by Brian Croasdale
They say you cannot improve on perfection but that is exactly what Mike Douglas has been doing in the Cromford Summer League.
With performances the like of which may never be seen again, he has proven his ability with a stunning all-round talent. Mike, who was a member of the league some years ago, has only just returned to the game and, after a few brief hits at the Whitworth Academy, was quickly snapped up to play next season with the newly-promoted Division One side Ever Hopefuls.
This week at Cromford, he beat both Pandy’s players, Andy Middleton in four games and a straight 11-5, 11-7, 13-11 win over Pat Thorley, thereby confirming his versatility. Unfortunately, Mike could not prevent his side Whitey’s losing 3-2 to the opposition but must be well-satisfied with his own contribution.
The Mikes went to the top of the table following their 5-0 defeat of the Balls of Fury. There is a remarkable confidence about Mick Padley and Stuart Morris and The Mikes’ biggest challenges are yet to come, of course, but on the face of it they are going to take some stopping.
Bucket Bangers are showing great form at the moment and the League awaited their wonders yet again this week. Cromford expects. It expects the Bangers to own the League. It expects Dean Clayton and Dave Kelly to deliver results that befit the ability of the side.
Nothing would illuminate this competition more than a solid tournament from these two. We were not disappointed as both were unbeaten taking out John & Son, this week represented by Tony Gregory and Steve Molyneux, 5-0.
It began with a performance good enough to have won the Summer League with little problem but is ending with a run of below par results. mainly due to being unable to field a consistent pairing of players.
The iconic moments of this competition are many but Andrew Middleton’s five-set victory over former Derbyshire champion Jake Meikle must rank up there with the best. In a close five-game match, he took the decider 11-9 to clinch an unexpected win. A further five-game doubles meant a 3-2 loss for the LiverPooles, who found Tim Denby almost unplayable.
The last result of the night was a 5-0 win by May B’s over Rapid Fire and at the halfway stage The Mikes have a two-point advantage over Bucket Bangers at the top of the table. Teams are reminded to get their entries in as soon as possible for the Winter League as it looks though places are going to be at a premium this season.
I would have traded anything to see Mike Douglas play a few seasons ago but now he is back and I hope to see a lot more of him in the next few weeks
Even people detached from table tennis could sense his commitment and I can’t wait for October when it all starts in earnest.