With the first part of the season we can now crown Ruckinge A champions for the first time, ably supported by Ruckinge C & Ruckinge F who also won divisions three and four respectively. It was only Challock C who stopped a clean sweep in winning Division two.
For much of the seasons Ruckinge A (Hrvjoe Crnko (centre), Arthur Bracken (far right), Joe Britnell (second right), Charlie Richards (second left), and Jamie Horton (far left)) were closely followed by five of the six other teams, with able to win the division going into the final weeks. However in week 13 they took a decisive 9-1 win over potential banana ski, Challock A, whilst their nearest rivals at the time, Ashford A, could only edge passed Iron Room A 6-4. Elsewhere Iron Room B (eventually runners up) where held to a 5-5 drawn by previous winners Postling A. In week 14 Ruckinge B took another step closer with a 6-4 win over nearest challengers Iron Room B, and if it had not been for a treble from George Epure the win could have been far greater. However with Iron Room B having completed their fixtures the win meant they held a 10 point advantage over Ashford A, and a superior win record. This meant even with a 10-0 deafeat Ruckinge A were champions. Just to mix it up, Little Chart A recorded a 10-0 win over Iron Room A relegating them to the second division, and propelling Little Chart up the table into a chance for second. In the final week Ruckinge A faced off against Ashford A in what could have been the perfect curtain call. However with the league decided it was a night for individuals to shine, and this opportunity was accepted by player of the match Arthur Bracken, and Joe Britnell who both recorded trebles, and were supported well by Charlie Richards. At one point they were holding an 8-0 advantage, but former Single champion Mani Khapung held strong for Ashford taking the final singles for the Ashford side before teaming up with Roger Harris to win the doubles. The divisional singles was won by Paul Amos of Challock winning twenty five out of his twenty seventh fixtures, but in a promising sign for the league his two defeats were inflicted by players under the age of 20!
Division 2 was decided a few weeks again with Challock C deserving winners, and unbeaten going into the final. In fixtures in the final week couldn’t have been better with first v second, third v fourth, and sixth v seventh. Challock C slipped to their first defeat of the season against Challock B (runners up), with Steve Smith winning his three games, Cliff Ball winning two before teaming up to win the doubles and take a moral 6-4 victory. The third v fourth fixture saw Hamstreet A holding a one point lead over Ruckinge B at the start of the night, but ended the night trailing third placed Ruckinge by seven. In an agreed ‘double points’ fixture to avoid playing twice in a week Ruckinge took full advantage with Mike Holiday taking a double treble over Martin Yeandle, Anthony Bodle and Ben Brown. Supported by a double brace from Chris Cloake, and a single from Mike Galvan to seal the win. Mike and Chris then took the doubles for a 14-6 victory. A special note should go to Anthony Bodle who could easily have won all three of his games pushing both Mike and Chris two deuce in four out of six legs, and finally getting his win over Mike Galvan.
Elsewhere the ‘important’ fixture saw Ashford B needing a point against Postling B to ensure they will be playing in Division Two after Christmas, and drop Postling B into the third tier. The Ashford B didn’t waste any time in ensuring this with Dan Housden winning the first match up against Denise Glenister, although going into a fifth and final end it could have gone either way! Ashford B ran out 8-2 winners, with only Brian Cook winning for Postling against Dan Housden, and Matt Hills. Luke Garvey was the star man though finishing man of the match and his first treble of the season. Challock again took the singles averages with Steve Smith not losing any of his thirty three matches (and credit to Brian Cook and Darren Richardson as the only two players to take him into a fifth leg!)
Division 3 was won by Ruckinge C, and after winning 27 points out of thirty from their first three games it was never in any real doubt. Little Chart Posties stole in for best of the rest, although will be disappointed to have finished with two adjudicate matches against teams unable to field enough players. At the other end Ashford TT C were well off the pace, but will be confident of bouncing back at the end of part two of the season. Predictably the averages winner came from Ruckinge C, with Daniel Simmons winning twenty three out of twenty four games. It will be Chris Penning smiling while reading this though, beating Daniel in the penultimate game of the season a fifth leg decider (and it would be wrong not to mention he was playing up from Division 4 for the night, sorry Daniel!)
Division 4 was also take by a Ruckinge team, this time Ruckinge F who edged out their G team by a mere four points making it the closest division, but Ruckinge F had lead from first match to last. In this division second was also good enough to secure promotion, as agreed by the Committee to balance the team numbers after Christmas. Best of the rest was Hamstreet B who will be hopefully of taking the title of Christmas with Ashford TT C likely to be their challengers for that one. The singles aveages was won by Chris Penning, who like Steve Smith went undefeated in his thirty three games, with Ben Moyle of Ashford TT D the only p[lay able to push him into a fifth and deciding leg.
Full tables, results, and now fixtures for after Christmas can be found at www.tabletennis365.com/Ashford