Published 26/03/2022 at 16:05:08 by David Wackrill; edited 1 times, last on 27/03/2022 at 14:15:45 by David Wackrill.


With rivals Greenleys Monarchs only managing a 7-3 win against the bottom side on Tuesday, MK Spinners needed 2 sets the following night to clinch the title with a match in hand. No easy task though without talisman Alan Cherry against the incumbent champions Greenleys Kings, who were in no mood to relinquish their hard won title from 2020 lightly. But obdurate Spinners huffed and puffed all night for those sets and eventually made it in 7th, at 5-1 down, when new boy Jecu Aurelian secured that cherished second point by beating Jordan Moss. Gary Jones had already beaten the Northants lass and another point followed when Tim Cheek emulated his team-mates’ victories in the 9th set against the luckless Jordan. So a fantastic win for Kings who were bottom themselves at Christmas after a poor start to their campaign scuppered their chances of pulling off another shock title win. You write off Nick Howard and Guy Sparrow at your peril of course, as they are well capable of beating anyone and everyone in the League on their day, and this was such a day with a maximum each and the doubles thrown in for good measure. Congratulations all round.

The main stumbling block for the usually smooth Monarchs machine was Leighton Buzzard Van Hire’s Biao Wang with wins over Dave Beddall and Tomak Nowakowski. And with Fabrice Spelta beating Martin Hall this was a good result for Van Hire, which may have been so much better had defeats in sets 4 & 5, both at 11-9 in the 5th, not gone against them. Biao is enjoying his best ever Premier season in MK since his somewhat tentative 2013 debut alongside Julian Adams and myself for the once mighty Stormers. How time flies. Dave Broome was the other Van man.   
The remaining match completed a treble of 7-3 score-lines with MK Sasaki getting the better of club-mates Pumas, whose ageless Andy Smith for once outshone team-mate Hakan Karaagac with a fine brace of wins to his name. After losing in straight games to Nicolas Wong, who is more than red hot at the moment, the Pumas skipper went on to defeat both Michael Wilkins (in 3 games) and Willian Kit Liang (in 5), a terrific performance. Hakaan beat William for the other Puma set and Julie Snowdon completed their trio.

Players of the week : ‘dynamic duo’ Nick Howard and Guy Sparrow

What a penultimate week to the season this has been. 3 close matches, 3 teams a player short and 3 sides vying for 3rd place in the table.

With MK Topspin losing, a 7-3 win against Leighton Buzzard Avengers was good enough to extend prospective champions MK Phoenix lead over their only rivals to 4 points and set them up to claim the title next week. Mervyn Phillips and Alan Bolding were impregnable in singles play though they failed in the doubles yet again. Avengers other sets came from Richard Hardy and Alex Du Noyer, both beating Terry Lau, who is going through a bad trot with only I win in the last 8. By contrast Alan is unbeaten in 34 now, though he had his closest shave for some time when just squeezing past Alex 13-11 in the 5th game here.

Birthday (it was a big one too) boy Russell Penn missed his first match of the season when 2-man Topspin went down 6-4 to clubmates Powers. Tanmay Tijare picked up his usual hat-trick for Topspin but only one win this time for Mervyn Kelly, with the doubles lost as well. Mervyn was felled by Clare Styles and Jiten Pitamber, but managed to beat Keith Carrington.

The top two positions may be all but settled but the race for 3rd place is still wide open and hotting up with 5 points covering 3 teams. Current incumbent Powers have the toughest assignment ahead of them with Phoenix still to play, while 5thplaced Open University Primes may well make up the ground with the least challenging fixture of the trio, against MK Hit ‘n’ Hope. But perhaps Greenleys Glory have the best chance with Avengers being their final opponents. Orin Edwards played up from Division 5 for the Glory this time round, alongside regulars Jacob Midson and Scott Dixon, against a 2-man MK Hit ‘n’ Hope side. Orin lost to both Paul Tompkins and Andy Frearson while Paul added a 3rdset for the Hopers with a good win over Scott. Had Glory opted to go with a 2-man team themselves, they would only have collected 4 points in a 4-1 win under League rules, so were well rewarded for finding that extra man from the lower Divisions and all credit for them in doing so.

The Primes have been a bit up and down lately with no win in 5 matches after being unbeaten in 4. This week they were held to a surprise draw by bottom placed Chackmore Hasbeens, who were a man short anyway. Andrew Whitehead stepped up to the plate for Hasbeens with a fine brace to match Bub’s and then snaffled the doubles with him. Mind you, Andrew's only previous brace for the season also came against Primes, so he likes playing against this team. For Primes, Patrick Wong beat Bub and Andy Tan beat his namesake, leaving Ning He winless on the night. This match completed Hasbeens’ season early, tailed off a long way last but with the remarkable doubles record of the Andrew/Bub combo recording the most wins by any pair in the Division for the second successive season they have competed at this level. Quite remarkable when you consider that they face superior opposition every week. Furthermore, Andrew was the only player in the Division to play every match for his team this term.

Player of the week : Andrew Whitehead