Three-way scrap at top of Division One

Mike Armishaw
Mike Armishaw
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The title race in Division One of the Preston Table Tennis League is shaping up into a real humdinger.

The two sides who have jockeyed for top spot all season – Riverside B and Jacobaeus A – met in the latest round of matches and played out a 5-5 draw, with John Porter of Jacobaeus winning all his games in the process.

But that result allowed Ashton Meths A to move join top with Jacobaeus – two points clear of Riverside – as they whitewashed Astra D 10-0.

Ashton’s dramatic rise up the table has coincided with the introduction of former international Andrew Eden, who has returned to the sport this season after a lengthy lay-off, and won all 18 of his games so far without too much trouble.

And now Ashton’s chances have been further boosted by the recruitment of Chris Spedding, a Premier Division player of some repute in previous seasons – he played his first game in the rout of Astra.

Elsewhere in Division One, Danny Luhar won all his games for Lyons Lane B, but that didn’t prevent them falling to a 6-4 defeat to Gryf B, and the same fate befell Mukesh Patel as Riverside D went down 6-4 to Lyons Lane A.

Mike Armishaw and Adam Soar were both unbeaten as Garstang B beat Croston B 8-2, while Harry Brennand returned his normal three wins as Croston A drew 5-5 with Riverside A.

In the top flight, leaders Astra A whitewashed Garstang a 10-0, while Gryf A overwhelmed bottom club Astra C 9-1, with Manoj Parekh beating Jordan Brookes to prevent a clean sweep.

Ben Drulia won all his matches to help Riverside A draw 5-5 with Deepdale, while Keiron Beswick was man of the match as his Kirkham team beat BAC/EE B 6-4.

In Division Two, there were 10-0 successes for the top three teams – leaders Riverside E against Ashton Meths B, second-placed Chorley over Fulwood and BAC/EE C versus Gryf C.

And Riverside F made it an unprecedented four whitewashes in one week, with Jacobaeus A their victims.

Astra F were also big winners against fellow youngsters Preston Colts, although there were some very close games.

Most notably was the absolutely thrilling match between the Colts’ Nathan Nickeas and Max Johnson, which Nickeas won 11/5 11/8 8/11 10/12 13/11 to get Colts on the board.

Astra E and Villa played out a 5-5 draw, with Geoff Pickles and Jonah Bolton winning two each for Astra, and Ben Parker and Simon Davy doing likewise for Villa.