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Veterans' British League 2nd weekend - 23-24 February 2019

A trio of third-placed finished for Cippenham teams

There was a trio of third-placed finishes for Cippenham’s three teams in the Veterans’ British League when the competition completed in Derby over the weekend.

The men’s A team had an especially good weekend. Back to full strength after two of the three players had to miss the first weekend, they romped through their programme, winning four and drawing one of their five matches. Mark Banks, many times Maidenhead League Men’s Singles champion, won nine of his ten matches as did Hari Gehlot. Martin Adams, playing in the more difficult number one position, won seven times.

First to suffer from the power of the Cippenham team was Dewsbury who succumbed 6-0. Then followed Cippenham’s best result of the weekend. They beat Division 2A champions St Georges 5-1, inflicting their opponents only defeat of the season. Martin and Mark had put Cippenham 5-0 up, including both beating Cippenham old boy Mark Jackson, before Hari fell at the last hurdle to Simon Griew. Saturday concluded with another 5-1 victory, this time over XLNT Draycott 3. Martin was the one to lose a set in this match, going down in the fifth and deciding game to Ben Wilson, otherwise it was plain sailing for Cippenham as Hari and Mark won twice each.

The one disappointing result came on Sunday morning as Cippenham were held to a 3-3 draw by fifth-placed Hereford Challengers. After Hari had given Cippenham the perfect start with a 3-0 win over Mark Owen, Cippenham suffered three defeats in a row by very narrow margins. Martin suffered most, conceding to Ola Andersson and Owen, both deuce in the fifth, while Mark recovered from 2-0 down to square 2-2 with Andy Castle before losing 11-8 in the fifth. After that, it was business as usual as Hari and Mark both won 3-0 against Castle and Andersson respectively to secure the draw. In the final match of the season Border Reivers were no match and Cippenham romped to another 6-0 victory.

The Cippenham men’s B team of Mike Rhodes, Paul Baker and Tony Stead were operating in Division 4B. The weekend started with a 4-2 victory over Swerve. Stephen Brunskill beat both Paul and Mike for the Middlesbrough based club while Tony won both his matches comfortably. The first stage of the season was then completed in the second match. Divisional leaders Sycamore Zigabytes were too strong and ran out worthy 6-0 victors. This result left Cippenham in third place in an eight-team division and so qualified for the top section when the division was split into two halves for the remainder of the season.

Corby Smash proved just as formidable opponents in the first match of the second phase and Cippenham were once again left reeling from a 6-0 defeat. Another match against Sycamore on Sunday morning brought about another 6-0 reverse but a final third-place finish was secured in the final match, a good 5-1 victory over Foresters E. Braces for Mike and Paul  both included very good wins over Tony West, while Cippenham’s only reverse came when Tony lost to Roger Pingram.

Women’s Division 2 followed the same format with the eight teams being split into top and bottom halves for the second phase. Denise Weller and Mary Heffernan both beat Lynne Trussell in the first match against Foresters but that was all Cippenham managed to win in a 4-2 defeat against the divisional leaders. Bottom team Halton were the next opponents and a 5-1 win saw Cippenham easily qualify for the second phase in third place. Sue Hayes and Mary both won twice while Julie Dean added the other.

A rematch with leaders Foresters went no better on Sunday than it had on Saturday. Mary again beat Trussell but, this time, Denise did not and the final result was a 5-1 defeat. Another 5-1 defeat ensued against second-placed Ashford and an excellent win for Denise against Lisa Sprackling was all Cippenham could muster from this encounter. A third-place final position was already secured before the final match of the season but it was nice for Cippenham to finish off with a win, 4-2 against Billswood. This time it was Denise who was the star with wins against Sue Hickman and Carrie Cope while Mary also beat Hickman and Sue rounded off affairs against Caroline Cole.

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