Drumchapel Glasgow tightened their grip on the British League Premier Division with a vital 5-3 victory over closest challengers Ormesby.
Two star-studded line-ups and a capacity crowd in Glasgow ensured an electric atmosphere for the key clash, with Drumchapel holding a slender one-point advantage at the top of the table at start of play.
Spanish ace He Zhi Wen was first up for the hosts against Viktor Brodd (Sweden). “Juanito” got off to a great start winning the first set 11-8 and led the second 7-3 only for Brodd to stage a comeback to win the second 11-8. This turned the match for Brodd as he won the match 3-1 (8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7) to give the visitors first blood.
He Bai (Slovakia) was next up for Drumchapel Glasgow against Filip Symanki (Poland). These two had a fantastic match in December and this one was to be no different as it went all the way to the wire, Hai Be eventually winning a thriller 3-2 (11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 7-11, 12-10) to level the match score.
Liu Song (Argentina) has been undefeated this season and has been in great form but never got started in his match against Darius Knight (England), losing 3-0 and it was advantage back to Ormesby.
Huang Yen Che (Chinese Taipei), who is over training at Drumchapel for the next few months, was next up against Danny Reed (England) in what really was a must-win game for Drumchapel. There was tension in the air as the visiting crowd were really supporting their team. Huang won the first set 11-3, but Reed showed his international experience to win sets two and three, and was two points from winning the match in the fourth, only for Huang to stage a great comeback to win this five-set thriller 3-2 (11-3, 4-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8).
It proved to be the turning point in the match and He Zhi Wen put the hosts in front for the first time in game five against Filip Symanski. It was another dramatic clash and He Zhi Wen showed his true class in winning 3-1 (10-12, 11-5, 11-8, 11-6).
Liu Song returned for match six against Brodd. These two players provided the crowd with another five-set thriller, Brodd racing into a 2-0 lead which stunned the home crowd only for Liu Song to claw his way back into the match and stage another comeback victory winning 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6.
Drumchapel now led 4-2 and the point was secured, meaning at the very least it would be as-you-were at the top.
He Bai was back for match seven against Danny Reed and the Drumchapel home crowd were in full voice by this time. He Bai was in awesome form and showed his true international class winning the match 3-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-7) and this meant that Drumchapel had won the match, leading 5-2.
Huang Yen Che was back to the table for match 8 against Darius Knight and this was yet another five-set thriller but it was Knight who held his composure to win the match for Ormesby 3-2 (9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9) and complete his own unbeaten match.
The victory puts Drumchapel Glasgow firmly at the top of the table with a three-point gap.
Another Scotland versus England clash was played this weekend and this one went the way of England as Fusion overcame North Ayrshire 5-3 at home.
The reverse fixture in Scotland had ended with a 4-4 draw, so this match was expected to be a tight affair and turned out to be exactly that.
Kazeem Adeleke gave Fusion an early lead with a strong performance against Richard Main, winning 3-0, but Lorestas Trumpauskas was far below his usual level when he lost in straight games to Sean Doherty and Ade Adewale also struggled for rhythm in his first match against Christopher Main. Adewale won a tight first game, but Main improved over the next two games as his opponent struggled to get his usual combative spirit going. In the fourth game the tide seemed to turn again when Adewale secured four game points at 10-6, but Main went on a run of six points to close out the match.
With Fusion losing 2-1 it was up to Emran Hussain to bring the hosts back on course against Colin Dalgleish. He prevailed by a scoreline of 3-1 in a very close match. Adeleke then delivered another convincing match against Sean Doherty, who could match his opponent’s imposing play only in the second game, where Adeleke defended two game points and went on to, again, win 3-0.
Adewale’s match against Richard Main was nip and tuck. When the Fusion player levelled at 2-2 and took an early lead in the fifth game it looked as if he would go on to win, but a strong finish by Main saw North Ayrshire level the match score again.
The first game against Dalgleish saw Trumpauskas struggle again. The second game was very tight but from 7-7 the home player hit his stride and raced away with the game. Once he had found his rhythm his topspin game was too much to contain and Fusion took a 4-3 lead.
Hussain thus had the chance to secure victory for Fusion and he stormed out of the blocks to take the first two games. A close third game went to Christopher Main and when Hussain was pegged back from 10-7 in the fourth to 10-10 the spectators sensed almost certain victory slip away. However, Hussain kept his composure and sealed the game and overall match for Fusion with two well-executed points.
Victory leaves Fusion fourth in the table, just one point off third-placed BATTS, who were 8-0 victors over Halton.
The bottom club travelled to Essex a player short and although the three played their hearts out, they were unable to put a match on the scoreboard as the BATTS team was too strong.
The closest match was between Jack Bennett (No 24 in England) and Richard Lightowler (No 27) which Bennett won in five (11-9, 11-9, 10-12, 7-11, 11-6) on his way to earning the man of the match award.
Adam Nutland also won two, while Peter Cleminson and Steve Beerling won the one match they actually played, as well as picking up a forfeit apiece.BATTS have a tough match when Drumchapel visit in two weeks’ time, when Halton host North Ayrshire and Ormesby welcome Cardiff City.