The divisional doubles tournament was held on Wednesday the 22ndFebruary, and whilst numbers were a little lower than normal due to the half term break, we nevertheless had a reasonable entry across all three divisions.
In division one there were five pairings and this was played in one round robin group. The opening favourites were Ronan McDonnell and Brian Crellin, and whilst they had to be at the top of their game, they were never taken to a fifth end, retaining a 100% record as group winners. At the other end of the group Rebecca Bayley and Ruth Bailey were unable to register a win, but not for want of trying, having twice lost in the fifth end by a couple of points. The mid table places were decided by the match between Andy Patterson / Julian Briercliffe and Gary Shilling / Paul Nelson, with the latter taking the win in three straight sets, to take third in the group. The runners up spot went to Steve O’Hare and Paul Corran, with their only defeat coming against the eventual winners McDonnell and Crellin.
Division two had the most entries with eight pairs, which were split into two groups of four, with the top two in each then moving into the knockout stage. Group one was won by Mike Bayley and Neil Quane, closely followed by Nigel Beattie and Tommy Cowin. Maurice Campbell and Jackie Gill just couldn’t create any consistency, and having lost to Graham McFarlane and Steve Curtis that decided the bottom two places in the group. Group two was taken by the youngsters Sean Drewry and Danny Hamill, although their 11:8 fifth end decider against Colin Brown and Steve Ellis-Pearson was the crucial match for the first and second honours. The final match in the group was won by Malcolm Wenn and Colin Barron to secure third, over Margaret Forsyth and Dave Callow, who went home empty handed. Both semi-finals then went against the form book with both group winners losing out to the runners up from the other group, and this then left Beattie and Cowin against Brown and Ellis Pearson in the final. Neither pair was able to establish a lead and perhaps predictably it went to the final rubber. Points were pretty much shared, but at the business end Beattie and Cowin grabbed a dramatic 11:9 victory.
Division three had four pairs and was also played on a group basis. The winners were Chris Holmes and Sean Cassidy, and whilst they won all three of their games, they were pushed hard all the way. Their opening match against the new pairing of Ashley Reid and Aaron Faragher was only decided in the fifth end , with Reid and Faragher going on to take third in the group. Kevin Drewry and Chris Aspden were unlucky in fourth spot as they had many ends that just went against them on deuce. Second place wassecured by Matthew Evans and Pat Halliwell who were unable to match Holmes and Cassidy in the deciding encounter, but their other two wins ensured that they held on to the runners up place.
Overall it was a successful and enjoyable evening of doubles, with the winners in all divisions having played some top class table tennis, in order to secure their titles.