Top Win for Brad Evans
Going into the final weekend of Division 1 North of the British League, Barrow I sat comfortably in joint 2nd position; only needing a couple of points to guarantee the target of a Premiership play-off position.
Barrow I vs Elgre Nottingham I
Barrow I’s first match saw them face Elgre Nottingham I, the team they shared second position with and likely future play-off competitors. The previous meeting between the two clubs in the first half of the season saw Barrow I win 5-3.The first two matches went Barrow I’s way as Jonathan Crawford beat Mark Green (5, -5, 5, 7) and Brad Evans beat David Arrowsmith (4, 9, -6, 9). As easy as the first two games were won, the next two were lost as Steve Dixon lost to Stewart Mudie (-6, -5, -5) and Tristran Swan lost to in-form and newly crowned Under 21 Womens’ Singles National Champion Emma Vickers (-9, -7, 7, -5). With the match poised at two apiece, there was all to play for.
Next up saw Brad Evans against Mark Green. Going against all expectations, Mark won the first two sets easily game 4 and game 5. Brad was under serious pressure and forced to fight for and win every point. Eventually he overcame Mark winning the crucial 3rd set game 14 followed by easier wins in the 4th and 5th sets, 5 and 9 respectively. Barrow I then went on to lose the next three matches and therefore the tie 5-3. Jonathan Crawford suffered a disappointing loss to Stewart Mudie (10, -3, -8, -10), Tristran Swan lost to David Arrowsmith (-8, -7, -9) and Steve Dixon was taught a lesson or two by Emma Vickers (-7, -2, -6).
Final Score: Barrow I 3 – 5 Elgre Nottingham I
Barrow I: Bradley Evans (2), Jonathan Crawford (1), Tristran Swan, Steve Dixon
Elgre Nottingham I: Mark Green, David Arrowsmith (1), Stewart Mudie (2), Emma Vickers (2)
Barrow I vs Northfield I
Next for Barrow I were Northfield I, a team that looked impressive in the morning’s session and that certainly boasts a squad that belies there 6th position in the division. The two teams’ previous meeting had resulted in a 4-4 draw. For this match, Scott Crawford moved up into the team as Tristran Swan had other commitments.
The match got under way with Bradley Evans beating Keith Rodger (-10, 7, 4, 4). Next up was a big match for Jonathan Crawford (England 60) as he faced higher ranked Bryn Drinkhall (England 29). Typically, it is against stronger opposition that Jonathan produces his best table tennis. On this occasion, despite some quality open play and killer shots from Jonathan, Bryn was to strong winning -7, 4, 5 and 11.Bradley Evans entered the court to play the highly anticipated match of the weekend against England Number 1 Paul Drinkhall’s older brother Bryn. The match met the all expectations, with table tennis of a caliber unmatched by any other that day. It was Bryn that took the initiative winning the 1st set game 3. The following sets were traded with Brad taking the next game 5, Bryn the 3rd game 3 and Brad the 4th game 8. In an entertaining 5th set, Brad showed experience, skill and composure as he took it game 7 to claim an excellent win.
Barrow I were now trailing 2-3 and, with a subsequent loss for Scott Crawford against Keith Rodger (-6, -8, -10), a draw was the best Barrow I could hope for. With a victory for Jonathan Crawford over Dan Welsh (-7, 5, 4, 9), this was looking likely, but despite his best efforts Steve Dixon lost to Tony Wilson (12, -3, -7, -5) to hand Northfield I a 5-3 victory.
Final Score: Barrow I 3 – 5 Northfield I
Barrow I: Bradley Evans (2), Jonathan Crawford (1), Scott Crawford, Steve Dixon
Northfield I: Bryn Drinkhall (1), Keith Rodger (1), Dan Welsh (1), Tony Wilson (2)