NATIONAL JUNIOR LEAGUE DAY 3 – 02.02.19
A TEAM IN BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL WHILE B TEAM FINISHES THIRD
Meeting No. 3 came up rather too quickly for most people’s liking – two NJL weekends in a row needed a lot of organisation and co-operation from everyone. The A team (Eddie Gillhouley/Joe Tickner/Henry Morrell) remained in Division 2 while the B team were without Ben McKay who was unwell and so comprised Tommy Cowling, Felipe Fujimori and Ben Forrester for the entire day.
The A began with a match against South Croydon C (Ben Hansen/Chidimebi Egbeama/Leone Saccoh), all familiar faces. The match went set for set throughout. With the A leading 3-2 before the final set, two good wins for Joe and one for Henry, meant he had to tackle Chidi for a possible win. It was an excellent set with Henry narrowly dropping the second 14-16 but recovering to 1-2. Unfortunately, the fourth got away from him so it ended as a draw.
The B started against Horsham (Wiggert Vermeer/Alain Shibu/Aalrin Shibu) who were expected to do well. It was a good start with Tommy beating Alain in straight games. Felipe lost in three to Wiggert and then came a battle royal for Ben with Aalrin. Ben was two games up but Aalrin fought back and eventually nipped home 11-9 in the fifth. All the remaining sets were lost but everyone did their best. At least there was one in the bag.
Next for the A were Horsham Spinners A (Ollie Michell/Oli Thorne/Sasha O’Halloran) who were looking for a speedy return to Division 1. Both the Ollies are combination bat users which everyone found difficult to deal with. It was only in the last set that Joe settled down against Sasha and was close to winning it in four but faded away in the fifth so it was an 0-6 loss.
The B had only two players to deal with against Horsham Spinners B (Rapael Satish/Jacob Austin) so there were two points in the bank to start with. Everyone got to grips with things very quickly and won all the remaining sets in straight games which was good for morale.
The A might have had hopes of securing some points from Brighton B (Rio Alvarez/Tom Nguyen/Daniel Clark) and indeed several games went to four and one to five but the only success was a very good win for Henry over Daniel.
The B took on Horsham Spinners B (Dylan Ward/Sean McCord/Adrien Taylor) and began to find their feet. There were a couple of wins for Tommy plus one for Felipe and one for Ben. Tommy got the highest individual game score of the day 17-19 before getting home in five against Dylan. A 4-2 win was a big tonic for everyone.
The A were up against another very strong team in Graham Spicer B (Daniel Clark/Tin Chi Wong/Justin Lam). There were a number of close games and Joe did well to take Daniel to five games. Eddie wasn’t having his best day but Henry is relishing the challenge. Sadly it was another 0-6 defeat.
The B, however, seemed to be getting on quite well. They picked up four against Brighton D (Louis Tregger/Connor Austin/Lucas Bradbury), two wins for Felipe and one each for Tommy and Ben.
By now the A was in desperate need of points. They had only four and were scheduled to play South Croydon D (Shantosh Theravasa/Naziyah Hasan/Gosinachidi Egbeama) who also on four so relegation for one or the other was on the cards. Eddie was still having torrid time of it and lost to Naziyah after being 2-1 up. Joe lost to another pips user, Shantosh, but Henry got the A on the board with a straight games win over Gosi. Eddie’s problems with pip users continued and he lost to Shantosh which meant the A were 1-3 down. It was beginning to look grim with relegation looming large on the horizon. Henry lightened the mood with a comfortable straight games win over Naziyah and Joe got his head down to mop up Gosi in straight games for a draw which meant the A and South Croydon were still level.
The B finished with a tough match against Brighton C (Billy Irvine/Luke Crichett/Kian Mulenga). Although the B lost this 1-5, every set was keenly contested and this could so easily have been a draw with Tommy losing to Luke on 9-11 in the fifth and Felipe running Kian very close over four hard games – 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11 tells the story.
If relegation is decided on the result between the A and South Croydon D, it will go to games won in their head to head. It will then be the A who survive as they won 11 games to South Croydon’s nine. It was a disappointing day for the A though there were some very good sets played.
Horsham and Brighton C were the outstanding teams in a Division of widely varying standards. The B were a few points behind them but ahead of Horsham Spinners B.