Ashford & District Table Tennis League
Straight six way fight for the title!
Going into the final few weeks of the pre-Christmas season Division 1 has never been closer, with six out of the seven sides still in with a chance of taking the title with Iron Room B currently in pole position.
After a few tight weeks, with closely fought matches, this week’s round of matches saw some big wins and possible defining results. Iron Room A went into their match against Challock A needing a good result to try and avoid relegation from the top flight. Unfortunately Challock A were after a big win to keep in the fight for the title. In this case Challock A came out on top with a convincing 8-2 win. Top scorer Paul Amos was the only player to record a hat trick with easy wins over Keith Harris and Steve Bispham, with only Robert Huntley able to match his level of game. However Paul is in the running for the averages winner, so was a no mood to drop games taking a five leg match 9-11, 11-9, 4-11, 14-12, 6-11. Robert was able to exact an element of revenge over the Challock side taking wins over Tim Pichowski in five, and Chris Senior in four. Sadly for Iron Room these were the only points they could take away with them. Steve and Keith only managed four legs between them on the night, and are finding life tough in the top division this season. The 8-2 win for Challock means Iron Room are now 14 points adrift at the base of the league with only four matches left to play. Challock A find themselves one place above in sixth, but only eight points off the top spot with a game in hand where ten points are on offer.
In an odd reversal Iron Room B find themselves looking back at the chasing pack, thanks in no small part to an 8-2 win over early leaders Little Chart A. Visiting team Iron Room inflicted a rare hat trick of wins over Alan Provan, so often top of the averages in recent seasons. New signing George Epure is proving the class act in the league at the moment with nine wins from nine, and based on this performance is unlikely to be caught conceding just two legs in wins over Alan, Kevin Beasley, and Paul Smallman. George was supported by team regulars Paul Waumsley and Vince Corbin who both chalked up wins over Alan and Kevin Beasley but were both beaten by in four by Paul Smallman who provided the two wins for Little Chart. The results means Iron Room are three points clear at the top but both Challock A and Ruckinge A have games in hand, and are close enough to overhaul them.
The final match of the week was perennial winners Postling A take on my tip for the title at the start of the season, Ashford TT A. Going into the match Postling found themselves second bottom, and with only one win in eight to their name, and Ashford were flying high in third. But a trip to Postling is never easy, and with both sides fielding, arguably, their strongest sides it started as a close affair. Junior Tom Down went up against (not-so-junior) Chris Hooper, and they shared the first four legs to ensure a fifth leg decider and in this case home advantage (and experience) were the difference with Chris getting Postling on the board with an 11-7 win. Next up was a completion for ‘who can hit the ball hardest’ between Malcolm Skates and Mani Khapung. The answer was a draw on that one, but Mani was able to find the consistency in the deciding fifth leg to come through 11-7, and tie the scores. League new recruit (but experienced player) Roger Harris then took on Nick Owen runner up in last season’s singles averages. It started as a tight affair, but Nick worked out his opponent in the second leg before running away with the third leg 11-2. This win started a handy run for Postling winning five matches on the bounce. Malcolm beat Tom in four, Chris beat Roger in three, and Nick beat Mani in four, before Malcolm beat Roger in three. With Postling 6-1 up Nick faced off against Tom with both looking for their hat trick (of sorts). It was the younger player who avoided a white wash and stopped Nick getting his hat trick. After winning the first leg easily Tom was pegged back in a tight second before taking equally tight third and fourth legs. Mani then continues his teams form breezing past Chris 11-9, 11-4, 11-4. Chris and Nick then showed Tom and Mani how to played doubles with a more controlled performance. This meant Postling picked up their second win of the season and pulled them into fourth, just three points behind Ashford in second but still six points off the leaders.
Next week Ashford TT A take a break while Ruckinge A entertain Iron Room A. Challock A visit leaders Iron Room B with a potential 1 v 2 in the averages on offer. Finally Little Chart A play hosts to Postling A.
For full results and tables please visit www.tabletennis365.com/Ashford