Another new season for the Eastern Valley Table Tennis League kicked off this week at Cwmbran Stadium with 6 teams in two divisions. The new team in Division One, Blaenavon Aces, had a tough first match against the title holders from last season, Bristol Nomads. A player of the match performance from young Louis Price backed up by his dad Chris and Ian Maggs saw the Nomads through to a convincing 27 - 3 win.
This week saw the debut of David Lloyd, which in itself is not unusual other than the league now has two David Lloyds competing and their first matches saw them competing against each other. Englishman David Lloyd was competing for Cwmbran Blues and new signing Welshman David Lloyd was appearing for YMCA Preachers. However, it was the Preachers' Claire Flannagan who stole the show with her player of the match performance in winning all her matches, including rare wins over Mark Farrow and David Lloyd. An equally impressive performance came from the Preachers' Ray Goulding who also had 3 wins and helped his side to a 26 - 15 win. By the way, the result of the match between the two Lloyds was a revenge win for the English in 5 sets.
The final match in Division One saw Cwmbran Aztecs winning 18 - 13 against Cwmbran Colts despite a player of the match performance from the Colts' Lee Thomas with his 3 wins. The Colts had the young Pearce brothers, Matthew and Ben making the Division One debut and they can be pleased with their efforts against their very experienced opponents. Also making his debut was the Colts' General Manager John Spencer who unfortunately started his tenure with a defeat. I hope the fans give him more time!!!
In Division Two last years winners, Cwmbran Panthers, opened their season with a tough looking match against the runners up Cwmbran Dynamos. Despite being without their number one player, Mike Blatchford, the Panthers secured a 24 - 11 win. Blatchford's replacement, John Thomas secured 2 wins to aid his side's success. His only loss was in 5 sets to Alex Jones who in turn suffered a surprise defeat against Howard Gaut. It was a good all round display by the Panthers team of Thomas, Gaut and Yuri Cherkasenko with 2 wins each that shows they will be the team to beat this season.
The match between Blaenavon Bulldogs and Cwmbran Devils saw a couple of new faces in their teams. The Bulldogs have recruited Lincoln Alford who has teamed up with his grandson Coel Alford and a player from last seasons team, Callum Hunt. Despite a player of the match performance from Lincoln with 3 wins, he could not prevent his side going down 12 - 18 to the Devils. Making his league debut for the Devils was Matthew Powell who distinguished himself with 2 wins. There were also 2 wins for the Devil's Stan Williams and Colin Scott.
The final match in Division Two involved Cwmbran Fellows and Cwmbran Eccentrics. Unfortunately the Eccentrics only had 2 players and went down 9 - 20 to the Fellows. Another new player making his league debut, for the Fellows, was young Matthew Cullingford and he had a very good win over the experienced Alan Howse. For the Eccentrics Alan Miskelly acquitted himself with 2 wins.