CHAMPION: Singles winner Martin Walton with runner-up George McClure
CHAMPION: Singles winner Martin Walton with runner-up George McClure


THE finals and presentation night of Teesdale Pool League, which is sponsored by Colin Watson PVCU Windows, was held on at Barnard Castle Working Men’s Club and was an entertaining conclusion to another successful season.

The division 1 championship was won by the Royal Oak Inn A, Butterknowle, who had virtually guaranteed themselves the title by the half way mark, going four points clear courtesy of an undefeated first half of the season.

Although the Oak dropped points in the second half of the season, and despite chasing hard, defending champions the Diamond Inn A, Butterknowle, were unable to bridge the gap and had to settle for the runners-up spot two points behind the Oak.

A further six points back in third were the Three Tuns Inn A, Eggleston, who had been in with a chance of a top two finish until fading late in the season. The division 2 championship was an open contest for most of the season with several teams in contention and the top spot changing hands several times.

It was eventually won by the Blue Bell, Barnard Castle, who finished six points clear proving that consistency is key by keeping up the pace as their rivals faltered and fell away towards the end of the season.

Second place went to league debutants the Forresters Hotel, Middleton-in-Teesdale, who recovered from a poor start to the season to secure the runners-up spot in the last week of the season. Finishing two points further back in third place were early league leaders, Bowes Social Club A.

The doubles knockout final was contested between four-time previous champions, Martin Walton and Alan Stobart, of Royal Oak Inn A, Butterknowle, and final debutants Martin Goldsmith and Stuart Carter of the Three Tuns Inn A, Eggleston.

In a close opening frame that could have gone either way, both pairs were nervy and made uncharacteristic errors, but it was the Oak pair who managed to edge it to take the lead. Getting their noses in front seemed to settle the former champions and although both pairs continued to create chances, it was the Oak pair that were more clinical overall, taking the match 3-0 to claim the title for a fifth time.

The singles knockout final was contested between five-time champion Martin Walton, of the Royal Oak Inn A, Butterknowle, and final debutant George McClure, of the Queen’s Head, Cockfield.

Both players had chances to take the lead in the closely fought early stages of the contest, however, first blood went to Martin, and this was to prove the turning point as was the case in the doubles final.

Once in front he never looked back, and although George played well and fought hard, Martin pulled away to take the match 3-0 and claim the title for an amazing sixth time.

The team knockout final was an evenly contested affair between the Diamond Inn A, Butterknowle, and the Three Tuns Inn A, Eggleston.

In a tight opening to the match, it was the Diamond who took their chances to establish a 2-0 lead, with wins by Mark Humble and Dale Brydon over Peter Gash and Steve Brown.

Tuns then pulled back to 2-1 as Martin Goldsmith defeated Tom Stobart, before Scott Parkin restored the Diamond’s two-frame advantage at 3-1 with a win over Stuart Carter.

Once again the deficit was cut to one frame as the Tuns’ captain Colling Morris made the score 3-2 with a win over James Horne. However, Tuns were unable to complete the comeback and force a deciding frame, as the Diamond’s captain Gary Close,claimed the title for his team with a win over Ashley Carter to make the final score 4-2.

Two further trophies were presented for the most sporting teams in each division.

These were awarded to Barnard Castle Rugby Club for division 1, and the Moorcock Inn C, Eggleston, for division 2.