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Veterans' British League 1st Weekend - 22-23 October 2022

The Cippenham men’s first team enjoyed a successful first weekend in the Veterans’ British League Division 1B, winning four of their five matches and sit narrowly in top position level on points with Team Ecosse but ahead on games ratio. They have put themselves in a great position to stand a chance of grabbing the single available promotion spot to the Premier Division, the highest echelon of the league, when the competition resumes in the new year. With Cippenham's number one Andy Trott being unavailable for Saturday’s series of three matches, it was the responsibility of Martin Adams, welcome new signing Dave Barr, and Hari Gehlot to get the campaign underway.

Things went to plan initially with a comprehensive 6-0 win over Draycott B. This was promptly followed up with another victory, this time 4-2 over Norwich. Captain Martin led the team in winning both his matches over Wayne Mason and Mats Olsson, and earned the player of the match award but was unable to contribute in the following match as Team Ecosse, a team consisting of Scottish international players, defeated Cippenham narrowly 2-4. Dave and Hari notched up the wins against Ross Martin and Jerry Campbell respectively.

The Sunday morning session was an extremely tight affair against Foresters, with three of the six encounters extending to a deciding game. Dave was the star player in this match as his defensive talents proved to be the difference as he overcame both Andy Norwood and Lewis Mayhew, dropping just the one end.  Hari and Andy both completed crucial, high-pressure victories over Matt Spero to chalk an important and hard-fought 4-2 win.

The final encounter of the weekend saw Cippenham impressively overcome Wolves, arguably the pre-season favourites, and who had previously defeated Team Ecosse, 5-1. Andy's class prevailed as he recorded comfortable wins over the highly ranked Simon Pugh and Lee Horton, only losing a handful of points. Dave comfortably beat Horton and both he and Martin marked 3-1 victories over Steve Robinson.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the same Derby Arena venue, the Cippenham men’s second team were having a distinctly different sort of weekend, finishing bottom of Division 4A and will have to work hard to avoid relegation when the season resumes. All five matches were lost: 2-4 against Ormesby 2 and De Vere NETTS, and 1-5 against BATTS 2, Draycott 4 and Cirencester. Mike Rhodes and Steve Smith both won three of their ten individual matches over the weekend while Paul Baker tasted victory just once.

The Cippenham ladies’ team, playing in Women’s Division 2, had a marginally better outcome. Although they failed to win a match, they drew 3-3 twice, lost 2-4 twice and once were beaten 1-5. The team was hampered by the absence of Mary Heffernan, who has been playing well in the High Wycombe League this season, and had to rely on the other three members of the squad, Julie Dean, Denise Weller and Sue Hayes. Julie won one individual encounter in each of the five team matches to finish with a fifty percent win record, while Denise and Sue both won three of their ten matches.

The heaviest defeat, 1-5, came in the very first match against Sutton at Hone. There then followed a 3-3 draw with Lyncrest in which all three Cippenham ladies scored a win but Saturday concluded with a 2-4 defeat to Irish side Colleens. All three players won one each again in the 3-3 draw with Ellenborough 2 on Sunday morning and the weekend concluded with yet another 2-4 defeat, this time at the hands of Milton Keynes.

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