This year's Divisional Cup Finals were played on Wednesday 11th April at Ellenborough. Each final was contested by one team from HRC and one from Ellenborough. The HRC teams had to be the hot favourites in both events, having each won their respective League Championships in decisive fashion. However, both finals produced some great play and exciting match-ups.
The Division 1 Final matched the HRC team of Derek Balding, John Barnes and Sandy Nash against the Ellenborough A team of Abdul Olagboyega, Elman Rustamov and Jeremy Clarke-Williams. Ellenborough A got off to a good start in the first doubles, with Elman and Jeremy taking the first game 11-4 against Derek and John. However, things got closer after that before the Ellenborough pair finally came out on top, winning 11-8 in the fifth, thanks to Jeremy's dogged defending and Elman's inspired attacks. Despite having recently edged past Sandy in a league match, Abdul could not repeat the feat and lost the second set to her in four games to leave the match level at 1 all. Jeremy then took on Derek but, after narrowly taking the first game 12-10, he ran out of steam and Derek won quite decisively in four to put HRC 2-1 up. Elman then played John and, after losing the first two games, managed to claw back the third 13-11 before taking command and winning in 5 to level the match at 2-2. Ellenborough A then took the lead again when Abdul and Jeremy managed a relatively comfortable 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 win against Derek and Sandy. This is when things started to go wrong for Ellenborough A, with Abdul losing three straight to Derek despite having held a 10-6 lead in one of the games. Jeremy then suffered a 3-1 defeat to John, losing narrowly 11-13, 10-12, 11-9, 8-11. This put HRC into a 4-3 lead and they sealed their victory when Sandy fought hard to win a very close match against Elman by 12-10, 12-10, 11-8, giving HRC a 5-3 result. The match was played with great sportsmanship on both sides and some great rallies, exciting winners and nail-biting close games all round. Well done HRC.
The Division 2 Final, it has to be said, was not quite such a close-run thing. The HRC A team of Dave Cocks, Ray Liiv and Sunil Trakru proved a bit too strong for their Ellenborough B opponents George Cameron, Steve Harris and Sureyya Aydin. Ellenborough B's only win came from Steve's 3-1 win against Ray in the fourth set but this was to be a brief hiccup in HRC A's progress to a decisive 6-1 victory. Having said that, they did not have it all their own way. Steve and Sureyya had taken Dave and Ray very close in the opening doubles, losing by just 9-11 in the fifth game. Four of the other 6 sets went to a fourth game and there were some close games, exciting rallies and great shots in this match too. Again, a well fought match played in good humour and with good sportsmanship throughout. Congratulations to HRC A on completing a clean sweep for their club in this year's Divisional Cup competitions.