Senior British League 4th Weekend - 14/15 April 2018
First team just fail to survive
The Senior British League season concluded over the weekend with both Cippenham teams fighting at the foot of their respective divisions. With players unavailable for both squads, Simon Vine was promoted to the first team who were competing in National Division A-2 at Harlow while reserve Graham Trimming was drafted into the second team for its matches in Division C-4 at Cippenham.
The first team made a great effort to escape from the bottom two places and prior to the final match were placed one above the relegation zone. However, a loss against their main rivals in that final match resulted in a seventh place finish and potential relegation to National Division B for next season. For the second team, with little hope of positive results from their two matches on Saturday it was a case of the ones that got away as they slumped to two narrow defeats on Sunday and finished at the foot of their division.
The Cippenham first team produced the result on Saturday morning that was expected of them, an 8-1 defeat of bottom placed and pointless York Gardens. However, the scoreline belies the closeness of the match as Cippenham won no less than four sets by the narrowest possible margin of 12-10 in the fifth and deciding game. Only two sets were won 3-0 and these were both by player of the match Robert Hansell. Martin Adams and Simon Vine also won both their encounters and the only one to elude Cippenham came when Owe Karlsson lost the opening rubber to Richard Carden.
Third placed Brighton were the afternoon opponents and they gifted Cippenham two sets by playing with only three players. However, Cippenham were only able to win one more and again it was Robert who was the successful player when he defeated Harry McCarney.
Simon was unavailable for the Sunday morning match and so Cippenham took to the table with only three players against the divisional leaders BATTS II playing at their home venue. Steve Munson came into the team in place of Owe and what a substitution that proved to be as he was named player of the match for his wins over Joe Walker and Sam Chesterman. Martin Adams won his matches against Chesterman and Tony Halling, both over five games and Robert Hansell beat Joshua Dye and together with Adams they won the doubles. Incredibly, against all the odds, and with only three players, Cippenham had beaten the league leaders 6-3, a result that ultimately denied BATTS the divisional title in favour of Horsham Blades. Four of Cippenham six wins were gained in the deciding game, following up the trend from the previous day.
This win elevated Cippenham into sixth position as they leapfrogged their final opponents London Academy II. With Simon Vine once again available, Cippenham were numerically back to full strength but a disappointing 7-2 reverse with only Martin Adams and the doubles on the scoresheet dropped them back into the relegation zone.
The Cippenham second team were right up against it on Saturday morning against a strengthened Fusion III team that went on to win all four matches over the weekend. Oli Shaw got the host side off to a great start with a most impressive win against Alberto Garrido but that was as good as it got for Cippenham who slumped to an 8-1 defeat. Oli took the other Garrido brother, Angel, to a decider as did Graham Trimming against Michael Spiteri.
It was even tougher in the afternoon against runaway leaders of the division Ellenborough. Ellenborough gifted Cippenham two sets as one of their players was injured but the champions were imperious in the others as straight sets wins throughout gave them a 7-2 victory.
Sunday really was a day of what might have been and two 5-4 defeats were difficult pills to swallow. Newton Abbot were the morning opponents. Graham scored first for Cippenham beating Daniel Broad comfortably but Ashley Shaw let slip an 8-4 lead in one game as he lost in five to Daniel Webster-Hall. The Shaw brothers scored a great win in the doubles against Kevin Nicholls and Jon Cheung but when Oli lost out to Nicholls Cippenham found themselves 4-2 down needing all the remaining sets for victory. Paul Baker, over Broad, and Ashley, impressive against Cheung, won their sets 3-0 and when Graham took the first game against Webster-Hall it seemed as if victory might be there for the taking. However, the Devonian hit back to lead 2-1 but Graham held a 10-7 lead in the fourth. Unfortunately this was not converted and the match was lost.
The final match against Ashford II also resulted in a 5-4 defeat. Paul was the stand out player for Cippenham in this match, winning both his encounters with Sarah Horsnell and Derek Holman. Oli had both his opponents, Michael Silver and Horsnell, 2-0 down but could not convert his advantage and even had match points in the fourth game against Horsnell. Ashley secured a good win over Alex Gough and combined with his brother to beat Holman and Gough in the doubles. However, Graham was not able to find a win that would have secured Cippenham victory, going down in five games against Holman and three-straight against Gough.