Copy Shop bid for double title success
It may be a new year but nothing much has changed in the top two divisions of the Isle of Man Table Tennis League. Copy Shop A and B teams lead the First and Second Division by margins of nine and 14 points respectively. However, there are new leaders in Division Three with Peel C now edging one point ahead of their B team.
The gap at the top stayed the same with both Copy Shop A and Ramsey A winning by the same score, 7-3. Copy Shop were made to work hard for their points with Brian Crellin and Ronan McDonnell taken the distance in three of their matches. Ronan just pipped John Callow 13-11in the fifth while John also just went down 11-7 in the final game to Brian. Ronan also had a long one against Tim Baker before squeezing home 11-8.
In contrast, the Ramsey A v Strathallan encounter didn’t require any final game deciders and in fact only three needed a fourth game. Adam Teare, impressively, won all his singles in straight games but needed a fourth to win the doubles with Mason McLarney. Mason had two singles wins, only losing to Andy Horne who was best for Strathallan with two victories.
The final two matches in this division both ended in draws with the two bottom teams – Travellers A and Foxdale A – surprising their higher placed rivals. Travellers earned a good draw with Arbory, Malcolm Cummings doing well to defeat John Magnall 11-6 in the fifth. Malcolm won two for Travellers, as did Gary Shilling, while Mike Tamarov and John Magnall did the same for Arbory.
Breakaway had Paul Corran to thank for their draw with Foxdale A. His three successes put Foxdale on the back foot but they fought back well with Will Bayley and Ruth Bailey each winning two. Ruth had an excellent win over Steve O’Hare at 11-9 in the fifth, and also took Paul to five.
Foxdale B and Travellers B closed the gap slightly on leaders Copy Shop B who were restricted to a 6-4 margin by the bottom team Tower C. Foxdale B moved into the play-off position, one point ahead of Travellers.
The clash between the top two players in this division – Ewan Watterson and Paul Callow – had been eagerly anticipated but in the event Ewan wasn’t playing and Paul was on top form, only dropping one game in his four matches and helping dad Dave win the doubles. Paul against Danny Hamill was worthy of note as Danny was match point and a long way down in the third game only to fight back and win it 12-10. Another cliffhanger ensued in the fourth before Paul won it 14-12. Sean Drewry and Adam Davies both won two for Copy Shop.
Foxdale B took over second spot with a 10-0 triumph over Travellers C. Maurice Campbell and Alan Harding both took Andy McLarney to five games but that was the closest they came to salvaging a point. Mike Bayley and Ken Mitchell were untroubled for Foxdale.
Nigel Beattie recorded two wins for Salmon River Spinners against Tower B but that was all they could muster. Graham McFarlane led Tower to victory with four wins while Dave Stevenson and Steve Curtis weighed in with two more each. Tightest match of the night saw Nigel seeing off Dave 11-6 in the decider.
The Peel A v Travellers B fixture saw an exact reversal of the score when the teams met in November. On that occasion Peel won 7-3 but this time it was Travellers’ turn to win by the same score. Maggie Mulhern tried to show her Peel colleagues the way to do it with two good wins but three from Colin Brown, well backed up by Stu Douglas with two successes, put Travellers on the road to victory. Longest match, by some distance, was Stu’s encounter with Malc Lewis which the former won 11-8 in the fifth.
Peel C are now the new leaders thanks to their 10-0 win over their E team colleagues. Chris Holmes, Ashley Reid and Sean Cassidy were always in control, although Vishal Patel only lost out in four close games to both Ashley and Sean.
While Peel C were dominating their match the previous leaders, Peel B, were being held to 6-4 by the third placed club, Breakaway B, which means that the C team are now one point ahead at the top. Breakaway were playing one short and had to concede three matches but on games played they actually won 4-3. Ben Christian won two singles for them, just losing out 11-5 in the fifth to Steve Mitchell – a former league player – who was making a bit of a comeback. Steve won both his singles for Peel, 12-10 in the fourth against Sam Callister.
Ramsey B could only muster one player for their match with Peel D. Marion Forrest, though, excelled by winning all her three singles. Unfortunately for Marion, Ramsey then had to concede seven matches but two guest players gave Peel D some opposition – unfortunately, their games were void as far as the result card was concerned.
There were some exceptionally long matches in the Fortress v Copy Shop C fixture. Kevin Drewry won all his singles for Copy Shop but the greater all round team performance came from Fortress who won 6-4. Pat Halliwell, for Fortress, came from two sets down to level the match against Kevin only for him to sneak home 11-9 in the decider. Pat then lost the first two games to Oliver Cain but came back to win the next three to take the point for her team with a score of 2-11 4-11 11-6 17-15 13-11. Mahmoud and Karen Hassan each won two for Fortress.
Results - Division One: Tower A 3 (J.Callow 1, T. Baker 1, D. Parsons 1) Copy Shop A 7 (B. Crellin 3, R.McDonnell 3, doubles.); Ramsey A 7 (A. Teare 3, M. McLarney 2, D.Smethurst 1, doubles) Strathallan 3 (A.Horne 2, H.McLarney 1); Foxdale A 5 (W.Bayley 2, R.Bailey 2, M. Townsend 1) Breakaway A 5 (P.Corran 3, S.O’Hare 1, doubles); Travellers A 5 (M. Cummings 2, G. Shilling 2, S. Mason 1) Arbory 5 (M.Tamarov 2, J. Magnall 2, doubles.)
Division Two: Travellers C 0 Foxdale B 10 (M. Bayley 3, K.Mitchell 3, A.McLarney 3, doubles); Tower C 4 (P.Callow 3, doubles) Copy Shop B 6 (S.Drewry 2, D. Hamill 2, A. Davies 2); Tower B 8 (G. McFarlane 3, D. Stevenson 2, S. Curtis 2, doubles) Salmon River Spinners 2 (N. Beattie 2.); Peel A 3 (M. Mulhern 2, M. Lewis 1) Travellers B 7 (C. Brown 3, S. Douglas 2, S. Ellis-Pearson 1, doubles.)
Division Three: Peel C 10 (C. Holmes 3, A. Reid 3, S. Cassidy 3, doubles) Peel E 0; Breakaway B 4 (B. Christian 2, S. Callister 1, doubles Peel B 6 (S. Mitchell 2, M. Evans 1, three walkovers.); Peel D 7 (7 walkovers); Ramsey B 3 (M. Forrest 3); Fortress 6 (M. Hassan 2, K. Hassan 2, P. Halliwell 1, doubles Copy Shop C 4 (K. Drewry 3, C.Aspden 1.)