by Brian Croasdale
I DON’T particularly like the term “super performance”, which I hear more and more, but the effort of the Matlock players in last week’s Derbyshire championships showed just what level local table tennis is now achieving.
In fact, it moved one person to comment “Matlock players did us proud. This county should be called Matlockshire.”
Mike Bradbury (Rowsley Scorpions) is now the Derbyshire Vets holder, beating Geoff Gill (Cylinders Cougars) 3-0 in the final. Geoff had previously beaten Jake Meikle CDTTA A, the holder, in an earlier round of the Mens Singles. Geoff had got to the final, only to lose out to Keith Bird (Burton). A truly great effort by Matlock players and one they can be justly proud of.
At first glance, there is nothing unusual about the Division Two fixture of Rapid Fire v LiverPooles. I have to admit being obsessed with table tennis but this fixture was so far above the standard we expect from Division Two sides and even I joined the few who remained at the the Whitworth Academy to see the outcome of this classic.
The matches were so close but it was young Jacob Poole who took the eye. With the match at 5-4 to the LiverPooles, it was down to the doubles to either win the match or end up with a share of the points. His performance in that game alone showed the maturity that defied his young age as he helped his father take the win 11-7, 11-13, 11-6, 17-15.
The rivetingly unpredictable teenager Daniel Burton followed a lacklustre performance with an astonishing win, torturing former Matlock champion Geoff Gill, one of the league’s best players, winning in five games.
A message came pinging through my Twitter feed on Wednesday that Detonators had stuffed Pommy 7-3. Again, it was youngster Eddie Gregory who had contributed to the win. It would seem that Matlock now has a conveyor belt of young talent, which is what table tennis in this area has long been looking for.
In one of those horror matches you watch from behind your hands, Division Three side Whitworth 1sts went down to the UnReliables 5-0. Jonathan Goodwin (two) and Ewan Fisher (two), the likeable pairing from Darley Dale, showed now mercy in all the five matches.
Rivals The May B’s won 4-1 against the Power, who had Tom Hobday in outstanding form. No one can predict the outcome of this Division with both sides locked on the same number of points but May B’s just ahead on set difference.
Spend an hour around Matlock players and you sense a determination to succeed. What is even better is their enjoyment from playing and, with numerous emerging talents, the future looks bright.