By Brian Croasdale
There is something rather magical about the Matlock Table Tennis Association. Anyone who has seen Cromford Community Centre over this season would not give much for their survival in the top flight yet still they won’t lie down.
It has been an extraordinary few weeks for League chairman Tony Gregory (three) as again he was unbeaten, even against fellow relegation candidates Colin Deaton TTC B, who can boast a rejuvenated Stuart Morris (two) in their line-up. Teammates Dean Clayton (two) and Pat Thorley (one) all played their part in a tight 6-4 win that put some distance between the two sides.
A two-man Cylinder Cougars A side lost out to second-placed Rowsley Scorpions who just about did enough to ward off the rampant Cougars pair. Mick Padley’s match with John Davies (two) was a classic with Mick only just going down 5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3, 10-12. Geoff Gill was virtually unplayable on the night, winning all his sets in straight games, beating Matlock champion Mike Bradbury in the process.
In Division Two, Rapid Fires season, in truth, is all about not finishing in the relegation zone. However, they still make life difficult for themselves for, after beating bottom club Wessington 6-4, they slumped at home to league leaders Ever Hopefuls 9-1.
Steve Shortland, the Crich St. Mary’s number one, has already, even in his first season, left the mark of true greatness on the game. A weirdly compelling mix of defence and attack started well and with Steve now looking like the signing of the season, he again produced the goods when it mattered. Playing Pommy he won all his matches in three short games but the 11-7, 11-9, 11-1 demolition of Pommy captain Mick Shimwell (two) was as near perfection as you can get.
Detonators to their credit have not given up on the Division Two title and will chase the Hopefuls all the way. This week, they beat LiverPooles 6-4 although nobody could cope with Andy Sykes (three). At this level, nobody likes losing as you only get to the top by beating the best and that is what Andy is.
In Division Three, Sally May looked unimpressed. Asked if she thought they had done enough to secure the divisional title, she replied with obvious caution that “there was still a long way to go.” Nevertheless this week proved a massive step forward with the May B’s defeating The Power 5-0 while rivals UnReliables lost in dramatic fashion to Whitworth 1st 3-2.
The Cabers were involved in a great scrap with Matlock Marauders which they eventually won 3-2. Down to the deciding doubles, Chris Long and Adam Lavelle fought back to take the set and the match 7-11, 11-6, 6-11, 13-11, 11-8.
The match between Cromford Community Centre and Colin Deaton TTC B was quite clearly no ordinary fixture, Tony Gregory is fit now and feels fine so hopefully they will be able to steer clear of the bottom two and he would be hugely privileged to lead his side in Division One next year.