The Premier Division’s top four all went out in the quarter-finals as the lower-ranked clubs staged a revolution at the inaugural SBL Premier Cup.
Champions Ormeau were sent tumbling out by Brighton, Drumchapel won the ‘battle of Scotland’ against third-placed North Ayrshire and there was a victory for hosts BATTS against fourth-placed Urban in the first session, before Fusion got past runners-up Ormesby in the last quarter-final.
Picture above: Baoman Wan (photos by Michael Loveder – more on our Flickr page)
The tight three-table set-up at BATTS gave the competition an intimate and intense feel which was immediately reflected in the play as all three opening matches went to a decider.
The tightest was in the all-Scottish battle between North Ayrshire and Drumchapel, in which the Championship winners Drumchapel took the lead as Garry Dodd held off Viktor Gorman 14-12 in the decider.
Dodd had held a 2-0 lead but saw his opponent come back to level. Dodds always had the edge in the decider and did not allow his opponent a match point – his serve looking particularly secure – and he eventually took a chance on Gorman’s serve.
On Table 1, league champions Ormeau were up against Brighton and it was attack versus defence as Matt Ware faced Ihor Zavadskyi
The third match to go the distance saw the hosts BATTS open up against Urban with a battle of the last two national under-21 champions – Shayan Siraj and Connor Green.
It went the way of the current holder as Green put Urban in front by coming from 2-1 down to win it 11-7 in the decider.
Things settled down a little from that point, but there was still plenty of thrilling play and a good share of tight matches.
First to book their place in the quarter-finals were Brighton, and it was 2016 Paralympic champion Will Bayley who brought it home, coming from 1-0 down to win with increasing authority over Conor Nugent.
Ormeau had never been in front in that match, but had twice drawn level at 2-2 and 3-3. Jordan Wykes’ two victories, added to that opener from Zavadskyi, set them up for Bayley to apply the coup de grace.
BATTS were next over the line, 4-2 against Urban. After that opening defeat for Siraj, the hosts won the next three, culminating in Ralph Pattison overcoming Toby Ellis 11-9 in the decider – cue the most vocally explosive celebration of the session.
Green got his second win, over Josh Bennett to keep his side in the match, but it was Siraj who clinched it, coming from 2-1 down to Ellis and saving match points in taking the fourth 15-13.
Drumchapel and North Ayrshire had a prolonged tussle which went the way of the Championship winners by a 4-2 margin.
Dodd backed up his opening victory by taking the fifth match against Martin Johnson to put his side 3-2 ahead – they had trailed 2-1 – and Baoman Wan sealed it with an 11-6 in-the-decider victory over Gorman.
League runners-up Ormesby were into the action in the final quarter-final as they played Fusion, and the Londoners took first blood as Josh Bruce saw off Jake Haygarth in three.
When he led 2-1, Larry Trumpauskas might have thought he was about to make it 2-0 overall, but Graeme Barella came storming back to win it 3-2.
Bruce & Robert Pelc restored Fusion’s lead 3-1 in the doubles, against Barella & Tom Rayner, and Rayner may have carried a hangover into the singles against Pelc as he lost the first game 11-1 and soon found himself 2-0 down. But he turned it around, shading two close matches then taking the decider 11-5.
Bruce got his second win by defeating Barella in three close games, and it was a similar story for Pelc against Haygarth to complete the win and put Fusion into the semi-finals.
BATTS 4 Urban 2
Connor Green (URB) bt Shayan Siraj (BAT) 3-2 (11-7, 6-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7)
Josh Bennett (BAT) bt Joseph Hunter (URB) 3-1 (12-10, 12-10, 5-11, 11-6)
Siraj & Bennett (BAT) bt Hunter & James Hamblett (URB) 3-1 (11-8, 11-6, 11-13, 12-10)
Ralph Pattison (BAT) bt Toby Ellis (URB) 3-2 (11-6, 6-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9)
Green (URB) bt Bennett (BAT) 3-0 (11-8, 11-6, 11-9)
Siraj (BAT) bt Ellis (URB) 3-2 (11-9, 7-11, 3-11, 15-13, 11-3)
Brighton 4 Ormeau 3
Ihor Zavadskyi (BRI) bt Matt Ware (ORM) 3-2 (9-11, 11-5, 11-13, 11-3, 11-5)
Jordan Wykes (BRI) bt Conor Nugent (ORM) 3-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-8)
Ware & Zak Wilson (ORM) bt Wykes & Zavadskyi (BRI) 3-2 (9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-2)
Wilson (ORM) bt Will Bayley (BRI) 3-0 (11-5, 11-9, 11-3)
Wykes (BRI) bt Ware (ORM) 3-1 (8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8)
Wilson (ORM) bt Zavadskyi (BRI) 3-0 (12-10, 11-5, 11-9)
Bayley (BRI) bt Nugent (ORM) 3-1 (9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-3)
Drumchapel 4 North Ayrshire 2
Garry Dodd (DRM) bt Viktor Gorman (NAY) 3-2 (11-8, 11-8, 5-11, 8-11, 14-12)
Martin Johnson (NAY) bt Danny Bajwa (DRM) 3-0 (11-6, 11-7, 13-11)
Johnson & Gorman (NAY) bt Baoman Wan & Victor Guang (DRM) 3-1 (12-14, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5)
Wan (DRM) bt Chris Main (NAY) 3-1 (12-10, 12-14, 11-8, 11-7)
Dodd (DRM) bt Johnson (NAY) 3-1 (12-10, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5)
Wan (DRM) bt Gorman (NAY) 3-2 (8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6)
Fusion 4 Ormesby 2
Josh Bruce (FUS) bt Jake Haygarth (OMY) 3-0 (13-11, 11-7, 11-8)
Graeme Barella (OMY) bt Larry Trumpauskas (FUS) 3-2 (11-4, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8)
Josh Bruce & Robert Pelc (FUS) bt Barella & Tom Rayner (OMY) 3-1 (13-11, 13-11, 3-11, 11-9)
Rayner (OMY) bt Pelc (FUS) 3-2 (1-11, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5)
Bruce (FUS) bt Barella (OMY) 3-0 (11-9, 11-8, 12-10)
Pelc (FUS) bt Haygarth (OMY) 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 13-11)