Women's British League 1st Weekend - 4-5 November 2023
The Cippenham women’s first team won all five of their matches in Wolverhampton at the weekend to lead Division 3 of the Women’s British League at the half-way stage. They will start the second and final weekend of the league in the new year two points ahead of nearest rivals Worthing and four points ahead of the third-placed team Colebridge 2. The team, comprising two sixteen years-olds and a fourteen years-old, will be hoping to retain that position and gain the promotion they narrowly missed out on last season.
Rachael Iles, Cippenham’s number one player demonstrated why she is ranked twenty-two in the country, by winning all her matches while Mia Lakhani, two years younger and only four places lower in the national rankings, won nine of her ten encounters. They were ably supported by Anna Piercey who weighed in with six wins.
The successful run began on Saturday morning with a 5-1 success over Greenhouse, the powerhouse club from London. Rachael and Mia won both their matches and whilst Anna won only one, that one included an 11-0 demolition of Sylwia Pajak. The Graham Spicer team from New Malden then felt the full force of Cippenham’s power succumbing to a 6-0 scoreline that was nearly as easy as it sounds. Saturday’s play concluded with another 5-1 victory, this time over Loop Dublin as the Irish team were no match for Rachael and Mia although Yixue Bai did manage to get the better of Anna.
Sunday’s two matches started in similar vein. A storming display from Rachael Iles who put aside Sally Hughes and Lok Sze Sun both 3-0, conceding only thirty-seven points in the process, was supplemented by wins for both Mia Lakhani and Anna Piercey over Holly Holder. The final match of the weekend produced another 5-1 success for Cippenham over Colebridge 2 with Rachael and Mia again remaining unbeaten. Over the weekend’s five matches, Rachael received three player of the match awards while the other two were given to Mia.
Meanwhile, in another part of the same hall, the Cippenham second team, comprised of veteran players, occupied a mid-table position in Division 4. Mary Heffernan, despite playing in the more difficult number one position, was the standout player for Cippenham, winning seven of her ten matches while Sue Hayes won five, Julie Dean four out of eight and Denise Weller, troubled by injury, one out of two. Over the weekend Cippenham won two matches, drew one and lost the remaining two.
The opening match was a closely-fought encounter with Jersey with three of the six sets requiring a deciding game. Only Mary Heffernan’s easy win over Holly McNamara finished 3-0 but the only other win for Cippenham against the islanders came from Denise Weller who enjoyed a narrow success over Kathryn Silcock. Julie Dean replaced Denise for the second match which resulted in a 4-2 victory over Halton 3. Mary scored a brace while Julie and Sue Hayes got one each. Saturday finished on a low note with a second defeat against Youngs, 4-2 with the Cippenham wins coming from Mary and Sue.
Sunday morning started brightly as Cippenham became the first, and subsequently only, team to take a point off divisional leaders Ackworth. This was a great overall team performance with each of the three Cippenham players winning and losing. Buoyed by that success, it got even better right at the end of the weekend as Cippenham strode to a 6-0 win over Sutton. Julie was made to work hard in the opener against Helen Shields but after that it was 3-0 or 3-1 all the way.