Division One of the Rother Valley League last week saw the last clash between the top two teams and, what could be, the title deciding one for Rotherham Scorpions A who were playing against Mason Arms A. Out for Scorpions were James Grayson, back home from Nottingham University for Easter having recently won the BUCS Championship with his team, Alan Battye and Jamie Hudd. Masons team was their regular pair of Mick Foster and Mick Brooks plus Lance Webster. Scorpions needed only a draw to ensure that they would be champions this season. But Masons were not going to make it easy by any means. First on Hudd against Brooks, a close contest going to four games but Hudd came out victorious. Then Foster showed that Masons meant business by defeating Battye easily in four games. Webster had the same easy win over Grayson in three straight games. That put Masons 2-1 in front. Next on Battye against Brooks, always a close contest between the two. Battye lost the first in deuce and then won the next two but Brooks showed his mettle and won the last two easily to take the set. Set five and Webster proved once again too difficult for the home team and won his second over Hudd. That put Masons 4-1 ahead and left Scorpions staring defeat in the face, not only possibly losing their 100% record for the season but also opening the door for Masons to apply pressure in the title race. Grayson halted the slide with a quick easy win over Foster and then Grayson and Hudd took the doubles in four. 4-3 to Masons. Next on was Battye against Webster whom he had not beaten for a number of years. First game to Webster. Second game to Webster. It looked like the end for Battye and a point lost but he was not going to give in and battled back to win the next two games. Fifth game nine all. Two quick pints and Battye had the victory. Now the match was poised at 4-4. Could Scorpions rescue anything from the jaws of defeat. Grayson on for his last against Brooks. First to Grayson second to Brooks. Grayson made it 2-1 and was letting the third slip away having built up a lead but hung on to hit the shot that won the game, the set and the title for Scorpions! That meant the last set between Hudd and Foster was for the honour but also Hudd could continue Scorpions 100% record. Foster was absolutely determined and it went to the final game. Hudd held his nerve and from being 4-1 down Scorpions clawed their way to a win, now played 22 won 22 and the Rother Valley League Champions 2015.
Last week also turned out to be one of adding injury to insult for Clifton D! No, not got that the wrong way round. They played against fellow strugglers in Division Two of the Rother Valley League, Phoenix D and turned up with the regulation three players consisting of Trevor Bland, Ron Watson and Pete Horsfield. However, in the first match of the night Bland played against Rob Vaughan from Phoenix and battled away to be two games to one down. Then he hurt himself and had to retire from not only that set but for the rest of the evening. John Hallgarth took the next versus Watson and then Horsfield won his first, defeating Dave Engledow. Horsfield and Watson both won their next to level it at 3-3. Doubles to Phoenix and then Horsfield finished his hat trick to level it again. Clifton were already all but relegated before this match but, in theory, still had a chance. With Phoenix just above them they had to win this one. But of course Bland was injured so his last set was conceded and there went that slim hope. Vaughan rubbed the salt in by defeating Watson to seal the 6-4 victory.bOn a more positive note, Clifton C have all but won Division Two needing just two more sets from their last two matches to ensure mathematical certainty.
In Division Three Scorpions F team helped out their club mates in the G team by inflicting a rare defeat on Phoenix F. Chris Johnson, Shaun Isam and Eric Hall winning 6-4 against Maurice Druce, Harry Smith and Dave Gurney. Although Phoenix and Scorpions G are guaranteed to finish in the top two spots already, who will be the divisional champions is still not certain with the latter holding the advantage only one point ahead with one match in hand. But they still have to meet each other for the last time this season.
In the same division Scorpions J’s position at the bottom of the League is now secure having only two matches left but eight points adrift. Keep an eye on this team next season as the youngsters are all improving at such a rate that they might even push for promotion.