Published 08/11/2019 at 16:09:39 by Martin Johnson; edited 2 times, last on 09/11/2019 at 22:38:37 by Martin Johnson.

Division 2 Round-Up – Week 8 (Week 7 in D2)

There are just two weeks to go until the first half of the Division 2 League schedule completes, and three teams seem to be pulling ahead of the rest, a little.  This week saw the top two play each, and also the bottom two, whilst another team took advantage of the top two playing each other, to leap-frog themselves in to second spot.

Milton Keynes Hit ‘n’ Hope’s run of wins continued, and they remain top, though they were given a very tough match by second placed Milton Keynes Tornadoes.  The match remained very even, early on, with some good quality games, and after seven sets, Hit ‘n’ Hope held a slender 4-3 lead, as Ivor Howard had won twice, Andy Frearson had won once, plus Ivor / Paul Tompkins had won the doubles against Nicholas Wong / Tanmay Tijare, whilst for Tornadoes, Nicholas had won twice and Tanmay had won once.  The two unbeaten players then faced each other, and it was Ivor’s defending which held sway to begin with against Nicholas’ attack, to go two legs up, however, Nicholas upped the tempo to pull back to two games all, and so take it to the decider.  A good start for Ivor in the fifth was decisive, and he held on to his early advantage to take game five 11-6 - only the second defeat of the season for Nicholas, although he stays top of the individual averages (bar players who’ve only played once), with Ivor now moving up to second place.  The final two sets were shared, as Tanmay won his second, beating Andy, and Paul Tompkins won one, beating Matthew Curley, to give Hit ‘n’ Hope a 6-4 win.  An excellent match, and Hit 'n' Hope now appear to be the team to beat, with their strong squad.

Milton Keynes Classics took advantage of a slightly under strength St. Chistopher Spitfires, to take second place ahead of Tornadoes, with a big 9-1 win, as Masoud Nassor / Dylan Cox went the night unbeaten, including the doubles over Spitfire’s Jock Campbell / Bernie Raffe.  Nick Markham had also won twice for Classics, whilst Spitfire’s third player, reserve Tim Petzing, found the going quite tough two divisions above his usual team.  With Classics 9-0 up, Bernie saved the whitewash for Spitfires, by winning the night’s only five setter over Nick, to salvage a point.  The win leaves Classics four points adrift of Hit ‘n’ Hope, and two points ahead of Tornadoes, as these three teams seem to be edging clear of the rest of the division.

Mursley Hawks visited Milton Keynes Shambles, and came away with a close 6-4 win, their sixth 6-4 (or 4-6) scoreline in seven matches, with the other having been a draw!  Early on, Hawks had forged a 5-1 lead, but Shambles battled back to 5-3, and then the final two sets were shared to yield the almost inevitable 6-4 !  Martin Johnson just about took the individual honours, winning all his sets, including the doubles with Frank Beck, whilst Hawks’ reserve, David Bartlett produced a superb performance to win twice, also coming within a point of making it three wins, just going down 12-10 in the fifth against Paddy Patel, who had also pushed Martin close in five.  Simon Green also played very well, winning against Frank, but just losing out in five against David, whilst Steve Jordan saved his best for last, as he took the final set of the night against Frank over five close games.

Newport Pagnell Lagondas recorded their second win of the season, with a 7-3 success over early division leaders, Woburn Sands Mosquitoes, who suffered their second loss in a row.  Simon Read played in place of the usual Chris Horn for Lagondas, alongside Glen Davison and Roy Read, and it was Simon who made the difference as he won all his singles, though he was pushed to four close games by both Paul Hamer and Glenn Barcham.  Lagondas’ other wins came from Glen with two and Roy with one, plus Glen / Roy also taking the doubles against Paul / Andy Jenkins.  For Mosquitoes, Andy won twice, both over five games, and Paul won one, just going down in five in the final set of the night to Glen.  The result leaves Lagondas tied for fourth place with Hawks, with Mosquitoes five points back, but with a game in hand, in sixth.

The final match of the week saw the bottom two teams face each other, and it was Milton Keynes Cavaliers who came away with the plaudits after their 8-2 win.  John Bradley lead the way for them, with three singles wins, though it took a fifth game 12-10 score to edge past Brian Evans to complete his treble.  Chris Paddon and reserve, Adebola Odetayo, teamed up to win the doubles against Mark Thomas / Tony Coomber, plus both won two singles, with the two consolation wins for Blades being when Brian beat Chris in five games, and Mark edged three tight games versus Abedola.  Cavaliers have moved up to seventh spot with this win, leaving Blades down at the foot of the table, slightly behind Shambles and Spitfires, although Spitfire do hold one match in hand.

Players of the Week : Ivor Howard and John Bradley.