Division 2 Roundup - Week 19

Published 10/03/2024 at 15:13:18 by Martin Johnson; edited 3 times, last on 11/03/2024 at 17:53:51 by Martin Johnson.

“Magna Carter”, but Hawks Edge towards Promotion !? :)

With just two more League weeks to come, after this one just completed, every point has started to seem more precious, with the finishing line in sight.  With three teams battling at the top and at the bottom, Week 19 saw the top three teams playing the bottom three teams, so big wins for the top three might have been expected, but ironically it was fourth versus fifth that produced the most emphatic scoreline.

Fourth-placed Newport Pagnell Lagondas were taking on Milton Keynes Powers, in fifth, but it was Powers who emerged 8-2 winners, taking them to an eighth win in their last ten matches, and they are now within a point of Lagondas, having languished down in last place after the first five weeks of the season.  A maximum here for Andy Pearson and a treble for Peter Tillotson, with Keith Carrington chipping in with one singles win against Glen Davison at 11-9 in the fifth, plus a share in a very close doubles win with Andy, again at 11-9 in the decider, against Tony Ardis and Michael Howard.  Tony and Michael each picked up one singles win, for the two Lagondas points, with Michael going the closest to grabbing another one, but losing out close in the fifth against Peter.

Third-placed Woburn Sands Mosquitoes were taking on equal-sixth placed Greenleys Sultans of Spin.  For Mosquitoes, they probably needed a win to give them a chance of snatching a promotion spot, whilst for Sultans of Spin, they needed points to try to avoid one of the two relegation places.  It was the lower placed team, Sultans of Spin, who opened up an early lead, going 4-1 up at one point, including the doubles for Ricky Jackson and Daniel Carter against Glenn Barcham and Andy Jenkins.  Rob McPheat narrowed the gap to 4-2, with the second of his three singles wins, but the Sultans of Spin trio of Ricky, Daniel and Robert Anderson were mopping up most of the rest, and they ended up as 6-4 winners, with only Glenn able to add another singles win to the Mosquitoes tally, in a win against Robert.  The loss leaves Mosquitoes some 11 points off second place, although they do play the second-placed team in the final week.  For Sultans of Spin, it has lifted them out of the bottom two, and they now have a two point gap above the relegation zone.

Second-placed Leighton Buzzard Spitfires were looking to close the gap on the leaders, and were facing eighth-placed Milton Keynes Pioneers.  Spitfires duly won 7-3, with maximums for Graham Silversides and Barry Hammond, including a tight 11-9 in the fifth doubles win against Andy Frearson and Kareem Omar.  For Pioneers there was one win each for Andy, Kareem and Terry Lau, against an out of sorts Andy King.  The Spitfires win takes them to within five points of the leaders, whom they will play in the next round of League matches, although for Pioneers, they find themselves still in eighth, and now five points off the safety of sixth, with a tough run in.

The remaining match this week saw leaders, Mursley Hawks, visiting equal-sixth placed Greenleys Valiants.  Slava Volokha started well for Valiants against Martin Johnson, opening up a 2-0 lead, but Martin finally found his forehand hit, to squeak through in five.  James Carter then produced the headline win of the week, despite twice going a game down, to take a brilliant 12-10 in the fifth win over top of the Averages, Mick O’Mahony.  Lewis Copp put Valiants 2-1 ahead with a win over David Bartlett, to put Hawks in the unusual position of being behind going into the doubles.  However, their 100% doubles record prevailed, as Mick and Martin beat James and Lewis.  Valiants were not lying down, though, and James grabbed another fine win, this time at 13-11 in the fifth against Martin, to put Valiants 3-2 up.   That was probably the high point for Valiants, and although James completed his treble in singles, Hawks took the rest, to just keep up their winning run, now thirteen wins in a row, but they were given a really good fight, this week.  The win leaves Hawks top by five points, and with promotion now looking probable, their next League match against Spitfires might well decide the D2 title?  For Valiants, the four points leaves them in seventh spot, but just two points behind the team above.

Next week is a Cup week, but with no D2 teams having got through the Groups and the first Knockout Round, it means a week off, but the penultimate week of League fixtures follows, with the standout fixture being between the top two, as Hawks take on Spitfires.  Elsewhere, the three teams battling against relegation are playing the teams in third, fourth and fifth, as Mosquitoes will host Valiants, Lagondas entertain Pioneers and Powers are at home to Sultans of Spin.

Player of the Week : James Carter.