The first team played their opening County Championship match of the season at Middlesbrough BC on Sunday last and, having been relegated last year were keen to start their campaign on a positive note against their nearest neighbours Durham. Having led 3-1 after the singles, they never relinquished the lead and the match was over before the mixed at 8-4, the only disappointment being final score of 9-6, one short of a 3-0 points victory.
With most of the Durham players members of Northumberland clubs, everybody knew each others game making the match between such fierce local rivals even closer to call. North were boosted by an unfortunate injury to Andy Pollard but the hosts were able to call on the experience of Gill Hay for the first time this season. With Alison Thompson unavailable due to illness, Victoria Brewis was called up as cover.
Rob Wetherell got North on the board with a comfortable, straight set win closely followed by victory for Mark Murphy in two much tighter sets. With Sarah Renton taking her match with consummate ease North led 3-1 going into the level doubles.
Both opening men’s went to North, the second string game in two sets to Andy McGill and Mark Murphy but the first string game much closer, Malcolm Lightbown and Rob Wetherell eventually taking it to 18 in the third. Both opening ladies doubles went to three and victory for Sarah and Vic saw North’s lead extend to 6-2.
The reverse doubles were shared with Katherine McGill and Jenny Ward bouncing back from from their opening loss to win in two and clinch the match at 8-4. With two of the three mixed needed for North for a 3-0 points win, Mal and Sarah soon had North within one but the hosts were providing stiff resistance in the other two, taking their respective opening sets. Back came North to level both matches at one set all but in the end Durham edged home in both deciding sets to earn a point with the final score 9-6 to North with special mention going to Mal and Rob, both unbeaten on the day.
They are next in action at home to league leaders Cheshire 2nds who are likely to feature the winners of the Northumberland Senior Silver Dave Edgar and Andrew Cooper. Play starts at the Benfield Centre at 1.00 p.m. on Sunday 2nd December.
Full Result (Northumberland players first):-
Mark Murphy beat Paul Andrews 21-19,25-23; Rob Wetherell beat Matthew Andrews 21-10,21-14; Sarah Renton beat Claire Lapworth 21-3,21-4; Victoria Brewis lost to Louise Trueman 18-21,15-21;
Malcolm Lightbown & Rob Wetherell beat Paul & Matthew Andrews 21-17,19-21,21-18; beat Steven Andrews & Simon Bamber 21-15,21-17; Andrew McGill & Murphy beat Steven Andrews & Bamber 21-16,21-19; lost to Paul & Matthew Andrews 15-21,19-21;
Sarah Renton & Victoria Brewis beat Gill Hay and Louise Trueman 28-26,19-21,21-16; lost to Fay Ormesher & Rachel Coar 19-21,21-16,17-21; Katherine McGill & Jenny Ward lost to Ormesher & Coar 21-19,17-21,16-21; beat Hay and Trueman 21-17,22-20;
Lightbown & Renton beat Matthew Andrews & Lapworth 21-10,21-12; Murphy & McGill lost to Paul Andrews & Hay 19-21,21-10,16-21; McGill & Ward lost to Steven Andrews & Ormesher 22-24,21-10,18-21.