Race for the ti­tle blown wide open

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Life - BY JIM BOOTH

IN the First Di­vi­sion of the South­port and Formby League, Crosby A (51pts) were held for the sec­ond time in as many weeks, open­ing up the race for top spot.

Again they were un­der­strength, but so were their vis­i­tors Holy Trin­ity A.

Num­ber one Yameen Al Dahiri led the charge for the home side with a full quota of wins, whilst Matty Cranny and Ned Has­san al­ready with a sin­gles win apiece, joined forces to clinch the draw in the fi­nal con­test.

Sec­ond placed Crosby B trav­elled to the Ame­lan Hall to face a con­fi­dent South­port A side, which so hap­pened to be our fea­ture match this week.

Home num­ber one Ogi Kos­tov got pro­ceed­ings un­der­way against his op­po­site num­ber Rhys Davies, who found his rhythm im­me­di­ately, tak­ing it in three straight.

Noth­ing straight about the next en­counter, Kyle Laven­der and Peter Ash­ley served up a cracker.

Peter edged ahead 10-12 in the first, be­fore Kyle be­gan to find his range tak­ing the next two con­vinc­ingly 11-8,11-3.

Back came Peter with some tremen­dous counter hit­ting to square it up 5-11 in the fourth.

It was much closer in the fifth, but that ‘flat hit’ again worked its magic for Peter, 9-11 to him and Crosby now had a 0-2 lead.

A no non­sense three straight win from Rhys and his dad Mark against Ogi and Mark Barnes in the first dou­bles, made it 0-3, and when cap­tain Mark re­turned to do a re­peat per­for­mance on home cap­tain Jonny Cum­mins, then at 0-4, the writ­ing on the wall was cer­tainly loom­ing, es­pe­cially as Rhys was up next.

A su­per ef­fort from Mark in the first, miss­ing out 8-11. Rhys though was in full con­trol there­after, 4-11, 3-11 which made the score wor­ry­ingly 0-5 Crosby.

Sec­ond dou­bles pair­ing Jonny and Kyle then gave the home side some cheer with an en­cour­ag­ing four game win over Peter and Fran­cois Raf­ferty.

A fight­back was on for sure as Ogi over­came Mark in three straight, to pull it back to 2-5.

Mark Barnes ver­sus Fran­cois was up next, and although Fran­cois nicked the first 11-13, Mark’s top spin at­tack got much the bet­ter of his op­po­nents’ back of the court lob de­fence, tak­ing the next two 11-8, 11-6.

Ex­haust­ing to watch, but who would wilt first?

Grad­u­ally mis­takes crept in, from both sides, but in the end Fran­cois’s de­fence held firm, with him tak­ing the next two 6-11, 8-11 to en­sure vic­tory for his side.

Peter then looked odds on to in­crease his side’s mar­gin of vic­tory against Jonny when he led 9-11, 8-11.

But hav­ing re­cov­ered to cap­ture the third 11-6, Jonny now looked the favourite as he swept into a 7-1 lead in the fourth.

Peter though had other ideas and with great aplomb, his counter hit did the trick again, 10-12, and his side did now have that 2-7 ad­van­tage.

An­other ex­haust­ing en­counter rounded off a great night’s ta­ble ten­nis, Kyle and of course Crosby’s hu­man dy­namo Fran­cois, put on a near ex­hi­bi­tion of at­tack vs de­fence.

This time Kyle had the last word with an 8-11, 16-14, 16-14, 11-7 win, to make the fi­nal score 3-7 Crosby B.

Crosby B stay sec­ond on 47pts , as do Ar­gyle A in third place, this af­ter a good 8-2 home win against Crosby C.

Ar­gyle B matched their A team’s score away to Crosby D, whilst Princes St

A came out well on top in their derby win against their B team.

A very im­pres­sive max­i­mum win for Ar­gyle D

(50pts) at home ver­sus

Holy Trin­ity B kept them firmly in charge at the top of the Sec­ond Di­vi­sion, eight points ahead of ri­vals Ar­gyle C, who were held in an ex­cit­ing en­counter at Crosby E.

Princes St E (39pts) are now in third place, hav­ing won their re­ar­ranged mini derby against their D team, who prob­a­bly didn’t know what had hit them, in an 8-2 loss.

Mind you, with Martin Machin mak­ing his first start and Dave Mul­lan in at num­ber one for the E team, then it was never go­ing to be easy! With that be­hind them Princes St D (36pts) did stay in touch with the chas­ing pack, when they re­cov­ered well enough to edge past a good Water­loo A side.

Karen Gib­son and then Colin Fyles win­ning the last two con­tests to clinch a 6-4 vic­tory.

Water­loo B let a 3-0 and a 4-2 lead slip against South­port B, a full quota of wins from Tom Ray had helped the vis­i­tors to level at 4-4, be­fore Ai­dan Mooney edged the home side back in front, only for Mike Rice to be South­port’s hero in the end.

Ar­gyle E rounded off the Sec­ond Di­vi­sion ac­tion with a de­cent 7-3 suc­cess over Crosby F.

Ar­gyle

H(54pts) opened up an 18pt lead at the top of the Third Di­vi­sion, af­ter a con­vinc­ing win over their G team.

Re­mark­ably, Ar­gyle F with­out a match this week as well as draw­ing a very dis­ap­point­ing blank last week, are still in sec­ond place.

Last week’s con­querors Princes St F, brought in the changes, and suf­fered an 8-2 loss at the Para’s, who now climb to third place, also with 36pts.

South­port C (35pts) moved up to fourth place, af­ter a con­vinc­ing home win over Crosby G, whilst Crosby H had a ding dong match at home to North Me­ols, who had much to thank Les Rim­mer for, a full quota of wins en­sur­ing a fight­ing draw for the vis­i­tors.

Fi­nally, a sim­i­lar story was played out at Ar­gyle J, where they fought back from 3-5 down to draw with South­port D.

More in­for­ma­tion can be found at www.tableten­nis365.com/south­port

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