TOP FLIGHT BASEMENT BATTLE INTENSIFIES
The battle at the foot of Division One in the Kendal and District Table Tennis League intensified this week as four sides struggle to maintain their top flight status.
Two teams in imminent danger of relegation locked horns this week as ninth placed Crook A hosted eighth placed Natland B. Crook edged the opening two matches after an injury ridden John Howarth beat Rinaldo Colombi 12-14, 6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 and Phil Swift scraped past Mark Ashburn 12-14, 13-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-3. Natland hauled themselves on the score-sheet when Louise Thompson defeated Mike Taylor 11-9, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6. Crook extended their lead to 4-1 thanks to four set successes for Swift against Colombi and Howarth against Thompson. Ashburn beat Taylor to give Natland their third victory of the night however Swift ensured Crook arrived at the doubles 6-3 up thanks to his comfortable triumph against Thompson. A 6-4 scoreline in Crook’s favour was completed when Natland snatched glory in the doubles 11-8, 2-11, 11-9, 11-9.
Dallam A sunk into the relegation zone following a heavy 10-0 defeat at the hands of second placed Burton A. The Milnthorpe side- who have not tasted success since the opening week- never troubled their higher ranked opposition losing eight out of their ten encounters in three straight sets.
Bottom placed Kirkby Stephen A are still awaiting their first victory of the season after losing their ninth consecutive match 10-0 against leaders Natland A. The Eden Valley side nearly avoided the whitewash when Francesca Currie pushed a relieved Harry Carter all the way in a narrow 5-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-5, 7-11 defeat.
Natland C have forged a nine point advantage at the summit of Division Two but have played one game more than their second placed rivals Burton C. Peter Taylor guided Natland to their eighth win in nine matches thanks to his three victories. Team mates Bernard Pickthall and Andrea Jorkisch won two matches apiece, although their defeats to Stuart Allan ensured the Milnthorpe side avoided a whitewash.
Burton D eased their relegation concerns by netting an excellent 6-4 triumph against fourth placed Kirkby Stephen B. Dan Stringer was Kirkby’s star player, bagging three victories including a four set success against an in form Bryan Rhodes. Rhodes and team mate Peter Hunt steered Burton to only their second win of the season thanks to triumphs against Andrew Leach and John Metcalfe. Leach experienced a torrid night, losing each of his three matches in the deciding set.
In Division Three, bottom placed Natland E are making some good progress and avoided defeat for the first time this season thanks to a thrilling 21-21 draw with Dallam E. Natland’s man of the match was Daniel Holder who remained unbeaten. On the way to his three victories, Holder beat Nina Duxbury, Matthew Pritchard and William Osborne 12-10, 11-9, 11-9 all in the crucial fifth set classics.
Dallam D moved into second place and have a game in hand over leaders Grayrigg B after a 20-15 victory over Dent A.