The new Fun88-sponsored Isle of Man Table Tennis Association league season got underway last week.
This year sees an expanded series of 21 fixtures, including seven doubles-only evenings which will also contribute to the league standings.
There are three divisions again, with Divisions One and Two comprising eight teams with three players, while Division Three comprises six teams with two players.
Week one commenced last Wednesday at the NSC secondary hall and, as expected, it was action-packed as everyone tried to get back in gear.
Ramsey A (8) Travellers C (1)
Travellers C’s welcome back to Division One was mixed with a dose of reality as they faced last year’s top flight champions.
Father and son combo of David and Alex Buck succumbed to Adam Teare, Duncan Alexander and William Dalugdugan, but Alex put in a tremendous effort and only lost out to the experienced Alexander in the final set.
Paul Mathieson-Nelson is back where he belongs in the top flight at last and showed his mettle by grinding his way to victory against William in five games to take Travellers’ only point.
Travellers A (9) Tower A (0)
Tower also had a stiff test and were up against last season’s runners-up.
For the home side, Scott Lewis blasted his way past Jakk Limungkoon in four games, as he did against Mike Bayley. He then found himself 2-1 down against Ken Mitchell, but shifted gear to brush his way past him too and took the match in the fifth.
Malcolm Cummings edged past Mitchell in four ends and Limungkoon also in 4. Against Bayley he met with greater resistance and had to come back from 5-9 in the fifth to take the win. Finally, Liam Chan took the home side’s other three points with little fuss.
Arbory A (9) Strathallan (0)
There were some tight matches in this fixture and 9-0 doesn’t perhaps do Strathallan full justice, but they just couldn’t convert that into points.
The battle of the rising stars was won by Arbory’s Amit Lannin who managed to see off Ege Niyazi on this occasion in an exciting and tense match 15-13, 14-12, 11-7. Amit then edged past Neil Quane in four and Wayne Taylor in five - the latter being a very close match.
Mike Tamarov fought his way back from 10-12 down in the first against Ege to take the second game 18-16. This then enabled him to ease past Ege 11-8, 11-6 in the final two games. Tamarov then took his final point in four against Taylor.
Finally, John Magnall used his excellent defensive skills to great effect to extract three more points for the home side and a fabulous 9-0 win to launch their campaign.
Travellers B (5) Ramsey B (4)
The final tie in Division One turned out to be the closest, with some tremendous play.
John Shooter claimed three points with victories in four against Tim Baker and in three games against Becky Taylor and Wilma Dalugdugan (who was playing up from Division Two).
Malc Lewis had no joy against Taylor when losing out in three, before losing in four against Baker with some extremely close games in that match. Lewis then saw off Wilma in straight games.
Young William Shooter was unfortunate to lose out against the experienced Taylor 14-12 in the fifth - a tremendous effort. He then lost to Baker in three ends before taking a creditable point off Wilma in a very tight affair 13-11, 13-15, 13-11, 11-8.
Tower B (9) Travellers D (1)
Paul Callow led from the front in this tie, demolishing Jackie Gill in three ends and took a further two points in three ends from Grant Paterson and Adrian Tinkler.
Step forward Simon Radcliffe who proceeded to do likewise, albeit Tinkler took a game off him before losing their match.
Finally, Steve Curtis took another two points for the home side but was pushed hard by Paterson. Tinkler took the away side’s only point with a creditable win against Curtis - 12-10 in the final end of four games.
The doubles ended the evening with a very exciting match between Callow and Curtis, plus Paterson and Tinkler.
The home side eventually took the match 11-5 in the last after being pushed all the way by the tenacious Travellers duo.
Peel A (10) Ramsey D (0)
Another demolition job to report with the home trio of Ken Hegarty, Stuart Perry and Jon Taylor-Burt, looking like they will be a formidable threat to all comers this season.
A policy of no mercy was adopted and they swept past the Ramsey team consisting of Darren Shaw, Vio Galan and Chuan Fu, all in three ends. Chuan did push Ken hard in their final end though, with the Peel man just edging it 17-15.
Finally, Peel took the doubles in three with their pairing of Hegarty and Taylor-Burt against Shaw and Galan.
Arbory B (8) Ramsey C (2)
An interesting twist here with experienced Division One player Jason Quirk opting to head Arbory B’s promotion drive.
Not unexpectedly, he took three points with straight sets wins against Wilma Dalugdugan and Adrian Slater. Francesca Lord pushed him hard though, taking their first game 12-10 before Quirk reasserted his authority on the match.
Dan Levine had an edgy first game with Wilma, just taking it 15-13 before losing the second game 7-11, then switching tactics and taking the final two games and victory.
Levine took victory against Lord in three ends before losing out to the experienced Adrian Slater in four ends.
Finally, for the home side Malcolm Lambert played well to defeat both Wilma and Francesca in three, before losing out to an in-form Slater in three games.
To round off the evening, Quirk and Levine combined well to take the doubles in four ends against Wilma and Francesca.
Desmond’s Douglas A (6) Arbory C (4)
The Desmond’s trio of Brandon Montgomery, Neil Ronan and Russell Kent were on form in this tie.
Montgomery beat Sonja Shaw in three games and Rob Wright in four before losing out to the experienced Jane Kneale who makes a welcome return to league action this year with Arbory.
Kneale was taken to a final end by a determined Montgomery, just taking the win 11-9. It was a similar story for Ronan before he also succumbed to Kneale in the fifth.
Russell Kent saw off Wright in the fourth end but was defeated in four by Shaw and in three by Kneale. Doubles was taken by Kent and Montgomery in three ends against Shaw and Wright.
IoM Junior Development A (4) IOM Junior Development D (1)
Luke Begley continues to improve and notched up two wins here against Sydnie Weaver and Seth Hornby-Wheeler.
Team-mate Liav Lannin beat Sydnie in four ends but lost out to Seth in four very close ends.
IoM Junior Development B (0) IoM Junior Development C (5)
Newcomers Henry Weaver and Eben Moore had a tremendous start to their season with maximum points taken from the B team’s Max Doyle and Megan Corris.
Ramsey F 0 Tower House 5
Another brand-new team for this season, and Tower House’s Steven Carridge and Paul Mitchinson took all five points against experienced duo Pat Halliwell and Henry da Silva.
All matches were settled in straight ends apart from Carridge’s victory over Halliwell which eventually he edged 11-9 in the fifth. Well done to them and an excellent start to their season.
There will be an opportunity to turn up and play table tennis at the NSC each Friday from 7.30-10pm.
The Isle of Man Table Tennis Association is making six tables available and it’s great value at £5 per person. No booking is necessary - come and try it if you fancy getting involved, or experienced players feel free to use this slot for practice.
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