WOODFIELD Park A will not be giving up their Huddersfield Table Tennis League champions title without a fight.
That was made clear when they played the one outstanding match of the first 12 weeks’ fixtures.
Their 9-1 defeat of Kingsmith Eng A was testimony to that.
It moved them up into second place on 85 points, just two adrift of Division I leaders Brooks A.
At the same time, it dropped Kingsmith A down to fourth on 79 points, although though any one of the top four teams is capable of capturing the title.
However, the one-sided final scoreline was scant reward for the brilliant and determined efforts of the Kingsmith team.
Ken Burgess lost in five games to both Tony Boyd and Dave Wood, while Andy Wilkinson lost in three close games to Mark Pugh, took a game off Wood and lost in five to Boyd.
Geoff Dunne, who never gives anything less than 100%, lost out to Boyd, 11-13, 9-11, 11-4, 9-11, and was the only player to take a game from Pugh and Beat Wood in four hammer-and-tongue games.
The Woodfield Park venue has a reputation for being difficult for defenders, although you certainly wouldn’t have thought so were you watching Wood playing and winning so many fabulous points, almost scraping the ball from the back wall and retrieving well-angled shots from near the floor on both sides of the table. Wonderful by any standards and in any conditions!
Pugh is always exciting to watch, capable of great patience and willing, if necessary, to defend, yet it’s unlikely anyone in the Huddersfield League hits the ball harder.
Woodfield Park’s third player, Boyd, had an excellent match.
Not so powerful perhaps as Pugh or some others in the First Division, nor does his defence follow the classical style of predominantly defensive players, but he has the wonderful ability of taking the speed of a well-hit ball, with a rolled topspin return, the bounce of which causes the recipient great difficulties in dealing with it.
Boyd won all three sets, as well as combining with Pugh to win the doubles 11-4, 11-4, 11-9, having been 7-9 down in the third game.
Playing most of his table tennis in Bradford and in Halifax, he is a deceptively-strong player. Appearing to be casual, he can switch from defence to attack in an instant and, though not as powerful as some others in the competition, he can nevertheless hit the ball hard and with great precision.
In the remaining weeks of the League programme, there are at least eight matches, which could have a direct bearing on the destination of the title.
But almost all the matches will have an impact on who gets relegated, with four teams possible candidates, along with Marsh Con A.
In Division II, thanks to their 10-0 win over Scissett B, Marsh Con B have opened up clear water between themselves and their main challengers, Kingsmith Eng C and Woodfield Park B, but there are still five weeks to go. Anything can happen.