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Senior British League 2nd Weekend - 10-11 December 2022

Cippenham’s two teams in the Senior British League enjoyed an excellent weekend, recording seven wins out of eight matches between them. The first team won all four matches to climb up to second place in National Division B-4 while the second team won three times and that elevated them to third position in Division C-5. Star of the show for Cippenham was 19-years old Shae Thakker, playing in the number three position in the first team, who won all his matches this weekend and has lost only once in fifteen individual matches all season.

The first team’s most difficult encounter of the weekend came in the very first match on Saturday morning. Neither team captain Martin Adams nor Steve Munson were able to add to Cippenham’s scorecard and so it was left to the ever-dependable Rob Hansell, currently ranked seventy-five in England, and Shae Thakker to win four singles matches between them which, when combined with a doubles victory by Robert and Martin, gave Cippenham a very welcome 5-4 scoreline. This win leapfrogged Cippenham over their opponents who now sit in third position in the league.

The afternoon match was much more straight-forward. Birmingham TTA arrived with only three players and so gifted Cippenham two sets. It made little difference as Cippenham romped to a 8-1 win with only Martin suffering a close loss in what was a dead rubber. Robert was taken to 3-1 by Chun Wai Sheung but Shae and Steve won their only set with ease.

For a while on Sunday morning it looked as if the bubble might have burst as Martin lost the opening set to Ed Slot and Robert was beaten by Benjamin Greve. Cippenham were suddenly 2-0 down to Portsea but Steve and Shae responded admirably to restore parity. Shae was especially dominant as he decimated Jared Hon 11-1. 11-4. 11-2. Robert and Martin duly won the doubles to put Cippenham ahead for the first time before both won their next singles matches. From the uncomfortable position of 2-0 down, Cippenham had recovered to lead 5-3 and in doing so ensured maximum points. Shae completed his brace to put Cippenham further ahead before Steve lost to Hon to make the final score 6-3.

The Cippenham first team’s great weekend finished with a flourish with a 9-0 thrashing of Fusion 4, their London-based opponents only able to win four ends throughout the entire match.

The Cippenham second team also benefited from a short team in their opening match when Fareham-based Generation 2 arrived with only three players. Cippenham eventually prevailed 6-3 but two of those three losses were by the narrow margin of 11-9 in the deciding game. William Saint was named player of the match for his two victories, the opening set against Keiran Wells which got Cippenham off to a perfect start and his later five-game win over David Woodacre. Jamie Woodford and Jaiden Caldeira were Cippenham’s other winners.

The Saturday afternoon match was important as it ultimately decided who would finish the weekend in third place and who would be fourth. Newton Abbot provided the opposition and Cippenham’s hopes had all but vanished when the team from Devon went 3-0 up. Rachael Iles was the first to put Cippenham on the scoresheet, beating Wim Faassen and then it was the turn of William Saint and Jamie Woodford to turn on the style. First they combined to win a close doubles match, then William won an equally close singles against Mike Hugh. Jamie put Cippenham ahead for the first time after beating Naomi Jackson but Rachael lost to the hugely experienced Kevin Nicholls. It came down to a final showdown and Jaiden Caldeira completed a fine team performance, in which each of the Cippenham players had contributed a singles win apiece, by beating Faassen to give Cippenham the points in a 5-4 victory.

That 5-4 scoreline was repeated on Saturday morning in another closely fought match, the opponents being Haywards Heath. This time it was Jaiden's turn to take the player of the match award with two impressive wins against Steve Ive and Richard Cosens. William gave Cippenham the early lead, beating Matt Caddy over five games, coming back from 2-0 down, Jamie also beat Cosens and Jaiden and William combined to win the doubles. Anna Piercey had replaced Rachael for the Sunday matches but was not able to add to Cippenham’s score.

The one and only disappointing result arrived in the final match against Foresters third team. William gave Cippenham an early lead against Tim Surrey and Jamie easily beat Dave Steel. William and Jamie also combined to win the doubles but Foresters ran out deserved winners 6-3.

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