Northumbria Premier League: The Verdicts

It’s been another enthralling season in the Northumbria Premier League. To cap off the season we asked every team for their verdict on the season, and to nominate their teams Player of the Year.

Champions – Newcastle University

The student’s held off a late fightback from Northern to win the league by 12 points.

Verdict (Captain Chris Wiggins)

“We had an excellent season, everyone dug in really well and I think we definitely deserved to win the league.”

Player of the season – Chris Garner

Garner appeared in all 16 league games for his side, winning 14. He epitomised his side’s dominance, dropping just three out of a potential 48 points.

 

2nd – Northern 1

The Gosforth outfit won their last eight league games to push the Newcastle University all the way in what turned into an exciting title race.

Verdict (Captain Liam Gutcher)

“It’s been a brilliant season for our both Northern teams in the Premiership and a testament to the strong leadership and comradary between the players.

“Our 1st team has punched above it’s weight after losing number 3 Rob Pearce to injury early in the season and taking a very strong University side right to the wire is a brilliant achievement.”

Player of the season – Liam Gutcher

The captain and number one has had a superb season, winning all 14 of his Premier League matches, dropping just five games along the way.

 

3rd – Westoe

The South Shields based side looked to be genuine contenders for the title, after adding the experience and class of Paul Lord over the summer. Despite injuries to key men seeing them fall short in the second half they went on to win the Northumbria Cup. Overall a strong season for the club.

Player of the season – Michael Burton

The third string player lost just one of his 13 games this season, a consistent performer in the middle securing plenty of key points. He also produced a good win over Chris Garner in the Northumbria Cup final to help his side seal the title.

 

4th – Tynemouth

Tynemouth just claimed the final Northumbria Cup spot, pipping Northumberland to fourth spot by just one point.

Verdict (Captain Jon Evans)

“We finished a creditable fourth in the Premier League after an uncertain start to the season as players struggled to find their form. Both Toby Cockill and Nick Hale finished the season in style with five straight wins each.”

Player of the season – Hannah Cliff

Having gone the first half of the season unbeaten playing at five, Cliff was elevated to third string for the new year. There she only lost once, a five set thriller, meaning she dropped just one point all season.

 

5th – Northumberland 1

A season highlighted by the emergence of young Max Forster, the overall performance of the team disappointed, despite some typically classy performances from Dave Barnett.

Verdict (Captain Dave Barnett)

“Tough season for us, finishing outside the top four for the first time in many years, and only by one point.

“Losing a couple of players in the second half meant we couldn’t maintain what was a strong first half”

Player of the season – Max Forster

A great breakthrough season saw the 16-year-old promoted from second to first string at Christmas. He lost just two games and also became County Champion in January.

 

6th – Newbiggin

Many would have tipped Newbiggin to go down at the start of the season, having finished in the bottom two last year, and having lost the talents of Paul Lord to Westoe.

However they brought in Cai Younger and Stuart Hovells and produced a season to be proud of, picking up wins and challenge many of the more established Premier League Clubs.

Verdict (Captain Dave Jackson)

“A really good season for us. After fighting the last few years in a relegation battle we managed to avoid that and were in the race for the top four.

“[We had] some good results over the top teams. Now on to next year.”

Player of the season – Cai Younger

Newbiggin chose Younger as their player of the season. He joined from Northern in the summer and won half of his games in the first string position.

 

7th – Northern 2

For a second team to avoid relegation shows a club with immense strength in depth. A consistent side throughout they picked won half of their games and comfortably beat the drop by 113 points.

Verdict (1st team captain Liam Gutcher)

“Avoiding relegation is a huge achievement and some of the scalps they’ve taken along the way are unbelievable”

Player of the season – Andrew Shipley

The youngster lost his first six games but showed immense improvement and shone later on. He won eight of his last 11 games against some high class opponents in the second string.

 

8th (Relegated) – Sunderland

After a dramatic escape last season, Sunderland were unable to do the same this term. Despite bringing in Richie Hodges from Eldon Leisure in the summer to strengthen the lower order they won just two games.

Verdict (Captain Paul Dodsworth)

“Everyone in the squad gave their all but unfortunately their best efforts fell short against some real high class opponents.

“Relegation is tough but not the end of the world, a season in the lower league will give the opportunity for other players in the squad to have a go, improving the strength in depth of the club overall.

“A club like ours really does deserve to be playing at the highest level we can, great atmosphere and camaraderie amongst all of the teams make it a great place to play and watch squash.

“Fingers crossed next season we can build a squad capable of competing with the very best.”

Player of the season – Peter McCleod

McCleod put together seven wins in the second string, picking up 23 points.

 

9th (Relegated) – Northumberland 2

It was always going to be a tough season for the Jesmond Juniors. A very young squad did their best against the county’s best and despite them picking up just a solitary win, they showed a lot of promise for the future.

Verdict (Captain George Swyer)

“It was great getting to play in the premier league this season. It has been tough but the team feel as though they have improved a great deal. Although victories were sparse, we’ve had a fantastic season and look forward to the next.”

Player of the season – George Swyer

The captain was his sides most successful player, picking up 18 of their 53 points.

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