Halfway through the 2015/16 Northumbria Squash season and the Tynemouth Teams are again looking to be in a strong position, improving on an impressive and successful showing last year.
After going undefeated all last season on the way to their first Premier Division Title, the Men’s FIRST TEAM suffered an early hiccup in their championship defence, in the form of 3-2 home loss to an improved Alnwick side. The night saw a marathon game between Tynemouth’s #4 Nick Hale and a familiar foe, Russell Hunter. The two clear scoring led to a mammoth 22-20 second set, with Hale eventually coming through to secure the victory 3-0.
The evening also saw an end to Sean Millington’s monster winning streak, going down 3-2 at the #3 spot, a run that lasted almost two years. You have to go back 34 games to November 2013 to find the last time Young Milly suffered defeat.
The team bounced back strongly from the blip though, going on to record six wins on the bounce to top the Premier Division into the New Year. Newcomer Toby Cockill remains undefeated, with 5 wins from 5 since arriving in the summer, while #4 Nick Hale boasts an impressive record, with 7 wins, also without a loss.
In Division 1, the SECOND TEAM are looking to make an immediate return to the top league, and are the pace setters at the seasons mid point, topping the table with 8 wins out of 8. Strengthened by Club Captain Glenn Ward, the returning Samantha Ward and arrival of Army fixture regular Lenny Westover, the Seconds have coped ably with the injury to Lucy Beecroft, and lead the way in the division by 34 points.
After promotion last season, the THIRD TEAM continue their quest for back to back promotions in Division 2. Up against some strong first teams from other clubs for the first time, as well as old adversaries Northumberland Juniors, the team has made a fine effort, currently sitting third in the table, trailing the league leaders, the boys from Jesmond, by only 20 points.
The rapid emergence of Sam Evans and form of Richard Bradley and Rob Brown at #1 & #5 has led to 4 wins and hope of overhauling the Eldon Team sat above them in second place. An incredible evening away at Consett saw the team go down 4-1, with all 4 matches (one walkover) decided by a 15-14 in the final game, 3 of them epic 5-setters. Brown looks to be mastering that art, with 5 of his 7 team appearances this season going the distance.
Also seeking consecutive promotions, last year Division 5 Champions, the FOURTH TEAM, currently lead the way in a tight Division 4. Points are at a premium at the top though, as only 20 points separate the top 4. The form of Stuart Varrall at #5 and improving Matty Walsh at #1 has led to wins over Consett and the two Northern teams, along with a fine victory over familiar face SCOTEZZI and allowed some breathing room at the top of the table.
One of only 2 defeats came in a great Friday night showdown with the SOCIALS, a great atmosphere in the club lending itself to some fantastic match-ups, the Socials eventually prevailing with a 4-1 win in a tightly fought contest.
In Division 6, the re-formed FIFTH TEAM are following the example set by the 2nds and top the table while remaining undefeated through 7 games. A young and exuberant core of the squad, juniors Lennox Lockwood and Nathan Dobson lead the way in their first full season of team squash, Lockwood still yet to suffer defeat this year, whilst Nathan has lost only once. Lennox has also capably filled in for the Fourths when requires, and even as high as the Seconds, still without losing. The boys have been excellently assisted in the promotion push by summer arrival Guy Eniona and a great debut season so far from Tom Allen. With 7 fixtures to play, the 5ths are looking strong favourites for the title if they can keep the momentum and pressure up at the top of the table.
Finally, in the Ladies Divisions, a thrilling second half to the Division 1 season is in store, with the split teams from Tynemouth - 1A and 1B -and Northern creating a competitive and open league table. At the mid point, both Tynemouth teams sit at the top, 1B holding a slight advantage thanks to the play of the undefeated Hannah Cliff and Fiona MacFarlane at #1 and #5. 1A will be hoping the return to fitness of Lucy Beecroft and the ever improving Rowell twins will be enough to take the title down to the wire, with the Ladies Derby in the book for the final game of the season.
In the Ladies Division 2, the LADIES THIRDS also lead the way, though they are being closely chased by Northern 3rds. Strong performances from the full squad have resulted in a 4-1 record, with a 14 points cushion to second place.
A great and exciting second half to the season is in store for all 8 Tynemouth teams, and along with both Scotezzi and the Socials, titles and promotions are achievable goals for everyone.
Thanks to all who have played, whether regulars or just filling in, and to everyone that has come down and supported the teams at the club. Hopefully, come presentation evening at the end of the season, the club will have even more to celebrate than last year.