By Brian Croasdale
By all known criteria, Warren Slaney is officially a great table tennis player.
If you have ever wondered why, then you only had to watch his approach to playing Eckington A last week. Professional to the limit, he was not going to be what he later referred to as “done out of a point” and this is why he ranked so highly by both his Chesterfield side Whitworth TTC and his Matlock side Rowsley 08.
Playing the rated Eckington A team, who had the week before accounted for Speedwell TTC C 9-1 and who arrived at the Whitworth Academy full of confidence and raring to go, they were instantly shocked by the standard and ability of the local side.
Whitworth managed to complete a 9-1 drubbing and move significantly up the early league table.
Richard Swindell (two) and Mick Bunting (three) were the perfect foil for Warren and it was a disheartened visiting side that left the Whitworth Academy.
Rowsley B were in action on Tuesday, this time at home to Chesterfield Police.
It is always a good battle between these two sides and an extremely enjoyable match. Rowsley would lose little sleep over the Police after facing the might of Colin Deaton the week before but the form of Andy Middleton brings on the cold sweats.
This was not helped by being up first to face Brian Collins, a much underated player, and, as currently seems to be the case, Andy found it tough against his aggressive style.
After the perfect start, he went down 11-2, 7-11, 9-11, 11-13. A paticularly good win by Louis Gay over Mark Pickard brought the scores level before Phillip Fisher got the home side in front with a three-game win over Ian Jones.
In recent years, the match between these two sides has nearly always gone the way of the Police but the newly determined Rowsley side, still smarting from their relegation from the top flight last year, showed no mercy and continued to dominate the match, forcing their opponents into rare errors.
At the end of a truly enjoyable night, we saw all the Rowsley side taking two matches before Andy Middleton and Phillip Fisher combined to take the doubles 11-9, 11-6, 11-2. Rowsley B may be odds-on to wrap up the Division Two championship, even at this early stage, but there is still one player who can and will improve and it is to his credit that Andy Middleton is that man.
A further development at the Whitworth Academy sees an extension to the existing Friday night. The hours have now been extended and will run from 6pm until 10pm, this being the result of all the interest now being shown in local table tennis.