Having wrapped up the Yorkshire Premier League squash title with two matches to spare, Dunnington could have been forgiven for taking their foot off the gas. Unfortunately for Pontefract 1, they did no such thing.
For the second week in succession, the newly-crowned champions wheeled out their big names to record an emphatic victory, although it was a slightly awkward night for their No.1 Chris Simpson, who went from hero to villain in the eyes of the Pontefract crowd.
The Guernseyman played for Pontefract against the University of Warwick Kenilworth in the PSL on Tuesday night, helping them to a 4-1 away win. The following night, he played against Pontefract for Dunnington, beating the hosts’ stand-in No.1 Abhay Singh in four games.
Earlier in the evening, Ed Shannon kick-started the York club’s march to victory with a deceptively tough straight-games triumph over Sam Wileman, but Ponte stalwart Alex Hodgetts then levelled matters with victory in the No.4 string duel with Michael Andrews.
World No.59 Richie Fallows and Lancastrian pro Julian Tomlinson secured the five bonus points for Dunnington with four-game wins over Ponte’s Lewis Doughty and Taminder Gata Aura respectively, before Simpson applied the coup de grace.
Ponte 1’s 17-6 defeat allowed Chapel Allerton 1 to sneak back up to second place on points difference. In their final home game of the season, Simon Parke’s squad recorded a solid 18-5 victory over Queens Club.
Tom Gudzelak stepped up from Division One to beat Chapel A’s Ross Williamson 3-1 in the No.5 string tussle, but thereafter it all went the home side’s way.
Matty Powell and Parke, the former British champion, both strolled to straight-games triumphs, Welshman Owain Taylor beat his namesake Josh Taylor, the England national assistant coach, and home top string Mark Fuller took care of James Earles 3-0 to seal the win.
Barnsley are assured of at least a fourth-place finish after recording an eighth win in nine games by winning 18-7 at Hull & East Riding.
The step up from Division Two proved a leap too far for Phil Wakefield as he lost 3-1 to Hull’s Phil Norton – a Division Two regular himself. That was as good as it got for the Humbersiders as Barnsley’s Tom Bamford kept up his fine run of YPL form by winning 3-0 and world No.27 Millie Tomlinson won a five-game battle with Yusef Forster at No.3 string.
No.2 Oli Harris won his sixth straight YPL match for Barnsley by toppling Ben Smith and in the top rubber, world No.26 and all-round class act Declan James won in four against Harry Falconer.
Mid-table Pontefract 2 finished their season with a narrow defeat to Hallamshire, losing No.1 Adam Taylor to injury on the day. That forced youngster Ben Beachill to fill in at No.5 and the rest of the team to move up the order.
Beachill did himself proud by beating Hallamshire’s Dylan Martens for his third straight YPL win, but there were defeats for ex-England international Lauren Siddall and Pontefract native Katie Smith, to Dan Lawrence and England junior Oscar Beach respectively.
Matt Godson won an epic five-setter against Alex Cutts at No.2, making the top string tete-a-tete a winner-takes-all affair. Highly promising Sheffield youngster Nick Wall took it 3-1, beating fellow 18-year-old Elliot Ridge.