Seven new teams in a 30 team Keighley & District Table Tennis League shows how popular the sport is becoming locally.

However, top match in Division One for the first week of the 2005-2006 season featured two long time League members, Embassy 'B' and Ukrainians 'B'. First up saw the evenly matched pair of Peter Holbrook and Neil Foley facing each another and it was Ukrainian Holbrook who struck first to go 11-5 up. Foley, using all his experience, hit back to level 11-6 only for Holbrook to snatch the second 11-8.

By now, both players were totally focused and equally determined, but although pushed hard by his opponent, it was Embassy's Foley who emerged triumphant, winning the next two 12-10, 11-7 to snatch the rubber in five. Geoff Bartlett, with an 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 win against Jerry Harkawy and Mark Emmott with the defeat of Stef Szczur 3-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-6, stretched the Bingley team's advantage to 3-0 before Holbrook shook off his disappointment at losing to Foley to grab a couple, 11-5, 11-8, 14-12 against Bartlett and 12-10, 11-7, 12-10 against Emmott. Szczur did well to pip Bartlett 8-11, 11-5, 13-11, 9-11, 11-7 to add to the Ukies score, but wins for Foley against both Szczur and Harkawy, further defeats for Harkawy at the hands of Emmott and Bartlett, plus a comprehensive 11- 6, 11-6, 13-11 defeat of Holbrook and Szczur in the doubles against Foley and Emmott completed a fine 7-3 win for Embassy.

In Division Two, Denholme entertained an Ilkley Road 'B' who had Steve Ives on blistering form. Disposing of Paul Whittaker 11-7, 10-12, 11-9, 11-8, the Riddlesden team's top man then went on to destroy Dave Ellis 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 and Mike Teale 11-2, 11-5, 11-5. Whittaker, who actually finished higher in the averages than Ives last season, rectified the damage somewhat with a couple of fine wins against Ken Feather 11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5 and Paul Stead 8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8. Dave Ellis added to the Denholme total with the defeat of Feather 11-4, 11-9, 11-2, but a couple for Stead 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 against Ellis and 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 against Teale nudged the visitors ahead and even though Whittaker and Teale defeated Ives and Feather 11-4, 8-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-0 in the doubles, a crucial win for Feather 11-2, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8 against Teale ensured the match went to Ilkley Road 6-4.

Elsewhere in Division Two, stable mates Ilkley Road 'A', meanwhile, faired less well at home to Cononley Sports. A majestic treble from Paul Lister that included the defeat of Roy Towler 12-10, 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, put the visitor's well on course for a deserved 6-4 away win.

The Broadbent boys, Adam & Luke, already veterans of 6 league seasons yet still both in their teens, showed that the combination of youth, talent and experience really does pay as they blasted the challenge of visitors Crossflatts 'B' off the table. Adam cruised to a treble that included the defeat of Ryan Foulds 11-2, 11-5, 11-4 and Luke also matched his brother, although he needed the extra game to get the better of James Marshall 11-9, 12-10, 6-11, 11-6. Consolation for Crossflatts came by way of wins for Foulds and Marshall against Dave Broadbent in an 8-2 defeat.

In Division Three, Embsay entertained new team Ilkley Fastbats 'B' who, with the help of coaching Guru David Adams, appear to have unearthed a star of the future in Simon Collinson. Starting with the defeat of Norman Hunt 11-4, 11-5, 11-9, Collinson went on to also get the better of Wilf Chatwin 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 and Russell Findley 1-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 to rack up 3 points for his team. Collinson got good support from Laurie Picken with a couple against Hunt and Chatwin A further Fastbats win for Daniel Judkowski 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 against Chatwin ensured a winning 6-4 start for the new Ilkley team. Embsay's points came from Findley with a couple against Picken and Judkowski, Hunt with a commendable 11-6, 11-3, 11-5 defeat of Judkowski and a win in the doubles for Hunt and Findley 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 against Collinson and Judkowski.

Elsewhere in Division Three, Haworth Hawks 'A' enjoyed a 7-3 success at home to Oakbank. Ably lead by last season's winner of the Most Improved Player award, Andy Bray with a treble that included the defeat of Steve Flockton 11-6, 11-9, 12-10, the Hawks proved just too strong for the visitors who were playing their first ever league match. Nevertheless, they never gave up against a strong home team and Alan Pearson can be particularly pleased with his couple 11-6, 12-10, 11-6 against Steve Cole and 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 against Nathan Hogg.

Perhaps this season's surprise packet will be South Craven who never gave visitors Haworth Hawks 'B' a look-in as the Jagger, Wiggan, Farnworth triumvirate cruised to a 10-0 victory. Edward Jagger looked particularly impressive, never more so than during his 11-5, 15-13, 11-3 defeat of Edwardo Espinoza.


Division One: Embassy 'B' 7, Ukrainians 'B' 3.

Division Two: Denholme 4, Ilkley Road 'B' 6; Ilkley Road 'A' 4, Cononley Sports 6; Wilsden 8, Crossflatts 'B' 2.

Division Three: Embsay 4, Ilkley Fastbats 'B' 6; Haworth Hawks 'A' 7, Oakbank 3; South Craven 10, Haworth Hawks 'B'.