Match report by Neil Wheatley.
The prospect of a thrilling end to this season’s Premier Division title race between the two top teams brought a large crowd to Smith’s Wood last night and they were not disappointed. Beaufort Sports trio of Michael Bree, Jody Bevington and Jon Ludlow served up a splendid display of hard and controlled attacking shots, well matched by Aces Ed Lynn and Sam Henderson and the defensive skills of Ben Willson.
Needing a win to take the title, the pressure was on Aces, even though they had beaten their opponents 8-2 in their previous encounter. They made a good start when Lynn defeated Bevington 3-0, but from then on it was the Beaufort boys that called the tune, racing into a 4-1 lead, the highlight being Bevington’s 3-2 defeat of Willson.
After Lynn had recorded his second 3-0 win, against Ludlow, Henderson fought bravely to take the 3rd and 4th games off Man-of-the-Match Bree and keep his team’s title hopes alive, but he eventually succumbed to his opponent’s relentless attacking, as did Willson in the next set, his opponent, Ludlow, playing probably his best game of the season in recording another 3-2 win.
Beaufort’s 8-2 victory was finally secured with two 3-1 wins – by Bevington over Henderson and Bree over Lynn.
Three and a half hours of splendid table tennis, and all for free.