Just the one win recorded in the Premier this week with Greenleys Monarchs beating MK Pumas 9-1. The Pumas started brightly with their star man Hakan Karaagac getting the better of Dave Beddall but that was their solitary success as Monarchs took the remaining sets with just two of them needing a deciding game. Both of these involved Martin Hall, in the thick of the action as usual, who went the distance with both Hakan and Julie Snowdon, the latter at 11-9 in the decider. Cambridge ace defender David Tiplady made a rare appearance for Monarchs and Chris Belton was the third Puma. This win takes 2nd placed Monarchs to within 15 points of MK Spinners, who were without a match this round and should secure the coveted title next week. Pumas stay 6th.
The remaining matches ended in pulsating draws. The much anticipated clash between MK Sasaki and Greenleys Kings didn’t disappoint. Kings brought in lower Division man Jacob Midson alongside regulars Nick Howard and Guy Sparrow while Sasaki went with their usual trio of Michael Wilkins, William Kit Liang and Nicolas Wong. Throughout a terrific encounter there was never more than a single set between the teams. Jacob is enjoying a great season in Division 1, with more wins to his name than anyone else, but suffered from the step-up in standard and, although he played well, remained winless. This left Nick and Guy with a lot to do, but do it they did, sharing 5 sets between them, 2 singles each plus the doubles. They were both undone by Nicolas however, who had a brilliant match with a sparkling hat-trick, which left Michael and William with a win a-piece for Sasaki. These two sides are competing for 3rd place and although that resides with Kings for now, the run-in favours Sasaki.
The other match brought together Greenleys Warriors and Leighton Buzzard Van Hire. It was nice to see Biao Wang back with the Van men after a 6 week absence during which they lost every match and slumped to the bottom of the pile. But it was ‘business as usual’ for Biao with a fine maximum, taking out the Warriors trio of Adebola Odetayo, Darren Ward and, in the final set, Ricky Taiwo. Fabrice Spelta notched up a singles win for Van Hire and accompanied Biao to a doubles win. For Warriors it was two wins each for Ricky and Darren and one from Adebola. Another great encounter with no more than a set separating the sides all night. Paul Haigh was the other Van man. No change in League position for these teams with Warriors 5th and Van Hire last.
Player of the week : Nicolas Wong
TITLE CLASH DELAYED
With leaders MK Phoenix postponing the clash with their only rivals for the title, MK Topspin were left desperately looking for another match to fill in. Luckily Chackmore Hasbeens kindly agreed to bring forward their fixture due in a fortnight’s time to accommodate the void. This meant that for the second time this season the Hasbeens played off matches on consecutive nights at their Chackmore venue with Topspin being the ‘second leg’. On Wednesday a 2-player Greenleys Glory side were seen off 6-4, then on Thursday Topspin managed to reverse the result of their last visit by winning 8-2.
Jacob Midson won his usual maximum for Glory with comfortable wins over Bub Burman, and Andy and Chris Whitehead, but Glory only added a Christine Scaysbrook success against Chris to their total. Therefore, a rare win for the bottom side and a third defeat in a row for Glory in their worst run of the season. Glory seemed certain of a top half finish before these recent reversals, but no more as Open University Primes look to be well placed for 4th spot with their less challenging run-in.
Unchanged for the following night’s match with Topspin, the Division’s only ‘ever present’ players for their respective teams, Andy and Russell Penn, came face to face again. A win here for Russell who was in fine form for a hat-trick to steer Topspin to victory. Hasbeens’ Bub got his team’s wins with victories over Mervyn Kelly (13-11 in the 5th) and Tanmay Tijare.
O.U. Primes meanwhile took a draw from a 2-man MK Powers, whose Minesh Pitamber certainly rode his luck with close wins against Andy Tan (11-9 in the 5th), James Zeng (13-11 in the 5th) and Patrick Wong (11-8 in the 5th). Some precision play there from Minesh! And a good night’s work from Keith Carrington to provide the other 2 wins. As Primes claimed the doubles game by walk-over the only set they actually won on the table was Patrick against Keith. Powers should be able to hang on to 3rd spot though despite having the top two to play.
Finally, 6th beat 7th when Leighton Buzzard Avengers got the better of MK Hit ‘n’ Hope 7-3. Alex Du Noyer hit a hat-trick with two each from Richard Hardy and Bernie Raffe. For Hit ‘n’ Hope Paul Tompkins and Ivor Howard scored one singles win a-piece and combined for the doubles. Andy Frearson was the other Hoper.
Player of the week : Minesh Pitamber
Courtesy of Martin Johnson.
The end of season beckons; indeed, my own team completes their season this Monday! However, for most teams there are two remaining matches, and the top two and bottom two in Division 2 look almost certain, although the order is still yet to be confirmed.
Woburn Sands Mosquitoes took advantage of Milton Keynes Sharks having a blank week, and have moved three points clear at the top of the table, with the two teams having similar looking remaining fixtures. The move to the top was courtesy of a big 9-1 win against fifth placed Mursley Hawks, as both James Molloy and Rob McPheat won trebles, well backed up by Andy Jenkins with two wins plus pairing up with James to win the doubles against David Bartlett and Martin Johnson. There were very few issues for Mosquitoes on the way to 8-0. Andy pulled back from 1-0 down to Ian Spanswick to win in four, as did Rob against Ian, whilst Rob also found himself 2-0 down to Martin, but, as he’d done against Ian, upped his attack, to win over five games, for the third time against Martin this season. James had meanwhile cruised through the night without dropping a leg. Hawks finally got on the board as Martin beat Andy in three legs in set nine, but James completed the result with a straight games win, although he was pushed close by David. The win puts Mosquitoes in pole position to take the title, whilst Hawks look safe ahead of the bottom two, in fifth spot, whilst James maintained his 100% individual record this season, extending his winning run to 30 sets.
Third placed Leighton Buzzard Spitfires are probably too far back to challenge the top two, but did close the gap on second placed Sharks to seven points, as they won 7-3 against sixth placed Little Horwood Wooden Tops. No-one was able to win all their sets, with Filip Simek going the closest, picking up two wins, but losing out in five to Andy Hooper. Team mates, Graham Silversides and Dwight Edwards each won twice, whilst Graham and Filip also won a close doubles in five legs against Andy and John Sharp. For Wooden Tops, John won twice to add to Andy’s one win, whilst Andy just lost out at 11-9 in the fifth to Dwight. Sue Marchant, playing up from Division 5, inevitably found it very tough going, but did grab one leg against Graham, before losing out in four. The result leaves Wooden Tops nine points clear of bottom team Milton Keynes Shambles, who have a match in hand, but almost certainly too far adrift of the next team to climb out of the bottom two.
Newport Pagnell Lagondas took on Milton Keynes Shambles, and the result was a 5-5 draw. Steve Jordan continued his good recent form with a treble, but he and Jim Robinson lost out in four games in the doubles to Glen Davison and Roy Read. Roy was unlucky to twice lose out at deuce in the decider, as he was pipped to the post by both Paddy Patel and by Jim. Paddy and Jim each lost out to both to Sue Lewis and Glen, who each won twice on the night, although Paddy pushed Glen to 11-9 in the decider. The result leaves Lagondas fourth, seven points behind Spitfires, whilst Shambles remain bottom.
Player of the Week : James Molloy.