NATLAND ON THE BRINK OF TOP FLIGHT GLORY
With only two matches to play in the Kendal and District Table Tennis League, Natland A are on the verge of claiming the Division One championship after a 10-0 whitewash against their B team.
Natland A’s trio of John Fearon, Roger Pimblett and Harry Carter breezed through the singles matches, forging a gaping 9-0 lead arriving at the doubles. Natland B nearly snatched a solitary point but eventually lost out in five entertaining sets 11-6, 6-11, 7-11, 11-3, 4-11. The win puts Natland A top of the table nine points ahead of second placed rivals Ibis.
Second placed Ibis netted their fifteenth triumph of the season after sweeping aside Dalton CC B 8-2. Ibis’s Steve Dixon- who has only lost one match all season- won all three matches including a comfortable 11-3, 11-3, 11-9 success against Gareth Brunton. Brunton was Dalton’s main inspiration, as he beat James McGrath 6-11, 11-9, 9-11, 15-13, 11-3 in a five set thriller. The Dalton maestro followed this up by defeating Trevor Nicholson 11-1 in another pulsating deciding set encounter. Keith Mallinson was unfortunate not to add a further point to the Dalton haul, narrowly losing out 11-6 in the fifth set against a relieved James McGrath.
An ever improving Burton A climbed into fourth position following a 7-3 victory against relegation threatened Natland C. Andrea Jorkisch helped Natland build a 3-2 lead after wins against Martin Wakelin and George Pickering, while Louisa Bevan chipped in with a five set success also against Wakelin. Burton took command of the tie in the second half, as Chris Knowles completed a hat-trick of victories, coupled with Pickering’s brace to set up the 7-3 triumph.
In Division Two, leaders Kirkby Stephen A look almost certain to become champions as they claimed an 8-2 victory against Natland D; their fourteenth consecutive win of the campaign. Peter George remained unbeaten for the leaders, but was made to work in a narrow 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 8-11, 11-6 triumph against Liam Hogan. Francesca Currie and Dave White supported ably by winning two matches apiece for Kirkby. Natland’s two points came courtesy of Howard Pimblett and Rinaldo Colombi’s victories against White and Currie respectively.
Third placed Dallam D are six points behind Crook B as they were held to a 5-5 draw against Burton D. George Pickering earned the man of the match award, winning all three matches, while replacement Aidan Branch gave a good account of himself by beating Paul Capstick-Newell. Dallam had James and Matt Neal to thank for salvaging a draw thanks to their victories against Branch and James Burton.
In Division Three, Grayrigg A hold a fifteen point advantage at the summit of the table with only a handful of matches still to play after cruising past Crook C 25-12. Grayrigg’s Doug Baxter claimed the player of the match award, winning three matches including tense five setters against Chris Mowat and Andy Gilchrist. Crook’s points came courtesy of Gilchrist’s successes against Ben Littlewood and Sam Housego.
Second placed Burton E’s promotion hopes received a severe setback as they lost 23-16 against Kirkby Stephen C who lie ominously in third place. Kirkby Stephen’s trio of John Metcalfe, Mike Sunderland and Chris Horn won two matches apiece against Brian Gourlay and Dave Salmon. The overall player of the match was reserved for Burton’s Aidan Branch who won three matches, including an exhausting 19-17 success in the never-ending fourth set against Horn.