Junior British League 2nd Weekend - 18-19 February 2023
Cippenham’s two teams in the Junior British League were left disappointed when the competition concluded at Derby over the weekend. Both teams led their divisions at the half-way stage after the autumn’s first session and still led their divisions going into the final round of matches on Sunday afternoon. However, poor results from both teams led to them being demoted to the runners-up positions in their divisions.
The girls’ team looked to have cemented their position at the top of Division 2 after the first day’s play on Saturday. The team of Rachael Iles, Mia Lakhani and Anna Piercey started with a 6-0 win over Northern Girls although it was not as straight-forward as the result might suggest with three of the five sets requiring a deciding game. The next match against Halton was equally as impressive as Cippenham won 5-1 with Mia and Anna winning all their matches and all five of the Cippenham wins were by 3-0, an impressive performance. Saturday was completed with another 6-0 win against London Academy 2 yet, like the opening match of the day, three of the sets required a decider.
Sunday was less successful. It seemed to start well as Mia and Rachael won close matches against Parrmis Ahsani and Jonabel Tagiobao respectively to put Cippenham 2-0 up in the opening match against Greenhouse. However, the team from the London-based charity fought back to level 2-2. Mia completed her player of the match performance by beating Anaiya Ali but Tagiobao was too strong for Anna and a point had been dropped.
Cippenham, though, still went into their final match against Ackworth leading their nearest challengers by a point. A draw would have given Cippenham the divisional title but the Yorkshire school-based team had other ideas and raced into a 4-0 lead, thereby claiming the divisional title for themselves. Mia did pull one back for Cippenham but the final result was 5-1 and Cippenham had to settle for the runners-up medals.
It was a similar story for the Cippenham boys’ team in Division 5. Throughout the ten matches, over two weekends, the Cippenham team was unbeaten but drew six of those matches, winning only four. That was the nature of a closely-contested division in which twelve of the thirty matches played overall resulted in 3-3 draws.
The first match on Saturday resulted in one of those draws against Milton Keynes. All three Cippenham players, William Saint, Jamie Woodford and Jaiden Caldeira won one match each and Jamie failed narrowly in his quest for a second when he was beaten 3-2 by Benjamin Dunkley in the opening set. Saturday’s results improved with a 5-1 defeat of St Marys Spurs and 4-2 over Chelmsford. William was unbeaten across these two matches while Jamie won three times and Jaiden one in each match.
Sunday began with a match against Cippenham’s nearest challengers for the title, Bribar Cleeve Park. William was player of the match as his two wins secured Cippenham a 3-3 draw aided by Jamie’s victory over Isaac Egginton.
If Cippenham could beat London Academy 2 in the final match then there was nothing Cleeve Park could do about it. Unfortunately, that did not happen as, while Cleve Park were beating St Marys Spurs 6-0 as expected, Cippenham were held to a 3-3 draw by third-placed London Academy 2. It all looked to be going Cippenham’s way as William easily disposed of Parsa Yamin in the opening set but Jamie lost a close match against Fernando Frandes to make the score 1-1. Showing all their fighting strength Cippenham responded with two very narrow wins, Jaiden over Janak Shah 11-9 in the firth and then William over Frandes 12-10 also in the fifth game. However, Jaiden was no match for Yamin and Jamie failed against Shah at the end and the title was lost.