The 1st team were at home to Grove Park needing 17 points from the tie to secure a third consecutive title. A task made all the more difficult as Rob Downer, who was to play 1st string, had to pull out during the day having sustained a back injury the night before. At short notice, Peter Astbury stepped up to make up the team and everyone else moved up a position.
Andy Whipp, now playing 1, was first on playing Like McFarland. Andy came out of the blocks like a sprinter and made short work of Luke winning in 3 easy games (above and below).
On Court 6, the roles were reversed. Peter Astbury never really got going against Yawar Abbas. There was the odd flash of brilliance, but his lack of 1st team games this year showed (below). Yawar won in 3. With the match all square, the home team needed to win all the remaining matches.
Next up were Nat Fairhurst against Oscar Beach and Rob Taylor against Ky Hibberd. Rob made a slow start and lost the first game 6-11 and was down in the second. You began to think that it wasn’t going to happen tonight. Rob clawed back the deficit and took the second 12-10. He was now getting into the groove. He won the next 11-8 and was totally in control in the fourth (below). We were now back on course.
Meanwhile, Nat had made a great start winning the first easily. But then Oscar started to compete and it became a close fought contest. Nat just closed out the second but Oscar took the third, 12:10. By now it was 100% effort from both players and the crowd appreciated it (below). Nat managed to eek out a small lead in the fourth game and managed to hold on to it, to win match and continuing his run of fine form.
Just one match to go – Adam Taylor versus Morgan Hibberd. Adam secured the first but was somewhat erratic. A couple of decisions against him in the second left him fuming at losing the next. After a quick drink, he was straight back on court to get rid of his frustrations before the next game started. It worked. He started to find his flair and wrong foot his opponent. It was a tight game but Adam just managed to win it 12-10. Being ahead again settled him further and he dominated the fourth game leaving Morgan bemused as to where the ball was going (below).
So the tie was won and we secured the 17 points necessary to win the title. With two matches to go we are 40 points clear of Bowdon and with more wins. Congratulations to all the players who have made this another successful season. Well done!