A performance of abundant promise from top Colebridge junior Sam Henderson was not enough to prevent his side slipping to their third defeat of the season yesterday evening at Colebridge ( 19th February ) .
Young Sam did not drop a set all evening against promotion contenders Colebridge Eagles , and whilst he has serious competition for the individual honours in Division Two , it would still be surprising to see him playing at this level next winter.
This important Division Two match began with Sams’ win over Mike Evetts , achieved with something to spare.
Dean Hicks , the erstwhile Bulldog , has been moving quietly up the averages of late , and Mike Credland had no answer to his powerful forehand attacking.
Bernard Oliver and Neil Wheatley , with a combined age of 151 , showed just why table tennis is a sport for life , with an entertaining match display where Neil was ultimately undone by the fast deep serves of The Rottweiler to his backhand , the only match of the evening which went to five sets.
Dean Hicks was then pitched against Sam , who has struggled occasionally against pips , not on this occasion however , as his fully flowing forehand left The Bulldog slack jawed.
The Henderson/Credland doubles partnership was then defeated , for the first time this season , by Hicks and Oliver , and here it was Hicks who shone , covering the table with his intuitive forehand counters and remarkable, away from the table retrieving.
Mike Evetts then suffered an excoriating defeat at the hands of Neil Wheatley , completely discombobulated by the subtle subterfuge of Wheatleys combination bat , and the quality , breadth and variety of his serves.
Bernards match against Mike was always going to be a struggle for the Cornish county veteran , and so it proved , with the power , accuracy and consistency of Bernard aggressive brand of table tennis , proving too much to contend with.
Deans contest against Colebridge pater familias Neil Wheatley was a key turning point of the match, as is so often the case between two closely matched players , it was Lady Luck who swung the day, this time Deans good fortune with both nets and edges turned the game , as even the match point was decided courtesy of a fortunate net cord.
Sams tangle with Bernard was concluded in three sets, although Bernard tried to impose himself, Sams clever switching of play and deeply placed forehand top spinning, prevented Bernard from landing his trademark furious fusillade of shots.
With the match standing at 5-4 in Eagles favour, the battle of The Mikes was crucially contingent to the outcome.
Evetts attempting to keep the Credland forehand quiet by topspinning into the material on the Credland backhand was ultimately successful , but only just.
A remarkable fourth set which Evetts led at one point 8-1 , only for Credland to level at 8-8 , before Evetts staggered over the finishing line to finish the match and bag the point majority.
A splendid evenings entertainment, enhanced as ever by Pat Olivers selfless efforts in the catering department.