Congratulations to the NORTHUMBERLAND 1 and NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY LADIES 1, who are the new champions of the 2022/23 Men’s and Ladies’ Leagues respectively!
In the Men’s Premier, Northumberland 1 secured their first title since 2013, having lost only two matches all season (both to runners-up Westoe 1). Their top five of Chris Wiggins, Dave Barnett, Chris Garner, Jamie Mathews and David Breakey proved too strong, with Mathews remaining unbeaten throughout the season. Westoe 1 secured an impressive 2nd place, with their no.2 Chris Boyer picking up the player of the division award!
Meanwhile, at the other end of the table Premier newcomers Benwell Hill and Primrose 1 battled hard but were both relegated by some distance, while Northumberland 2 successfully defended their Premier division status in the playoffs vs Eldon 1!
In the Ladies’ League, Newcastle University Ladies 1 went one better than last season by picking up their first title ahead of Tynemouth Ladies 1 and Northern Ladies 1. Uni Ladies number 1 Eve Driver finished with 12 straight wins, only dropping two games, and was ably supported by Jade Pitcairn, Harriet Wight, Emma Turnbull and player of the division Erin Vitty!
Here is a round-up of all the other divisions:
MEN’S DIVISION 1
Promoted – Chester-le-Street 1 (champions) and Tynemouth 2
Player of the Division – Tom Beresford (Chester-le-Street 1)
Relegated – Hexham 1 and Newbiggin 1
In a very tight finish, Chester-le-Street 1 edged out Tynemouth 2 for the Division 1 title by one point following a final match 3-2 (1-8) win over Eldon 1, who had to settle for third and lost their subsequent promotion playoff against Northumberland 2. Northern 2 who had been in contention at halfway fell away in the second half with heavy defeats at Tynemouth and Eldon to finish fourth.
At the other end, Hexham 1 were relegated straight back to Division 2 and Newbiggin 1, who had started the second half with four wins out of five to give themselves a lifeline, lost their last three matches to fall 11 points short of safety and left Westoe 2 to contend the relegation playoff, which they won 4-1!
LADIES’ DIVISION 2
Champions – Tynemouth Ladies 2
Player of the Division – Lorna Chambers (Tynemouth Ladies 2)
Runners-up – Primrose Ladies
Tynemouth Ladies 2 won the Division 2 title losing only once, and finishing 12 points clear of runners-up Primrose Ladies, followed by Northern Ladies 3 and newly-formed Newcastle University Ladies 2.
MEN’S DIVISION 2
Promoted – Northumberland 3 (champions) and Boldon 1
Player of the Division – Bryan Beeson (Northumberland 3)
Relegated – Consett 1 and Sunderland 3
Northumberland 3, with Over 60s British Nationals champion Bryan Beeson in their ranks, showed consistent dominance throughout the season, remaining unbeaten and 25 points ahead of runners-up Boldon 1 whose only defeats all season were to the champions. Northern 3 in third finished a massive 56 points behind Boldon but still 31 points ahead of Tynemouth 3 in fourth place, but lost their promotion playoff to Westoe 2 to remain in division 2 next season.
Down at the bottom, all three newly-promoted teams found themselves in trouble with Consett 1 and Sunderland 3 both being relegated automatically and Eldon 2 unable to escape the relegation playoffs, falling 2 points short of Primrose 3. Eldon proved too strong for playoff challengers Hexham 2 though, winning 5-0 to retain their spot in division 2.
MEN’S DIVISION 3
Promoted – Boldon 2 (champions) and Northern 4
Player of the Division – Dom Warby (Boldon 1)
Relegated – Tynemouth 4 and Chester-le-Street 2
Boldon 2 were always in control of this division as they cruised to a 40-point winning margin over runners-up Northern 4, who themselves finished a comfortable 27 points ahead of their nearest rivals Hexham 2. It was a tight finish for third place with only 7 points separating third, fourth and fifth, and Hexham secured the promotion playoff place but they were well beaten by Eldon 2.
Tynemouth 4 were relegated for the second season in succession, along with Chester-le-Street 2, whilst Boldon 3 managed to maintain their division 3 status after a narrow 3-2 win in their relegation playoff v Consett 2!
MEN’S DIVISION 4
Promoted – Newcastle University 3 (champions) and Northern Juniors 1
Player of the Division – Daniel Sarkissian (Newcastle University 3)
Relegated – Tynemouth 5 and Northumberland 5
Newcastle University 3 and Northern Juniors 1 continued their surge up the league with back-to-back promotions, the University finished unbeaten and 13 points clear of the Juniors, with a massive gap to third place Consett 2. Consett put up a strong challenge in their playoff but just lost out to Boldon 3.
Tynemouth 5 (who withdrew from the second half having conceded for the third time in their final match) finished bottom and were also relegated for the second season in succession, whilst Northumberland 5 went straight back down again, leaving Eldon 3 to contend the relegation playoff, with Sunderland 4 escaping by two points. Eldon narrowly escaped relegation after beating Tynemouth Social in a tense 3-2 battle in the playoffs!
MEN’S DIVISION 5
Promoted – Hexham 3 (champions) and Boldon 4
Player of the Division – Steve Brown (Tynemouth Social)
This division was closely contested, with Hexham 3 eventually emerging as champions by 16 points ahead of runners-up Boldon 4, with Tynemouth Social finishing just 3 points behind Boldon and having to settle for third place and the playoffs, which they lost to Eldon 3.
Consett Development finished bottom, despite a stronger second-half performance which saw them achieving a win over second-bottom Ashington.