21st January 2019

Division 2 looks set to a hard fought affair this season with the additions of Iron Room A, relegated from Division 1, and Ruckinge C easily promoted from Division 3.

The first week saw Ruckinge C record a 7-3 win over last seasons runners up Challock B, Iron Room A won by the same margin over a Hamstreet side playing with a man down.  In the final clash Ruckinge B started their account with a hard fought 6-4 over Sportsmen A but Douglas Ho was the star man on the night, winning all three of his encounters.

This week Challock B (2nd last time out) took on Ruckinge B (3rd last time out), but the event did not live up to the billing with the Challock side forced to play without their star players.  The Ruckinge side were in no mood to let the opportunity to pass, but Richard Partridge (deputising from Division 3) held a 2-1 lead over both Chris Cloake & Mike Galvan, and threaten an upset.  But the consistency of the Ruckinge players held true, as Richard started to miss shot he was putting away easily at the start in the search for the win.  Mike ran out eventual winner 5-11, 11-5, 11-7, 5-11, 4-11 much to his relief.  Chris also came through in five but a much closer fifth leg than he would have liked (11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 3-11, 9-11).  Unfortunately Richard was unable to get into a rhythm against Ruckinge third player, Mike Holiday, who ran out a 3-0 winner.  The win also sealed his hat trick after 3-0 wins over Roy Baker & Heather Robertson.  Roy Baker was unlucky not to take more from any of his games losing out 3-1 to Mike Galvan & Chris Cloake, but seven of the eight legs were decided by 3 points of less.  Heather showed endless consistency but was unable to register a win despite going down by 11-8 or better in eight out of nine legs.  Ruckinge again dominated the doubles with Cloake and Holiday running out 3-0 winners over Robertson & Baker.  An unexpected 10-0 win, and I suspect a rare event in this division.

Douglas Ho was again Player of the Match for Sportsmen A as they played host to Ashford TT B, who were opening their season after having no match in the first week.  Junior, Luke Garvey, started brightly taking the first leg against Douglas before the Sportmen player won seven legs on the bounce to secure a 3-1 win over Luke, a 3-0 win over Daniel Housden, and a 1-0 lead over Matt Hills.  However Matt Hills showed his growing experience by winning the next two legs and take a 2-1 lead.  However with growing confidence Douglas fought back and edged out the Ashford player 11-8, 11-8 to win 3-2.  Matt had earlier come through a tight encounter with Julian Thorne, but then lost out to a fast improving Howard Brightling (11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-3).  Unlucky loser on the night was Daniel Housden losing to Howard (11-6, 16-14, 11-9), Julian (11-7, 11-2, 11-9) and Douglas (11-2, 11-9, 11-6).  Match of the night had to be between Luke Garvey & Howard Brightling, with Sportsmen leading 5-2, Luke was under pressure to keep the match alive.  Whether that had an impact, but Howard took the first two games 11-8, 11-8 but could have easily found himself 2-0 down.  Luke then seemed to find his range or confidence as he edged through the next three legs 13-11, 11-9, 11-9 to secure a third point for Ashford.  This was to be the last point the away side recorded, as Sportmen took the doubles 3-0 and registered a 7-3 win to keep them in touch with the early leaders Ruckinge B.

The final match of the week saw relegated Iron Room A take on promoted Ruckinge C.  With Ruckinge C used to winning matches this was a real eye opener with Mike Lee opening the scoring with a convincing 3-0 win over Dan Simmons, a feat repeated by Robert Huntley over Richard Wright.  The next encounter was a much tighter affair with Keith Harris taking a 2-0 lead over Chris Penning (13-11, 11-9), before the Ruckinge player hit back with two quick fire legs (5-11, 4-11).  Going into the final leg it was Ruckinge who held the momentum, but Iron Room had the experience and in a tight affair it seems momentum won with Chris edging past 13-11 to give the away said their only point for the evening.  Mike Lee & Robert Huntley both went unbeaten, and didn’t concede a single leg.  Keith Harris has another fifth leg clash with Richard Wright, this time he edged the final leg 16-14.  He then came through 14-12 in the fourth leg over Dan Simmons.  The doubles followed the pattern of the evening with Iron Room win 9-1 and tying for top spot after two weeks with Ruckinge B…..and the week 3 fixture Iron Room A will be Ruckinge B, both side unbeaten so something has to give.

Author: via Ashford Table Tennis League
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