DEFENDING champions YMCA D beat title rivals YMCA E 6-4 in an eagerly-awaited Castleford, Pontefract and District Table Tennis League top of the table clash.
Just one point separated the two teams who drew 5-5 in a pulsating game earlier this season that produced high class play throughout.
In the second meeting, almost no one could produce their best form. It became a war of nerves and determination, with occasional flashes of brilliance, resulting in fascinating but sometimes scrappy games.
Bailey Pye returned from university to play for YMCA E but his best form deserted him.
Top player Peter France had new-style Chinese rubbers on his bat and his silky touch was not quite there. Daniel Ferguson was YMCA E’s star, showing how much he has improved in the past year.
YMCA D’s Phil Cawser started strongly then tensed up later in the night. Keith Powell struggled for consistency and had to call on all his guile and experience. And Gordon Cooper was trying so hard to back up his teammates that he made many more errors than usual.
The two teams won alternate matches all the way to 4-4. Cawser beat Pye easily and won against an out-of-sorts France.
Cawser then scrambled home 11-9 in the fifth against the much improved Ferguson.
Powell narrowly beat Ferguson and lost to France while Cooper lost his three matches.
In the ninth game, Pye again start badly, losing two quick games to Powell but he hit back to level at 2-2.
The fifth and deciding game was tense and error-strewn and both had chances but it was Powell who emerged with the win for the D team.
The doubles went to the YMCA D to give them victory.
Ferrybridge B won 8-2 at C Station B, for whom Richard Lumb lost to brothers Dave and Neil Cooper but beat Robert McNaught over four sets.
C Station’s John Wainwright lost over three sets to both Coopers but beat McNaught over three.
Peter Hugill and Rob Connell won all their singles games as YMCA A beat Ferrybridge A 9-1. Connell overcame Alan Yip in five sets, the last two 13-11 in his favour.
YMCA A’s John Spedding defeated Terry Kirk and Dennis Shaw but lost to Yip.
YMCA E host C Station B and C Station A visit Ferrybridge A in the league’s Handicap Cup semi-finals next week.
C Station A booked their place in the last four by pipping Ferrybridge B in a match that ended in a draw.
The competition rules state that in the event of a draw the weaker team on handicap, which was C Station A, go through.
Ferrybridge B consisted of Bob McNaught and brothers Dave and Neil Cooper and C Station comprised Keith Lumb, Andy Adams and Richard Fry.
After the 20 games of 21 points, the teams were deadlocked with 395 points apiece.
Throughout the match, the contest swung one way then the other. The decisive game was in the doubles when Fry and Adams beat McNaught and Cooperl 21-12 and 21-12 even though they had identical handicaps.
In the last game, McNaught, with his handicap of 12, managed to beat Adams by four points, forcing the draw.