MK League: the Pumas finally at their lowest


FIRST

A massive week for teams at both ends of the table with the MK Spinners and Pumas sides taking over their closest rivals.

A welcome return to form from Jecu Aurelian after an indifferent February (just 6 out of 12 wins) saw the Spinners defeat their eternal title rivals (in this millennium anyway) the Greenleys Monarchs 6-4 in the of a classic match on Wednesday. The Monarchs have dropped fewer points than the Spinners against other teams in the division, but the 3 losses now against the Spinners have surely cost them the title, with only 4 weeks of the season remaining. Jecu managed to defeat Tomek Nowakowski and Magda Kosubek but found Roumen Stefanov, the Northants star on the Monarchs debut, a win too far on his final outing of the night. As usual in these close matches, the doubles set proved vital with Jecu linking up with Alan Cherry for a win over Tomek/Magda. Alan, newly crowned League singles champion of the weekend, was impregnable as usual for his hat-trick and relishes those important competitions which always bring out his best form. Gary Jones lined up the Spinners line and played well without success.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, MK Pumas picked up a vital 8-2 win over relegation rivals Leighton Buzzard Van Hire. It was a great night for Andy Smith and Hakan Karaagac, both with highs and a share in the doubles to secure the Pumas’ first victory since the opening week of the season in the fall. Julie Snowdon won her other set with a win over David Broome to avenge her loss the last time they met. Paul Haigh and Fabrice Spelta were Van’s other men and neither set was decisive. A 5-point margin with a game in progress should be enough to ensure Pumas now finish a long way from last place.

The remaining game was a late night marathon with the Greenley Kings beating club mates Warriors 7-3. Jordan Moss had to shoot early and was allowed to play her sets first. She started out losing to Ricky Taiwo but got some good wins over Adebola Odetayo and Darren Ward. The Warriors’ other successes came from Ricky and Darren at the expense of Guy Sparrow, which left Kings skipper Nick Howard undefeated after surviving match points against Darren. The clash between Nick and Ricky brought together two of the League’s in-form players, with Nick ending Ricky’s impressive recent winning streak in back-to-back matches.

Player of the Week: Alan Cherry

DIVISION 1

BIG VICTORY FOR BIG JOHN
Greenleys Glory put in a sensational performance against League leaders MK Phoenix this week, losing 6-4 without the services of their main man Jacob Midson for the first time this season. John Stamp, the division’s tallest player, stepped up with a tremendous change to beat both Terry Lau and Mervyn Phillips, then team up with Scott Dixon to take down the Mervyn/Alan Bolding combination. Scott added a 4th after beating Terry and narrowly missed the tie losing 11-9 in the deciding match against Mervyn. There was no stopping Alan, in singles anyway, as he extended his winning streak to 28. Christine Scaysbrook was Glory’s other player. Glory has the best doubles record in the division and the John/Scott duo leads in doubles averages to boot.

Open University Primes crashed to their biggest loss of the season against MK Topspin, who gained more ground on Phoenix after a 9-1 success. Ning He prevented the daub in the final set by beating Russell Penn in back-to-back matches, while Russell’s teammates Mervyn Kelly and Tanmay Tijare came away with highs. Half of the sets, however, went the distance. James Zeng and Andy Tan also played for Primes.
A convincing 8-2 win for MK Powers over MK Hit ‘n’ Hope put them in the mix for 3rd place as only one point now separates them from the Glory and Primes sides. Hat tricks here for Sarah Hudson and Minesh Pitamber and a single win for Keith Carrington. Mike Ainsworth and Paul Tompkins of Hope both triumphed over Keith and while Andy Frearson remained winless he at least took Sarah to a 5th match, the only one of the night.

Finally, Leighton Buzzard Avengers beat Chackmore Hasbeens 7-3 to solidify his hold on 6th position. Bernie Raffe was man of the match with maximum wins against Bub Burman and the Whiteheads, Chris and Andy. Bernie also won the doubles with Richard Hardy, with Christinel Hulpan taking a double for the first time, and Richard one. Hasbeens sets came from Bub (2) and Andy. It’s now 6 doubles losses in a row for a team that was previously batting well above its weight in this department.

Player of the Week: John Stamp

DIVISION 2

Courtesy of Martin Johnson
It was ‘big game’ week at the top of Division 2, as leaders Milton Keynes Sharks visited second-placed Woburn Sands Mosquitoes, who were six points adrift but with a game in hand, to face off against each other for the third and final time this season. The Sharks had won the previous two meetings, 6-4 and 7-3, but their lead at the top has gradually narrowed over the past few weeks. The expected close match ensued, with five of the ten sets going to a fifth match, all ending in a narrow victory one way or the other, but perhaps the biggest surprise was that none of the two teams had only played their most successful player, with undefeated James Molloy out for the Mosquitoes, but Derick Rodrigues also out for the Sharks. Close sets happened from the start, with Rob McPheat leading 2-0 for the Mosquitoes against Ruper Greyling, only for Rupert to level it at 2-2, but in the end it was Rob who just made it to 11 -9 in the decider. In the next set, Pedro Anastacio came from 2-1 up against Andy Jenkins to take an even closer decisive leg, 12-10 in the fifth. Glenn Barcham put the Mosquitoes back in front, winning in four innings against Abhay Tijare, despite dropping the second leg, 1-11, but the game was square again as Pedro and Rupert picked up another victory on the fifth in a double inside out against Rob & Andy. The sets were traded as Rupert beat Andy in four and Pedro won the closest set of the night 16-14 in the fifth against Glenn, while Rob and Andy each beat Abhay more comfortably. At 4-4 and it was yet another five-setter set, in which Glenn trailed Rupert 2-0, only for Rupert to seal it 11-8 in the decider. The full winning streak over the Mosquitoes beckoned, but Rob held off Pedro in four close games in the final set, to leave the final score 5-5, and thus leave the top of the table still very finely balanced. Both teams extended their unbeaten streak, the Mosquitoes to six in a row and the Sharks to four in a row, while Rob took individual honours.

Further down the table, fifth-placed Mursley Hawks faced sixth-placed Little Horwood Wooden Tops and it was the Hawks who won the game 6-4, although they were helped by the absence of a third player of Wooden Tops, leaving Andy Hooper and John Sharp. to face the Hawks trio of David Bartlett, Ian Spanswick and Martin Johnson. Wooden Tops won the first two sets played, as Andy beat Martin over five sets, then John beat Ian in four games, but Hawks captain David came to the rescue with narrow Game 4 wins against Andy and John. John picked up another win over Martin, but Ian edged his set against Andy at 11-9 in the deciding match, while Andy and John won the double against David and Ian, to be 4-3 in sets played the night, but without a third player, they lost the game 6-4, leaving them 18 points behind the Hawks in the table.

The final match of the week pitted third-placed Newport Pagnell Lagondas against fourth-placed Leighton Buzzard Spitfires. Glen Davison took the first set against Graham Silversides for Lagondas, then Chris Horn won the third set against Dwight Edwards, to temporarily put Lagondas 2-1 at that point, but that’s as good as it gets for them. Michael Howard made his first appearance on the table this season, but his lack of practice showed as he lost all three, although he closed in on Dwight, losing just 11-7 in the decider. Andy King put in a majestic performance to win all his sets for the Spitfires, also winning the doubles with Graham against Glen & Michael, and with Dwight and Graham each winning twice, the Spitfires secured their third 8-2 win in four weeks , a series of results that sees them pass Lagondas for third place and move within six points of second-placed Mosquitoes.

Player of the Week: Andy King

Previous "Sport, a very powerful tool to achieve gender equality"
Next Our ambition for gender parity in table tennis