Senior British League 3rd Weekend - 15-16 January 2022
The Cippenham table tennis team enjoyed another weekend of stunning success as they won all four of their matches when hosting the third weekend of this season’s Senior British League. This now climbs them to second place in National Division B-4, four points above the third-placed team but also four points behind runaway leaders Ormeau from Belfast.
The first match on Saturday against Urban 2, who started in second place, did not provide the sort of challenge that Cippenham were expecting. Hit by Covid, Urban were able to field only three players and therefore gifted Cippenham two sets. However, that still left them needing to win three of the other seven in order to maximise their points tally. Robert Hansell needed all his fighting spirit to recover from losing the first two games against Sam Cowan but his tenacity saw him start what was to become a wonderful unbeaten weekend personally and the last three games never really looked in doubt. Team captain Martin Adams doubled Cippenham’s lead against Dob Tokov but Steve Munson could not get to grips with Tommy Gritton. A win in the doubles and a loss for Martin Adams against Cowan saw the scoreline stand 4-2 in Cippenham’s favour but then it was once against the Robert show. He saw off a determined challenge to defeat Gritton 3-2 before Martin Gray beat Tokov and with the final set being conceded Cippenham won the match 7-2.
Cippenham’s afternoon match was against the luckless Wensum team who slipped to the bottom of the table over the course of the weekend. There was no mercy shown by Cippenham who cruised to a 9-0 win although Dale Parnell did extend Steve Munson to a fifth game and no less than five of the other sets were won 3-1.
Sunday morning saw Cippenham pitted against Horsham Spinners, a team they have sometimes struggled against in the past. The match was closer than the 6-3 scoreline suggests with four of the nine sets being determined by just two points at the end their deciding games, two to each team. Robert was adjudicated player of the match, as he was for all four encounters over the weekend, an incredible performance! Robert beat Rory Scott and John Robinson. For Horsham, their number two player Harri Docherty defeated both Martins 12-10 in the deciding games but only John Robinson, over Steve, could add to the Sussex-based team’s tally. Martin Gray and Steve both beat Benjamin Greve while Martin Adams also beat Scott, albeit 11-9 in the deciding game.
The final match of the weekend was the toughest with the likelihood that the winner would finish the season in the top two of the division and the loser would fall into the chasing pack. Foresters provided the opposition and were soon 2-0 down as Robert recovered from his customary first-game loss to deny Andy Norwood 3-2 and Martin Adams beat Mark Collins. Foresters however fought back to take three of the next four sets, including a rare defeat for Martin Adams and Robert in the doubles, broken only by Martin Gray’s win over Paul Beck.
At 3-3 Robert restored Cippenham’s lead with a straight-forward win over Dan Pound and that gave Martin Gray the opportunity to wrap up the team win against Mark Collins. Martin won the first two games and looked to be on course. However, Collins fought back and took the match 11-9 in the fifth to leave Steve the task of winning the match against Paul Beck. It was close but nevertheless 3-0 for Steve to finish the match 5-4 in Cippenham’s favour and bring to an end a memorable weekend.