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Senior British League 2nd Weekend - 25/26 November 2023

The host club’s two teams in the Senior British League were back in action at the weekend when Cippenham Table Tennis Centre played host, once again, to two of the League’s divisions. The Cippenham first team, operating in National Division A-2 won one and lost three of their four matches while two divisions below, in C-5, the Cippenham second team reversed that set of results by winning three and losing just once and that to divisional leaders Joola Plymouth 2.


The first team were once again missing the services of Shae Thakker and Martin Gray and so the team comprised the same quartet of players that took to the tables for the first weekend eight weeks earlier.


In the first match of the weekend against Horsham Spinners, the normally dependable Robert Hansell just failed to win the opening set against Joe Sheard, going down 11-9 in the fifth and deciding game. It got worse for Cippenham as Martin Adams was beaten by Jacob Evans and it was left to Cippenham’s third and fourth players to pull things around. This they did as Tom Windram overcame Oscar Marriott 3-1 and Steve Munson beat the unorthodox Rory Scott 3-0. When Rob and Martin beat Evans and Sheard in the doubles to put Cippenham 3-2 up it seemed as though a win might be on the cards.


However, at the point, Rob suffered his second close defeat of the match, losing to Evans and Sheard put Horsham ahead again when he beat Tom. Martin dutifully squared the scoreline with an easy win over Scott and it was left to the two team’s fourth-ranked players to fight it out and determine the destination of the points. Unfortunately for Cippenham, it was Oscar Marriott who prevailed against Steve Munson and the Sussex team had won a closely-fought match 5-4.


Divisional leaders Wensum were Cippenham’s next opponents and once again it was a case of close matches not going the host’s way that resulted in a 3-6 defeat. Steve Munson had a good win over Veton Zeqiri and Rob Hansell won the battle of the number ones when defeating Lauren Charles. Apart from that there was another doubles win but Martin and Steve fell in five games to Zeqiri and Chris Cockburn respectively.


Sunday morning started brightly for Cippenham as Rob and Martin won close matches against Harry Cutler and Dom Sussex to put the hosts 2-0 up against Joola Plymouth. After that all results went to Devon side’s way as they romped to a 7-2 result, hiding the fact that Tom pushed Cutler to 11-9 in the fifth and Paul Giles needed a decider to beat Steve.


At last some joy for Cippenham came in the final match of the weekend against Kingfisher, local rivals from Reading. One of the Kingfisher players had suffered a family bereavement the day before and Cippenham’s opponents could field only three players as a result. For a while it appeared that Cippenham might not take advantage of such a bonus as Rob and Martin lost the opening sets, albeit both over five games, to Anaya Patel and Harry Randall respectively. When Steve then lost to Ryan Chung it appeared that defeat was on the cards. However, a third doubles win of the weekend for Cippenham steadied the ship, Rob defeated Randall and Tom did likewise against Patel and that secured the points for Cippenham 5-4 and a league double over Kingfisher who were pushed down to bottom place in the table below Cippenham as a consequence.


The Cippenham second team also opened their weekend with a match against Horsham Spinners and reversed the scoreline from the first-team match by defeating the Sussex club’s third team 5-4. Jamie Woodford was the player of the match with two wins over Graham Beaney and Oli Thorne while all the other Cippenham players contributed one win each. After losing 16-14 in the decider of the opening set against Josef Krakovsky, William Saint redeemed the situation with a 13-11 fifth-game win over Beaney while Mia Lakhani beat Asher Warshawski and Jaiden Caldeira defeated Thorne.


Saturday afternoon’s match was against Joola Plymouth 2 and this resulted in a second defeat of the season for the hosts when Plymouth ran out 7-2 victors. Cippenham’s only success came against Plymouth’s number four player Bailey Page, beaten by both Mia and Jaiden.


The second team got back to winning ways, 6-3, on Sunday morning after a match against another opponent from Devon in the shape of Newton Abbot. Cippenham went 2-0 down in the opening exchanges between the number one and two players from both teams and it was left to Jaiden and Mia to repair the damage. This they did in superb fashion, both winning their two matches with Jaiden scooping the player of the match nomination. However, it Mia who was particularly impressive in beating Mark Burridge who had earlier accounted for Cippenham’s number one William Saint.


The weekend concluded with a further 6-3 victory, this time over the Isle of Wight. This was another closely-fought match in which five of the sets required a deciding game, three of them ultimately won by Cippenham and two by the islanders. Jaiden Caldeira was again nominated as the player of the match but Jamie Woodford was equally as successful, both winning their two matches. Both beat Rod McMullan while Jaiden also beat Gabor Bodnar and Jamie beat Christos Hannides in the opening encounter. Mia Lakhani and Will Saint won one match each beating Bodnar and Hannides respectively while Scott Lawson won two singles and shared in a doubles win for the islanders.


After all the points from the weekend were added up, Cippenham maintained second position in the division but are four points behind leaders Plymouth.

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