Ibis were crowned the Kendal and District Table Tennis League’s Division One champions in the most dramatic of circumstances after the Kendal side finished equal on points with Natland A, but took the title due to a superior win record.
Natland A, who at one point looked almost certain favourites for the title, will look back on a shock 8-2 defeat at the hands of Burton A as the moment the title slipped away. In their final match of the season Natland could do no more than triumph 10-0 over Kirkby Stephen A and that is exactly what they did.
Ibis faced the much sterner test of Dalton CC A in their final match with the Kendal side knowing that a win would see them crowned as champions. Ibis got off to a nervy start as Dalton raced into a 3-1 advantage thanks to Keith Dymond and Paul Ackred’s four set wins against Trevor Nicholson, adding to Ryan Smith’s 11-7, 11-6, 12-10 triumph over James McGrath. Steve Dixon offered Ibis a glimmer of hope when he eclipsed Ackred 11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5. The Kendal side produced a remarkable recovery in the second period when McGrath toppled Dymond 11-9 in a fifth set thriller, Dixon defeated Smith in four sets and McGrath swept aside Ackred 11-3, 11-7, 11-9 to leave the score at 4-3. Smith levelled for Dalton at 4-4 thanks to his four set success against Nicholson however Dixon once again proved sublime with his 12-10, 11-5, 11-6 demolition of Dymond. In a fitting end to the season, Ibis snatched championship glory when McGrath and Dixon teamed up to win 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4, handing them an overall 6-4 match victory. This result left Ibis equal on points with Natland A, however Ibis had amassed seventeen victories within the season compared with Natland’s fifteen, thus giving Ibis the title.
At the opposite end of the table, Natland B were relegated alongside Kirkby Stephen A despite winning their final match of the season 6-4 against Crook A. Louise Thompson and Mark Ashburn were in inspired form with their three victories, although this was not enough to save their side.
Natland C were crowned Division Two champions despite losing 6-4 to Dallam C. Natland’s title winning trio of Bernard Pickthall, Andrea Jorkisch and Peter Taylor won one match apiece. The man of the match award was reserved for Dallam youngster Thomas Parkinson who won three matches, which included two that went the full distance. Burton C will join Natland in Division One next season as they finished second despite being held 5-5 by Crook B. At the opposite end of the table, Kirkby Stephen C and Grayrigg A were relegated.
In Division Three, Dallam D’s Bradley Varey, Stephen Troughton, Stephen Gosling and Bruce Carnaffin were crowned champions and signed off with a 26-10 derby defeat of their E team. Meanwhile Grayrigg B’s Margaret Dixon and Kevin and Cameron Hunter finished in second place.