The top 4 teams from the last campaign, with thankfully little changed personnel, have been joined this time round by the welcome return of 2019 champions MK Sasaki plus 2 promoted teams from Division 1.
The reformed Sasaki side featured former Singles champion Neil Bigrave in his first appearance in the League for over 25 years. He last played in March 1996 for Kingston Krushers, aptly named for a side that included local legend Ian Musk. It was to prove no fairy-tale return though, at least not so far anyway, as he only managed a single win in a heavy team defeat, 2-8 to Greenleys Warriors, which came against Adebola Odetayo (a Div.3 player last time out). Nicolas Wong picked up Sasaki’s other win while Warriors’ star men Ollie Horswell and Ricky Taiwo ran riot with hat-tricks in a night that belonged to them. Nicolas Wong was making his Premier debut, as was newcomer William Kit Llang in the stripped down Sasaki side that were without Michael Wilkins, no doubt still hunting for his pilfered pants from a weekend trip to the Hereford Open. Michael returned from the tournament an unwitting victim of a mystery dressing room knicker nicker. Will they strike again? Is anyone safe!
Promoted MK Pumas made light work of defending champions Greenleys Kings. I can’t possibly do sufficient justice to the enormity of their whitewash win, far and away the greatest ever result in their relatively short history, as this would need the eloquence, not to say length, of a Nick Howard match report to convey. Suffice to say here that Andy Smith, Chris Belton and new boy Hakan Karaagac completely outplayed Guy Sparrow, Jordan Moss and Iain Lindsay.
The other promoted side Leighton Buzzard Van Hire had a baptism of fire against MK Spinners, going 9-0 down before Biao Wang grabbed a consolation 5-game win over Alan Cherry. Ace defender Jecu Aurelian was on debut for Spinners alongside Alan and Tim Cheek. Fabrice Spelta and Paul Haigh played for Van Hire.
Greenleys Monarchs were without a match after the late withdrawal of Woburn Sands Data from the Division.
Player of the week : Chris Belton
CLOSE MATCHES ALL ROUND
The 3 surviving teams from this Division who played in the last campaign have been joined by 3 relegated and 2 promoted sides from other Divisions this time round. A happy mix which should provide some even contests if the first week’s results are anything to go by, all matches ending 6-4. And notably all the winning sides won the doubles, which I have always maintained is THE crucial set between teams of equal abilities.
Ex Div.3 Leighton Buzzard Avengers’ Leigh Hurkett caught the eye most of all this week with a hat-trick against ex Prem side MK Powers. But the Avengers only managed one further set from Richard Hardy over Pete Tillotson, although Richard went close with Clare Styles, losing 14-12 in the 5th game. Jiten Pitamber got 2 wins for Powers and Christinel Halpan made up the Avengers team.
Russell Penn was the hat-trick hero for my former Premier MK Topspin team in our victory over ex Div3 club-mates Hit ‘n’ Hope, who themselves got off to a flying start to the match when Paul Tompkins thumped me 11-0 in the opening game. Although he hung on for a straight games win he never won another game all night. Ivor Howard picked out a brace for Hit ‘n’ Hope and Marco Hahn one. Mervyn Kelly completed the Topspin team.
The only other match saw Open University Primes beating Greenleys Glory with all players winning one or two sets (no blanks or trebles here). Patrick Wong. Andy Tan and Ning He turned out for Primes and Jacob Midson, Scott Dixon and Dan Englander for Glory. Arguably the best player in the respective teams met in the final set with still all to play for, where Patrick triumphed over Jacob to clinch victory.
Unfortunately Chackmore Hasbeens cried off against MK Phoenix but rather than claim a 7-0 walkover, Phoenix are trying to re-arrange the fixture as per rule 17 (a) (iii). Good luck with that.
Player of the week : Leigh Hurkett