With only a handful of matches to play, current Kendal and District Division One champions Natland A are on the verge of defending their crown, holding a three point cushion over rivals Burton A, having played two games fewer.
Natland’s latest success came courtesy of an 8-2 victory against strugglers Dallam A. Roger Pimblett and John Fearon got Natland off to a flying start thanks to four and three set victories against James Neal and Craig James respectively. John Fitzgerald hauled Dallam onto the scoreboard thanks to a last gasp 11-9, 3-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9 triumph in the deciding set against replacement Mark Ashburn. Neal produced one of his finest wins to date after shocking Fearon 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6 to pull Dallam back remarkably to a 2-2 scoreline. This however was as good as it got as Natland took the next five singles matches as well as the doubles 11-8, 12-10, 12-10 to confirm the 8-2 success.
Second placed Burton A are three points behind Natland, having played two more games than their rivals. Any scant hope of title success was extinguished this week as they could only manage a 6-4 victory against Dalton CC B. Burton’s Peter Baxendale was in fine form, sweeping to three victories which included a fabulous 2-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 triumph against Gareth Brunton. Team mate Chris Knowles could only manage a single win against Paul Croft, while Dalton’s dangermen were Tony Whitehouse and Gareth Brunton who recorded two victories apiece against Martin Wakelin and Knowles.
Third placed Ibis look to be the only side able to stop Natland A, although they lie seven points behind top spot. The once all-conquering Kendal side gave themselves slim hope of championship success following recent 7-3 and 10-0 successes against Dalton CC B and Natland B respectively.
In Division Two, Grayrigg A received confirmation of their relegation after losing the sixteenth match of a dismal campaign 8-2 against Crook B. Bob Bagot once again scooped the man of the match award with his three wins, while Grayrigg’s points came from Doug Baxter and Sam Housego’s triumphs against Andy Gilchrist and John Wood respectively.
Kirkby Stephen C are almost certain mathematically to be relegated as they are positioned seventeen points from safety with a maximum of twenty points available to play for.
Dallam D look to have sewn up Division Three after their latest 27-6 victory against Burton E has left them with a huge seventy point cushion at the table summit.Second and third placed Grayrigg B and Dent A are fighting for the one other promotion place as only ten points separate the two sides with only a handful of matches to play