The Christmas break didn’t do DTH Redlands Roosters any favours in their quest for the Division One title as they lost one and drew one of the first two league games of the New Year.
Their first game after the festive break was at home against Manton Misfits, who are in a relegation battle and desperately needed the points to stay clear of the bottom two places.
And when Steve Lyon and Terry Emmerson both hit top form the win never looked in doubt.
Lyon and Emmerson went on to register hat tricks over Rick Harris, Steve Fox and Dave Gascoyne with Ian Henderson also adding two wins himself losing to Steve Fox.
Fox and Gascoyne took the doubles against Lyon and Emerson, but it was too little too late as the Roosters were soundly beaten 8-2. In their second game against their club colleagues the Joggers they could only field two players so were already 3-0 down before a ball was struck and, when the Joggers’ Steve Walker beat both Harris and Fox, the Roosters looked dead and buried.
But they hit back as Harris and Fox both beat Matthew Mudd and Dennis Learad to leave them 5-4 down with just the doubles to play.
The Joggers opted to play their weakest pairing in the doubles in Mudd and Learad and they were made to pay for that decision as Harris and Fox beat them in straight sets to snatch what at one stage looked like an unlikely point. Whilst the Roosters title challenge was faltering their closest rivals in MBE and DTH Redlands Fluffy Toys were playing each other to decide who would leapfrog the Roosters to sit on top of the Division One table. And if anyone was expecting a close scoreline then they were in for a rude awakening.
DTH Fluffy Toys were just too hot for MBE to handle as Tom McIntosh, Peter Cowburn and Steve Johnson all had a fabulous night all beating the MBE trio of Craig Straw, Stuart Element and Dave Marsh with MBE only just avoiding a complete whitewash by winning the doubles at the end of the night in a 9-1 defeat. MBE did manage to close the gap at the top in their next match at home to Stanley Street ‘A’ who are scrapping for every point they can get as they are currently sat in the second of the two relegation spots.
Unfortunately for Street ‘A’, MBE weren’t in a sympathetic mood as they recorded a 10-0 win to move just one point behind the Fluffy Toys.
Although the scoreline suggests that MBE had a pretty straightforward night Stuart Element, Mick Jarvis and Craig Straw all had to go to five sets to beat Street’s Peter Eyre, who can count himself a little unfortunate to lose all his games in the deciding set. Other Division One Results: Manton Tigers 4 DTH Redlands Joggers 6, Ryton Park Adders 7 Manton Tigers 3. Probably the game of the week in Division Two was the titanic battle between DTH Redlands X-Youth and Stanley Street ‘C’ who both contributed in what turned out to be fantastic advert for the game of table tennis in the league with only three of the ten games being won in straight sets.
For the X-Youth both Jeff Reay and Ewan Pickersgill had an impressive night as Reay registered a hat -trick and Pickersgill won two to give their side a share of the spoils in a 5-5 draw.
Notably Pickersgill’s two wins both came in a fifth set decider as he managed to squeeze past both Andy Kirkland and Daniel Cutts, but probably the best game of the evening was between Reay and Paul Linfield.
Reay found himself 2-0 down and looking down the barrel of a straight sets defeat before winning the third set to get himself back in the game.
In the fourth set he was again staring defeat in the face as he found himself 5-0 behind, but produced some great table tennis to win it 13-11 to take it into a deciding set where once again he was behind.
Linfield had opened up an 8-3 lead and Reay could clearly hear the Fat Lady starting to sing, but he was having none of it hitting back to win an epic fifth set 15-13 to inflict only Linfield’s sixth defeat in the league this season.
Linfield with 2, Cutts with 1 and Kirkland with 1 were the scorers for Street ‘C’. Other Division Two Results: Manton Nomads 9 DTH Redlands Rookies 1, Stanley Street ‘C’ 4 Manton Sports 6, Ryton Park Cougars 0 Stanley Street ‘B’ 10, Ryton Park Eagles 6 DTH Redlands X-Youth 4. Division Three Results: Ryton Park Falcons 3 DTH Redlands Tarr Babies 7, Stanley Street ‘D’ 5 Stanley Street ‘E’ 5, Ryton Park Dragons 3 Stanley Street Cypriots 7.