Doncaster drafted in world No 8 Joel Makin who dispatched Hallamshire’s Nick Wall. Picture courtesy of PSA.
Hallamshire crashed 17-8 to a star-studded Doncaster while their Sheffield neighbours Abbeydale, the defending champions, also hit the road where they were defeated 17-7 by relegation-threatened Woodfield.
Queens, meanwhile, saunter seemingly unstoppably towards the title, adding another two points to their massive 58-point lead thanks to an 18-6 triumph at bottom side Hull & East Riding. With just six games left, only Chapel Allerton now pose any semblance of a threat.
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Captain Fiona Moverley, the former world No 21, got Hull’s only victory on the night by coming from a game down to beat Danny Bray at fifth string. Lewis Harding levelled matters for Queens and no.3 James Earles then carded a 12th straight YPL win of the season for the Halifax side.
Queens’ Chileshe brothers from New Zealand won in contrasting styles at the top of the order, Temwa rapidly against Yusef Forster and Lwamba in five against top junior Ben Smith.
Second-placed Chapel Allerton at least kept some pressure on by winning dramatically 18-8 in the backyard of old rivals Pontefract 1.
Rahul Bansal and Declan Christie posted 3/1 victories for the away side, but Ponte responded with both George Wileman and Lewis Doughty rebounding from two games down to win heroically in five.
That meant it all came down to the top-string tete-a-tete, and Pontefract could be forgiven for thinking they had it in the bag, with world no.28 Patrick Rooney – surely destined for a place in England’s Commonwealth Games team in August – facing Chapel A’s Owain Taylor, ranked 175 places below him. However, it was the Welshman who surprisingly won – in straight games no less! – to keep Leeds side Chapel Allerton just about on Queens’ coat tails.
It’s surely all over for Hallamshire though as Doncaster’s strong top order sent them packing on Wednesday night.
Doncaster drafted in world No 8 Joel Makin who dispatched Nick Wall despite losing a marathon second game, while world No 103 Miles Jenkins and Kiwi Joel Arscott also won in four at second and third string respectively.
Earlier, Alex Cutts had bagged three points for Hallamshire at No 5 although Doncaster no.4 Nick Ratnarajah beat the visitors’ No 4 Donna Lobban in a five-setter. The final score of 14-8 somewhat eases Doncaster’s relegation fears.
Abbeydale’s grip on the title they won in the carefree pre-Covid era is surely lost completely as they also lost at Woodfield.
The opening exchanges were shared when Doncaster’s Chris Philpott won a lengthy duel with Charlie Wall then Abbeydale’s Phil Scully dispatched Alex Tomlinson.
However, Woodfield firebrand Luke Parker and world No 155 Simon Herbert both won in straight games, and England international Declan James finished the job, although he was pushed all the way by Adam Auckland, who let slip a 2/1 lead to lose 11-9 in the fifth.
In the night’s other meeting, Pontefract 2’s tremendous season continued as they conquered 2018 champions Dunnington to climb above them into fifth place.
Vice-captain Billy Hawes wiped out Dunnington stand-in Andy Cross then Chris Gillespie won a corking contest against the York side’s captain Matthew Stephenson.
YPL debutant Andrew Shipley won in three – including two tie-breakers – to get three points on the board for Dunnington, but Ponte’s top order of Matt Godson and Adam Taylor both recovered from losing the first game to sweep to four-game victories, sealing a 17-7 home win.