MATCH REPORT 22 APRIL 2015
TRAVELLERS A AND PEEL B BOTH AVOID DEMOTION
With major lighting issues at the NSC still causing problems the restricted schedule in the DLP Adapted Bathrooms sponsored Isle of Man Table Tennis League featured teams either seeking promotion or hoping to avoid demotion. Consequently, the season has been extended and details of rearranged matches can be found on our website: www.tabletennis365.com/iom
In Division One the bottom three teams all needed to win but only Travellers A could oblige so Foxdale and Zurich Spinners will now go pot hunting in the next league down. Despite the expected white-wash for ABC Arborists they narrowly failed to take top spot from Copy Shop A. As can be seen from the final league table shown below just one point separated the top two teams and, similarly, the bottom two which illustrates just how close the competition has been this season.
Peel A were looking for a convincing win to enhance their chances of gaining promotion to the top flight. A disappointing 6-4 win over already promoted, but undermanned, Travellers B leaves the door open for Copy Shop B who now only need three points for promotion next week. At the bottom of Division Two Travellers D needed their C team to inflict a heavy defeat over Peel B but the 5-5 draw caused despondency for Travellers’ super-sub Juan Moore Jr as his D team is now destined for demotion.
ABC Arborists (9) Zurich Spinners (0)
The Spinners were looking for a minor miracle in order to avoid demotion but it was not to be. Without skipper Nigel Beattie second-to-bottom Spinners knew it would be an uphill struggle to overhaul Travellers A who were three points above them. Certainly, second-placed Arborists were in no mood to assist Colin Barron and Tommy Cowin and the match was soon over in straight sets. Unfortunately, even with a white-wash the Arborists fell a frustrating single point short of the league winners Copy Shop A.
Cowin came closest to extending this match with two tie-breakers in his 10/12, 4/11, 11/13 loss to John Magnall who finished the season with an 80 percent winning average. Jason Quirk and Mike Tamarov improved their already impressive averages to 83 percent and 74 percent respectively. Their non-playing team-mate Liam Chan had reached 85 percent and was recently crowned the island champion after beating Paul Corran in the final.
Breakaway A (3) Travellers A (6)
Faced with the prospect of demotion if they lost heavily, sixth-placed Travellers A were delighted to be able to field three players for the first time in several weeks. However, they had to rely on their promoted B team super- subs Colin Brown and Gary Shilling from Division Two. Brown overcame jet-lag to beat Aaron Faragher and then Ben Christian in a turbulent tussle 12/14, 11/9, 11/8, 13/15, 11/4. Shilling and Stu Mason did similar to ensure their safety but Breakaway’s captain Paul Corran rallied to add another hat-trick to his tally demonstrating why he has an 88 percent winning average this season. Corran and his young team-mates finished the season in a creditable fifth-place.
Strathallan A (7) Foxdale A (2)
Bottom-placed Foxdale were four points behind Travellers at the start of the evening so a good win over third-placed Strathy might have saved them. Regretfully, neither Ken Mitchell nor Andy McLarney could make any impression but Will Bayley did the double over Hadyn McLarney and Andy Horne. He then met Julian Briercliffe in a hum-dinger hat-trick decider. There were two tie-breaks before the match was concluded in Strathy’s favour 11/8, 8/11, 12/10, 15/17, 11/5. Hence the Foxes trotted back to the Second Division but at least they escaped from last place.
All the matches in Division One have now been completed and the final league table and leading player averages are shown below:
Final League Table: Division One 2014/15
Copy Shop A
Peel A (6) Travellers B (4)
With Travellers B already promoted as champions they were able to lend a couple of their players to the A team who are struggling near the bottom of Division One. However, this left the B team short of a player even after calling-up David Buck from Travellers D. Their opponents Peel A are locked in a battle with Copy Shop B for the second promotion place so every point in precious. Consequently, Peel will have been pleased to receive three forfeit points but they may have expected more. There had been a suggestion that, so as not to skew the outcome of the promotion battle, Travellers B would only field one player just as they had against Copy Shop a month ago.
It would have been academic if Matt Evans and Maggie Mulhern had beaten Buck but he played brilliantly and won 11/7 in the last leg of both of his games against them. Whether this played on the conscience of Mathieson-Nelson we do not know as, although he beat Evans and Mulhern, he surprisingly lost only his second game of the season 8/11, 8/11, 11/7, 11/6 to Malc Lewis who then dovetailed with Mulhern to deliver the doubles. This match result keeps Peel in second place, but only two points ahead of Copy Shop B who still have one final game to play.
Copy Shop B (7) Surestrike Ramsey B (3)
With one eye on the Peel A v Travellers B match being played on a nearby table Copy Shop B did their best to maximise their promotion chances. They knew it was unlikely that Surestrike’s captain Tim Baker would assist their cause and, as expected, he skittled them all out in straight sets. However, Rob Sim, Adam Davies and Vish Patel struck back by beating Jack Craik and Kerenza Baker. Most of the matches were finished in three sets but in an exceptional match Patel kept his nerve to overcome the fast improving Craik 11/8, 7/11, 11/7, 5/11, 11/9. Copy Shop also took the doubles thus reducing Peel A’s cushion to just two points. Hence, promotion beckons because, next week, Copy Shop play bottom-placed Tower C who are without a win.
Peel B (5) Travellers C (5)
Maurice Campbell was still unavailable for sixth-placed Travellers C so Juan Moore Jr was drafted in from the D team and he duly delivered a handy hat-trick. Moore was rather hoping his temporary team-mates would do the same because he needed Peel B to lose 10-0 in order to give his own team an outside chance of avoiding relegation. Alas, neither Nathan Evans nor Harry Walters had read the script and they both beat Jackie Gill and Alan Harding. Sasha Thomas added the fifth point with a win over Gill. However, Harding, who was still seething from a 12/14 last leg defeat by Walters, tanked it past Thomas 11/2, 11/7, 11/7 and then joined Gill to deliver the draw by winning the doubles. Never-the-less Peel were jubilant as their plight is over.