SCARBOROUGHS PROMOTION AMBITIONS
Scarborough’s British League table tennis team took part in the latest two matches of the season at Ormesby TTC on Sunday 17th January.
Lying in third place going into the matches the team needed to do well as both teams they were due to play were breathing down their necks in fourth and fifth. First was Beaumont Academy who were beaten 6-4 by Scarborough in the first half. Ashley Hodgson was first on to play number one Anthony Phoenix. Despite an encouraging display Hodgson was beaten 3-1. Scarborough number one, Martin Lowe was next and had little trouble beating Mark Walpole 3-0. Aidan Ranftler then took the opportunity to put Scarborough into the lead beating top twenty in England, Isobel Ashley – Just! Ranftler looked in control against an unusually nervous looking Ashley, taking the first two sets 11-8, 11-8. However, Ashley then relaxed and began to play closer to her best. She took the next two sets to level at 2-2. Ranftler did well to hold his nerve against what was becoming an onslaught from Ashley and he held on to win 11-9 in the fifth. If Scarborough are to be promoted it may be that the ever improving James Rule will be pivotal to their success. He was comfortable in beating Stephen Cooper 3-0 to make the score 3-1 in the match. In the first doubles Lowe and Hodgson could never get into top gear against difficult opponents in Ashley and Phoenix. They lost rather disappointingly 3-1. Rule and Ranftler made amends by winning their doubles 3-1 to make the match score 4-2. Lowe then had to play Phoenix, a player he had beaten on their two previous meetings for the loss of only one set. Lowe recovered from slow starts in the first two sets to take them both 11-9. Phoenix took the next also 11-9. In the fourth set Lowe found himself 4-1 down and in real danger of going to a fifth set. He suddenly found his range on the backhand and took all the next ten points to win 11-4. With Scarborough needing only one more win for victory Hodgson played Isobel Ashley. Both players were in better form than their first match, but it was the Beaumont girl who played the better to win 3-1 in four close sets. Scarborough didn’t need to worry as Rule easily defeated Walpole to seal the win. Ranftler then capped the performance with an equally impressive win over Cooper. 7-3 to Scarborough.
In the afternoon the opponents were Wood Green who had beaten Scarborough 6-4 in the first half. It was important to reverse this result to keep up the possible promotion challenge. Lowe was first on against Jamie Davies. In a completely different match to Lowe’s narrow 3-2 victory previously, Lowe won easily 1,7,6. Hodgson then played a great match against Wood Green number one Stephen Ward. Ward had beaten Hodgson 3-0 in the first half, but in a complete reversal it was Hodgson who won 3-0 in a dominating performance winning 7,9,9. Rule had an uncharacteristically lacklustre performance in his match against number four George Falcus. It is surely the sign of a good player though when they can win when not playing at their best. Rule managed to do this -6,5,6,-9,4. Ranftler made the score 4-0 with a solid win against Nicholas Gilmour in four sets, 4,6,-11,8. The match was sealed in emphatic style with 3-0 wins in the doubles for both Rule and Lowe and then Hodgson and Ranftler. Lowe then went on to play Ward who took him to a fifth set in the first half. Lowe took a two set lead, but with some brilliant shots Ward fought his way back into it and eventually took the match 3-2, winning, -9,-11,6,7,9. Rule then played Jamie Davies, a player who had inflicted defeat on him in the first half. Rule demonstrated his improved level of play by winning in three sets, 6,12,9. Hodgson was looking a much better player than in the morning and he destroyed a difficult opponent in Gilmour 3-0, winning 6,11,4. Hodgson’s two easy wins earned him the player of the match award. Rule had won this in the morning’s match. Ranftler couldn’t quite finish off the match in style as he was unable to deal with Falcus in the final match. Even so an 8-2 score line was more than satisfactory for Scarborough.
These two great results consolidated Scarborough’s position in third place.
1 NORTHFIELD 20pts.
2 PUDSEY 16pts.
3 SCARBOROUGH 14pts.
4 BEAUMONT 10pts.
5 WOOD GREEN 10pts.
6 DRAYCOTT 6pts.
7 ORMESBY 2pts.
8 FORMBY 2pts.
With the top two and bottom two teams left to play the team’s fate will be decided on the last weekend of the season on the 9th and 10th of April. With Northfield champion elect, the crucial match will be against Pudsey where a win could well see them finish second, possibly on games difference.