2023/24 Leagues – Full Round-up

Congratulations to the Northumberland Club and Newcastle University Ladies, who have both retained their respective Men’s and Ladies’ League titles!

Here is the final position at the top and bottom of each division of the leagues, with the divisional playoffs still to come.

PREMIER

Champions – Northumberland 1

Runners-up – Northern 1

Relegation playoff – Newcastle University 1B

Relegated – Chester-le-Street 1

Player of the Division – Chris Garner (Northumberland 1)

Northumberland 1 secured their second consecutive title by the narrowest of margins, edging out Northern 1 by just two points (290 to 288). Both teams had lost only one match all season, to each other, but Northumberland had gone into the final match session with a 2-point lead over Northern and a better ‘points against’ record meaning that effectivley Northern had to make up 3 points on their rivals to grab the title they last won in 2022. Although Northern did all they could with a 5-0 (20-0) win over relegated Chester-le-Street, Northumberland held their nerve with a 5-0 (20-2) victory against University 1B to complete another successful campaign.

Northumberland’s top five of Chris Wiggins, Dave Barnett, Alex Cahill, Chris Garner and Jamie Mathews, ably supported by Jonathan Wright when needed, again proved too strong, with Garner and Mathews remaining unbeaten throughout the season and Garner picking up the Player of the Division award. Northern’s squad of Andrew Shipley, Cai Younger, Ian Hilton (first half only), Alex Robertson, David Jackson, Mark Dinsley, Chris Thompson and Matthew Stout gained 11 more points than the 277 that won them the title (from the same number of matches) in 2022 but it wasn’t quite enough this time so they will have to settle for a very commendable runners-up spot.

Last season’s runners-up Westoe 1 finished well back in third with Northumberland 2 finishing strongly to clinch the final Northumberland Cup position, the first time that a ‘true’ 2nd team (as opposed to 1A/1B) has achieved this.

Tynemouth 1 and Sunderland 1 occupied 5th and 6th places, and Newcastle University 1A and 1B both had disappointing campaigns, finishing 7th and 8th, meaning that 1B face a relegation playoff against Northern 2.

Chester-le-Street 1 found life tough in their first season back in the top flight since the 2018/19 season, and with no wins were relegated automatically.

The top four Premier teams will compete in the Men’s Northumbria Cup at the Northumberland Club with semis on Thu 16th May (7:15pm) followed by the final on Sat 18th May (5:30pm).

DIVISION 1

Promoted – Northumberland 3 (champions) and Boldon 1

Promotion playoff – Northern 2

Relegation playoff – Primrose 2

Relegated – Westoe 2

Player of the Division – Bryan Beeson (Northumberland 3)

Northumberland 3 remained unbeaten and cruised to the championship title by 72 points, with Over 60s British Nationals champion Bryan Beeson not dropping a single game to finish as Player of the Division, and ably supported by Harry Hennessey, Ryan Doran, Stephen Harris and Michael Grinton. They and runners-up Boldon 1 have both achieved back-to-back promotions from Division 2 to the Premier, and Northumberland become the first club to boast three teams in the Premier next season!

Northern 2 in third missed out on automatic promotion by just 3 points but now have a chance in the playoffs against University 1B. Their comprehensive 5-0 (20-4) victory over Eldon 1 in early March allowed Northern to leapfrog over Eldon, who fell short of the playoffs by 3 points.

At the other end, Westoe 2 were relegated, with only a single win late in the season against Benwell Hill 1, and Primrose 2 will face a playoff battle to retain their Division 1 status.

DIVISION 2

Promoted – Newbiggin 1 (champions), Tynemouth 2 and Northern 3

Promotion playoff – Hexham 1

Relegation playoff – Primrose 3

Relegated – Concordia 1

Player of the Division – Rob Black (Newbiggin 1)

Champions Newbiggin 1 made an immediate return to Division 1, crushing all opposition with their top four players, Simon Broatch, Marcus Campbell, Andrew Black and Player of the Division Rob Black all remaining unbeaten and Chris Adamson and (in the 2nd half) John Armstrong losing only one match each. Newbiggin finished 49 points ahead of Tynemouth 2 who had dropped down from a potential Premier position to mount a successful promotion campaign along with Northern 3, who had narrowly missed out in the previous season’s playoffs. This season’s promotion playoff spot went to Hexham 1 with Eldon 2 out of the running. 

Down at the bottom, Concordia 1 were relegated automatically, losing out on the relegation playoff place to Primrose 3 by a single point. Primrose must now overcome challengers Sunderland 3 in the playoff to retain their Division 2 status.

DIVISION 3

Promoted – ​Northern Juniors 1 (champions), Newcastle University 3 and Northumberland 4

Promotion playoff – Sunderland 3

Relegation playoff – Hexham 2

Relegated – Northumberland Ladies

Player of the Division – Sam Tufton (Northern Juniors 1)

This is a third successive promotion for both Northern Juniors 1 and Newcastle University 3 – quite an achievement! In the end, Juniors were worthy champions, remaining unbeaten, with a reliable squad of Duncan Rutherford, Kieran Mahoney, Sam Tufton, Aidan Mahoney, Daniele Toole and Shae Paterson. Sam just edged Aidan for the Player of the Division award, both remaining unbeaten along with Duncan Rutherford. The University’s only two defeats came at Juniors’ hands by 3-2 on both occasions, and their Scott Maughan also remained unbeaten. Northumberland 4 picked up the final automatic promotion place ahead of Sunderland 3, who go into the promotion playoff against Primrose 3.

Northumberland Ladies found it tough going and were relegated with only a single win, against Hexham 2 who will now have to defend their Division 3 status against Eldon 3 in the playoffs.

DIVISION 4

Promoted – Tynemouth 3 (champions), Northern 5 and Northumberland 5

Promotion playoff – Eldon 3

Relegation playoff – Boldon 4

Relegated – Hexham 3

Player of the Division – Josh Gebhard (Tynemouth 3)

Tynemouth 3 saw off their rivals and claimed the Division 4 title, with their squad of Josh Gebhard (Player of the Division), Tom Allan, Mitch Bolt, Amy and Emma Rowell, John McLean and Nick Thornton proving their consistency over the season, and Josh and Mitch both remaining unbeaten. Tynemouth finished comfortably ahead of Northern 5 who despite a couple of slip-ups in the 2nd half held on to a runners-up place, with Michael Linsley their most prolific player and George Jenkins unbeaten. It was left to Northumberland 5 to clinch the third automatic promotion spot with Eldon 3 having to settle for a promotion playoff place against Hexham 2.

Hexham 3 were relegated with only one win, and Boldon 4 will need to beat Newbiggin 2  in the playoff to maintain their Division 4 status.

DIVISION 5

Promoted – Newcastle University 4 (champions), Benwell Hill 2 and Concordia 2

Promotion playoff – Newbiggin 2

Wooden spoon – Tynemouth 4

Player of the Division – Will Digby (Newcastle University 4)

This division was dominated by newly-formed (or re-formed) teams, with Newcastle University 4 ending top of the pile above Benwell Hill 2 and Concordia 2 in the three (yes three!) automatic promotion places. Newbiggin 2 finished comfortably above Northern 6 to claim a promotion playoff place against Boldon 4.

The University’s squad of Alex Mills, David Zaidi, Louie Steel, Kain Watts, Rowan Hathaway, Isaac Tindale and Player of the Division Will Digby all played their part in winning the title, with unbeaten Alex, Kain, Rowan and Will making the biggest contributions. Ian Charlton, Tim Gorman and Chris Pringle were the top performers for Benwell, Concordia and Newbiggin respectively.

Consett Development, won their last match against Northumberland 6 to climb off the bottom of the table and pass the wooden spoon to Tynemouth 4.

LADIES’ DIVISION 1

Champions – Newcastle University Ladies 1A

Runners-up – Northern Ladies 1

Relegation playoff – Tynemouth Ladies 1

Relegated – Northern Ladies 2

Player of the Division – Kate Maxwell-Armstrong (Newcastle University Ladies 1A)

Under the new format of 4-player teams, Newcastle University Ladies 1A remained unbeaten with 211 points out of a possible 240 from their 15 matches, retaining the title for the University well ahead of runners-up Northern Ladies 1. A key factor was that the squad of Emma Turnbull, Emily King, Amy Rowell and Kate Maxwell-Armstrong each played at least 14 of their 15 matches, with Emily an ever-present, Kate remaining unbeaten for the whole season to pick up the Player of the Division award, just ahead of Emily and Amy. 

Northern Ladies 1 themselves finished comfortably ahead of 3rd-placed Newcastle University Ladies 1B and 4th-placed Northumberland Ladies 1, who take up the other Northumberland Cup places, whilst Northern Ladies 2 are relegated to Division 2 and Tynemouth Ladies 1 must see off a challenge from Northern 3, the Division 2 runners-up, in their relegation playoff match.

The top four Division 1 teams will compete in the Ladies’ Northumbria Cup at the Northumberland Club with semi-finals between Northern Ladies 1 and University Ladies 1B on Thu 9th May and between University Ladies 1A and Northumberland Ladies on Fri 10th May (both 7:15pm), followed by the final on Sat 18th May (5:30pm).

LADIES’ DIVISION 2

Champions – Northumberland Ladies 2

Runners-up and Promotion playoff – [Northern Ladies 3

Wooden spoon –  Newcastle University Ladies 4

Player of the Division – Rebecca Little (Northumberland Ladies 2)

Northumberland Ladies 2 won the Division 2 title in the final match of the season by defeating Northern Ladies 3, who finished runners-up and will now challenge Tynemouth Ladies 1 in the playoff. Northumberland’s squad of Katherine Jenkins, Nartiya Hatari, Rebecca Little, Amy Robertshaw, Jennifer Wat and Emma Little saw off Northern’s challenge, with Rebecca picking up the Player of the Division award with an unblemished record of 13 straight 3-0 wins!

At the other end, Newcastle University Ladies 4 as a newly-formed team did their best and although a win remained elusive, they will have gained valuable experience for next season.

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