There were big matches involving the top teams in all three divisions of the Isle of Man Table Tennis League this week. Two of the encounters ended in 5-5 draws. I said last week that the top of Division Three was unbelievably close with only ten points covering the top four teams. Well, after this week's results it is even closer with the top four separated by just seven points.
COPY SHOP A, 5 ARBORY 5
Arbory preserved their unbeaten record but Copy Shop still lead the division by 14 points although the two teams immediately below them - Arbory and Breakaway A - have a match in hand. Copy Shop were without Ronan McDonnell because of study commitments so Brian Crellin made a return. Arbory were 5-1 up before Copy Shop made a late comeback. Crellin lost to both John Magnall and Jason Quirk and then redeemed himself by taking a late win against Mike Tamarov who had earlier beaten Sean Drewry. Drewry also lost out to Magnall at the end of five grueling sets but won his last singles match against Quirk who had seen off Ewan Watterson. Watterson beat Tamarov and then defeated Magnall in a five game thriller before thwarting them both again by joining Drewry to snatch the draw in a marathon doubles match.
FOXDALE B 1, TOWER A 9
Relegation seems inevitable for bottom of the table Foxdale B after this result with Ken Mitchell defeating Tower’s reserve Graham McFarlane for their only point. Paul Kozlowski and Tim Baker were unbeaten against Mitchell, Mike Bayley and Neil Quane.
TRAVELLERS A 1, STRATHALLAN 9
Travellers also look destined for the drop. Gary Shilling, Brent Hanson and Paul Nelson hardly had a look–in against Andy Horne and Andy Patterson. However, Hanson took Hadyn McLarney to a fifth set and Nelson went one better by beating McLarney 11/8 at the end of five oscillating sets.
TRAVELLERS B 8, BREAKAWAY B 2
Top placed Travellers were playing the team in third place and this heavy defeat for Breakaway put a dent in their promotion hopes as they are now 11 points behind second placed Zurich Spinners. Breakaway actually led 2-1 at one stage, thanks to two wins from Chris Kewley but Travellers rattled off the remainder. Colin Brown was undefeated but was taken to a fourth set by Aaron Faragher who also lost to Stu Mason and Stu Douglas. Douglas just pipped Ben Christian 11/7 in the fifth set.
ZURICH SPINNERS 10, PEEL B 0
Spinners quickly accounted for two-man Peel B but Vishal Patel fought hard trying to earn a point for his side, just losing in the deciding game to Colin Barron. The score in this match is worth reporting. Barron won 11/4, 18/20, 16/18, 11/7, 11/5. Nigel Beattie and Tommy Cowin were untroubled.
PEEL A 7, COPY SHOP C 3
Peel now sit comfortably in fourth position after this win over the team just below them in the table. Adam Davies notched up his usual three wins for Copy Shop but Les Wilson, Mattie Evans and Mal Lewis pocketed the rest against George Melvin and Henry Hyde.
B TOWER 9, C TOWER 1
Graham McFarlane won five out of his six matches that evening having also played up for Tower A. He and Steve Curtis won all their matches for the B team and Simon Radcliffe pitched in with two after tie-break defeat against Dave Callow 11/13, 10/12, 7/11. Margaret Forsyth didn’t make it past three sets and, in the only game to go the distance; Radcliffe defeated Mike Chapman 11/4 in the final set.
COPY SHOP B 6, SURESTRIKE RAMSEY A 4
This was a good win for Copy Shop over the team three places ahead of them in the league. Keeran Chan, who is in an excellent run of form, won all three for Copy Shop. Pedro Cardoso took two more and Chris Aspden one against Carl Blatchley. Rhys Yardley was best for Ramsey with two wins, Wael Kassim picking up another. Yardley and Kassim then won the doubles to end a close match.
PEEL C 5, COPY SHOP D 5
Unusually for a clash between the top two sides, no match required a fifth game and, in fact, only three went to four sets. Harry Walters won two points for Peel while Nathan Evans and Sasha Thomas added one more each by beating Zac Walker. Kevin Drewry with three wins and Max Walker with two edged Copy Shop ahead, but Peel claimed the doubles 5/11, 13/11, 14/12, 11/9 to square the match.
SURESTRIKE RAMSEY B 10 SURESTRIKE RAMSEY C 0
Unfortunately for Peel and Copy Shop, while they were fighting out a 5-5 draw, Ramsey B took all ten against their C team to move to the top of the table. Billy Cain almost put one on the board for the C team, just losing 14/12 in the fifth to Karenza Baker. Baker and her team mates Marcus and Calvin Koske were thus undefeated against Cain, Liam Cooper and Olly Brew.
TRAVELLERS D 9, COPY SHOP E 1
Copy Shop were indebted to Pat Halliwell for their only point by beating Jack Mathieson-Nelson. Travellers stayed in the promotion hunt thanks to three wins each from Juan Moore Jnr and Juan Moore Snr and two from Matieson-Nelson who went on to beat both Sophie Sheard and Libby Quaggin.
JUNIOR DEVELOPMENT 1, BREAKAWAY C 9
Tom Noble was the only winner for J D in the match against the team just above them in the league table. Ciaran Lane narrowly lost that match 9/11 in the final frame but went on to defeat Billy Coulter and Corrin Haddock who never-the-less did win a set 20/18. Jack Christian and Steve Walters wrapped up the remaining points for Breakaway.COLIN BROWN