36 teams have yet again begun to fight it out for top honours in the Potteries & District Table Tennis League’s 69th season. With 10 teams from Norton; 7 from Bradwell; 6 from MESC; 5 each from Penkhull and the Kidsgrove & Crewe Clubs, Fenton and Crewe Post Office are the only two clubs in the League with one team each.
The Norton A and B teams took the first two places in the Premier Division last season and whether or not this will be the case this year remains to be seen, but it is a welcome back to Eddie Wilkes, playing for the Norton A team. Bradwell D and Kidsgrove C headed Division 1, but as the Kidsgrove B team were relegated they now still have only two teams in the Premier Division and the Bradwell D team have now disbanded, for this season at least. Kidsgrove’s B team will be looking to stay in the Premier and perhaps their James Courtney may be the youngest ever player in the Premier Division as he was only 14 in last month and has already won his first game against Kev Foster from his own A team. Penkhull’s A team only had Phil Barnish & Yao Li available, but still held the strong MESC A team of Malcolm Dawson, Natalie Riley and Peter Hernadi to a draw.
In Division 1, a surprise result saw relegated Norton D’s team of Cyril Merriman, Tony Stanway & Dave Ferry, being held to a draw by Ken Perry, John Reader and Peter Degg for the Bradwell E team, but Bradwell’s F team were defeated 6-4 by Fenton, who’s Neil Rowley and Paul Boumford both earned 2 each. Penkhull D and Kidsgrove D earned promotion from Division 2 and while both teams lost, they are hoping to improve.
In Division 2 there were wins for the Norton K and MESC D, E & F teams, but Kidsgrove F were denied a win against their own E team, due to a 100% maximum from newcomer to the Winter League, George El-Nimr. Another player returning after many years away is Jane Newman (Barnett), playing for the MESC F team and she won the maximum 3 sets giving her team a 7-3 victory against Bradwell G. Patrick Hall and Derek Hibbitts both of MESC Club and Rob Warman from Norton also gained maximums.