William Reilly was the star of the show in Osmond C’s latest win against local rivals from Ballymena, AS Leopards. Possibly the most improved player in the club this season, William produced flawless table tennis and remained undefeated in his 3 singles and 1 doubles.
The match was very balanced for the first 6 matches with the score level at 3 each. David Barnes lost out in a close 5 setter against Jonny Moore whilst Noel McCann overcame Andrew Herbison 11-7 in the fifth set.
Johnny Wilson from Ballymena then outplayed David Barnes to take a 4-3 lead. The crunch match for the toon was Noel McCann taking on the visiting team’s number 1 Peter McCrumb. Noel took the 1st set 11-9 but lost the next 2 by 11-5 and 13-11. In the 4th set Noel looked dead and buried trailing 10-6 but pulled back the 4 match points and eventually clinched the set 14-12. This gave Noel the momentum and he closed out the match 11-3 in the fifth.
William extended the lead to 5-4 which left only the doubles to decide the result. William and Noel went 2 sets to 1 down against the 2 Johnnys, Wilson and Moore but won the 4th 11-7 to bring up yet another fifth set decider. The match looked in the bag for Osmond when they opened up a 10-5 lead but again 5 match points were saved and Ballymena sensed a win. But it was Noel and William who held their nerve and eventually won 14-12 and sealed the 6-4 match result.
Credit goes to all players in the match as all games were played in an excellent spirit and the tension and closeness of the matches produced a great nights sport.
Mixed Fortunes for Osmond A
In the 1st of two visits to Ballyclare Osmond A faced the weaker of the two teams first against Ballyclare B. The match was eventually won 6-4 after some close encounters. John Fall on vacation in the US was unavailable but Brian Orr and James Steele provided a clean sweep of wins against Michael Baird and Mark Gordon including a 3-0 win in the doubles. However this was only half the story as Gary McClelland and Francis Shirley struggled to secure the tie.
The stumbling block was Ballyclare’s combination bat player, Byron Graham who won both his singles. The experienced Ian Davies then overcame a determined Gary McClelland who let slip a winning lead going down by 3 sets to 1. It all came down to Francis versus Ian to decide the match. Ian started well for Ballyclare taking the first end but Francis roared back to take a 2-1 lead. The 4th set see-sawed until eventually the Ballymoney man came out on top 11-9 to win 3 sets to 1 and take the match and the important 3 points.
This match set up the top of the table clash between Osmond A and Ballyclare A. First up was Phil Jamison and Brian Orr and after a slow start by Orr going behind 2 – 0 the match was levelled at 2 all. However it was the Ballyclare man who came out on top winning 11-7 in the fifth. Next up was John Fall against Andrew Davies and again Fall lost out in a close 5 sets having held a 2-1 lead. James Steele up against Richard Davies and had to succumb to a powerful Davies and Ballymoney found themselves 3 nil down after 3.
There was no return after a luckless start and even though Brian and John both beat Richard Davies and won the doubles the team lost out by 7 matches to 3
Osmond B secure superb draw.
Osmond B entertained local rivals and high flying Coleraine Baptist. The match was a great advert for local table tennis with both teams showing marked improvement from the start of the season and the outcome was a fair and square draw.
Club stalwart Paul McGuiggan took 2 singles against Coleraine’s number Anselm Brankin and Brian Bonner. Aaron Douglas continues on the upgrade with another two excellent wins whilst Andrew Mulholland was unlucky in defeat.
The league tournaments are due to be held in Ballymena Academy on Saturday 14th April. This is an opportunity for all club players to play in the individual events in each division and also in junior, veteran and hard bat events.
On a sadder note it was learned this week that Rasharkin’s Dawid Sulkowski (20) had returned to Poland for a visit and whilst there was involved in an altercation resulting in Dawid being admitted to hospital with serious injuries. Latest reports are that Dawid is on the mend and Ballymoney TT Club wish him a speedy recovery.