THE eagerly-awaited fixture between the top two sides in Division I, Brooks A and Woodfield Park A, fittingly brought the curtain down on the first half of the Huddersfield Table Tennis League season.
Both sides were at full strength and included the current and two former men’s singles champions.
First game of the night brought together Shaun Ellis, playing only his second match of the season for Brooks, and Keith Skarz, and in spite of his lack of match play, the fine attacking on both flanks was too quick and accurate for Skarz to mount any form of defence, Ellis winning in three sets 11-5, 11-4 , 11-5.
Next up was the pairing of reigning champion Darren Lindley and Tim Dyson, who was really pumped up for this one and took the first game 11-8.
Both players served up some high class table tennis, countering each other’s top spin variations before unleashing ferocious attacking play.
Dyson made very few errors which put pressure on Lindley to find that little bit extra from his service, and in doing so, he twice served off the table at key points which cost him the second game, also 11-8.
Lindley took an early lead in the next game but was pegged back and eventually overtaken by Dyson who won 11-9.
This was a surprisingly comfortable win for Dyson who has been thwarted by Lindley at the Closed Championships for several years now and must have taken some encouragement from his performance that perhaps this will once again be his year.
For Lindley, who also plays regularly in the strong Sheffield League, it was his first defeat in all competition this season, and while he admitted to feeling a little lethargic, he was quick to acknowledge his opponent’s superiority on the night.
Another key match followed with Russell Senior up against Woodfield’s Mark Pugh, two colleagues in the Huddersfield Veterans’ first team.
This again was surprisingly one-sided with Pugh seemingly unable to deal with Senior's powerful top spin and offering little problem for his opponent who ran out a winner 11-7, 11-6, 11-6.
With Dyson comfortably easing past Skarz 11-3, 11-5, 11-6, Brooks had incredibly won the first four matches without conceding a set!
In the doubles Dyson and Senior were up against Lindley and Pugh, with the Woodfield pairing moved into a 2-1 lead before the current Men’s doubles champions tightened up their game to take the last two games 11-6, 11-7.
Mark Pugh found some form in beating Shaun Ellis in four close games, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 12-10 to give Woodfield their first points of the night, and then a nervous, error strewn performance from Senior allowed Lindley a comfortably 11-2, 11-4, 11-5 win to reduce the deficit to 5-2.
However, Dyson completed an excellent performance by totally outplaying Mark Pugh 11-3, 11-4, 11-1, and Senior then returned to form with a comfortable 11-2, 11-8, 11-3 win over Skarz.
The final match of the evening paired Lindley with Ellis and it produced some excellent attacking play from both men, Ellis taking the first game 11-6 before Lindley moved up a gear to take the next three 11-5, 11-7, 11-9.
It was an excellent 7-3 win for Brooks who now hold an eight-point cushion over their rivals.
The match was completed in a little over two hours which reflects the attacking nature of all the individual contests, and the high standard maintained throughout was a credit to all six players involved.
Next week is the first round of the CSD Logistics Handicap Cup competition which gives players a rare opportunity to play under the old scoring system of 21-up.