Hallamshire continue to haunt leaders Dunnington as both clubs won on Halloween to pull away from the chasing pack in week five of the Yorkshire Premier League.
Second-placed Hallamshire are just eight points behind the reigning champions and reaffirmed their title credentials with a 20-5 demolition job on 2016/17 winners Chapel Allerton 1 – although two excellent matches still made it an entertaining night for the fiendishly dressed audience.
Chapel Allerton 1 debutant Greg Lobban, the world No.32 from Inverness, returned from the Qatar Classic just in time to face Hallamshire’s top string, the legendary Nick Matthew. The recently-retired three-time world champion came out on top, hitting back from 2/1 down in games to win 11/9 in the fifth.
By that time, Sheffield side Hallamshire had already earned the three winning bonus points. Oscar Beach, a quarter-finalist in last week’s British Junior Championships, won a tight battle at fifth string 3/1 against last-minute stand-in Niall MacKinnon.
Hallamshire’s Alex Cutts beat another junior, Ben Merchant, at No.4 while Harry Falconer won a five-game cracker with Chapel A’s Kiwi No.3 Joe Williams. Nick Wall Jnr, crowned British junior champion on Sunday, completed the whitewash with a rapid straight-games win over Owain Taylor.
Leaders Dunnington unsurprisingly came home with a maximum 20 points from the visit to bottom side Chapel Allerton 2.
Matthew Stephenson and Michael Andrews both won in three tight games before the York club’s third string Julian Tomlinson was extended to four games by the hosts’ Cameron Ward.
Rob Downer, the world No.141, won in straight games for the third week in succession, beating Kieran Wardman, while top string Chris Simpson, just back from a first-round exit at the Qatar Open, took care of Dominic Hamilton at No.1 in quick time.
Third-placed Pontefract 1 won 17-3 at Queens Club in Halifax with all five matches over in double quick time. No.5 Sam Wileman and captain Alex Hodgetts got things started with straight-games wins at the bottom of the order over Danny Bray and former England international Sarah Campion, respectively.
Charlie Cowie earned Queens’ only points of the evening by seeing off Lewis Doughty 3/0 but any hopes of a home comeback were extinguished by India’s Abbay Singh and world No.102 Patrick Rooney both winning in three games at the top of the order.
Just two points behind Ponte’s firsts are Barnsley who won a thriller with mid-table rivals Hull & East Riding.
Wins for the visitors’ Paul Norton and the South Yorkshire side’s Jack Turney made it one win a apiece early on, then Fiona Moverley, women’s world No.25, conquered Barnsley No.3 Tom Bamford in four games.
Barnsley’s top order brought home the bacon though with debutant Elliott Morris Devred, the Welsh No.4, beating Ben Sockett in straight games and top string Miles Jenkins overcoming another youngster, Ben Smith, also in three.
Sam Todd, the newly-crowned British U17 boys’ champion, was among the winners in the basement battle between Pontefract 2 and Abbeydale, which the West Yorkshire hosts won 17-5.
Top string Todd beat the Sheffield club’s Adam Turner in three at top string to back up victory earlier in the night by another promising tyro Ben Beachill, 14-year-old son of ex-world No.1 Lee.
Adam Taylor and Matt Godson were Ponte 2’s other winners on the night, with Abbeydale’s consolation three points coming courtesy of Frenchwoman Coline Aumard, who thrashed Billy Hawes at fourth string.