In Division One of the Rotherham Table Tennis League two of the top teams were trying to stamp their mark on the season and send out a message as to who was a contender for the title.
First off was L.S.M. A trying to see off Swallownest M.W. Both teams are still in the running but, as last year’s runners-up it is the former who have something to prove. Mohammed Khan set the ball rolling with a rather too close win over Steve Needham in five games. Left hander Pete Morgan then showed his growing revival for the sport by beating James Houghton in three straight games. Dave Kirkup then brushed aside Mick Brooks to make it 2-1 to the away team. Houghton and Khan then hit back with a win each to reverse it to 3-2 to L.S.M. But Morgan was still on fire and won his second to level it up. As in so many cases the doubles was going to be an important set in this match. The winner would take a 4-3 lead. Kirkup and Morgan took a 2 games to 0 lead, but Khan and Houghton hit back twice to level it up. So to the decider and youth shone through over experience as Khan and Houghton took it. But Swallownest were not going to lay down and Needham and Kirkup had relatively easy wins over Houghton and Brooks respectively. So 5-4 to the away team. Last on was Khan and Morgan. One of them was going to get their hat-trick. Morgan one the first in deuce then Khan did the same in the second. But Khan pulled through and won the next two comfortably to take the final point of the evening and spoils shared at 5-5.
Meanwhile Phoenix A and Phoenix C were battling it out at Phoenix! The A team is currently second in the division having only lost one point so far to L.S.M. A. However their C team was not match and with Mick Jarvis and Craig Straw both getting hat-tricks and Phil Walton supporting with a win, they strolled home 8-2 winners to put them securely in second spot two point ahead of L.S.M. A and 2 behind Scorpions A who they have yet to play for the first time this season.
At this stage of the season there were five teams who had not yet managed to get off the mark with a point. In Division One Phoenix Sports and Social Club C and Clifton A suffer that ignominy. In Division Two it is Phoenix E and in Division Three Stag School of Motoring B and Scorpions I hold the wooden spoons. Could any of them break their duck this week in the Rotherham Table Tennis League? Clifton A took on Scorpions B in their match and proved too strong as Matt Bacon, Tony Lingard and Jack Christian saw off their opponents with a 10-0 whitewash. Phoenix C lost to their A team. Phoenix E came up against an in form Scorpions F with Alex Bland, Gary Cooper and Barry Tasker all taking maximums and the doubles for another whitewash.
And finally we turn to Division Three where Stag B and Scorpions I actually met each other so someone was going to break their duck! Stag turned out the usual experienced team of Paul Flint, Warwick Plummer and John Burton, whilst Scorpions trio were Youngsters Lewis Ellams, Adam Szabo and Lucie Smith. Ellams battled brilliantly in the first set against Flint only to lose in the fifth game. Plummer beat Smith easily but then Szabo hit back to defeat Burton. Ellams joined the procession with a win against Plummer in three straight. Flint against Szabo next and it must have been the former’s night because in yet another five game thriller he managed to win it at the finish line despite Szabo having earned a 2-1 game lead. Smith stepped up next and saw off Burton in four games. So 3-sets all at the doubles. Yet another crucial doubles which went the way of Stag. Sazbo on against Plummer and the youngster too no time in beating him to level the matc at 4-4. Next set would give someone their first point of the season. Ellams against Burton. First game to Burton but Ellams hit back with a flurry and took it easily 3 games to 1 and Scorpions had broken their duck. Could they make it two points? Well Flint decided the answer would be ‘No’ seeing off Lucie Smith in three straight. So spoils shared here too but both teams no longer having that ‘null point’ record.