ONE of the most entertaining and memorable matches for many a moon took place when Newsome SC A visited Lockwood Con D last week.
The final score was 5-5 and featured plenty of excitement.
To set the scene Lockwood Con D have just about the oldest combined age in the Third Division.
Two of their players, Geoff Heywood and Garry Moss, are on the verge of completing 100 years of active participation in the Huddersfield Table Tennis League, while both have been made vice presidents of the League.
To put the icing on the cake, with just over half the League programme complete, Lockwood D currently head the table and are putting fresh air between themselves and their nearest challengers. If that wasn’t enough, Gerry Kerr and Heywood lead the individual averages.
What a task for Newsome SC A to surmount, particularly when John Vaughan was ‘rule tied’ having already played Lockwood twice (once with the Newsome C team).
However, they rallied to the task with David Johnson winning two and Jonathan Vaughan, with a wonderful trio of victories, deservedly collecting the man-of-the-match accolade which gave Newsome a well-earned draw.
Where better to start than at the beginning with Kerr taking on Newsome’s Johnson.
The Newsome player set about his task as though there was no tomorrow, dominating the first two sets to lead 11-6, 11-7.
But Kerr hit back remarkably, destroying Johnson by 11-3, 11-2, to set up a fifth game decider.
But Johnson then resumed his dominance to win 11-7 and the whole pace of the set was unbelievable.
His controlled but aggressive pushing to both sides, followed by his forehand hitting down his opponent’s backhand were a spectacular success.
Perhaps most impressive was his refusal to be ruffled by Kerr’s clever control of spin and his ‘under and over’ loop from his backhand side.
This unexpected and high bouncing return wins him many points but on this occasion, Johnson remained steadfast.
The second set between Heywood for the home team and Newsome’s Vaughan also went to five, and though it lasted 29 minutes (12 minutes longer than its predecessor) it was equally enthralling.
It turned out to be one of Heywood’s few defeats, but what a contest 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 13-11 to Vaughan – and not a dull moment in it.
Getting the ball past Heywood is like hitting your head against a brick wall, there is no way through, but to have the ball come back to you, under control and with power, adds insult to injury. Yet, Vaughan stuck manfully to his task, pushing tactically and then unleashing his blockbuster forehand.
It was wonderful play and when Vaughan won with the cruellest of ‘nets’, it still failed to detract from the spectacle.
Heywood followed up this setback with two comprehensive victories. Against David Johnson he won 11-7, 11-5, 13-11 and against Bob Manby he won 11-7, 11-6, 12-14, 11-6.
Having won the first two sets of the match, Newsome lost the next four, so it was up to Vaughan to get them back on track, albeit with a far from convincing victory.
Garry Moss pushed him all the way, his backhand flick working a treat.
It was this which had enabled him to set Lockwood on their winning run with a fine win over Manby.
All credit to Vaughan for sticking to his task and fighting back from 2-6 and 4-8 down in the fourth game to win 11-9, 11-6, 11-13, 13-11.
He followed this up with another fifth game victory over Kerr in the final set of the evening to level the score and complete his own hat-trick.
Kerr’s consolation for his two marathon defeats was his straight games victory over Manby.
Golcar Lib A bounced back from last week’s 8-2 defeat by Marsh Con D, to beat Marsh Con A 7-3 with Crosby winning all three of his singles and Auty and Chapman two each.
On the wider front, Huddersfield Veterans second team improved their chances of winning promotion from Division III of the Yorkshire Inter-Town Veterans League by beating Wakefield II by 8-2.
This win puts them level on points at the top with Scarborough and Leeds.
Full scores: 1 Philip Schofield beat S Eaton 11-7, 11-9, 11-9, T Williamson 13-11, 11-8, 11-9, and T Smith 11-6, 11-4, 11-5. 2 Mick Rushworth lost to S Eaton 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 6-11, T Williamson 11-5, 10-12, 8-11, 7-11, and beat T Smith 11-9, 11-7, 11-9. 3 Stuart Sykes beat S Eaton 11-2, 11-4, 11-8, T Williamson 11-3, 11-2, 8-11, 11-2, and T Smith 11-2, 11-5, 11-4. Doubles: Schofield and Rushworth beat Eaton and Williamson 11-6, 5-11, 11-4, 13-11.