For Steve Kerns Update following the second (and successful for NETTS!) weekends play in December see below:
Division Two South & East – Yaxley Royal British Legion (15 points out of 16) lead the table by two points from De Vere NETTS and Crusaders. Their no. two player – the ever-present England no. 89 Ian Musk remains undefeated from his 16 starts although he hasn’t had to face the inform England no. three Veteran Neil Charles (De Vere NETTS) who is also unbeaten in his eight games. Yaxley’s no. one – England no. 67 – Jon Hall has only lost twice, when he succumbed to both of his Crusader’s opponents – Ping Ho and Michael Ho.
Yaxley Royal British Legion dropped their first point of the Season in round seven against Crusaders. And it could have been worse. They won three of the four five-setters and they had to retrieve a 4-2 deficit to secure the draw. Ian Musk held the Yaxley team together and he had to dig deep in both of his games. Musk beat Michael Ho 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 12-14, 11-9 and it was equally hard-fought against Ben Larcombe where he won 6-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-9. Jon Hall had a match he will want to forget. He succumbed to Ping Ho (nine wins out of 16) 8-11, 11-7, 11-3, 9-11, 10-12 and he also missed out against an inspired Michael Ho 8-11, 12-10, 7-11, 3-11. Ping Ho added a second victory by beating Kieran Smith (11 wins out of 16) 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-2. Blake Taylor secured the draw for Yaxley by beating Mohamad Imran Dawood Basha 11-3, 9-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-4 in a hard-fought last game.
Yaxley Royal British Legion produced what looks like title winning form in their other three matches.
They won all three games 7-1. This included an impressive 7-1 win over a strong York Gardens side. Keiran Smith impressed greatly in this match. He beat Richard Carden 3-2 and Neil Cartwright 3-1 whilst Neil Cartwright was responsible for York Garden’s sole success. He beat Blake Taylor 11-2, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6 in the last game. The match against Bedford Modern I followed a similar pattern. Bedford Modern had to wait until the last game to notch up a win. Joshua Robinson will argue that it was a case of “saving the best to last”. He made his mark with a 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9 win over Blake Taylor. Jon Hall totally dominated his two singles. He beat Ben Gardner 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 and Hamish Yeung 11-5, 11-8, 11-4. Two very strong performances. Bottom side Ellenborough were also despatched 7-1 and this time it was Ellenborough Captain Paul Martindill (five wins out of eight) who came up trumps. He beat Blake Taylor 7-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8. Keith Fung also had his chances against Blake Taylor and he only missed out 6-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5, 9-11. Jon Hall again powered his way to two victories. He beat Dave Rideout 11-5, 11-6, 11-1 and Fabien Mauroy 11-5, 11-8, 11-7.
The match between Ashford Brunswick II and York Gardens II saw five of the six games decided in the fifth end. It was very much York Gardens’s day. They won five of these games with four of them decided at 11-9 in the fifth end. Ashford’s new signing – Ugor Surucu looks a good one. He won seven singles out of eight but he will rue the one he lost. England no. 128 Luca Mariano looked dead and buried when trailing 9-3 in the fifth end but he somehow hauled his way back into the match to run out a 10-12, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9 winner. Ashford just couldn’t get over the finishing line. Winston Wong gave it everything against Richard Carden before falling 4-11, 16-14, 5-11, 11-8, 9-11 and Robert Lemon succumbed to Simon Forest 11-3, 8-11, 13-11, 6-11, 9-11. Finally in the last game David Rahbani picked up a fifth game win. And a very good one it was as well. He beat Neil Cartwright 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 7-11, 11-2 to make the final score Ashford Brunswick II 3 York Gardens III 5.
Ashford II also took a point off a Neil Charles-less De Vere NETTS. It looks to have been a battling performance from the NETTS side and they finished strongly to grab a point after trailing 4-1. Ugur Surucu’s two singles wins put Ashford in a strong position but NETTS hit back hard. Kevin Read beat Shahrukh Mostame 3-0 and Alex Facey excelled by beating England no. 152 Robert Lemon 3-1. Paul Davison (who has bagged an excellent 13 wins out of 16 so far) sealed the draw for NETTS by defeating Adam Burgess 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 in the last game.
Cippenham II turned out a totally different team to last time. Following the loss of some key players through injury they took the decision to promote their third team to the second side. They competed well but were unable to add to their points total. Bottom side Ellenborough were always going to be a team they were out to do well against. They were tied at 2-2 at one stage after Chris Hansell had beaten Steve Kerns (3-1) and Tony Stead had defeated Phil Walker (3-0). But it was Ellenborough who produced the better form in the second half of the match. England no. 136 Fabien Mauroy produced some decisive play to beat Chris Hansell 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (his second win) and Paul Martindill won a vital five-ender against Paul Baker. A very close one it was too. Martindill finally eased home 9-11, 11-5, 12-10, 8-11, 13-11. The next game was also touch and go as well but Steve Kerns finally found a way through the tricky combination bat play of Tony Stead to win in five ends (11-7, 6-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5). Phil Walker completed what was a very good Ellenborough team performance by beating Cippenham guru Graham Trimming 11-9, 11-7, 13-11 to give Ellenborough a very welcome 6-2 win, their first points of the Season.