Melissa is magnificent

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by Brian Croasdale

I wasn’t alone at the start of the year in thinking Melissa Slaney would be hard pushed to make any impact on this year’s European and UK Transplant Games Table Tennis Championships.

To prove me and everyone wrong, Melissa was simply magnificent, taking the titles and both gold medals to add to her already bulging haul of trophies.

She returned home to Youlgreave last weekend for a well-deserved rest before the new season starts in October and, despite an attack of flu, is looking keen and in form. So there you have it, being able to do any of these events is a major feather in the cap of Melissa and her determinatation is credit to this likeable player.

It’s not often that Matlock have had two National League sides to grace the area but this is what we currently have and both are an honour to the game. In preparation for the start of matches in late September, a series of friendlies were arranged between the two sides. Whitworth Academy won the first 5-3 and the return was anxiously awaited and on Sunday the chance came for Bonsall to put the record straight.

Bonsall brought in Ronan Kelly from Chesterfield and his first match was against the flamboyant John Davies, a move that, on paper at least, whetted the appetite for excellent table tennis. We were not to be dissappointed as the match lasted a record 40 minutes, after which John emerged as winner in a close 12-14,13-11,14-12,10-12,11-8 scoreline.

Mike Bradbury increased the margin by beating Dave Kelly before Martin Dean won a four-game match against Burtons’ Matthew Satchwell. Matthew exemplifies all I find facinating in table tennis.

Powerful, theatrical, and majestic, he has a style that would cause problems for most players and I would be surprised not to see him snapped up by a Division One side before too long. However, he was on the wrong end of that match as Martin’s “pimples” did the trick. It was left to David Kelly to spare the Bonsall’s blushes as he took the only game for the visitors.

beating Keith Bradshaw in five close games.

Whitworth won the fixture 7-1 but this was a wonderful night and our thanks go to Andrew Middleton and Marek Chajecki for putting this challenge on.

In the Cromford Summer League, with only two weeks to go, things are beginning to hot up. As anyone who has performed poorly will know, the tinest of margins can make all the difference. The current leaders, The Mikes, were faced with The Burtons in a top-of-the-table clash which in itself is a difficult enough task but when former Matlock champion Mike Bradbury is added to the Burtons squad difficult is putting it mildly.

Stuart Morris (two) was able to compete but his partner Mick Padley was obviously upset and lost both games despite taking Mike and Andy the full distance. It all rested on the doubles which went to the Burtons again in five 11-5, 8-11,11-9,9-11,11-5.

The last two weeks are going to be drama all the way starting with this week’s Bucket Bangers v The Mikes fixture. It will be fascinating and even I am thinking of making a comeback now!