The annual Northumberland Closed tournament will take place on 11th February 2017 at Cramlington Sporting Club. With nearly 50 entries already confirmed, this year’s tournament promises to seriously entertain. In the Open Singles, last year’s winner Andrew Wilkinson is again the top seed. This year he’ll have to see off a raft of talented opponents as Eddie Smith takes the second seeding followed shortly after by Chun Yin Yu and Graeme Barella. Wilkinson recently lost to Barella in the league but otherwise finds himself in potent form. Last year Smith knocked Chun Yin Yu out of the competition so there is no doubt that the top 4 seeds’ routes through the competition will prove hugely important.
Wilkinson also enters the Veterans category this year for the first time which may prove an obstacle to Eddie Smith who has won it repeatedly for the past 8 years. Smith hasn’t been able to play much in the league for the past few years but his inclusion despite an injury scare ensures the Veterans Singles will be a high quality affair.
In the Ladies Singles, last year’s winner Kit Robinson will be challenged by Premier division and previous winner Lynne Herrington as well as Northumberland County player Lynsey Storey who finds herself in strong form.
In Band 1, Steve Penman who has won 8 such titles since 2002/3 including the past 2 years, will look to defend his title once more. Band 1 will be tricky this year however as he comes up against young superstar and teammate Peter Smallcombe. The pair train together regularly and know each other’s games inside out so the contest will invariably be close, the victor probably determined by the player who can show more steel and grit on the day.
In the Banded events, last year’s winners Rodney Roberts (2), Kit Robinson (3) and Mike Jones (4) are all defending their titles but Band 5 will have a new champion as last year's winner hasn't entered this year’s tournament.
Author: Dale Aitkenhead via Northumbria Table Tennis League