LOSING in a semi-final is among the cruellest of fates for any sportsperson, and when you are young and have enjoyed considerable success in your relatively short table tennis career, it must seem even harder.
Such was the situation for Kingsmith Terriers when Woodfield Park A put paid to their Concorde Trophy challenge at Newsome Sports College.
As defending champions of the Trophy, the Terriers gave a good account of themselves, both with their performances and demeanour.
In this the first of the semi-finals, Woodfield Park gave the Kingsmith team the respect due to them for their past performances and successes, and for their current form.
The match contained some sterling efforts by both teams, not least that of Mark Pugh breaking even with Dominic Lodge by restricting him to just five points from four games.
Not an easy task when one is aware of the young player’s ability to hit winners with both his forehand and his backhand, even though his control can be somewhat wayward.
Oliver Shaw, taking a game from a level start from Keith Skarz, was equally praiseworthy, particularly so, having struggled in his earlier sets, and Skarz’s own success of containing Lodge despite giving him 32 points start was immeasurable.
Jack Woodhead for the Terriers was, however, quite outstanding, gaining two points overall against handicap while winning one game from scratch against First Division opposition, and gaining five points from both Skarz and Pugh. Altogether a very controlled determined and disciplined performance.
Best by far, however, was the man-of-the-match performance of Tony Boyd.
Playing from a handicap of +2 against opposition with handicaps of 21, 21 and 35, he was control and consistency personified.
He took points from each of his opponents. He guided the ball to unbelievable angles beyond their reach. He repeatedly powered the ball down the line and yet, when he needed to, having been forced onto the defensive, he stroked the ball back with consummate ease, returning what had appeared to be winners until his opponent’s resolve was broken.
Whether he can repeat this form remains to be seen, but he has at least given Woodfield Park the right to compete for the Trophy spoils.
Woodfield Park have had a busy few days, for five days earlier they fought a titanic battle against Brooks B. They lost by seven sets to three, but what a battle!
Six sets went to a deciding fifth game with three others going to four. In all 45 games were played, with Shaun Ellis being unbeaten for Brooks B, although he was taken to a fifth-game decider in each of his sets.
HUDDERSFIELD LEAGUE RESULTS
Marsh Con A 3 (Borcic, G Normanton, Hirst) Scissett WMC A 7 (Morley 3, Armitage 3).
Brooks B 7 (Ellis 3, Schofield 2, Sykes) Woodfield Park A 3 (Pugh 2, Boyd).
Woodfield Pk B 7 (Knott 2, Belk 2, Moorhouse 3) Kingsmith Terriers 3 (Walker 2).
Woodfield Pk B 7 (Moorhouse 3, Belk 3) Brooks C 3 (Irving, Hullah, Ackroyd).
Newsome SC B 9 (Vaughan Snr 3, Vaughan Jnr 3, Sissons 2) Deighton LC B 1 (D Pinnock).
Brooks D 3 (Spencer, Sykes, Robertson) Deighton LC B 7 (Simpson 3, Drain 3).