A shock defeat for Pontefract 1 enabled York club Dunnington to take a nine-point lead at the top of the Yorkshire Premier League.
With a much-changed line-up from that which won last week’s thriller with title rivals Chapel Allerton 1, Ponte 1 went down 4-1 at Barnsley, losing their 100% record in the process.
World No.100 Patrick Rooney returned at No.1 string and suffered his first YPL defeat of the season, losing against former England Academy player George Parker in an incredibly tight, lengthy encounter which eventually finished 15/13 11/13 9/11 11/4 12/10 late into the evening.
But by that stage, Barnsley’s victory was already secure. Fifth string George Wileman proved to be Pontefract 1’s only victor on the night. His elder brother Sam lost to Phil Bowker at No.4, while Barnsley’s Chris Fuller and Miles Jenkins beat the visitors’ Taminder Gata Aura and Alex Hodgetts respectively.
Dunnington, the 2015 champions, took full advantage, hitting top spot for the first time this season by giving Abbeydale a 5-0 spanking.
Chris Simpson, the Guernseyman who is two months into his return from hip surgery in January, beat Adam Auckland 3/1 at No.1 string, while Julian Tomlinson, Gareth Lumsdon and Michael Andrews all won with minimal fuss. Fifth string Matthew Stephenson didn’t even have to swing a racket – winning via a walkover.
Chapel Allerton 1 bounced back from last week’s setback at rivals Pontefract by dispatching Hull and East Riding 4-1 to remain in third place.
Young Ben Merchant made it three YPL wins from three this season at No.5, while Portuguese No.3 Pedro Pinto and ex-world No.3 Simon Parke also won with some comfort further up the order. Chapel A stalwart Mark Fuller couldn’t make it a clean sweep, losing 12/10 in the fifth to Hull’s world No.338 Harry Falconer.
Elsewhere, there was the clash of the second teams as fourth-placed Pontefract 2 hosted bottom side Chapel Allerton 2 and sent them careering to a seventh defeat in a row.
Sam Todd, the US Junior Open champion, and Elliot Ridge, England junior No.6, both did Ponte proud again, while Matt Godson and No.1 Adam Taylor completed a set of four 3/0 wins.
At No.5 string, Ross Williamson was Chapel A 2’s only victor (for the fourth time this season!), getting his side off to a good start by beating Ponte 2’s Katie Smith 3/2, but then watching aghast as his team-mates failed to capitalise once again.
In Halifax, hosts Queens won a see-saw mid-table encounter with Hallamshire. Youngster Harry Wyld and Dan Lawrence got the visitors from Sheffield off to a healthy start – Lawrence winning when his opponent, England national coach David Campion, had to retire at 11-11 in the opening game.
But Queens came roaring back; new England national performance coach Josh Taylor beat Oscar Beach – the lad he had taught in his previous role as head coach of Manchester Academy! No.2 James Earles then made short work of Hallamshire captain Alex Cutts to draw the match level at 2-2.
But there was dejection for the home crowd as talented 17-year-old Nick Wall (whose name surely couldn’t be better suited to a squash player) beat Connor Sheen 3/1 at No.1 to seal the victory.