Dunnington back on track as Ponte slip up

Dunnington reasserted their authority in the Yorkshire Premier League after last week’s shock defeat to Barnsley by crushing Queens of Halifax.

The York club are back on course to retain the title they won in 2015 after a comfortable home win over a Queens side who are in danger of relegation.

The return of world No.45 Chris Simpson from the Tournament of Champions in New York enabled the rest of the Dunnington team to shift down the order. The ever-dependable Matthew Stephenson profited with a 3-0 win at No.5 and Devonian Ed Shannon enjoyed the kudos of beating England national coach David Campion at fourth string.

Although 19-year-old Charlie Cowie handed Michael Andrews his first YPL defeat of the season to put three points on the board for struggling Queens, Julian Tomlinson and Simpson were ruthlessly efficient at the top of the order to wrap up a 19-4 triumph for the leaders.

Meanwhile, Pontefract 1 slide to third after going down 14-7 at Abbeydale. Without regulars Taminder Gata Aura and Alex Hodgetts they had to promote Simon Gittins up from the third team and he lost in straight games at No.5, as did Sam Wileman on the next door court against Phil Scully.

However, the match was soon level at 2-2 after Lewis Doughty had thrashed the home side’s Oli Turner and India’s Abhay Singh, the world No.137, made a fine Ponte debut with a straight-games win at No.2.

That left a shootout between Grimsby-born Adam Auckland and Merseysider Patrick Rooney. It was Auckland who took it in four games to bring home the bacon for the Sheffield club.

That result allowed reigning champions Chapel Allerton 1 to claim second spot – 17 points behind Dunnington – with a comprehensive 20-4 win in the ‘derby’ with Chapel Allerton 2.

Regular top two Mark Fuller and Owain Taylor both won but by that point the contest was over as Declan Christie and Cameron Ward had set the firsts off on a solid footing.

There was a notable 28-year age difference between the participants at third string but Simon Parke, the 45-year-old former world No.3, had too much guile for 17-year-old England junior Ben Merchant.

It’s certainly worth keeping an eye on fourth-placed Barnsley who are sneaking up the blind side and quietly into contention on the back of four successive wins.

They followed up last week’s triumph over Dunnington with a 15-7 win at Pontefract 2 on Wednesday. Tom Bamford trounced Ponte’s world No.150 Katie Smith at No.5 but Nick Sutcliffe, the Cambridge University graduate back in his native Yorkshire from Houston, levelled matters with a 3-0 win at No.4.

Oli Harris’ 3-1 win over Ponte stalwart Matt Godson and England junior Elliot Ridge’s victory over Barnsley’s Jack Turney then set up a top-string decider. It was Barnsley’s Miles Jenkins who took it, beating Adam Taylor to make it nine YPL wins from 10 this season for the 23-year-old from Leicestershire.

The night’s other encounter saw fifth-placed Hallamshire win their third YPL match in succession, this time with an emphatic 18-4 sojourn to Hull & East Riding.

Harry Heathcock and Dan Lawrence gave them a flying start, with youngsters Oscar Beach and Nick Wall breezing to straight-games victories further up the order. Only Hull’s 15-year-old Ben Smith bucked the trend with a 3-1 win over Alex Cutts at third string.

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