Scarborough Premier Table Tennis Club made a fantastic start to the new season of the British League at Ormesby . The team of Martin Lowe, Ashley Hodgson, James Rule and Joel Wright began their 2015/16 campaign with an 8-2 win over Draycott. Lowe, Hodgson and Rule all won their two singles, but Wright was defeated twice despite leading Draycott number three, Adam Feargrieve 2-1 before losing in five. The newly introduced doubles matches both went Scarborough’s way with Lowe teaming up with Wright and Rule with Hodgson.
The second match on Saturday was a lot closer affair against Beaumont Accountancy Nomads and their legion of fans. The first four matches were shared with Rule and Lowe winning easily and Wright losing in five for the second time in the day. Lowe and wright then teamed up for a good win in the doubles against Sam Hitchen and Anthony Phoenix and Rule and Hodgson lost a tight five setter 11-7 in the fifth. With the match score at 3-3 Lowe then played Phoenix. Lowe had to watch a lot of Phoenix’s powerful forehands go past him, but he just had enough experience to prevail in four sets. Hodgson then played a solid match to defeat Sam Hitchen in four sets. Leading 5-3 Scarborough knew they were not home yet although Rule was favourite to beat Mark Walpole. Rule’s match was far from easy in fact he was all but beaten when Walpole, having led 2-1 went 10-6 ahead in the fifth set. Amazingly Rule kept his nerve to win the next six points and win the match 12-10. This gave Scarborough the win. With the pressure off Joel wright had every chance of beating Stephen Cooper in the last game of the day, but he went agonisingly close losing 11-9 in the fifth set after leading 2-1.
On Sunday Scarborough had regular number four Aidan Ranftler back. During the day Scarborough were involved in some barnstorming matches. The first game was against a talented Wood Green side. Hodgson lost 11-6, 11-6, 19-17 playing Wood Green number one, Stephen Ward. Lowe had a tough five set match beating Jamie Davies 11-3 in the fifth set. Rule had an easy 3 set win and Ranftler lost 6-11, 11-8, 10-12, 12-14 to Nicholas Gilmour. 2-2. The doubles were shared with Rule and Hodgson winning for Scarborough. 3-3. Lowe and Hodgson then both had extremely close matches. Lowe beat Stephen Ward 11-3 in a fifth set, while Hodgson lost 11-9 in the fifth set to Nicholas Gilmour. 4-4. Rule had a tough match against Jamie Davies in which he played some sparkling points, but ultimately he couldn’t quite match the power of Davies. Needing a win to draw the match Ranftler took it to 2-2 against George Falcus, but in the end lost 11-7 in the fifth to leave Scarborough with a 6-4 loss.
The last match of the weekend was amazing because of the quality and closeness of the matches. Hodgson lost to the highly talented defender, (but often attacker) James Hobson. Lowe then had an incredible game against Pudsey number two Chris Parker. After being 2 sets down Lowe won the third, but then found himself 9-6, then 10-8 down in the fourth. He managed to somehow rescue the game and went on to win 11-7 in the fifth set. After Ranftler lost Rule came to the table for an even tighter match than Lowe’s. Despite playing some brilliant all out attacking table tennis Rule somehow lost the odd sets 12-10, 16-14, 14-12, while winning set two and four 11-4, 11-8. Amazingly Rule had won 58 points to 54 in the match overall. To add to the immensity of Rule’s performance he was now suffering with a pulled shoulder and many of his shots caused him severe pain. Scarborough lost both doubles which meant they were 5-1 down and had a mountain to climb to salvage even a point. Lowe had a superb win over Hobson eventually winning 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 15-13, 11-8, saving two match points on the way. Hodgson then went on to defeat Mark Hepstonstall 15-13, 11-1, 11-2 to bring the score back to 5-3. Rule was then required to keep Scarborough in with a chance, but after his incredible match previously, what did he have left. In what was probably the match of the day Rule played with unerring speed and spin. Incredibly the overall points score in this match was Parker 54, Rule 52, but Rule managed to win an enthralling game 4-11, 11-7, 8-11, 17-15, 12-10 saving several match points. This amazing match meant that Scarborough were now only 5-4 down. Ranftler had all the pressure on him and he could never quite get a serious challenge mounted against Nick Ryder. After such an epic match it was hard to take that Scarborough fell to their second successive 6-4 defeat.
This leaves the team in fourth place on 4 points with the second weekend scheduled for 31st October and 1st November, again at Ormesby. Full results can be seen on the British League section of the ETTA website- division 2 North. If anyone would like to come to watch the next round of matches, which are likely to include England Women’s number three Karina LeFevre and number six junior Billy Forster, please speak to Ashley Hodgson. The team would welcome any support.