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Senior British League 3rd Weekend - 11 December 2016

Paul Baker
Simon Vine 2
Shae Thakker
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Second team drop two places

The Cippenham second team won one match and lost the other in National Division C-5 when the third Senior British League session was played at their home venue on Sunday. However, in a division where the top teams are closely matched, the loss of those two points saw Cippenham drop from second to fourth position but retain an outside chance of the title when the League finalises in March.

The session started well for Cippenham with a 7-3 defeat of bottom team Haywards Heath II. Anthony Ellis lost a close opening set against Luke Gallagher but Simon Vine hit back beating the Heathens’ top player Michael Bridger 3-0. Shae Thakker, over Charlie Hough and Paul Baker, who sneaked home 12-10 in the fifth and deciding game against Keigo Burnham, put Cippenham 3-1 up after the first singles exchanges. The Cippenham pairings then won both doubles to go 5-1 up before Anthony lost again. Shae and Simon romped to easy victories over Gallagher and Burnham to secure Cippenham a full set of league points before Paul lost  closely in the final set to Hough.

There are two sides from Haywards Heath in the division and the afternoon saw Cippenham pitched against their first team, a tougher proposition than the morning match. Haywards Heath got off to a flying start as Marc Burman and Shaun Parsley beat Simon and Anthony respectively but Cippenham hit back in fine style. Paul won a tough battle with Ben Worley and then the youngster in the team, Shae, totally eclipsed Dennis Hayden. Both doubles again went Cippenham’s way and the host team found themselves 4-2 up. Unfortunately, the run of victories ended there and they mustered a mere three games from the final four sets of singles, eventually losing 6-4.

The Cippenham first team of Josh Bennett, Martin Adams, Rob Hansell and Martin Gray always knew that the short trip around the M25 to BATTS Harlow would be a challenging prospect, facing two of the top three teams, Nottingham Sycamore and London Academy, and still pointless so far in the extremely tough Championship Division.

Despite a few good individual performances with Josh crushing England's national women's champion, Tin Tin Ho, and an impressive victory for Martin Gray over England No.52 Shaquille Webb-Dixon, the day once again proved fruitless for the team, losing both matches 1-7. Rob also fought hard and held match point against Ho but was unable to finish the game off.  Although points are available in the final weekend in March, a return to Division 1 looks inevitable.