Week 3 of the Mount Gambier Table Tennis Spring season produced more hotly contested matchups in Division 1, and some anticlimactic boilovers in Division 2. Raiders and Patriots squared off in the first match of Division 1, Ben Newman and Ward Freeman remaining unbeaten for Patriots, while Rayelene Hutchesson was the standout performer in an evenly balanced Raiders outfit. Many of the rubbers throughout the match were decided in 5 games, testament to the evenness of the two teams. Patriot appeared to have gained the upper hand through the doubles middle section of the match, until Raiders fought back to reel off four victories in a row. As is becoming a familiar theme in the early stages of the season, the end result came down to the final rubber of the night between the two teams’ respective number one players. Victory to Sirinat Sweet would give her Raiders team the overall glory, while Ben Newman needed to take the honours to tie the match for Patriots and send it to a countback of games. Sweet came out steeled for battle, starting the stronger to comfortably pocket the first game, Newman appearing to let the occasion get the better of him. He quickly composed himself and reversed the momentum in the second game, however, squaring the ledger looking ominous with his speed and power. Sweet appeared decidedly rattled, unable to regain her composure and rhythm in the third game, now needing to win the fourth take push the contest out to a decider. Newman’s defences and counterstrokes proved impenetrable however, as he cruised to victory in the fourth game, tying the match at 9 rubbers apiece forcing the outcome to be decided by a countback of games won. Fortunately for Sweet and her Raiders, they took it out in a close one, 38 games to 34. The second Division 1 match of the night was also closely fought, Leigh Barry’s Giants facing off against Travis Sweet’s Broncos. Barry, Aaron McPhee and Olu Lande all produced exquisite performances for Giants, all coming away with clean sheets, whilst Harry Childs almost single-handedly kept Broncos in the contest with his own clean sheet. A strong start by the Giants proved to be the difference, with Lande, McPhee and Rob Halleday all winning their opening singles rubbers to give their team a gap which the Broncos were unable to bridge. The final result was the Giants’ 10 rubbers to the Broncos 8.
Results in both Divion 2 matches were unfortunately lopsided. Ethan Ransom, Richard Horrigan and Hayley Barnes led their Vikings to a commanding 12-6 victory against the Titans in the first match of the night. Emina Leamey proved to be the only bright light for the Titans, scoring victory in both of her singles rubbers to hold her head high in an otherwise disappointing night. Barnes’ marathon 5-game victory over Titans player Marga Steele was a highlight of the match, Barnes needing to draw on all of her youthful energy to close it out 12-10 in the deciding fifth. Inspired by his teammate’s effort, Tom Horrigan also needed every trick in his book to come away with victory over his Titans opponent in Nat Harris-Jones, also in 5 gruelling games. There were no such highlights in the final Division 2 encounter of the night between the Lions and the Buccaneers, the former cruising to a whitewash victory without raising a set. Buccaneers players Deakin Lofthouse, Alex Newman and Chris Turner were the only ones to display any semblance of resistance for their team, stretching their Lions opponents to 5 games in their respective rubbers. This only served to prolong the agony for the Buccaneers however, as the Lions powered to an utterly demoralising 18-0 onslaught.
2 rubber winners:
Division 1 – Rayelene Hutchesson (Raiders), Ben Newman, Ward Freeman (Patriots), Leigh Barry, Aaron McPhee, Olu Lande (Giants), Harry Childs (Broncos).
Division 2 – Ethan Ransom, Hayley Barnes, Richard Horrigan (Vikings), Emina Leamey (Titans), Doug Megaw, James Peake, Andrew Telford, Jacob Ireland, Richard Van Der Linde, Lenny Van Der Linde (Lions).