Unbeaten Dragons played unbeaten Titans ... top versus second ... something had to give ... well, unless it was a draw. But a draw didn’t look likely when news came through that Titans Captain, Big Nev, wasn’t available ... Kenneth Wolstenholme stepped to number 1 and team captain ... Dennis Johnson came off the subs bench to make his debut.
Dragons were unchanged from their last outing ... all players looking ready for battle ... although had Peter Libbey had rushed back from his Black and White Minstrel show and forgot to remove his stage make up.
Game on ... Kenneth Wolstenholme leads the Mawdesley comfortably ... but suddenly the tables turned and the septuagenarian takes it .. one nil to Dragons. And it got worse for Titans when Al Jolson took a close game (including a 17-15 first set) against the battling a Chadwick. Then Chris Nolan smattered Machin in straight sets ... where was Big Nev to calm the nerves ... his classic advice of “c’mon” and “these two” was sorely missed.
Up next Debutant Johnson (not the sort that wears a frock and speaks posh) ... and he went the way of his team mates ... 4 nil to Dragons ... the mucky stuff was hitting the fan. Despite such a strong lead the Dragons weren’t over celebrating ... no shirts pulled over heads ... no sliding on the floor ... no pile ons ... just quietly going about their business.
Titans rescued a point in the doubles and then Debutant Johnson had a good victory to restore some dignity to the scoreline ... 4-2. The pendulum swung again when Lee Smith buckled on his corset and tightened his truss ... to beat Gary and secure another point for Dragons.
The teams were trading point for point now ... Mawdesley succumbed to the Scamperer ... Chris ‘the whippet’ Noble despatched Kenneth Wolstenholme ... then the Chadwick/Johnson combo got an important point in the Titans comeback.
In form Johnson stays on the table to play the next match ... he crouches to receive the first serve ... Owdmon delivers a long chopped serve ... Dennis shouts “wrong side” ... yes he thought he was still playing the doubles! A terrific game with two deuce finishes won fortuitously by Owdmon.
Kenneth beat Lee in a tight three setter ... 7-5 felt a bit more respectable ... the Dragons Number 1 ‘whippet’ Noble secured a point for Dragons leaving the final encounter between Al Jolson and Scamperer. The point was vital ... the winner would end up top of the table.
Jolson nonchalantly put down his phone after a big win on the Belgium match ... he stepped out of his wife’s Sliders ... and strode bare-footed like a gladiator into the arena ... and then proceeded to deploy a tippy-tappy strategy that worked pretty well. He cruised through the match ... had a hiccup at 9-9 in the second but saw the game out to take the vital point for Dragons.
Whippet Noble was Man of the Match but Debutant Johnson was pretty impressive too. Al Jolson had mugged Scamperer in the final match and in the Radio 5 Live phone-in Titans captain Kenneth Wolstholme said “we are appealing to Table Tennis England because Al Jolson was appearing in a white shirt and this contravenes Rule 16(b) ... people think it’s all over ... well, it isn’t.”
We await the outcome of this appeal but in the meantime Dragons have a 9-5 win on the scoreboard ... and they are top of the table at the half way point in the summer league.
Table Tennis England have just confirmed that the result stands after photo's of the beach bum in question were study, all though they looked in disbelief at his attire they said the print on the white vest was enough to let the opponent see the ball. TTE also stated that they would look into beach table tennis for the next Olympics.