Table tennis week 15 report by Colin Brown
Championship and promotion issues wide open again
The way the fixtures worked out, this week’s matches could have gone a long way towards resolving some of the championship, promotion and relegation issues. In the event, there were a few surprises which keep most of the main issues still in the melting pot.
While Division One leaders Copy Shop A were being held to 7-3 by fourth placed Breakaway A, second in the table Ramsey A were closing the gap to seven points by beating Tower A 9-1. Big match is on February 29thwhen the top two clash at the NSC. The meeting between the two bottom teams saw Travellers A defeat Foxdale A 6-4, a result which pulls them nearer the sides immediately above them. Arbory have now been dragged into the relegation fight after losing 8-2 to Strathallan.
The Second Division saw a meeting between Foxdale B (second) and Travellers B (third.) A good win for Foxdale would have seen them consolidating their position in the play-off spot, but Travellers came out on top 7-3 which means they take over second position. Meanwhile, in Division Three, the top two teams – Peel C and B – both won by the same score which sees Peel C retain their three points advantage.
Breakaway’s Steve O’Hare did his best to ensure Copy Shop A didn’t run away with the league title. He won two singles against the leaders and combined with Paul Corran to win the doubles as well. Ronan McDonnell made certain Copy Shop kept on track for the title with three singles wins, although he was taken to five by Paul, winning the decider 11-8.
The Tower A v Ramsey A encounter was one of those matches where the losing team can feel a bit miffed that they didn’t get more out of the night. Five matches went the distance with second placed Ramsey winning four of them – and by some incredibly tight margins. Dave Parsons suffered more than most, losing 12-10 to Mason McLarney and 14-12 to Darren Smethurst. Tower salvaged the doubles but ended up losing 9-1.
The other two matches had a bearing on the relegation issue. John Magnall won two for Arbory but couldn’t stop them losing 8-2 to Strathallan which means they drop into the relegation play-off position. Bottom club Travellers A defeated Foxdale A 6-4 and are now only three points worse off than Arbory. Paul Nelson and Gary Shilling each won two for Travellers while Will Bayley did the same for Foxdale.
Copy Shop A are now a massive 17 points clear at the top following their 8-2 win over Salmon River Spinners. Danny Hamill led them to victory with four out of four but he needed five games to defeat both Tommy Cowin and Nigel Beattie – it was 11-9 against Nigel. Third placed Travellers B defeated second in the table Foxdale B 7-3 to move ahead of them. Stu Douglas won four out of four for Travellers, coming from two games down to beat Ken Mitchell in five. Closest match of the night saw Foxdale’s Andy McLarney leading all the way, only to be pipped at the death 12-10 in the fifth by Colin Brown.
The Callows again did the business for Tower C who beat Travellers C 8-2 and with Travellers pretty much relegated the battle is on to see whether Tower C or Spinners avoid the relegation play-off spot. Final match in this division saw Les Wilson in dominant form for Peel A against Tower B, winning all his singles and helping his side to a 5-5 draw. Four matches required a decider with Peel winning three. Two significant results saw Malcolm Lewis edging out Steve Curtis 11-8 while Les came from 2-1 down to beat Graham McFarlane 11-6 in the final game. Dave Stevenson battled hard to win two for Tower.
A mixture of illness, holidays and other commitments saw several teams playing short in this division. Marion Forrest won three singles but was still on the losing side as Ramsey B lost 7-3 to Copy Shop C. Her tightest match came against Oliver Cain who took her to five.
Elsewhere, the top two teams, Peel C and B, both won by identical scores – 9-1 – which sees Peel C retain their three points lead at the top. Third placed Breakaway B had to play one short against Peel D but still managed to win 6-4, largely thanks to Aaron Faragher who won all three singles while Ben Christian won two, just losing out 11-7 in the decider to Eann Mulhern.
Breakaway now seem too far behind to influence the promotion issues and it appears to be between Peel B and C to determine who gets automatic promotion and who attempts to go up via the play-offs. The crunch comes on February 15thwhen the two lock horns.
Results – Division One: Copy Shop A 7(R.McDonnell 3, B. Crellin 2, J. Coulthurst 2 Breakaway A 3 (S. O’Hare 2, doubles); Tower A 1 (doubles) Ramsey A 9 (M. McLarney 3, A. Teare 3, D.Smethurst 3); Arbory 2 (J. Magnall 2) Strathallan 8 (J. Briercliffe 2, A. Patterson 1, A. Horne 1, doubles, 3 walkovers); Travellers A 6 (P. Nelson 2, G. Shilling 2, M. Cummings 1, doubles) Foxdale A 4 (W. Bayley 2, R.Bailey 1, M. Bayley 1).
Division Two: Copy Shop B 8(D. Hamill 3, S. Drewry 2, A. Davies 2, doubles) Salmon River Spinners 2 (N. Beattie 2); Travellers B 7 (S. Douglas 3, C. Brown 3, doubles) Foxdale B 3 (A. McLarney 1, K. Mitchell 1, N. Quane 1); Tower C 8 (P. Callow 2, D. Callow 2, doubles, 3 walkovers) Travellers C 2 (M. Campbell 1, J. Gill 1); Peel A 5 (L. Wilson 3, M. Lewis 2) Tower B 5 (D. Stevenson 2, S. Curtis 1, G. McFarlane 1, doubles.)
Division Three: Fortress 1(P. Halliwell 1) Peel C 9 (A Reid 1, C. Holmes 1, 7 walkovers); Peel B 9 (M. Evans 3, W. Cross 3, A. Reid 2, doubles) Peel E 1 (V. Patel 1); Breakaway B 6 (A. Faragher 3, B. Christian 2, doubles) Peel D 4 (E. Mulhern 1, 3 walkovers); Copy Shop C 7 (C. Aspden 1, K. Drewry 1, O. Cain 1, doubles, 3 walkovers) Ramsey B 3 (M. Forrest 3.)