Dunnington’s nine-match winning run came to an abrupt halt at Barnsley in round 11 of the Yorkshire Premier League on Wednesday night.
The York club had looked unstoppable in their bid to reclaim the title they won in 2015, having not lost a match since the opening day of the season back in October.
However, with their usual No.1 Chris Simpson taking part in qualifying at the Tournament of Champions in New York, a weakened line-up went down 17-6 in South Yorkshire.
The experienced Julian Tomlinson moved up to top string and lost 3-1 to world No.76 George Parker. Gareth Lumsdon, Ed Shannon and youngster Ben Cross were also defeated, although No.5 Cross had a fabulous tussle against Tom Bamford, losing 12/10 in the fifth. The ever-reliable Matthew Stephenson was Dunnington’s only victor – his ninth win in 11 YPL appearances this season.
The result not only strengthens Barnsley’s position in fourth, but reinvigorates the title chances of Pontefract 1 and Chapel Allerton 1, who sit second and third respectively.
Ponte 1 made short work of bottom side Chapel Allerton 2 with a 20-3 victory. Regulars Sam Wileman, Alex Hodgetts and Taminder Gata Aura all won with relative comfort, but Lewis Doughty encountered stern resistance from Chapel A 2 captain Ross Williamson at third string, with all four games tightly contested.
At top string, 20-year-old world No.95 Patrick Rooney surprisingly dropped a game to Ian Chappell, but his victory rounded off a satisfying night that closes the gap on Dunnington to eight points.
Ten points further back in third are Chapel Allerton 1 who dismissed Pontefract 2 to the tune of 20-1. A full-strength home side all won in straight games apart from No.2 Owain Taylor, who won in four against England junior Elliot Ridge.
Top string Mark Fuller’s three games against Adam Taylor were all close but Chapel A No.4 Declan Christie’s rapid win over Katie Smith was his sixth in a row in the YPL. Former world No.3 Simon Parke got back to winning ways after two straight YPL defeats.
In the Sheffield derby at Abbeydale the scoreline was a slightly deceptive 5-0 in favour of crosstown visitors Hallamshire. In fact, four of the five matches went the full distance and the final points tally of 20-8 more accurately reflected the evening’s competitiveness.
Dan Lawrence and youngster Oscar Beach got what turned out to be a long evening off and running with five-game wins over home duo Murray Scott and Phil Scully respectively. Hallamshire’s No.3 Alex Cutts and top string Ashley Davies also won marathon duels. Highly promising youngster Nick Wall was far more efficient in dismissing Adam Turner in straight games at No.2.
The match-up between Hull & East Riding and Queens was postponed because of Wednesday night’s snow making travel hazardous on the M62.