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Veterans' British League 1st Weekend - 17/18 September 2016

New men’s second team lead their division

Cippenham’s newly formed second men’s team had a successful debut weekend at the Veterans’ British League and they currently top Division 4B. The team comprises three of last year’s only (first!) team plus debutant Simon Vine. All the players turned in good performances but it was the form of Simon, who won seven of his eight matches, that really shone through.

The division is very tight, though, with four teams level on eight points from a possible ten, and Cippenham lead the table on games aggregate. A similar performance in the new year will see the team promoted. The five matches produced three easy wins and two draws, those drawn matches being against the other two teams, Foresters D and Bristol Associates, that form a breakaway three at the top of the table.

Christos Hannides also lost once only during the weekend, while Mike Rhodes and Paul Baker both won four times. The weekend started with back to back 5-1 wins over Ilfracombe Pirates and OLOP 2 and Sunday morning produced an emphatic 6-0 whitewash of Drax.

The men’s first team, promoted to Division 1A, benefited from the signings of Martin Gray and Mark Banks to complement team captain Martin Adams. A good all-round performance ensued with all players winning at least half of their matches and the team occupy third position in the table at the half-way stage.

The first team drew three of their five matches, winning once and tasting defeat once. The weekend opened with drawn matches against Norwich and Redlands Bats and the only defeat was suffered on Saturday evening, 4-2 against divisional leaders London Moberley. Twice, Cippenham players lost 11-9 in the fifth and deciding game and so the result could so easily have been better. Another 3-3 draw followed against Topspin Fusion on Sunday morning and the weekend was concluded with a heartening 5-1 win over Border Reivers.

The women’s team found the going tough in Division 1 after their promotion from Division 2 and currently lie in eighth and last place with just one point to show for their endeavours. That came against second-placed HEL and with the fifth and sixth placed sides still to play in the first round of matches, there is all to play for yet.

Milton Keynes proved too strong in the first match, winning 6-0 and a further defeat by the same scoreline occurred later on Saturday against Joola Morpeth. Sunday proved disappointing with 4-2 defeats against Fusion and Northern Belles and, in truth, the sets that Cippenham won in those two matches were all very narrow affairs. Sue Hayes was the pick of the Cippenham players, winning half of her eight matches including a brace in the defeat against Northern Belles, while Julie Dean picked up an excellent win against Brenda Boey.

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