National League 2015-16 season

Scarborough continued their campaign in the British League division two North on the weekend of 31st October – 1st November. The four man team of Martin Lowe, Ashley Hodgson, James Rule and Aidan Ranftler played Ormesby in their first match. Lowe with 8 wins from 8 matches at the first weekend began with tricky match against defender Carl White. Lowe struggled early on, but eventually went 2-1 up. He lost the fourth set to leave the match to be decided by a fifth set. Lowe looked in trouble when trailing 4-2, but managed to turn it around eventually winning 11-7. Hodgson then played number one from Ormesby, David Ashwell. Hodgson started inconsistently and found himself 2-0 down. He rallied well despite not quite finding top form to level at 2-2. The fifth set couldn’t have been closer with Hodgson eventually going down 13-11. Rule then took to the table against Michael Young. Despite losing the third set Rule really won comfortably to make the match score 2-1. Ranftler was looking to improve on his duck from the first weekend. He was playing much closer to his best and he made no mistake against Ormesby’s Peter Wilkinson.

The doubles were shared with Lowe and Rule winning in four and Hodgson and Ranftler losing similarly. This made it 4-2 to Scarborough. Lowe and Rule both then registered easy 3-0 wins against Ashwell and White respectively. Rule was particularly impressive in beating his opponent much easier than last year. Hodgson then played Wilkinson. He did not find top gear throughout the match, but he showed determination to grind out a 3-2 win. The point of the match was the first of the fifth set. Both players trading loops for what seemed like an age with Hodgson well away from the table. The point finally went his way and could have been vital as he then took the next three to lead 4-0. He won the set 11-5. With the match already in the bag Ranftler gave an impressive performance to beat Young in three sets. Scarborough winning 8-2.

The afternoon saw Scarborough play likely winners Northfield. Their squad included  England number 3 Karina Le Fevre and top juniors Billy Forster and Joe Clark. England number 82 Andrew Wilson completed the strong team. Lowe was first on against Wilson. The first set went to Wilson with Lowe starting slowly, but he quickly found top gear winning the next three sets to record a good win. Hodgson then played Le Fevre. Playing technically superb table tennis Le Fevre was a handful for Hodgson. He managed to take a set from the England player, but in the end he couldn’t match her for consistency. Forster and Clark then recorded three set wins over Ranftler and Rule. The doubles saw two very close matches with Lowe and Hodgson teaming up first they had a good win over Le Fevre and Wilson in five sets. Rule and Ranftler then went so close against Forster and Clark losing out in five sets. The score was now 4-2 to Northfield. Lowe Faced Le Fevre next and he too suffered from the quality of play from across the net. Lowe went down 3-1 recording his first defeat of the season. Hodgson took a 2-1 lead against top junior Forster, but in the end the youngster’s power and accuracy meant that he won in five. Rule then had a superb 3-0 win playing Wilson. He never looked troubled and the win will earn him around 50 ranking points meaning he should enter the top 200 in England, a rise that looks sure to continue. Ranftler had little answer to Clark’s power in the final match despite winning the first set. This left Scarborough in fourth place with six points.

On Sunday Scarborough faced a weak looking Formby side. The team had a new addition in the shape of 11 year old Amirul Hussain, who is currently number three in the England under 13 rankings. The match indeed proved to be very one sided with Scarborough winning 10-0 for the loss of only one set. The afternoon session pitted Scarborough against Draycott. On the first weekend the result was 8-2 to Scarborough. Lowe began with a convincing win playing Adam Feargrieve winning 7,5,6. Rule then played number one Jody Bevington and despite losing the second set he too ran out a clear winner 6,-3, 9,8. Ranftler played really well to beat Peter Furneaux in three sets, 8,5,10. Hussain then played Navinder Matharu and although he played some great rallies he went down 4,-9,-11,-10 in a really close match. Hodgson and Lowe then played a tight doubles against Bevington and Feargrieve winning in four sets, 9,13,-9,8. Ranftler and Rule lost their doubles in four to leave the match score at 4-2 to Scarborough. Lowe then beat Bevington in four sets to put Scarborough on the verge of victory at 5-2. Ranftler won the first set of his next match against Feargrieve, but ultimately fell 6,-8,-6,-9. This meant Rule needed to beat Matharu to prevent the pressure being firmly on Hussain’s young shoulders. Rule lost the first set and struggled to win the second 11-9. He also took the third 11-5, but was never comfortable. Matharu fought back to take the fourth to set up a decider. Rule had to up his game if he was going to win as Matharu was beginning to win the long rallies. With some impressive attacking play he managed to blast his way past his opponent, the last point won with a lightning forehand off the bounce. Rule won      -5,9,5,-7,8. With the match in the bag Hussain had the pressure off, but he played supremely well to beat Furneaux 8,9,8. After the weekend’s play Scarborough are sitting in 3rd place in the league.

Northfield           16 points

Pudsey                13

Scarborough       10

Wood Green       10

Beaumont           9

Draycott             4

Ormesby             2

Formby               0

Scarborough team averages

Martin Lowe       15/16         93.75%

James Rule         13/16         81.25%

Amirul Hussain   3/4             75.00%

Ashley Hodgson 5/12           41.67%

Aidan Ranftler    5/12           41.67%

Joel Wright         0/4             0%

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