At the top of Division Two of the Rother Valley League, Phoenix C are within a whisker of the top place being just one point behind. This week they faced Scorpions D playing at their Bill Schaffer Youth Centre venue at Bramley. The match kicked off with Edmund Lau playing against Stuart Element. Would Element’s experience outweigh the youth and energy of Lau? First game to element 11-9. Second to Lau 11-9. Then the titanic battle in the third game 21-19 – to Lau who then sealed it in the fourth. Andy Saxton lost to Alan Joyce and then Gary Cooper made it 2-1 to Scorpions beating Mohammed Arshid 12-10 in the fourth. Saxton then proceeded to lose easily to Joyce to level the scores. Lau on next against Element, whose experience should pull him through against the youngster, but Lau was having none of that and took no time in winning it in three straight games. Once again Phoenix hit back and so that made it 3-3 at the doubles. Phoenix won this one and took the lead for the first time in the match. Of course this did not last long as Saxton beat Arshid and then Cooper lost to Element. So the scene was set at 5-4 to Phoenix with Lau left to play Joyce. Joyce, one of the top scorers in the division this season was not going to be easy to play and fought all the way to the fifth, but Lau finished off a brilliant evening with a win and secured a draw for Scorpions. A crucial point lost for Phoenix who now level with Clifton C at the top of the division but played one more.
In Division Three Phoenix E were playing Scorpions K at the latter’s Dearne Valley College venue. Teenager Alex Selway was the first on against Phoenix’ experienced Eric Twigg. A hard fought battle between the two went to the final game which also went the distance and Selway just managed to sneak out on top 13-11. Another teenager Daniel Schofield was next on against Ken Shemwell with his awkward penhold style of play – not seen very often in the modern game – and it proved too much for Schofield. Selway senior on next and losing to Alan Redfern in four. Then came a string of three games which all went to the deciding fifth game. These were the crux of the match and left Phoenix with a 4-2 lead, Alex Selway being the only one of the three Scorpions players who could gain the victory. The match then slipped away from Scorpions as Phoenix took the next three sets to go 7-2 up. Alex Selway on last against Shemwell where he lost the first game and then proceeded to win the next two setting himself up for a third win and completing his hat-trick. Unfortunately time stepped in in the form of the staff at Dearne because the match had been so close and the venue had to shut. So Selway had to concede to Shemwell. Final score 8-2 to Phoenix
Meanwhile in the knock-out competition the semi-final stages have been reached. Phoenix A versus Scorpions E and Mason Arms A versus Scorpions G. In the former match Richard Element, Phil Walton and Mick Jarvis defeated Alex Bland, Michael Taylor and Jess Truman. Phoenix were giving away a 124 point advantage at the start but fought back well to win by a comfortable 65 points. Despite their loss, the young players from Scorpions showed fantastic attitudes and the winning team complimented them on this. Masons were too strong for Scorpions too and so the final line up is between two top division teams.