end 3-2 despite not taking a match ball in the 4th. This clinched the unlikely victory and promotion . Mick Smith at 4 lost his match 3-1 so Northumbria won 3-2. We finished second behind Merseyside on points with Ulster 3rd.
Great result and Division 1 squash next season.