Massaro’s magic helps tighten Dunnington’s grip

Dunnington stretched their Yorkshire Premier League lead to 21 points as former world champion Laura Massaro consigned second-placed Hallamshire to a costly defeat.

York club Dunnington, the defending champions, were 20-4 winners at Hull & East Riding in round six on Wednesday night, while nearest title rivals Hallamshire went down 16-7 at Barnsley with Massaro’s contribution crucial.

Hallamshire’s bottom order of Harry Heathcock and Lucas Hayes had got them off to an ideal start with wins over Jack Walmsley and Tom Bamford respectively, but women’s world No.5 Massaro sparked a comeback with a 3-1 victory over 18-year-old tyro Oscar Beach.

Miles Jenkins beat Alex Cutts comfortably at second string and Barnsley’s fightback victory was complete when world No.44 George Parker toppled Hallamshire’s newly-crowned British junior champion Nick Wall in straight games.

Dunnington’s title charge already looks formidable and their demolition of Hull & East Riding made it six wins from six. New addition Rob Downer won for the fourth time in a row at second string, beating youngster Ben Sockett despite dropping the second game.

Guernseyman Chris Simpson maintained his 100% record at No.1 by seeing off another teenager, Ben Smith, also 3/1. Earlier, Danny Hockborn, Michael Andrews and Matthew Stephenson were equally efficient lower down the order.

There was a derby clash at Pontefract where the third-placed firsts met the seconds, who now sit fifth. Despite a welcome appearance from 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist James Willstrop for the first team, it was their so-called ‘inferiors’ who took the five winning bonus points with a 14-7 triumph!

At top string, there was a 20-year age gap between Willstrop and Sam Todd, who many are tipping to step into his shoes as the next world-class player to roll off the Pontefract production line.

Former world No.1 Willstrop took it 3/0, but the second team got the three necessary wins through Adam Taylor, Matt Godson and Billy Hawes to claim an unexpected triumph. Youngster Ben Beachill got the firsts’ other victory with a 3/0 victory over Dominic Pegg at fifth string.

Chapel Allerton 1 are fourth after a 19-8 home victory over Halifax side Queens Club which featured a clash between two stellar veterans who played in the same England team together back in 1990!

Simon Parke, the former world No.3, faced his old club mate David Campion, now the England coach, in a classic that went to a fifth game, with ‘Parkey’ taking the decider 11/7.

That actually wrapped up victory for the north Leeds side. The club decided to put the first string match on early for the benefit of junior spectators, with new signing Greb Lobban, the world No.30 from Scotland, overcoming Queens’ James Earles in straight games.

That, and late stand-in Matty Powell’s tense five-game success against Danny Bray at fifth string, made the points safe for Chapel Allerton 1 with two matches still to come. No.2 Owain Taylor added gloss to the scoreline with a 3/1 win over Charlie Cowie, before England national junior coach Josh Taylor nabbed a consolation victory for Queens.

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