Natland A have made themselves firm favourites for Division One title success in the Kendal and District Table Tennis League after an incredible 6-4 victory against title rivals and defending champions Ibis.
Roger Pimblett eased Natland into a 3-2 lead thanks to his victories against Trevor Nicholson and James McGrath. Pimblett’s match with Nicholson went right to the wire, with the Natland player tasting success 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 2-11, 11-7. Harry Carter eclipsed McGrath also in three sets, while Nicholson and Steve Dixon fought back for Ibis with four set wins against John Fearon. The two sides were inseparable moving into the second period, as Dixon completed his hat-trick thanks to comfortable wins against Pimblett and Carter. Natland arrived at the doubles 5-4 ahead courtesy of Fearon and Carter’s 9-11, 12-10, 11-8. 11-3 and 11-4, 11-6, 9-11, 12-14, 11-5 victories against McGrath and Nicholson respectively. Natland converted a slender lead into a crucial 6-4 triumph in the doubles when Carter and Pimblett teamed up to beat Dixon and Nicholson 11-13, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 in a tense five setter. This latest success leaves Natland in second place, one point behind leaders Ibis but with the all-important game in hand.
Third placed Dalton CC A’s title hopes were dented as they could only manage a 6-4 win against mid-table Burton A. Dalton forged a perfect opening as they raced into a 4-1 lead. Burton pegged back the title contenders courtesy of Chris Knowles’s three victories, which included a marvellous 11-8, 7-11, 12-10, 12-10 success against Dalton ace Keith Dymond. Dalton eventually fell over the line when Dymond and Ryan Smith recorded a brace of wins apiece against Phil Goymer and Martin Wakelin.
Dalton CC B consolidated their fourth placed position thanks to a 7-3 triumph over Natland B. Gareth Brunton scooped the man of the match award for Dalton CC B with three victories, although he was made to work in an 11-6 final set win against Mark Ashburn. Tony Whitehouse provided excellent support, recording victories against Ashburn and replacement Rinaldo Colombi. Natland B’s star player was Luke Biggins who beat Whitehouse in five enthralling sets and then followed this up with a five set defeat of Keith Mallinson, having retrieved a two set deficit.
At the opposite end of the table, Burton B have pulled twelve points clear of the relegation zone after scoring four welcome points against Dallam B, while almost certain relegation stares Natland C and Dallam A in the face as both sides lost 10-0 against Natland A and Crook A respectively.
In Division Two, leaders Kirkby Stephen A have opened up a twenty one point advantage over second placed Crook B, while in Division Three, Grayrigg continue to head the table by a three point margin from Burton E in second place.