As the first cycle (of 3) of this season’s matches comes to an end, the top of the table looks pretty much the same as it has throughout most of this millennium with MK Spinners top dogs and Greenleys Monarchs, not too far behind (currently 8 points) and their only realistic challengers. Both had big wins this week to emphasise the gap between them and the rest of the bunch.
Spinners hammered club-mates Pumas 10-0 with maximums from Alan Cherry, Tim Cheek and Jecu Aurelian. The only close set was Tim’s 11-9 in the 5th win over Hakan Karaagac. Andy Smith and Julie Snowdon were the other Pumas. The only other whitewash in this Division this year also featured the Puma pack, although then they were on the right end of the result over MK Kings, sitting out this week in the 7 team Division. These two teams meet next week in what is already looking like an early relegation ’20 pointer’.
Monarchs were also playing club-mates, but their Warriors opponents were a soldier short for this one and went down 7-3. All of these came from the bat of skipper Ricky Taiwo, who is having a terrific season so far. He left Martin Hall, Tom Nowakowski and Ameya Phatak trailing in his wake, unable to master Ricky’s considerable defensive wiles, on this occasion anyway. This was Ameya’s first defeat of the season, though notably all his successes been against attacking players. The remaining Warrior reporting for duty here was Darren Ward.
The last match also ended 7-3 with MK Sasaki triumphing over Leighton Buzzard Van Hire. Nicolas Wong, the youngest player in the Division, was the star with his first ever Premier hat-trick, the first of many no doubt and well deserved too. Nicolas also won the doubles with Michael Wilkins in tow and Michael chipped in himself with a singles win while team-mate William Kit Liang grabbed a brace to complete their scoring. Biao Wang got a pair for Van Hire and Paul Haigh one, a close fought 13-11 win in the 5th against Michael. Fabrice Spelta was the other Van man.
Player of the week : Nicolas Wong
POWERS LEAPFROG PHOENIX IN TITLE CHASE
The much anticipated top of the table clash between MK Phoenix and MK Powers saw the Powers unit take over the lead by a single point on Tuesday night after an exciting 6-4 win over their rivals. Both teams were far from full strength but this did not take away any excitement from the match. Phoenix star player Alan Bolding is in top form at the moment and it will surprise no-one that he was a three time winner again in this match. All credit though to Powers’ Clare Styles, who took him all the way to 11-9 in the 5th. Alan also took the doubles set with Terry Lau but that was the extent of Phoenix’ success as the other 6 sets went the way of Powers. Spare a thought for Terry too, who took all his opponents to a 5th game before capitulating. The match result could have been so different! Chris Paddon came up from Division 3 to complete the Phoenix team and Jit Pitamber and Keith Carrington, with 2 wins each to their credit, were the other Powers men.
My MK Topspin side started the week just a point behind Powers but regrettably had to default on our match with Chackmore Hasbeens. For better or for worse we operate with just a 3-man squad and 2 of us were unusually unavoidably unavailable this week due to injury and work commitment. We may play the fixture at a future date with Chackmore’s blessing.
It wasn’t just Terry Lau who lost all his sets in the deciding game on Tuesday. The same fate befell MK Hit ‘n’ Hope’s Paul Tompkins in his match against Open University Primes. What are the odds of this happening to different players in the same Division on the same night? Incredibly long I’d say. Andy Tan took his impressive run of wins to 8 in this match and with good support from James Zeng and Ning He, who provided 2 wins each, the Primes were runaway 7-3 winners, a result which propelled them into 3rd spot in the table. Ivor Howard (2 wins) and Andy Frearson completed the Hit ‘n’ Hope side.
In the final match Greenleys Glory came away from Leighton Buzzard with a 6-4 victory over the Avengers thanks, in the main, to Christine Scaysbrook, who was in scintillating form with a fine hat-trick. Jacob Midson chipped in with 2 and Scott Dixon 1 in a good night for the Glory. Bernie Raffe got a rare blank for Avengers with Alex Du Noyer (2 wins) and Richard Hardy (1) completing their side. No-one lost in the deciding game in this match as there weren’t any! All sets wrapped up in 3 or 4 games here.
Player of the week : Christine Scaysbrook
courtesy of Martin Johnson
As the end of first ‘cycle’ of fixtures completed this week, the first of three cycles, Milton Keynes Sharks have taken the ‘maillot jaune’ (yellow jersey) – now some seven points ahead of the rest of the field.
Sharks collected a big 9-1 win against club mates, Shambles, with only Steve Jordan preventing the whitewash, as he beat Pedro Anastacio in four games. Nick Markham managed to go to five games against both Rupert Greyling and Pedro, and again in the doubles with Steve against Rupert and Pedro, but these were all won by Sharks. Derick Rodrigues completed nine singles wins in a row, as he and Rupert each finished with trebles for Sharks, and with Pedro winning twice, against Steve and Jim Robinson, it meant a big win for the Division 2 leaders, which has pulled them seven points clear of their nearest competitors in the ‘peleton’. Meanwhile, Shambles are currently at the back of the field, thus carrying the ‘lantern rouge’ (red lantern).
Newport Pagnell Lagondas also had a good week, moving up from fourth spot to within a point of second, as they completed a win, 8-2, against Little Horwood Wooden Tops. Lagondas surged into a 3-0 lead as Chris Horn beat Andy Hooper, Sue Lewis beat John Cripps and Tony Ardis beat John Sharp, all in straight games, before Wooden Tops staged a brief revival, with Andy and John S taking the doubles in straight games versus Sue and Tony, followed by Andy coming from two games down to beat Sue in five. John S almost pulled them level, as again it went to five after he’d been 2-0 down to Chris, but Chris just snatched it at 12-10 in the decider. Lagondas took all the remaining sets, although Tony had a nail biter against Andy, as after leading 2-0, he finally only took it at 12-10 in the decider. Thus Lagondas moved to just one behind the leaders in the ‘peleton’, whilst Wooden Tops are keeping Shambles just behind them for the ‘lantern rouge’.
The final match of the week saw fifth placed Leighton Buzzard Spitfires overcome second placed Woburn Sands Mosquitoes 7-3, in a match where no-one was able to win all their sets. It was two wins apiece to Graham Silversides, Filip Simek and Andy King, plus the doubles for Graham and Filip against Glenn Barcham and Rob McPheat. Early on it had looked promising for Mosquitoes, as they lead 2-1 after Andy Jenkins beat Filip and Rob beat Andy King, but they had one of those nights where they lost all the close ones, with the only further success coming when Rob beat Graham. From 3-2 to Spitfires, three of the next four sets went to the wire in the deciding game, but all went to the home team, with Filip sneaking home 12-10 in the decider to inflict a rare defeat on Rob, whilst Andy K twice won 11-9 in the fifth, against Glenn and Andy. Mosquitoes stay in second spot, but have dropped off the pace of Sharks, and now have Lagondas right in their slipstream, just a point behind, whilst Spitfires have ridden up to within a point of Mursley Hawks in the middle of the pack.
Player of the week: Filip Simek.