BATTLE RAGES AT TOP FLIGHT SUMMIT
An intriguing battle has developed at the top of the Division One table in the Kendal and District League, as three teams vie for championship honours.
Two of the division’s big hitters locked horns this week, as second placed Ibis encountered third placed Natland A in the most crucial match of the season so far. Steve Dixon and James McGrath fired Ibis into an early 2-1 advantage thanks to 11-2, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6 and 11-6, 5-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3 victories against Harry Carter and John Fearon respectively. Roger Pimblett eclipsed Trevor Nicholson and McGrath to keep Natland afloat, while Dixon’s 12-10, 11-8, 14-12 success against Fearon forged a 3-3 scoreline at the midpoint. Neither side could be separated moving into the second period, as Fearon edged out Nicholson 11-6 in an exhausting five setter, while Ibis stole the final two singles matches when McGrath and Dixon eased past Carter and Pimblett respectively. With the scores locked at 5-4 in Ibis’s favour, McGrath and Dixon teamed up in the doubles to beat Fearon and Carter 13-11 in yet another breathing taking five set duel to take the spoils 6-4. The result sends Ibis to the top of the table, four points ahead of Dalton A. Natland however have two games in hand over their rivals and are seated in third position.
Dalton Cricket Club A dropped to second position, despite beating their B team 8-2. Dalton had Keith Dymond to thank for guiding them to their tenth win of the season after his three victories. Tony Whitehouse came closest to toppling the Dalton maestro after narrowly losing out 11-4 in a tense five setter. Dalton B’s points came courtesy of Whitehouse and Gareth Brunton’s triumphs against Paul Ackred and Ryan Smith respectively.
Burton A are up to fifth position after scoring a comprehensive 8-2 victory against Dallam B. Chris Knowles had an outstanding night for Burton as he recorded three victories, aided by team mates Phil Goymer and Martin Wakelin’s two victories. Dallam hauled themselves onto the score-sheet when Paul Gosling and Jon Cooper beat Goymer and Wakelin 12-10 and 11-7 both in close deciding sets.
In Division Two, Kirkby Stephen A have accumulated a healthy eleven point cushion at the summit of the table. The Eden valley side are yet to be beaten and their winning streak continued with an impressive 9-1 demolition of Dent. Dave White and Francesca Currie were sublime, recording three victories each, while Dent’s point came courtesy of Wayne Gardner’s five set success against Peter George.
Crook B consolidated their second placed position as they beat third placed Dallam D 6-4. Tony Cousins and John Wood fired Crook off into a 2-0 lead thanks to victories against Sam and Jack Horrocks. Crook continued to dominate the match as Cousins and Wood completed a brace of wins apiece. The man of the match award though was reserved for an ever improving James Neal who won all three matches.
At the opposite end of the table, Dallam C pulled nine points clear of the relegation zone after beating their D team 6-4, while Natland E are still awaiting their first victory of the season, as they were mauled 9-1 by Kirkby Stephen B. George Pickthall scored Natland’s solitary point with an 11-8, 11-6, 4-11, 7-11, 11-4 triumph against Tom Walton.
Meanwhile in Division Three, Burton E’s Dave Salmon Brian Gourlay and Aidan Branch lead the table by nineteen points from second placed Grayrigg A thanks to a 22-17 victory against third placed Crook C. Grayrigg A cemented their second placed position despite losing 22-20 to Dallam E.