THE table tennis inter-club trophy awarded to the victor of the ongoing Battle of the Valleys is on its way back to the Hastings.
Port Macquarie Table Tennis’ made the short journey north on Sunday seeking revenge for the defeat suffered at the hands of its Kempsey Macleay RSL rival. The eleventh hour withdrawal of first string player Adi Vinaikosol – whose wife gave birth to their second daughter later that day – prompted a last-minute reshuffle for the hosts. Steve Tarbox moved up from the B team, with Geoff Young – a member of both clubs – filling his place. Joining Tarbox were the experienced Daphne Howard and the resourceful David Welsh. Facing them were Port’s Mukesh Arora and teenager Aidan Howard-Chen, who played a division above their opponents in the recent NSW Country Championships at Gosford. John Ha completed the trio. After nine singles rubbers, the visitors led 6-3, with each of the Kempsey players racking up a win. Howard and Tarbox beat Howard-Chen, while Welsh overcame Ha. Port’s dominance in the three doubles matches saw the hosts whitewashed, to leave the score 9-3 in the former’s favour. Dan Kelly opened his account with a win on the second table, beating Young. Tom Renton defeated Kempsey’s Allan Relf, and Thom Klein saw off the home side’s Barb Morley in straight sets to get the Hastings team off to a flyer. Morley beat Kelly in four sets and Young beat Renton in three to leave the score 7-2 to Port, ahead of the doubles. Relf and Morley teamed up to beat Klein and Kelly in a five-setter doubles, but Kempsey lost the other two, to make it another 9-3 win for the visitors. The Macleay trio of Neville Boys, John Mundy and Tony Clappis salvaged some home pride, shading the nine singles rubbers by one against Elvie Hughes, Mary Cameron and Marcus Wei. The former swept the doubles, with nine-year-old Anthony Ha stepping in to play for the Hastings team in each of the three rubbers. Overall, Port Macquarie prevailed by 22 rubbers to 14. When the teams met in May, the outcome was a 17-16 victory to the visitors from Kempsey. The two clubs will meet again early next year.