Quarter finals of the Habershon Cup this week in the Rotherham Table Tennis League. Cup holders L.S.M. A took a 264 point deficit to their points handicap match against Scorpions D at the former’s home venue at East Herringthorpe W.M.C. James Houghton set the proceeding s rolling with a 3-1 game win over Stuart Foers. Foers did really well to take a game off the Division One player. Mick Foster and Mick Brooks both won their first encounters 4-0 against Ali Nadzafalijevs and Pete Smith respectively. Two more straight games wins to LSM and then Nadzafalijevs managed to take a game off Mick Brooks. That put LSM within striking distance of their opponents with three sets to play. Twelve games later and twelve wins later LSM passed the finishing post with a comfortable 27 point victory and through to the semi-finals again.
Scorpions A did not fare so well as they took on Scorpions J. Alan Battye, Harry Saxton and Jamie Hudd up against Emily Walker, Alan Brown and Eric Hall. Hudd beat Walker to recover some of the 248 point margin. Saxton won 4-0 also versus Hall. Battye did the same to Brown leaving everything looking rosy and seemingly on the way to victory. Hudd won his next one 4-0 as well but Hall managed to get 9 points in one game. 119 points recovered. After six matches Scorpions had not dropped a game and were heading steadily towards a win but then the wheels fell off. Hall pinched a game off Battye. Brown got a deuce, 10 vital points, against Hudd. That left it to Walker to gain only seven points from her match against Saxton. Far too much to ask of Saxton to stop Walker from achieving this and the J team sent the A team packing and through to the semi-finals.
Proved to be a good week for Walker as she paired up with Mark Johnson in the Micklethwiate pairs competition against Richard Element and Jamie Hudd. Once again her team came out on top as Johnson took Element apart in the last match of the night to seal the win.
In the League Clifton C hosted L.S.M. B in Division Two. Trevor Bland, Peter Horsfield and Richard (no relative) Horsfield met Dave Sayner, John Bradshaw and Phil Cockayne. Sayner got the visitors off to a winning start against Bland. Richard Horsfield then levelled it with his first versus Bradshaw. Cockayne beats Pete Horsfield. Then a real battle between Richard and Sayner, 14-12 to Horsfield, 11-9 to Sayner, another 11-9 to Sayner, deuce to Horsfield and then the final game 13-11 to Sayner. Wow! 3-1 to LSM. The match swung both ways all night. The doubles went to LSM to give them the first point. Richard won his last easily to recover one set but LSM took the last two to win 7-3 on the night.
Meanwhile L.S.M. A continued to apply pressure at the top of the League with an 8-2 win over Scorpions B. Mick Foster, James Houghton and Mick Brooks saw off the opposition who could only field two players. Steven Arliss showed his mettle winning a brace.
In a mid-table Division Two clash between Stag A and Phoenix D the home team proved too strong as they walked away 8-2 winners on the night. Pete Eyre struck a maximum for Stag with strong support from Rob Eyre and Pete Webster each winning two.
And in the same division the top two teams clashed for the second time this season. With both teams only having dropped two points so far this would be a highly critical match in the title race. Clifton turned out two regular veterans Terry Curran and Jim Pugh and pulled in the experience of Tony Linggard for this key match. Scorpions fielded Alex Bland, Chris Johnson and Gary Cooper. Bland got the away team off to a good start winning in four over Curran. Lingarrd hit back with a three straight win over Johnson. Pugh added another for the home team. Bland won his second of the night and Curran his first to make it 3-2 to Clifton. Then came the pivotal match of the evening when Pugh played Johnson. Johnson won the first two easily but Pugh fought hard to take the next two 11-9 and 11-9. Final game and it went all the way to deuce. Pugh just sneaked the victory 12-10 to give Clifton a 4-2 lead. Doubles next and all three games went to deuce but Scorpions took it. 4-3. Lingarrd then took Cooper apart allowing only 11 points in total. First blood to Clifton. Could Scorpions get a draw and keep them level at the top of the division? Bland showed his usual determination to see his way past Pugh in a nail biting five game thriller. 5-4. Could they do it? Last on Curran versus Johnson. Curran took a 2-0 lead. Johnson fought his way back to level it. Last game of the night. A point at stake. Title race in the balance. But Curran called on his over fifty years experience to ensure both points went to Clifton winning the last game easily 11-4. So that gives Clifton a two point advantage but they will meet again in the very last match of the season!