Matches for us to savour

by Brian Croasdale

I HAVE a feeling that, for four sides in the Matlock Table Tennis League, this week would have been regarded as the biggest they have faced all season.

Consequently, I wondered if the unstoppable pressure that some players are under might cause the matches to suffer in standard and ability. Thankfully I was wrong!

Division Two leaders Detonators faced Cromford Cavaliers on Wednesday. We already knew that these to sides are evenly matched and this was to prove to be the case this week. Playing at the Cromford CC, they finished at 5-5 and, despite an early start, did not conclude until 10.50pm, which is just a measure of the excitement the game produced.

Peter Hamshaw showed his class by remaining unbeaten while Andy Hodgkinson won two. Andy’s 8-11, 11-3, 5-11, 11-3, 13-11 victory over Anthony Gregory (one) was probably the most exciting match of the night with the advantage swinging backwards and forwards at regular intervals.

The Division Three top two The UnReliables faced top side The May B’s and, with May B’s leading by one point, it was everything to play for. This time, the honours went to The UnReliables who won 3-2 in another epic fixture.

Ewan Fisher (two) took both his matches and with the scores tied at 2-2 it was down to the doubles to decide who would take the victory. The UnReliables won 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 and now take over first place from the May B’s.

I was lucky enough to spend some time with both the Rowsley Scorpions and Rowsley 08 on Wednesday (which is probably nothing new) but these sides are as classy as you will meet anywhere. Two of the key indicators of a teams morale are fine team spirit and fighting performance which both have in abundance.

Rowsley Scorpions (H) beat Fiesteros Reborn 9-1 and Rowsley 08 whitewashed the CCC 10-0 away. Mike Bradbury (three) gave us another impecabable performance, although taken to four games by Will Doxey and Daniel Burton (1). Daniel gained the one match for the visitors with a four-game win over Graham Morson (two).

Everybody’s talking about the new-found determination from the Turnditch Tigers team in Division Two.

Playing against Pommy, they turned on the style to take a 7-3 away victory. Gerald Finney was unbeaten again and showed his tremendous ability not dropping a game all night. Ably supported by Matthew Emmerson (two) they are looking a very dangerous side and now move above Ever Hopefuls whom they play in a crunch game shortly.

Before we decry the Division Three side Cabers for lacklustre performances this season we are reminded yet again that you cannot take anything for granted at this game. With respect to both Adam Lavelle and Chris Long, I did not give them a hope against Be Afraid but yet again I was to be proved wrong. Chris beat Tom Tate in five and Adam matched this with a five-game win over Tom also.

In fact, it was left to Paul McDonald to take the only game for the away team and so Cabers took the victory 4-1. I was sitting at home chuckling at the thought of the Management Committee meeting to be held on Friday as it was the draw for the quarter finals of the Blair Cup that night. A tense time for everyone left in the competition saw Cylinder Cougars v Rowsley 08, Rapid Fire v Rowsley Scorpions, Pommy v Turnditch Tigers and Colin Deaton B (Holders) v Wessington drawn. These will be played on week commencing February 22.

Last season, Detonators simply did not have the ammunition to gain promotion to the top flight. I wonder if this season is going to be their year?