DIVISION 6 – 25.11.17 – DAY 2
MAJOR SHAKE UP IN THE TABLE SEES LEAD CHANGE HANDS
At the start of the second meeting of Division 6 two teams, South Croydon D (10 points) and Darenth H (nine) were well clear of the rest. Bromley Common E and Darenth I had four points, Halstead C were close behind on three with Tandridge yet to open their account for the season.
The closest match of this round was that between Bromley Common E (George Rogai/Michael Elliott) and Halstead C (Wendy Ansell/Robin Symonds). Rogai got Bromley Common off to a good start with a win over Ansell but it took all of Symonds’ considerable skills to get back on terms with Elliott after dropping the second game and he then trotted off with the fourth. Halstead won the doubles in straight games and Symonds made it a winning lead by defeating Rogai. Elliott made a slightly shaky start against Ansell 13-11 but ended it confidently to keep the score to 2-3.
The other two matches were entirely staffed by juniors and there was a lot of very good play. One of the best sets came in the Darenth I (Sophia Lipscombe/Kevin Liu) match with Tandridge (Alex Wright/Sam O’Gorman) where Lipscombe and Wright fought out a very long five game set, so long in fact that next door two entire sets had been played before they finished. It went game for game to two all with quite a few lengthy rallies, Wright fighting back to get the fourth 14-12. Lipscombe, however, has a knack of getting good shots back to awkward places and she took the set 11-6 in the fifth. The much-improved Liu had too much power for O’Gorman and he put this to good use in the doubles taking advantage of any loose returns from Lipscombe’s placements which gave Darenth a winning lead. They then took both the reverse singles to keep a clean sheet.
The Darenth H (Eddie Gillhouley/Kieran Fry) and South Croydon D (Omari Levers/Leone Saccoh) looked to be likely to produce a good scrap with all four players known to each other as they operate in the National Cadet League. Gillhouley began a little uncertainly against Levers but once he got the first game under his belt he was off and running. Something similar happened between Fry and Saccoh who likewise won in straight games to level the match. Darenth scrambled home 15-13 in the fourth game in the doubles for a 2-1 lead. Both the reverse singles went to Darenth where the South Croydon boys found all their power shots being returned with interest.
After three round Darenth H on 13 had overtaken South Croydon D on 11. Darenth I had moved up to third on nine while Bromley Common E and Halstead C were tying on six and Tandridge were still without a point.
There was an incredibly close domestic derby between Darenth H (Eddie Gillhouley/Kieran Fry) and Darenth I (Lipscombe/Liu) where three sets went to five games and another to four. It contained table tennis to a standard well in excess of what might be expected at this level. Gillhouley really struggled against the skilful returns from Lipscombe and was pegged back to two all. Gillhouley summoned up energy from somewhere and thoughtful play eventually got him home 11-9 in the decider. Fry never let Liu get going and the H backed it up with a four-game win in the doubles. The reverse singles were some of the best of the day. Gillhouley trailed 0-2 to a rampant Liu but somehow managed to get back on terms. Some very good tactical play from both ensured but once he got in front Liu was off and running. The closing set between Fry and Lipscombe was no less keenly contested. Both are very good match players so it was interesting watching them trying to out manoeuvre each other. It went to five games with Lipscombe finally gaining the upper hand to keep the score to 2-3.
South Croydon D (Saccoh/Levers) recorded a 4-1 victory over Bromley Common E (Rogai/Elliott) after Rogai had Saccoh on the run in the first set. It was close – 11-6, 12-14, 11-6, 15-13 tells the story. There were some very strange scores in the other sets, two of which went to a fourth game. The doubles typified it 11-9, 11-0, 12-10 to South Croydon who then went on to take both the reverse singles though Saccoh needed a fourth game to get past Elliott.
Tandridge (Wright/O’Gorman) were in desperate need of some points from Halstead C (Ansell/Symonds) but they had to wait a while for that. Wright began well against Ansell, going 2-0 ahead. Ansell is, however, very steady and she managed to claw her way back into the set, taking the third 11-9 and the fourth 13-11. She made a good start in the fifth and kept the pressure on Wright to take it 11-5. Symonds’ experience and knowhow were too much for either of the boys but O’Gorman finally made a deposit in the bank for Tandridge by working hard to defeat Ansell 11-7, 13-11, 14-12.
Darenth H thus lead the table on 16 with South Croydon D one point behind. Darenth I have moved into third place on 11 with Halstead C hard on their heels on 10. Bromley Common E have seven and Tandridge have finally broken their duck on one.