In what can only be described as a concerted effort to ensure promotion, Prudhoe United Services B fielded an incredibly strong team in Division 3 this week as they hosted Sacriston Comets. Division 1 players Mark O’Connor, Andrew Firth and Maurice Cheek made life incredibly difficult for Sacriston’s Nigel Coe, Kevin Richardson and Colin Pritchard, eventually running out with a 10-0 win. Kevin Richardson was unlucky to lose out to Mark O’Connor, losing 11-9 in the deciding end, and Nigel Coe also managed to take Andrew Firth to five but otherwise the away side couldn’t muster much in the way of a defence.
Unfortunately, this win wasn’t enough to push them to the top of the division as Matfen Senators inflicted a heavy loss on Cramlington Corinthians. Matfen’s line-up of Alexander Holliday, David Swan and Stephen Oxley lost only one match against the Corinthians’ Phil Smith, Adrian Barnes and Pauline Long. A notable mention however goes to Smith as, despite only playing the game for a couple of years, he managed to beat the veteran Dave Swan at a canter in three straight ends. Pauline Long also managed to get close to Swan but couldn’t convert as she lost 11-4 in the final game.
Cramlington Trojans and Brandon Bravehearts had a much less one-sided encounter when they drew 5-5 at Cramlington. The home side were boosted by the return of Karen Henry who hasn’t been able to make many matches in recent seasons due to working away. Henry stepped up to win 2 matches against Jordan Dove and Ryan Morton but was unable to beat anti-spin player Stephen Pattinson who won his hat-trick and Player of the Match. Alan Hedley and Lyndsey Storey won one match each, Hedley beating Jordan Dove and Storey beating Ryan Morton in a close five-ender. The two Cramlington ladies combined to win the doubles in another tight match, beating Dove and Morton 11-7 in the fifth to confirm an overall match draw.
The final game in Division 3 was also tight as Matfen Tribunes hosted East Boldon A. Nigel Tree took Player of the Match in this one as he won his hat-trick and the Tribunes scraped a 6-4 win as Mark Perrin and David Crompton chipped in with a win each plus Tree and Perrin combined to win the doubles. Boldon’s Adam Allsopp and Ryan Campbell both won 1 each and the away side’s David Byers did well to win 2.
As things stand, Matfen Senators are top by 7 points and second place Prudhoe United Services B have a whopping 20-point margin over Brandon Bravehearts in third. East Boldon look to be struggling at the other end of the table with 0 wins and just 16 sets won but the real battle is between Sacriston Comets in sixth place and Cramlington Corinthians in seventh. 7 points separate the two teams and whoever wins the fewest sets in their remaining matches will invariably be relegated to Division 4.