by Brian Croasdale
I WAS pleased to receive a card this week from John Riley’s daughters Rachel and Gina in a short thankyou message for his recent obituary tribute.
In a world of towering egos, John earned respect with his honesty and professionalism. It was a pleasure to have known him.
We also welcomed to the Whitworth on Friday Bill Cox, 83, a friend of Michael Jordan. Bill was spending a well-earned few days’ holiday after a recent serious illness.
With a pedigree of being a highly ranked player in the Birmingham area during the 1950s, his insight into the academy youngsters was most interesting and a number of them were spellbound.
The Cromford and Whitworth Summer Leagues moved into their third week and the tables now take a more meaningful look.
It would be churlish not to acknowledge the contribution of Andy Hodgkinson. Newly promoted Andrew’s stunning victory over Mick Padley was nothing short of brilliant.
He was made to fight for the match, as you would only expect from Mick, but his 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7 win shows continuing progress. Will Doxey (1) also beat Mick but with Derbyshire Champion Jake Meikle to contend with, Posties ended up losing 2-3.
Liver Pooles continued their improvement by gaining a 4-1 win over Rapid Fire. Jacob and Andrew Poole were both unbeaten, only succumbing in a close five-game doubles.
With Keith Bradshaw abroad, Dalers brought in Tony Gregory against Jems. Jackie Cullen beat Tom Tate and, with Tony remaining on 100 per cent, they took the victory 4-1.
Crowe Kings were on the wrong end of a 5-0 scoreline against The Crommies. Mark Briddon and Nathan Hallows combined to give the locals a resounding victory. Leaders Burtons also had a 5-0 whitewash against Belper.
Dean Clayton (2) tried his hardest to salvage something for his side against the Detonators. With the match standing at 2-2, they lost the deciding doubles 12-10 in the final game.
At the Whitworth Academy, Rapid Fire had a real tussle on their hands against Long & Short. Facing Michael Jordan from Birmingham was a tough ask for Steve and David Molyneux. Mike duly won but was given a real fright.
Winning both matches in five, Mike still could not prevent Rapid Fire winning 3 - 2.
Leaders Pensioners again had a 5-0 maximum victory, this time against Sam Bunting and Zak Roome, which was a similar story for Hit and Miss as they disposed of Whitworth Legends.
Power Spin faced Wacca Wacca, who had Tom Tate in impeccable form. Wacca gained a comfortable 4-1 victory.
One of the favourites Spin 2 Win also had an easy 5-0 win over Team Nitro. George Knowles and Gabrial Hodgkinson are now looking to enhance their status down at the Whitworth and look to be doing just that, especially on Fridays showing.
Born Ready won 3-2 against 2 Balls of Fury with Warren Slaney (2) answering his critics by completing the match with an umblemished record, although both his games went the distance. The doubles was the decider and it went the way of Born Ready as they continue to improve.
Finally, The Tates won 5-0 against J.B. Juniors. With Sam May playing with his mother Sally May they looked a good pairing and cruised to a 5-0 whitewash.
To those who have been faced with some dreadful results, it is rejuvenating to have an unexpected win. Ask Andy Hodgkinson – he should know!