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Senior British League 1st weekend - 8/9 September 2018

Perfect start for Cippenham

The Senior British League season started perfectly for Cippenham at the weekend. The local club is fielding only one team this season in the premier team event in the country, operating in National Division B-4 with all matches being hosted at its home premises.

Four wins from four matches provided the dream start for Cippenham and currently places the team in second position behind a very strong Ellenborough side who have a superior sets aggregate. Team captain and number one player Martin Adams, and number two player Robert Hansell, were superb and both were completely unbeaten over the entire weekend, winning all their singles matches and the four doubles, a total of twenty individual contests. Steve Munson backed them up by winning half of his eight singles while Ricky Hardcastle tasted success twice.

The season kicked off on Saturday morning with a match against Kingfisher III, local rivals from Reading. This turned into a bit of a romp for Cippenham who ran out 9-0 winners against the division’s bottom team. All Cippenham players dropped at least one end but the only one that came close to losing was Martin Adams who just about managed to hold off the challenge of Artur Morar 11-9 in the fifth and deciding game. The player of the match award went to Ricky Hardcastle for his wins over Rob Gladstone and Rayaan Asghar.

Saturday afternoon matched Cippenham with Horsham Spinners. Martin and Rob kept up their winning ways although both were made to work hard in their second matches. Martin saw off Craig Brown 3-0 but dropped an end against Rory Scott while Rob, after getting Cippenham off to the perfect start beating Scott 3-0 was made to fight all the way by John Robinson before winning 3-2. Martin and Rob combined for an easy win in the doubles while Steve Munson pitched in by beating Brown after having lost a very close fifth game to Asa Gauntlett.

A repeat performance was called for on Sunday morning and that was exactly what Cippenham delivered with another 6-3 victory over Generation 2 from Fareham. Martin was untroubled as he set about Mike Rhodes and Valmiki Sinanan, while Rob lost one end to Sinanan but had an easy win over Daniel Lucking. Together they won the doubles with the loss of only nine points over the three games. However, Steve, after having dismissed Hugo Gregan 3-0 was undone by Cippenham member Mike Rhodes and Ricky Hardcastle lost two close matches against Lucking and Gregan.

The first real challenge of the season came on Sunday afternoon against a Foresters team that had lost only narrowly to division leaders Ellenborough in the morning. An entertaining match finished in Cippenham’s favour 5-4 but it could have gone the other way as Robert Hansell battled out the pivotal encounter with Ryszard Pelc. With the match score 4-2 in Cippenham’s favour, the hosts knew that Rob’s match up with Pelc was their best chance of securing the maximum league points and so it proved. Rob won the first game and then held 8-6 and 8-5 leads in the second and third games but Pelc hit back to lead 2-1. Rob squared it at 2-2 and then the fifth game swung one way then the other and both players had match point before a delighted Rob eventually triumphed 13-11. Rob had earlier beaten Lewis Mayhew 3-1 and Martin was imperious against both Mark Collins and Mayhew and together the Cippenham heroes secured the doubles 3-1.

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