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Senior British League 1st Weekend - 7-8 October 2017

Fortunes improve on Sunday

The new season of the Senior British League got underway at the weekend. Both Cippenham teams started winless on the Saturday but fortunes improved on Sunday when three wins were gained from the four matches overall.

The Cippenham first team were playing in National Division A-2 at Harlow and the team consisted of Senior British League regulars Martin Adams, Owe Karlsson and Martin Gray as well as Stephen Munson, who was welcomed back to the team after a few years away.

The first day was always going to be challenging. The first match saw Cippenham up against Horsham Blades, a team that included several talented Swedish players. Despite four of the individual matches reaching a deciding fifth game, Cippenham’s only positive result in an 8-1 loss came when Owe beat Isaac Nyheim. 

The afternoon saw another loss, this time against Godalming Simply Let, a team Cippenham has often struggled to overcome with many close battles in recent years. This was no exception with the score tied at 2-2 before the halfway doubles with Martin Adams overcoming Andreas Pusch 17-15 in a tense decider and Martin Gray outplaying Hari Gehlot. Not too much went Cippenham’s way after that other than Owe’s impressive 5-game victory over Adam Laws but Cippenham ended the day pointless after a 6-3 defeat.

Sunday proved a much more fruitful day for Cippenham I. The morning fixture saw a depleted Fusion II team turn up with just three players, although a pushover was not guaranteed as their team included a couple of Spanish imports, the Garridos, as well as Jamal Dennison so each victory would need to be merited. That’s exactly what occurred with all team members contributing and the Garridos ending up winless. Martin Adams’ wins against Angel Garrido and Dennison earned him the man of the match award as Cippenham ran out 7-2 winners.

The final match of the weekend saw Cippenham pitched against winless York Gardens so hopes were high. Cippenham were on top form from the start and despite their best efforts, the opposition could not claw back from an opening 3-0 lead. Once again all players contributed to the scoresheet with the two Martins, Adams and Gray, doubling up for a 6-3 result in Cippenham’s favour.

So with two wins and two losses, Cippenham I maintain a mid-table position in the division and will be looking in particular to improve on their doubles results (zero wins) when left-handers Robert Hansell and Chris Bartram join the squad for future fixtures.

Meanwhile the Cippenham second team were in action at their home venue in National Division C-4. For the first time in recent history, Cippenham fielded a team comprised entirely of local players with last season’s players Paul Baker and Shae Thakker being joined by the Shaw brothers, Oliver and Ashley.

The weekend commenced with tough opposition in the form of Horsham Spinners. The 9-0 drubbing does not really reflect the substance of the match as Cippenham lost four of the nine sets in the fifth and deciding game. The afternoon brought only slight improvement as all Cippenham had to show in an 8-1 defeat to Haywards Heath was Ashley’s last set win, albeit by 3-0, over Dean Haskett. Paul and Ashley came as close as possible in the doubles but all the other events were decided 3-0.

Sunday morning started much the same way as Godalming Simply Let II, inspired by their lead player, Cippenham old boy Rob Pountney, ran away 8-1 winners. Cippenham’s consolation came from team captain Paul who beat Danielle Kelly.

However, Cippenham’s fortunes turned in the afternoon with a hard-won 5-4 result against Fusion III. Oli gave Cippenham just the start they needed by beating Rodney Farquharson 11-9 in the fifth and Shae also got his score moving against Michael Spiteri to put Cippenham 2-0. All four Cippenham players were now off the mark for the season! Ashley lost out to Alexander Ahl but Paul restored Cippenham’s two-set cushion by beating the ageing Trevor Campbell.

An inspired decision by Paul to have the Shaw brothers play together in the doubles set paid off handsomely with a 3-1 win and, suddenly, Cippenham were 4-1 up with four chances to secure that match-winning lead and the two league points that would come with it. However, Cippenham were made to wait as Shae, Oli and Paul all lost their second singles and that left it up to Ashley to win his last match. There was never any real doubt about the outcome as Ashley delivered the points with a comfortable 3-0 victory.

This result lifted Cippenham II one place above bottom club Newton Abbott who Cippenham will face when the league continues in November.

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