Who was at the races in the derby?
The third week of the 2017/18 L&DTTL season heralded the first set of derby matches for the Club. Derby matches are always keenly contested and these would be no exception. The first, was the division 3 derby between Dave Noden's well established C Team, and the new boys to Div 3, Ian McElwee's D Team. And what a great match this proved to be. Dave found himself without No.1 Darren Taylor, bringing in Andrew Armstrong to fill the gap, whereas Ian was able to field a full strength side, with two match wins already under their belt. There was some real high class table tennis in this match, none more so than by captain Dave who pulled off a fantastic clean sheet with 3 singles wins. The doubles proved decisive; with Ian & Ula for the D Team winning through 11:7 in the fifth end. In fact Ula was involved in 3 titanic five setters over the evening, beating Ted Cramsie 11:9 in the 5th, loosing to Dave 11:7 in the fifth and winning in the doubles. A fabulous night.
Next up was the Division 2 derby between the A Team, Barry Davis (Captain), Colin Turner and Ted Cramsie, brought in as a last minute substitute for Matt Wilson. And the newly promoted B Team of Brian Crolley (Captain), Andy Cheung and Mal Kent. Even though they were the 'home' team, nevertheless Brian's Boys decided to wear their very smart, new, 'away' strip. They really looked the part and things started well, with Mal winning through in a tremendous tussle with Ted - playing for the second night running in a derby! So that after 2 sets honours were even. But life is proving very tough in this higher than expected division for the B Team. And that 1 victory was all they would achieve over the evening despite their valiant efforts. The A team taking a convincing 1:9 victory.
The last derby match of the week was in division 5, between the newly formed F Team, captained by Keith Hardman, and the long established division 5 regulars, the G Team, captained by Des Logan. With two evenly matched sides, both teams fielding 5 players instead of the more usual 4, and a strong supporting crowd of spectators this match had 'draw' written all over it! It started off exactly like that with 3 very evenly contested sets at the end of which the F team were 2:1 up. What happened next? Try as they might the 'home' F team could not win another set! Yes, they were close, but just not close enough. Tom Bell and Steve McCormick were the stars of the show for the G team, remaining unbeaten. Clever doubles selection by captain Des meant the G Team also had 2 very strong and experienced pairs, to take both sets. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was that none of the sets went to 5 ends, and only 1 went to 4! Obviously the two teams were more interested in socializing and getting to the excellent refreshments than dragging out the matches! A great evening, and a very good 2:8 win for the G Team. Captain Keith has some work to do!