The 2017/18 Yorkshire Premier League concluded this week with a surprise defeat for champions Dunnington and Barnsley firing a shot across the bows of next season’s title rivals.
Barnsley have been the form horse in the second half of the season and Wednesday’s 15-7 away win ensured they and opponents Pontefract 1 ended level on 254 points, with Ponte claiming third courtesy of conceding 11 points fewer.
Barnsley’s big guns, world No.26 Declan James and 63-ranked George Parker, did the business for them once again at the top of the order with wins over Patrick Rooney and Taminder Gata Aura respectively.
Barnsley’s No.3 Miles Jenkins has lost only once in 13 YPL games all season and kept up that magnificent record by dispatching Lewis Doughty. All this after hosts Ponte had started the night promisingly with Alex Hodgetts and Matt Godson winning at fourth and fifth string. But rather like their title challenge, their night fell away halfway through.
Having secured the trophy two weeks ago, Dunnington took their foot off the gas in the home straight by falling to a 16-8 defeat at Abbeydale in their final match.
In a see-saw encounter, Phil Scully and Adam Turner claimed victory for the hosts but the visitors from York pegged them back through Michael Andrews and the electric Richie Fallows, who won a cracker with Matthew Broadberry 11/8 in the fifth.
That set up a match-deciding top-string affair between world No.49 Chris Simpson – unbeaten in YPL all season – and Adam Auckland. The latter won in straight games, taking not only a notable personal scalp but five bonus points for the Sheffield club to seal a creditable fifth-placed finish.
Chapel Allerton 1 may have surrendered their ‘champions’ moniker but they cemented this season’s runner-up position with a solid 17-5 win at second-from-bottom Hull & East Riding.
Adam Wellstead, promoted to first-team duty for the night, won at No.5, while Declan Christie won an eighth straight YPL match in a five-set cracker with Hull’s world No.26 Fiona Moverley.
Matty Powell and top string Mark Fuller both won in straight games for the visitors, but Hull’s only win on the night was a memorable one for 15-year-old Ben Smith, who destroyed Chapel A captain Simon Parke, the ex-British champion, former world No.3 and his senior by a mere 30 years!
Hallamshire completed a modest campaign in eighth place with a resounding 20-2 home defeat against mid-table Queens of Halifax. It was a brief night’s work for visiting Mohammed Khan, Josh Taylor, Charlie Cowie and Connor Sheen who all won in three. Only Harry Heathcock offered any resistance for the Sheffield side by taking two games off Abdul Khan at fourth string.
Chapel Allerton 2, who were newly promoted, returned quickly from whence they came. They recorded just one win all season but will come back stronger and more experienced for another tilt at the top tier in 2018/19. Their campaign concluded with a rearranged clash with Abbeydale which they lost 19-5.
Replacing them will be Division One champions Woodfield, a vibrant new club based in Doncaster who will be a great addition to Yorkshire’s elite squash league.