Tight at the top
Report by Mike Holiday - Ruckinge
Whilst the battle at the top starts to tighten up, but is still very much a four way race, there is also a battle for survival going in at the bottom. With Challock A, Challock B, and Iron Room B eight points adrift of the top four, but only separated by three points. Currently Iron Room B are left holding the wooden spoon with only one win in four to their name, two pints ahead are Challock B, and then a further one point up are Challock A.
So far this season Iron Room B started badly with an 8-1 defeat to last season’s winner Postling A, they then edged past fellow survival battlers Challock A 5-4 thanks to two wins apiece from Vince Corbin and Paul Waumsley and a single from junior Shem Legarde. But a brace each from Challock regulars Steve Smith & Cliff Ball ensured the result had little effect on the positions. Then on to Little Chart B who are proving to be the dark horses of this year’s events, Iron Room B could only field a much weakened side with junior Tom Down taking full advantage with wins over Shem Legarde, Mick Micklethewaite and Peter Coles. The 9-0 whitewash was only avoided when Michelle Kingsland attacked was ‘out attacked’ by Shem Legarde, and Kevin Beasley’s unique style felon deaf ears with the experience Mick Micklethewaite winning the battle of attrition 11-9 in the fifth. However both Kevin and Michelle picked up a brace with both beating Peter Coles, and getting the better of each other’s Achilles heal. Finally, with Vince Corbin side-lined they had signed on Mani Khapung to help steady the ship. As reigning open singles champion it was a pretty good back up plan, but Ruckinge A had other ideas. Starring for Ruckinge Joe Britnell only dropped two sets in his hat trick of wins over Shem, Paul, and Mani. Ruckinge captain, Hrvoje Crnko, proved in excellent form adding another two wins over Shem and Mani, but couldn’t get past Paul Waumsleys unorthodox approach. Finally young Arthur Bracken was totally befuddled by Paul Waumsleys, and lost out against former team mate Mani, but added a point with a straight sets win over Shem. 6-3 to Ruckinge A, and Iron Room B seem in trouble.
Elsewhere Challock B, new promoted to Division 1, didn’t help their cause losing out 5-4 to Ruckinge A. But a failure to submit the scorecard resulted in their points being voided. However with Tim Pichowski and Paul Amos on the books they are a strong side and will cause all teams a lot of problems. Their next match was away to Iron Room A who were able to field star turn Phil Saxby, who won all three at a canter only dropping his first set to Tim Pichowski in the final singles encounter. Tim was only add to grab a point for Challock against Keith Harris over four legs, but it could have gone either way against Vince Corbin who came through 11-6, 11-9, 15-17, 12-10. Paul Amos showed no signs of being away with 3-1 wins over both Keith Harris and Vince Corbin. Challock’s third player, Lee Hirst, struggled against Vince Corbin and Phil Saxby but took Keith Harris to the wire 11-13, 12-10, 7-11, 8-11 but faded away in the final leg 11-5. Postling A were the next team to visit Challock but without Tim Pichowski the current champions Postling breezed past Chris Senior and Lee Hirst, but Paul Amos starred with wins over Malcolm Skates, Nick Owen and Roy Coles. That said Malcolm was unlucky going down 10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 12-10. This week’s match up between Challock B & Iron Room B could be critical for both teams.
Finally Challock A lost their first match 5-4 to Iron Room B, and then collapsed against Little Chart B with only Steve Smith able to offer up a point with a win over averages winner Alan Provan. Kevin Beasley and Tom Down both provided a hat trick with wins over Smith, Cliff Ball, and Roy Baker. However braces from Steve & Cliff in their next match keep Ruckinge A honest, but they still fell 5-4 with Roy Baker unable to better Mike Galvan, Joe Britnell or Charlie Richards. Then in an important head to head Challock A (Steve Smith, Cliff Ball, & Roy Baker) came unstuck against Challock B (Paul Amos, Tim Pichowski & Chris Senior). Both Cliff and Steve easily beat Chris 3-0, but Chris one over Roy with a 3-1 win. The rest of the evening was very much one way traffic with only Steve Smith able to win a single leg against Tim Pichowski. How important could that 7-2 win be?