TITLE RACE THROWN WIDE OPEN AS BURTON TOPPLE NATLAND
The Division One title race has been thrown wide open in the Kendal and District Table Tennis League after leaders and defending champions Natland A were swept aside 8-2 in a shock defeat at the hands of second placed Burton A.
A remarkable night of shocks ignited when Graham Coupe and Peter Baxendale beat Harry Carter and Roger Pimblett 11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8 and 11-8, 10-12, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9 respectively, handing Burton an early 2-0 advantage. John Fearon provided some welcome relief for Natland as he defeated Chris Knowles in a tense five setter 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7. Burton increased their lead to 4-1 courtesy of Baxendale and Coupe’s four set triumphs against Carter and Fearon respectively. In the second period Pimblett doubled Natland’s haul, easing beyond Knowles in four sets, although Burton continued on their path to glory thanks to Baxendale and Knowles’s victories against Fearon and Carter respectively. Natland were crumbling in extraordinary style and Burton reached the doubles 7-2 up, following Coupe’s 15-13, 11-6, 11-7 win against Pimblett in the last singles match of the night. Burton completed a memorable 8-2 victory when Coupe and Knowles triumphed over Pimblett and Fearon 11-5, 13-11, 11-7. The result leaves Burton in top-spot, having played two games more than Natland.
Third placed Ibis moved within one point of Natland following an 8-2 triumph against Burton B. The highlight of the match was Phil Goymer’s 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 14-12, 11-9 victory for Burton against the league’s number one player Steve Dixon. Alan Holt also excelled, beating an exhausted Trevor Nicholson 11-5, 11-9, 13-11, 12-10. Despite these setbacks, James McGrath paved the way to Ibis’s fourteenth victory of the season thanks to his three wins.
At the opposite end of the table, Natland B and Crook A are involved in a mammoth struggle to defend their top flight status. Natland B moved seven points clear of the relegation zone with a commanding 8-2 triumph against bottom placed Kirkby Stephen A, while Crook A could only manage two points in an 8-2 defeat at the hands of Burton B.
In Division Two, table topping Natland C confirmed their place in the top flight next season with a 10-0 whitewash over relegated Grayrigg A. Natland’s trio of Andrea Jorkisch, Bernard Pickthall and Peter Taylor only dropped one set in a night of total domination. Natland will now have the divisional title in their sights, having amassed an eight point advantage at the table summit.
Burton C’s promotion to Division One has also been completed as they eclipsed relegated Kirkby Stephen C 10-0. Aidan Branch should consider himself fortunate to come away from this fixture unbeaten, following two narrow five set wins against Gerry Baines and Eric Robinson, although Burton team mates Graeme Wheelhouse and Tony March looked much more at ease. The result has condemned Kirkby Stephen’s relegation to Division Three.
Meanwhile in Division Three, Dallam D’s Bradley Varey, Stephen Troughton and Stephen Gosling have a massive seventy point cushion at the top of the table, while Grayrigg B and Dent A are involved in a ferocious battle for the other promotion place in second and third place respectively.