Division 2 League Report - 25th April 2019 by Mike Holiday

Division 2 going to the wire

As the final week draws for most of the league Division 2 remains an open book with a number of matches carried over to next week.  It does mean that whilst promotion is resolved, there remains a big question mark over relegation, with five teams going into the week and not certain of Division 2 survival.


Ruckinge B secured their safety on Monday with a hard fought victory over Ashford TT B.  With both sides fairly evenly matched it was set to be a tight evening 9-1 or better and Ashford TT B would be safe from relegation, anything else and Ruckinge were safe.  First up junior Luke Garvey against Mike Holiday, in an open game with a variety of defence and attack it was Mike who drew first blood taking the first 11-6.  Luke then found his range and rhythm taking the next two 11-5, 11-7 before a little sporting mind games enabled Mike to steal the fourth 11-9.  Into the fifth Luke took a commanding 5-2 lead at the change of ends, but a little inexperience allow Mike back in to edge the final 14-12.  One on the board for Ruckinge.  Jack Young wasted no time in dispatching Mike Galvan in three to tie the match, before Chris Cloake won the all important second match for Ruckinge, beating Matt Hills in three straight.  This took all the pressure off Ruckinge, and left Ashford playing for points to put pressure on the other teams fighting to avoid relegation.  In a see-saw match Luke edged out Mike Galvan 11-9 in the fifth after sharing the opening legs 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 8-11.  Jack then pegged Ruckinge back again with a 3-0 win over Chris.  Mike beat Matt 3-1, although he did have the net on his side for the entire game!  So 3-3 before Mike and Chris took two wins on the bounce, with Mike out hitting Matt Hills, and Chris slowing down Luke to neutralize his attack.  Loss avoid, Mike almost caused an upset taking a 2-0 over Jack before the Ashford player found his range and took the next three with relative ease.  5-4 Ruckinge, and a final doubles to come.  With Player of Match, Jack pairing up with Luke up against the two Mikes in a one sided affair with Ruckinge winning 3-0 to secure a 6-4 win and ensure they would finish either second or third.  Ashford TT B will be left sweating with a 13 point cushion over Challock B & Sportsman A who both have two games in hand,

Next up Ruckinge C entertained Sportsmen A.  Ruckinge C were already relegated, but Sportsmen could move closer to safety.  With Douglas Ho still challenging for the singles averages title he started brightly for Sportsmen besting Dan Simmons 3-0 in the first match, however Ruckinge replied straight away through Clive Devlin who beat Sportsmen standing in, Mike Whitford, 3-0 to level the scores.  Richard Wright then took the fight to Howard Brightling winning the first two legs for Ruckinge, before Howard starting getting his big hits on and taking the next three to seal a 3-2 win.  Clive Devlin had no response to Doug Ho's attacking style losing out 3-0, giving Sportsmen a 3-1 lead.  Howard Brightling looked set to make this 4-1 winning the first two legs against Dan Simmons 11-9, 11-8, but in a very tight game Dan bounced back winning three on the bounce 11-9, 11-9, 11-9.  Richard Wright brushed aside Mike Whitford for the loss of just 10 points over three legs, and then Clive Devlin put Howard through his third five leg match winning through 11-8 in the fifth.  Despite a tight third leg (15-13), Douglas Ho completed his hat trick winning 3-0 over Richard Wright to tie the game 4-4.  Mike Whitford was unable to taking a win in the final singles and ended the night win less as Daniel Simmons came through 3-1 for his second win of the night.  Needing to win the doubles to avoid defeat Douglas and Howard duly obliged win 3-1 from Daniel and Richard.  The 5-5 result leaves Sportsmen a little reliant on other results to stay up unless they can secure seven points against Hamstreet in their final match to over take Ashford TT B.  Ruckinge C will be heading for Division 3 next season but will be confident of coming straight back up.


At the same time Hamstreet A were taking on Challock B for the first time this season after their first match was cancelled.  The match saw a return to form of a Challock B who have struggled for teams and consistency throughout the season, and have found themselves in an unexpected relegation battle.  Martin Yeandle, who has been playing out of his skin this season, took on a returning Steve Smith (last seasons averages winner), and it was clear points were the order of the day as he breezed through 11-9, 11-6, 11-9.  Bob Baker has an altogether different match against Anthony Bodle.  The players shared the cagey opening games 12-10 11-9 before Bob found a little purple patch taking the third 11-5, before handing on in the fourth to see out the match 12-10.  Cliff Ball then took a first leg lead over Ben Brown (current averages leader) and Challock were threatening a big scoreline.  But the ever consistent Ben fought through the next taking it on deuce before Cliffs resolve disappeared conceding the next two legs 11-6, 11-6.  Unfortunately for Hamstreet this brief victory was the calm before the storm as Steve pushed past Anthony 3-0, Cliff & Martin had a seesaw five leg match with Cliff finally edging home 14-12 in the fifth.  Ben Brown made easy work of Bob Baker in the first leg winning 11-4, before Bod worked out his game plan and took the next 3.  Cliff then sealed the win for the team beating Antony 3-1 (although winning four points more over the four legs it could have easily been a different result).  Finally for Challock Steve completed his hat trick with another straight sets win, this time over Ben.  Some small measure of pride for Hamstreet came as Martin beat Bob 3-0, before Anthony and Martin combined for a five leg thriller against Steve and Bob, with the home side taking the fifth leg 14-12.  The 7-3 defeat of Hamstreet means that the relegation battle rolls over for another week at least with Ashford TT B, Hamstreet A, Challock B, and Sportsmen A all fighting to avoid being bottom of their mini league.


For all the results and tables please visit www.tabletennis365.com/Ashford

Author: via Ashford Table Tennis League
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