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Junior British League 1st Weekend - 8-9 October 2022

Both Cippenham teams made excellent starts to the new Junior British League table tennis season at the weekend as both completed the first half of the season top of their respective divisions. All the matches were staged at the impressive Derby Arena.

The boys’ team were operating in Boys’ Division 5 and this turned out to be an ultra-competitive division in which all fifteen matches played between the six teams resulted in a scoreline of either 4-2 or 3-3. Happily, Cippenham’s results were at the better end of this with two 4-2 victories and three 3-3 draws. Jamie Woodford and William Saint were outstanding claiming two player of the match awards each while Jaiden Caldeira helped his team’s cause with two important wins.

The first opponents on Saturday morning were Bribar Cleeve Park. William, playing in the number one position, led his team well with two individual wins while Jamie and Jaiden both beat the Sidcup-based team’s number three player. The other two matches on Saturday were drawn 3-3. The lunchtime fixture was against London Academy 2. Jamie and William gave Cippenham a 2-0 lead with two extremely close encounters. London stormed back to equalise 2-2 only for Jamie to complete his brace to give Cippenham a share of the points. Chelmsford provided the opposition for the late afternoon match and this followed a very similar pattern. William and Jamie put Cippenham 2-0 up, again getting the better of their opponents after very closely fought matches, but the Essex team bounced back to go 3-2 up. Once again, it was Jamie who rose to the challenge to secure Cippenham a point with a 3-1 win over Saul Chivers.

Sunday morning saw Cippenham back to winning ways with a 4-2 success against Hull-based St Marys Spurs. William and Jamie both won twice for Cippenham although, once again, the contests were tight especially their matches against the Saints number one Luke Hodgson. The weekend finished with yet another 3-3 draw, this time against Milton Keynes in a real team effort that saw all three Cippenham players taste success with a win apiece.

Demonstrating the closeness of the matches, nine of Cippenham’s seventeen individual victories were won by the narrow score of 3-2.

Meanwhile, in the same hall, the Cippenham girls’ team were establishing a narrow lead at the top of Girls’ Division 2. Over the weekend, all three girls earned player of the match awards with Rachael Iles being named twice, Mia Lakhani and Anna Piercey once each. This division was not as highly competitive as the boys’ division and Cippenham strolled to victory in their first four matches.

Saturday morning started with a 4-2 with over Halton. The Widnes-based team is a bit of a powerhouse in north-west England but, nevertheless, could field only two players for this match. Two wins for Rachael, together with the two walkovers, were sufficient to provide Cippenham with both league points. In the lunchtime fixture, two wins apiece by Rachael and Mia, backed up by one for Anna, gave Cippenham a reasonably straight-forward 5-1 win over Northern Girls and the same format provided a further 5-1 win over Ackworth in the later match.

Come Sunday and it was Anna who scored two in the 4-2 win over London Academy 2 while Rachael and Mia both lost out to the opposition number one, Lianna Shilani Tousi. These four straight wins saw Cippenham top of the table, a position they retained despite losing their final match 4-2 against Greenhouse. Rachael and Mia both won for Cippenham but, unfortunately, Anna was defeated in the all-important match against the London club’s number three Anaiya Ali.

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