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Women's British League 2nd Weekend - 20-21 January 2024

The Cippenham first team, comprising three junior players, did just enough to hold on to their lead in Division 3 of the Women’s British League at the weekend. They went into the second half of matches, staged at Wolverhampton, two points ahead of second-placed Worthing after an impeccable first weekend that had seen them win all five matches.

Cippenham consolidated their lead in the first match on Saturday morning when they beat bottom team Graham Spicer. Rachael Iles and Mia Lakhani both won their two matches while Anna Piercey lost to Chui-Que Wong but beat Michelle McGovern. The following two matches on Saturday proved disappointing. Rachael, who had an unbeaten run of twelve wins up to that point, mysteriously failed to win any of her four encounters across those two matches. Mia and Anna won one each in both matches but two 2-4 defeats to Greenhouse and Loop Dublin seemed to have dented Cippenham’s title aspirations. By Saturday evening Worthing had leap-frogged Cippenham into top spot but with the two teams having to play each other on Sunday afternoon it was all still to play for.


Cippenham faced Colebridge on Sunday morning and got off to the perfect start as Mia beat Lisa Rinnhofer 3-0 and Rachael dispatched Debs Barrow 3-1. Anna then lost to Hanne Pui Yu Chui but Rachael won a tight five-gamer over Rinnhofer to put Cippenham 3-1 up. Cippenham’s nerves jangled as Mia lost 11-9 in the deciding game to Chui and so it was left to Anna to beat Barrow to give Cippenham those all-important two points. This she did 3-1 but Cippenham were left still two points behind Worthing with the crucial decider to come.


Cippenham knew that they needed to beat Worthing in the final match if they were to claim the divisional title. Worthing had won all bar one of their matches so far, their only defeat coming in the first weekend against Cippenham. Mia Lakhani got Cippenham off to the start they needed, beating Lok Sze Sum 3-1 and this lead was extended when Rachael Iles eased past the experienced Sally Hughes 3-0. Hopes were high as Anna Piercey won the first two games in her clash with Holly Holder but Holder retrieved the situation and eventually won 3-2. Luckily for Cippenham, it mattered not as Rachael and Mia beat Sum and Holder respectively both 3-0 to give Cippenham the match-winning score they needed and the title was theirs. Anna led Hughes 2-1 at one stage of the final set but eventually lost 13-11 in the fifth to make the final match score 4-2 in Cippenham’s favour.


Meanwhile, the Cippenham second team, comprised of veteran players, were operating in Division 4. Over the weekend they won two and lost three of their five matches but still managed to move up one place in the table from fourth to third. Cippenham started with a 5-1 victory over Jersey but the island team were handicapped by having only two players present. Mary Heffernan and Sue Hayes won the matches they played, the solitary loss coming when Holly McNamara beat Julie Dean. There then followed three defeats against Youngs 5-1, Ackworth 6-0 and Halton third team 4-2. Julie won twice while Mary grabbed the only other win in this trio of encounters.


However, the final match of the league season brought some cheer as Cippenham beat Sutton at Hone 5-1 with Mary and Sue winning two each and Julie only faltering by the narrowest of margins in the final set.

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