2023/24 League Play-Offs

The end-of-season playoffs took place at Northern on the 16th, 17th & 18th April, where the team finishing a place below the automatic promotion spots in each division challenged the team finishing a place above the automatic relegation spot(s) in the division above. This season we added a ladies’ playoff alongside the 5 men’s playoffs.

Tuesday 16th

Newly-formed Newbiggin 2 (Div 5) challenged Boldon 4 (Div 4) who got promoted to the 4th division last season. Boldon got off to a strong start winning at 4 and 5, but Newbiggin levelled by winning at 1 and 3 to send the fixture to a decider. Boldon’s David Ramsay got off to a quick 2-0 lead, and despite losing the 3rd he went on to win 3-1 and secure Boldon 4’s spot in division 4 meaning Newbiggin 2 would remain in division 5.

The 2nd match on Tuesday saw Hexham 2 defend their division 3 status against challengers Eldon 3. Despite the 5-0 scoreline, there were a lot of close matches, but Hexham proved too strong for their lower-league opponents.

Wednesday 17th

Primrose 3 (Div 2) survived relegation by a single point, and their reward was a playoff vs Sunderland 3 (Div 3). Primrose started off well, going 2-0 up in at #4 and 1-1 between the 5s, but Sunderland’s Mick Devine came back to win 3-2 at #4 which kick-started their push for promotion. Sunderland ran out comfortable 5-0 winners in the end, becoming the first team to gain promotion through the playoffs. Commiserations to Primrose 3 who drop into division 3.

It was a nervy night for Primrose, as their 2nd team (Div 1) also found themselves in a relegation battle, this time against challengers Hexham 1 (Div 2). This fixture was back and forth all the way, with Hexham winning at 4 and 5 and Primrose taking the 2 and 3 string matches, leaving us all level with just the no.1s to play. The deciding match between Primrose’s Ryan Sweeney and Hexham’s Joe Anderson was no different and fittingly ended after a mammoth 5th game-thriller going in Sweeney’s favour to save Primrose from 2 relegations in 1 night.

Thursday 18th

In the first-ever ladies’ playoff match, Tynemouth Ladies 1 faced challengers Northern Ladies 3. Tynemouth came through as comfortable winners in the end to remain in division 1 next season, but the all-junior Northern team put up a valiant effort and will gain more experience through another season in division 2.

The final playoff fixture of the week saw Newcastle Uni 1b (Premier) take on division 1’s Northern 2. Northern 2 got off to a great start with Dylan Newton’s win at #5 but University 1B quickly brought themselves level through a win at #4 and then went ahead with #1 Ben Gibson’s emphatic victory. The match was wrapped up by the University when #2 and #3 each overcame stern opposition to win tight 3-0 victories for an overall 4-1 team win, preserving University 1B’s Premier status with Northern 2 remaining in Division 1 for next season.

Adam Coates

Full results.

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