TYNEMOUTH RETAIN MEN'S TITLE; NORTHERN CONFIRMED AS LADIES CHAMPIONS
Following the curtailment of the 2019/20 Winter Leagues season and the abandonment of all remaining fixtures, final placings were decided on an 'average points per completed match' basis. Tynemouth had already done enough to retain the Men's Premier title and Northern have been confirmed as the Ladies' Premier champions - congratulations to both clubs.
The honours were widely spread with the top two teams in every division of the Men's League representing different clubs. Using 'average points' made no difference to any of the top two positions, as the season was so close to a conclusion when the leagues were brought to a halt, although some of the potential relegation and play-off places were affected (before the play-offs were also abandoned).
At this stage, no decision has been taken on the format, structure or timing of the leagues for next season, so promotions of any additional teams outside the top two and teams to be relegated have yet to be determined.
Here is the 2019/20 division-by-division round-up:
Champions: Tynemouth 1
Runners-up: Westoe 1
Tynemouth 1 retained their Premier title, extending their unbeaten run to 27 matches in league and cup competitions with a strong squad. With two matches unplayed, Tynemouth had an unassailable lead on second-placed Westoe 1, who improved considerably on their sixth-place finish of the previous season, and pushed both Northern 1 and Newcastle University 1 down a place. Newly-promoted Sunderland 1 finished a creditable fifth. At the other end of the table, Northumberland 2 found themselves adrift at the bottom with Northern 2 one place above them.
Champions: Northern 3
Runners-up: Newcastle University 2
Northern 3 (with one match to play) were 21 points ahead of second-placed Newcastle University 2 (with two matches remaining). Westoe 2 were unlucky to be declared third, as they were only three points behind the University with two matches left and would have had perhaps a slightly easier run-in. Northumberland 3 were bottom with Chester-le-Street 1 calculated to finish higher than Newbiggin 1 on points averaging.
Champions: Sunderland 2
Runners-up: Benwell Hill
Sunderland 2 had already secured top spot with Benwell Hill declared runners-up with one match to play, being 35 points ahead of Northern 4 with two matches left. Westoe 3 finished bottom and winless with Concordia 1 declared second-bottom based on their points average.
Champions: Northumberland 4
Northumberland 4 held on to the top spot with Boldon 1 finishing a clear second. Tynemouth 4 were somewhat fortunate to be declared third ahead of Sunderland 3 on points averaging, as Sunderland were likely to have overcome their three-point disadvantage in the final round of fixtures. Newbiggin 2 were perhaps also fortunate to finish above Chester-le-Street 2 at the bottom, as they trailed Chester-le-Street by 4 points and although they had a match in hand, the two bottom teams still had to meet with all to play for.
Champions: Primrose 3
Runners-up: Dunston 1
Primrose 3 were runaway champions remaining unbeaten, with a massive lead over second-placed Dunston 1, who in turn finished well clear of the chasing pack. With three matches remaining, Tynemouth 5 were declared third on points averaging ahead of Hexham 2, both teams having three matches remaining and Tynemouth having a 4-point advantage over Hexham. Northern 5, who held a 15-point lead over Tynemouth 5 but with only one match remaining (against Tynemouth), were a little unlucky to finish fifth. Winless Ashington finished bottom, and Boldon 2 did enough to finish above Consett 2 on points averaging.
Runners-up: Chester-le-Street 3
Scotezzi and Chester-le-Street 3 had already sealed promotion with Scotezzi declared champions as they held a one-point lead over Chester-le-Street with two matches each remaining. Concordia 2 pipped Boldon 3 to third place by two points with one match each remaining, Westoe 4 finished bottom, one place below Tynemouth Social.
Champions: Consett 3
Runners-up: Eldon Leisure 3
Consett 3 were declared champions on points averaging ahead of Eldon Leisure 3, followed by Boldon 4 and Northumberland 5. Walker remained bottom despite some occasional good wins.
Champions: Northern Ladies 1B
Runners-up: Northumbria University Ladies
Northern Ladies 1B were confirmed as champions with a 14-point lead over runners-up Northumbria University, each with two matches remaining, and 5 points ahead of third-placed Newcastle University who had only one match left. Tynemouth Ladies 1 were declared fourth ahead of Northumberland Ladies on points averaging.
LADIES DIVISION 1
Champions: Northern Ladies 1A
Runners-up: Tynemouth Ladies 2
Northern Ladies 1A were declared champions being 5 points ahead of Tynemouth Ladies 2 with the two teams unable to meet in their final match to decide the title. Third place qualifying for promotion to next season's Premier went a little fortunately to Primrose Ladies ahead of Hexham Ladies and Northern Ladies 3, both of whom Primrose still had to play in the final matches.