NATLAND A CROWNED TOP FLIGHT CHAMPIONS
Natland A were crowned Division One champions in the Kendal and District League for the first time since 1988.
The newly crowned champions sealed the historic feat after a 9-1 thrashing of lowly Dallam B in their final action of the season. Natland looked nervy early on, as Roger Pimblett and John Fearon scraped to five set victories in the opening two matches against Paul Gosling and Craig James respectively. Pimblett saw off Gosling 13-11 in a tense fifth set, while Fearon nearly let a 2-0 lead slip against James as the Natland player eventually triumphed 11-4 in five sets. Dallam’s tenacity paid dividends when an outstanding Gosling beat Fearon 11-4, 11-5, 7-11, 11-2. Despite this blip, Natland went from strength to strength and confirmed their title as league champions with yet another five set success in the doubles 11-5, 2-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-4.
At the opposite end of the table Natland C lost 9-1 against Dallam B, while Dallam A lost out 6-4 to Natland B meaning both sides finished in the relegation places. Ibis’s Steve Dixon was confirmed as the league’s best player as he topped the individual averages after winning an incredible fifty four out of a possible fifty five matches.
Kirkby Stephen A finished champions of Division Two as they beat Dallam D 8-2. This was the Eden Valley side’s sixteenth straight victory of the season. Kirkby forged an early 3-0 advantage thanks to wins for Francesca Currie, Dave White and Pete George against James Neal, Matt Neal and George Duxbury respectively. James Neal’s win against White provided some welcome relief for Dallam, but Currie and George finished off with three wins apiece to leave their side 8-1 up arriving at the doubles. Dallam earned their second point of the evening when the Neals teamed up to triumph in four sets but it could not prevent Kirkby from taking the title.
Crook B were also promoted to the top flight as they finished off the season in second position. Crook’s Bob Bagot won all three matches with team mate Tony Cousins beating Shelley Rhodes and Daniel Herd. Burton’s star player was Bryan Rhodes who beat Cousins and Hugh Symmons.
At the bottom half of the table, Dent wrapped up their season with a 6-4 defeat against Dallam D, while Natland E earned their best result of the season with a 5-5 draw against Kirkby Stephen B. Both sides however were relegated as they finished in the bottom two. Kirkby Stephen’s Dan Stringer finished top of the player averages as he won twenty-five out of a possible twenty-seven matches.
In Division Three, Kirkby Stephen C’s squad consisting of John Metcalfe, Chris Horn, Mike Sunderland, Chris Ellis and Eric Robinson came good at the end of the season to finish top of the table, as they thrashed Natland F 30-0.
Meanhwile, Grayrigg A’s Sam Housego, Ben Littlewood, Kevin Hunter and Doug Baxter completed a second placed finish to earn promotion to Division Two after a 22-14 success against Dallam E. Long-time leaders Burton E finished third and were left without promotion despite beating Crook C 25-13 in their final match of the season.
Dallam F’s Norman Philbey finished top of the individual averages with a ninety-one percent win ratio.