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Veterans' British League 2nd Weekend - 10-11 February 2024

Cippenham's stay in the Premier Division of the men's section of the Veterans' British League has been a short one. After gaining promotion to the elite level last year, this season's campaign has seen them relegated back to Division 1. Try as they did, all five matches were lost in the second weekend of the season as Cippenham slumped to the bottom of the table. However, Cippenham can take comfort from giving all opponents a run for their money, never being whitewashed, as their first foray into the Premier Division ultimately became unsuccessful.

Cippenham's first opponents on Saturday morning were Topspin Fusion with the Londoners spearheaded by England number one Lorestas Trumpauskas. David Barr's victory over Neil Pickard was all that Cippenham could muster in a 5-1 defeat against the overnight leaders and eventual runners-up. David was also successful against Team Bribar, beating both Jason Ramage, England number four, and Niall Cameron, Scotland's number one. However, neither Martin Adams nor Hari Gehlot could add anything and the final score was a 4-2 loss. Saturday concluded with another 4-2 defeat, this time against Foresters A. Andy Trott beat Ritchie Venner and David beat Costas Papantoniou to put Cippenham 2-1 up but that was as good as it got.

Andy Trott had another good win on Sunday morning against Neil Charles, England ranked five, but eventual champions Tees Sport ran out 5-1 winners. The weekend concluded with another 4-2 defeat to Lilleshall with the highlight being Andy's win over Stephen Scowcroft while Hari spurned eleven (yes, eleven!) match points against the same player.

Meanwhile, the Cippenham men's second team were having a better time of it in Division 4B, holding on to the second position they had held after the first weekend in October. Saturday's three matches were all won. Steve Munson carried on from where he left off, unbeaten across the first weekend, with a player of the match performance as Cippenham beat Draycott's fifth team 5-1 in the opening match. Steve was assisted by two wins from Steve Joel and one from Paul Baker. The two Steves combined to win two each as De Vere NETTS were defeated 4-2 but this time it was Steve Joel who got the nod as player of the match. A successful first day concluded with another win, this time 5-1 over Cheltenham. Steve Munson was again player of the match but his brace was matched by Paul Baker while Steve Joel weighed in with the fifth.

Sunday was a different story. Steve Joel was once again player of the match but could only help his side to a 3-3 draw against Foresters F. Steve Munson suffered his first defeat of the season in this match while Paul Baker was unlucky to lose two close matches, both over five games. That dropped point put Cippenham a point behind Cutnall Green who, with all to play for, were Cippenham's final opponents of the league season. Unfortunately, their opponents proved too strong on this occasion, winning the divisional title courtesy of a 5-1 result with Steve Joel the only contributor for Cippenham.

The Cippenham women's side slipped from third down to fourth place in Division 3. Their only win, to go with four defeats over the weekend, was emphatic 5-1 against Foresters 5, reversing the disappointing result from the first weekend. Julie Dean was adjudged player of the match for this victory and her brace was matched by Mary Heffernan with Sue Hayes getting the other one. Around this were four defeats although Mary did manage to win the player of the match award twice for winning both her matches in two 4-2 defeats to Foresters 4. Unfortunately, her teammates could not assist on those occasions. The other two defeats were also 4-2 and both were against Drumchapel Glasgow.

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