British League Division 2 North Champions Decided
Last weekend was an important one for Barrow II, as the team aimed to realise their ambition for promotion to Division 1 North of the British League. With a perfect record going into the weekend, Barrow II were the favourites. Though tough opposition, particularly in the form of Drumchapel Glasgow III and title contenders Chesterfield stood in the way.
Barrow II vs. Woodfield
Barrow II’s previous fixture against Woodfield ended in a 6-2 victory for the Barrow team. On that occasion, Woodfield’s Andy Rich claimed the scalps of Barrow’s Jonathan Crawford and Scott Crawford. The Crawford brothers will have been relieved to see Rich missing for this match.
Jonathan Crawford was simply too strong for Leigh Hipkins (11-4, 11-4, 11-4) and Scott Crawford overcame the tricky John Collymore (6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8). A nervy Tristran Swan got the better of Liam Farmer (12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9) and stepping in for the injured Tom Smith, Graham Coupe was quick to prove his worth and get his name on the score sheet with a battling win over Jarendra Patel (5-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-3) to give Barrow II a faultless 4-0 start.
The second half went much the way of the first with Jonathan Crawford beating John Collymore (11-7, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9), Swan beating Hipkins (11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5) and Scott Crawford beating Patel (11-9, 11-9, 11-7). Coupe was close to an impeccable start, but was in need of a couple of extra points to get the better of Farmer (9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11).
Match Score: Barrow II 7 – 1 Woodfield
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Tristran Swan (2), Graham Coupe (1)
Woodfield: John Collymore (0), Leigh Hipkins (0), Jarendra Patel (0), Liam Farmer (1)
Barrow II vs. Drumchapel Glasgow III
Barrow II won the previous encounter with Drumchapel Glasgow III 8-0, a score line that took even the Barrow team by surprise. Barrow II certainly weren’t expecting things to be as easy this time against a young and dangerous Drumchapel Glasgow III.
From the start, the match didn’t go to plan as Scott Crawford failed to penetrate the sharp looking Drumchapel Number 1 Calum Main (11-7, 11-13, 9-11, 5-11). Thankfully for Barrow, the ship was steadied as brother Jonathan Crawford stepped into the court showing the sort of form that has deserted him for much of the season. Jonathan beat the much-improved Scott Barton (11-7, 11-5, 16-14).
Graham Coupe was on fire as he produced possibly his best win to date against Nathan Courtney (11-9, 5-11, 12-10, 3-11, 11-7) to put Barrow II back on track. With the Barrow team visibly lifted and once again buoyant, Tristran Swan fed of the mistakes of Andrew McFadyen (13-11, 11-6, 11-5) to give Barrow II a 3-1 lead at the halfway point.
Jonathan Crawford then went on to produce his best table tennis of the season. Hitting the ball sweet and at times with unreturnable venom, Jonathan always looked in control as he beat Drumchapel’s Main (11-6, 11-4, 3-11, 11-8). Scott Crawford then overcame Courtney (11-5, 15-13, 13-11), whilst Swan didn’t have an answer for the serves and short play of Barton (12-14, 6-11, 6-11). For Coupe, a satisfying afternoon was concluded with a superb win over McFadyen (10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6) to give Barrow II a very respectable 6-2 win.
Match Score: Barrow II 6 – 2 Drumchapel Glasgow III
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (1), Tristran Swan (1), Graham Coupe (2)
Drumchapel Glasgow III: Calum Main (1), Scott Barton (1), Nathan Courtney (0), Andrew McFadyen (0)
Barrow II vs. Chesterfield
Barrow II’s previous encounter with Chesterfield is what defines the standings at the top of the table. On that occasion, a strong team of Bradley Evans, Jonathan Crawford, Scott Crawford and Steve Dixon took the fixture 5-3 to give Barrow II a two-point advantage at the top of the table.
This time around, Barrow II had a very different lineup against an unchanged Chesterfield (William Cooney, Andy Henry, Andrew Horsefield, Mark Short). As such, this match had the potential to be a game of two halves. With Barrow II on paper boasting a stronger 1 and 2 and Chesterfield greater depth at 3 and 4, a draw looked to be on the cards and it is this that Barrow were playing for.
To start, Chesterfield’s Andy Henry struggled to read Jonathan Crawford’s deceptive serves (11-4, 11-6). Come the third set, he seemed to have the hang of them (8-11). Although Jonathan wasn’t playing as well as the previous day, he managed to close Henry out in the fourth set to give Barrow II a very important early lead (11-9).
Barrow’s lead was extended as Scott Crawford held his nerve after loosing the first set to Will Cooney (9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5). As expected, Tristran Swan went down to the consistent Mark Short (4-11, 10-12, 8-11) and Graham Coupe lost out to the intelligent play of Andrew Horsefield (7-11, 5-11, 5-11). This left the match score 2-2 at the halfway point and Barrow II needing two more games to more or less guarantee them the title.
In the first of two crunch games for Barrow, Chesterfields Cooney failed to convert chances, aiding Jonathan Crawford to victory (14-12, 11-9, 12-10). Tristran Swan then failed to get the better of Andy Henry to leave the match perilously tight at three a-piece.
In possibly the most entertaining match of the weekend, much to the delight of the Barrow team, Scott Crawford got the better of Andrew Horsefield (11-8, 12-10, 11-4) to guarantee Barrow a valuable draw and possibly the title. This lifted any pressure off Coupe as he faced Short. Despite a strong start by Coupe (10-12), Short went on to control the game and earn Chesterfield the conciliation of a draw (2-11, 6-11).
Match Score: Barrow II 4 – 4 Chesterfield
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Tristran Swan (0), Graham Coupe (0)
Chesterfield: William Cooney (0), Andy Henry (1), Andrew Horsefield (1), Mark Short (2)
Barrow II vs. Ormesby III
To start, Ormesby’s Karen Shepherd played an excellent and effective counter-hitting game against Barrow’s Scott Crawford. However, Crawford managed to hang on and clinch the game in a dramatic 5th set (14-12, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9). Jonathan Crawford then proceeded to ease past Martin Rutter (11-5, 12-10, 11-5) and Graham Coupe beat Michael Young (11-6, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9). Tristran Swan then battled through against Chloe Whyte (11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5) to guarantee Barrow the draw they needed to win the division.
The second half of the game followed the first. Once again Karen Shepherd played well, but lost out to Jonathan Crawford (11-9, 12-10, 12-10). Scott Crawford beat Michael Young (11-9, 11-6, 11-9), Tristran Swan did well to fight back and beat Martin Rutter (11-13, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5, 11-5) whilst Graham Coupe frustrated Chloe Whyte (11-5, 11-9, 12-14, 11-8) to earn Barrow II a convincing 8-0 win.
Match Score: Barrow II 8 – 0 Ormesby III
Barrow II: Jonathan Crawford (2), Scott Crawford (2), Tristran Swan (2), Graham Coupe (2)
Ormesby III: Karen Shepherd (0), Martin Rutter (0), Michael Young (0), Chloe Whyte (0)