18 Apr Fusion leapfrog BATTS with 5:3 win
A fantastic match of table tennis saw Fusion TTC overtake BATTS TTC to regain third spot in the Premier Division of the British League. For this last home match of the season Fusion lined up Kazeem Adeleke, Adewale Adeoye, Emran Hussain and Joseph Hee against BATTS’ Paul Lavergne, Michael Tauber, Jack Bennett and Tony Halling. From the start this promised to be a very tight affair and for Fusion it was obvious that top player Kazeem would have to perform very well against two very accomplished opponents if we wanted to win this match.
The first two simultaneous matches started in a very similar fashion. Kazeem converting two quick starts into a 2:0 lead in games, while Ade was overwhelmed quickly by Paul’s relentless attacking game. Kazeem had a scare in game three, but seven consecutive points from 2:6 to 9:6 put him back in control, a control, he almost relinquished with a very casual smash at 10:8 that went wrong. Fortunately, for him Michael’s next serve return landed in the net and Kazeem thus equalised the overall score at 1:1. Throughout this match Kazeem managed to prevent Michael’s powerful third ball attacks with very well-placed serve returns.
The second sets of matches also saw 2:0 leads for Fusion and BATTS respectively, but this time Tony came back against Emran in two close-fought games and Joseph came back against Jack. At this point the match was balanced on a knife’s edge as both matches could swing either way. From 8:8 in the fifth Emran fought his way to an 11:8 win, while Joseph first went down 4:6, took a time-out and gained a 7:6 lead, at which point Jack took a time-out in turn and immediately equalised to 7:7. From there on it was Joseph’s heavy backspin defense that prevailed, however, and Fusion took a pivotal 3:1 lead.
Now, Kazeem was back at the table against Paul and Emran had to gather his energies very quickly after his mentally draining first match to face Michael. For Emran this was a step too far and Michael left him no chance in a 3:0 win. Kazeem’s match against Paul looked to go down a similar route at 0:1 and 3:9 with Paul’s forehand overwhelming Kazeem time and time again. To the surprise of everyone in the hall Kazeem managed to fight his way back into this game with five consecutive points, finally winning 12:10. From there on, Kazeem made life very difficult for Paul with great variation in his serves, returns and attacks, so that Paul did not find his rhythm again. Two close games later man of the match Kazeem had extended Fusion’s lead to 4:2.
Now just one more win was needed from the last set of games, Joseph against Tony and Ade against Jack. At first, both matches followed a similar pattern. Joseph and Ade winning game one, losing game two and winning game three. In game 4 Joseph put his trust in his excellent defensive game and went 9:3 up against Tony, who then threatened a comeback. After a time-out, an excellent long serve/third ball attack combination gave Joseph three match points. He took the second and thus secured the vital fifth point for Fusion. Ade lost game 4 against Jack and then also game 5 in an encounter filled with spectacular rallies from mid-distance.
This exciting 5:3 win sees Fusion now in third place, one point ahead of BATTS, with just one more match to go for both teams. Fusion are travelling to Cardiff on the last matchday and a win there would secure a very good third place finish.