Senior British League 1st Weekend - 25-26 September 2021
Cippenham Table Tennis Centre was buzzing again at the weekend as competitive table tennis made a welcome return after a gap of more than eighteen months. The venue hosted two divisions of the Senior British League, organised by Graham Trimming and refereed by Ken Phillips. The Cippenham team, playing in National Division B-4, played four matches over the weekend, winning both their encounters on Saturday but the tide turned against them on Sunday.
Cippenham’s first opponents were Wensum 2 from Norwich. Team captain Martin Adams showed the way by opening the scoring for Cippenham against Serafin Melo and was followed by Rob Hansell and Martin Gray over Wayne Mason and Chad Bassett. 3-0 was a great start to the campaign but Steve Munson then lost out to Dale Parnell to give the East Anglian team some hope. Rob and Martin Gray secured a win in the doubles but Martin Adams was beaten by Mason to make the score 4-2. From them on it was easy pickings as Martin Gray, Rob and Steve won all the remaining sets 3-0 to give Cippenham an overall victory by 7-2.
Saturday afternoon saw Cippenham up against Horsham Spinners. Rob retained his unbeaten record, despite being made to work very hard by Mahmood Kelani but finally emerged victorious in the deciding game. Martin Adams, meanwhile, won both his matches comfortably and Martin Gray beat Benjamin Greve but lost out against Abdur-Rahman Kelani and Cippenham put another brace of points on the league table with the 6-3 scoreline.
Sunday started with a ding-dong battle against Foresters. Martin Adams gave Cippenham a solid start against Mark Collins but the team from Crawley hit back when Andy Norwood defeated Rob Hansell. Cippenham went back in front due to Martin Gray’s five-game win over Daniel Pound only for Foresters to level again through Lewis Mayhew over Steve Munson. Rob and Martin Gray won their third doubles of the weekend, then Foresters levelled once more as Norwood beat Martin Adams. The crucial match came next. Martin Gray won the first two games against Collins and then held match points in the third after leading 9-5. However, the Cippenham player served into the net on his first match point and Collins took full advantage. Collins then won both the next two games to put Foresters in front for the first time, 4-3. Rob countered against Mayhew to square the match once more but Steve was no match for Pound in the final encounter and Foresters took the points with a 5-4 scoreline.
Cippenham’s final match of the weekend saw them up against divisional leaders Ormeau 2. The team from Belfast include four players who all feature in the top five of the Ulster rankings and three are ranked in the top six in all-Ireland. Rob came closest for Cippenham, only losing out to Daryl Strong 11-9 in the fifth game after having won the first two games. Apart from that it was all one-way traffic as the Ulstermen won 9-0.
The current league table can be found by following the link below to the SBL page.