(courtesy of Nick Denney) St. George's 1st 1 - 9 Flamstead 1st
An 11.30pm finish, an outstanding comeback from 2 games down and 3-7 in the 3rd - to avoid a 10-0 whitewash - and above all, some great table tennis; this match had it all.
Having seen the Division leaders only narrowly beat a two man St. George's team 6-4 last week, it would be wishful thinking to hope they would extend us the same privilege this week, so I’m sure Dave Wackrill will be very pleased to see a full quota of players to take on their nearest rivals, with Daniel Broner and Michael Wilkins aided by the more than capable (if a little erratic) Bob Sapuan.
I started against Bob and kept my focus to win in three games, which was then followed by an utterly outstanding set. Biao Wang took the first, with Daniel coming back strongly to take the next two legs. It was nip and tuck with some outstanding counter hitting play from both players. Biao squeezed out the 4th leg and Daniel played really well to take a 10-6 lead in the deciding leg, but amazingly Biao took the next 6 points to win 3-2. The following set between Michael and Marc was equally intriguing, with both players showing good form in spells. An equally tense 5th leg saw Marc just pip Michael to the post 11-9. I then played Daniel, who I had never beaten, and that trend looked to continue as he raced in to a 11-7 11-2 lead. I dug deep though, and won the next three very closely fought legs. Marc eased past Bob in the next, then in the next, Michael raced into a 6-0 lead in the first leg against Biao, but somehow lost his way from there, with Biao taking the first leg 11-9! The next two legs were both very evenly fought but Biao managed to nick both for a 3-0 win.
Next followed a very strange set, as Marc raced into a 2-0 lead with very little trouble against Daniel, and at 7-3 up in the third looked a certainty, with Daniel's confidence dwindling, but Daniel showed great fight to pull it back, and coupled with a number of unforced errors on Marc's part, Daniel saw out a great comeback and finally St. George's had one on the board. I then took on Michael and having lost both my previous encounters with him 3-2, I was very keen to have another crack at him. I took a VERY tightly contested 1st leg 12-10, having been behind for the majority of it, and then won the second. At 6-2 up in the third, memories came back of losing to him from a similar position earlier in the season, and Michael duly produced a great comeback to take the leg 11-9. I was determined not to let this happen again, and at 10-4 up in the 4th I was closing in for the win, but for some reason I started playing very erratically and Michael reduced the arrears to 10-9, before I just saw out the win with a huge stroke of luck on an irretrievable net cord. We managed to see out the match with the last two rubbers, which left us with a somewhat staggering 9-1 victory against a very strong side.