PREMIER/DIV 1 ROUND-UP WEEK 11
“We’re playing Sasaki for the 3rd time already and it’s not even Christmas!” MK Spinners Tim Cheek said to me before the match. I’m still not sure if that’s a critism or approval, but that’s the new reality of the Premier as the 6 competing teams entered another cycle of matches this week and the top 2 clash yet again, bringing together the League’s leading lights Dan Smalley and Alan Cherry for the 6th time (including Summer League) this calendar year. This week Dan and Alan faced each other in the last set with some team-mates long since disappeared into the night. They missed a thrilling 5-gamer which saw ace defender Alan triumph over the languid skills of Dan’s subtle attack to level the match at 5-5 and bring their personal 2017 battle score to an honourable 3-3. So another hat-trick for Alan and a great night too for Tim, who overcame both Dakshin Subramanian and Matt Horrocks over 5 games. Against Matt, Tim trailed 0-5 at change of ends in the decider and then 10-7 before edging to victory.
High flying MK Bandits slotted Matt Evans into the side again this week and their main man duly obliged with another maximum against bottom team Greenleys Kings, who still did well to earn a draw in a cracking match. Improving Jamie Hendy took a brace for Bandits, as did the reliable Nick Howard for Kings, while Guy Sparrow extended Matt to a 5th game in the final set to have the Kings men almost dreaming of a first victory. I’m sure that will come soon enough though if they keep turning out sides with the strength of this Howard/Sparrow/Arthur trio.
5th placed Greenleys Monarchs hosted 4th placed MK Kingpins in the remaining match and couldn’t alter the status quo in a 6-4 defeat. Martin Hall turned out for Monarchs with a pair of Div.2 players, Scott Dixon and Jordi Amat Foraster, who both beat Kingpins own Div.1 reserve Terry Lau. Pick of the home wins though was Martin’s straight games victory over Dave Allison. A maximum here for Kingpins’ Mark Purcell.
Player of the week is Tim Cheek.
Greenleys Warriors finally got their act together to post their first 10-0 whitewash, a scoreline I had expected this team of all the talents to record most weeks. Maximums here for Ollie Horswell, Ian Dummett and Ricky Taiwo. And it fell to Ollie in the opening set to end Woburn Sands Data’s James Molloy terrific run of 17 consecutive victories. James fought hard as always, coming back from 2 games down to level the set before losing the decider. Warriors extend their lead at the top to 11 points.
When I saw off MK Pumas’ Andy Smith in the opening set, to become only the 2nd player this season to beat him, another routine win for 2nd placed MK Topspin seemed to be on the cards. But Julie Snowdon had other ideas and almost single-handedly won the match for her side. After battling 5 game wins over Mervyn Kelly and Russell Penn she came to face me in the 9th set with the match score at 4-4. Julie had saved her best form till last though, winning in style with some superb attacking play to pave the way for the dependable Andy to secure the Pumas victory.
The Mitamber brothers were in MK action together for the first time this season, guiding Powers to a much needed (if relegation is to avoided) 6-4 win over St.Christopher Van Hire. While no match for hat-trick man Biao Wang, they scored a brace each along with Powers’ skipper Pete Tillotson. However St.Chrispopher came through the night with their impressive unbeaten doubles record still in tact.
Despite defeat St.Christopher hang on to 3rd place by one point from MK Phoenix, who also lost this week. They were at the wrong end of a 7-3 result against improving Greenleys Eagles, who made it 3 victories in a row, after failing to win in the previous 7 matches, and this despite playing a reserve. Christine Scaysbrook stepped up from Div.2 to defend her own amazing 100% Div.1 record, and although she became the 3rd Div.2 player to beat Terry Lay this week (see Premier round-up) Christine went down to Carl Furness and Gerald Ridgway. A hat-trick here for Eagles’ Geoff Callaway.
Larry Lung was OU Primes hero this week as he steered his side to only their 3rd win of the season with a maximum at Chackmore in Primes 6-4 win. A brace a-piece here for team-mate Charles Tien and Hasbeens’ Bub Burman.
Player of the week is Julie Snowdon.