Veterans' British League 2nd Weekend - 19-20 February 2022

Men's A team : Hari Grhlot; Andy Trott; Martin Adams
Men's A team : Hari Grhlot; Andy Trott; Martin Adams
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The Cippenham men’s first team trio of Andy Trott, Martin Adams and Hari Gehlot arrived at Derby on Saturday for the final weekend of the Veterans’ British League hoping that top team Foresters, who had maintained a one hundred percent record from the first weekend, would somehow slip up to allow Cippenham promotion to the Premier Division.

Cippenham started the weekend boldly in the first two matches, brushing aside Crawley 6-0 and Norwich 5-1. Crawley number one Steve Brunskill took both Andy and Martin to a deciding set, as did Jevon Chan did against Hari, but neither they nor their other player John Robinson could make an impression on the scoreboard. In the second match Martin slipped up to Norwich number one Jamie McIntosh, but braces for Andy and Hari kept the positive results rolling in with Norwich’s Mats Olsson and Sean Molloy being Cippenham’s other victims.

The third encounter of the day proved to be much tougher against Lilleshall. Uncharacteristically, Andy failed to get past the winning line against Steve Scowcroft and Richard Jermyn, succumbing 9-11 in the fifth and deciding game on both occasions. They respectively also scored victories over Hari and Martin and so the final score was a 2-4 loss as Hari and Martin both beat Andy Frain.

The Sunday morning match against St Georges saw another reasonably comfortable 5-1 result in favour of Cippenham. Andy was victorious over both Ben Wilson and Ryan Stockham while both Martin, who had also beaten Stockham, and Hari came through against former Cippenham member Mark Jackson despite requiring the full five games.

With Foresters already crowned worthy champions of Division 1B the previous evening, Cippenham required a 3-3 draw in their final encounter against them to secure second place ahead of Lilleshall. Matches generally went according to ranking with both Andy and Martin losing to England number four Ritchie Venner and Hari could not get the better of Paul Carter. But with Andy beating Carter, Hari's win over Mike Robinson, who was playing up to replace Chris Bartram, and Martin surviving a final nervy encounter against Robinson, the draw and a creditable second place overall was achieved.

Meanwhile the Cippenham men’s B team were enjoying less success and finished bottom of Division 3B. The first hurdle for Cippenham was a tough encounter with eventual divisional winners Joola Plymouth. Samson Bekele and Steve Smith both beat former Wales number one Dave Welsman but that was as far as it went with Paul Giles and Jeremy Williams proving too strong. Saturday concluded with a couple of 3-3 draws. Samson won two and Paul Baker one as PSP Group were held and the same combination then proved successful against Norwich City. Tony Stead came into the fray in place of Steve for the latter match.

On Sunday morning Cippenham B suffered a 5-1 reverse against Dewsbury but three of the five lost sets were by close margins in the deciding game. Cippenham’s only winner was Paul against Stephen Kosmowsky. The weekend concluded with another 5-1 defeat, this time at the hands of Graham Spicer Club. Only Tony, against Chris Booker, was able to defeat any of the team from New Malden.

The Cippenham women’s team had a reasonably good weekend, winning three of their five matches and this elevated them two positions from bottom to fourth place in Division 2. It did not start so well, but a 4-2 loss against divisional champions Northern Belles was acceptable with Denise Weller and Julie Dean winning the sets for Cippenham.

The second match brought about a reversal of fortune with a 4-2 win over Billwood. Denise got Cippenham off to a great start with a very tight encounter against Denise Jacobi which she won 17-15 in the fifth game. Julie then won both her matches against Caroline Cole and Jacobi which gave Sue Hayes the opportunity to clinch both points against Cole, mission accomplished. Now into their stride, Cippenham followed up with another 4-2 win, this time against Milton Keyes. Denise was the star this time with wins against Dawn Pearce and Carmen Vajdi, while Julie and Sue both beat Zsuzsanna Kalman.

Sunday began with a reverse 4-2 against Sutton at Hone with Sue and Julie scoring for Cippenham before the weekend concluded with another 4-2 result, this time in favour of Cippenham against Ellenborough 2nds. Denise and Sue both found Lynne Trussell too good but Julie weighed in with a brace against Gill Tournbas and Louise Johnston while Denise and Sue won one each.