Northumbria Squash Leagues
Mid-Season Report 2011/12
Squash in the north-east continues to flourish with 67 men’s and 16 women’s teams competing in this season’s regional leagues. Each team consists of 5 players seeded from 1 to 5 in order of ability, playing against opponents usually on a weekday night or over the weekend. Matches are usually played on 2 courts and can take up to 3 hours to complete all five “rubbers”. This is followed by light refreshments, a great way to keep fit and socialise.
In the men’s premier division none of the teams has remained unbeaten at the half-way stage and it would be difficult to predict who the champions will be. Northumberland 1 hold a narrow lead over the chasing pack of Tynemouth 1, Westoe 1, Sunderland 1 and Northumbria Blues. Perhaps the team who can turn out their strongest 5 players consistently will eventually triumph. As expected, Northumberland’s Dave Barnett heads the divisional rankings, although he has lost one game this season.
In division 1, Ashington 1 are ahead with Northern 2 and Westoe 2 not far behind. Ashington’s Adam Oliver is looking mean andlean this season and with an unbeaten run so far, he is well ahead in the rankings for this division. Sunderland 2 are hoping to gain promotion from division 2 and bounce straight back up after being relegated last season due to a technicality. They are being chased all the way by Northumberland 3, Consett 1 and Hexham 1. Northumberland’s Stephen Twaddle has been most consistent to date in this division and is ahead in the rankings. In division 3 Northern Juniors 1 hold a comfortable lead at the half-way stage although Boldon 1 have a match in hand and could close the gap. Benwell’s Dave Gardner is unbeaten with seven wins out of seven and leads the division 3 rankings.
Consett’s Matthew Youngman continues his season on season improvement and he heads the rankings in division 4. Northumbria University have a strong squad this year and they lead this table with Ashington 2 and Consett 2 in the chasing pack for league honours. Northern 5 are at the top of the table in division 5 and look good with a match in hand over their opponents, their main rivals at this stage looking to be Northern juniors 2 and Sunderland 3. John Simpson of Tynemouth Social heads the rankings by a narrow margin.
The tightest league is division 6 with only 11 points separating the top four – Temple Park, Gateshead Springs, Eldon Square 2, and Ashington 3. Eldon’s Josh Gebhard and Hexham’s Lee Robinson are both unbeaten and lead the rankings. In a reduced numbers division 7, Eldon Square 3 and Northumberland 8 remain unbeaten with Northumberland’s Adam Bainbridge leading the rankings.
The Ladies’ Leagues are trying out a new system this year with two divisions for the first half of the season, and then depending on finishing positions, there will be three divisions with teams of compatible abilities competing in each grouping. So far in the Ladies higher divisions, Northern 1 have remained unbeaten and should be joined by teams from Northumberland, Tynemouth and Chester-le-Street to fight for league honours in the second half of the season. Several players remain unbeaten with Northumberland’s Laura Setterfield and Tynemouth’s Lucy Beecroft doing well in the rankings.
For an up to date look at the league tables, rankings and player results, check out the website www.northumbriasquash.co.uk and follow the links to northumbria leagues and then results zone.