THE 2017/18 North Cornwall Table Tennis League got underway last week with four fixtures taking place.
Reigning Division One champions Blisland pulled out of the league just a week before the season, so there was just one fixture in the top tier with Budehaven A taking on Crackington A.
Budehaven were missing Helen Murgatroyd and Denis Hough, but skipper Dave Salisbury called up Nathan Jukes, who last year played in Division Three and Dave Ewen who plays for the Spin Doctors in the North Devon League.
Crackington had their usual trio of Frank Barnes, Ross Wilmhurst and Judith Cook.
Despite plenty of matches going to either four or five sets, the home side earned an 8-2 victory with three wins apiece for Salisbury and Ewen with Jukes winning his first ever game at that level. Wilmhurst and Barnes both picked up victories over Jukes.
Two of the Division Two games were also played at Budehaven.
Last year’s runners-up Budehaven B (formerly the C team) routed Bridgerule A 10-0 with Ashley Taylor, Owen Salisbury and David Sillifant all enjoying 100% winning starts. Bridgerule captain Alan Quilter was perhaps unfortunate not to win a game, taking Taylor and Salisbury to four sets before losing to Sillifant in a decider.
The evening’s closest fixture was played out between Budehaven C (last year B) and league new boys Whitstone Wanderers.
The Whitstone trio of Barry Stearman, Doug Genini and Rob Woodhouse play in the North Devon League for Holsworthy, which has already started, and it showed as they edged out the home side, 6-4.
Stearman was the star of the show, winning all three of his outings while brothers, Anthony and Andrew Ward picked up two victories apiece for Budehaven.
Crackington B were desperate for a good start and they got it as they defeated Launceston 7-3 at the Crackington Institute.
Skipper Keiron Chatterjea led from the front with three wins from three, including a surprise straight sets victory over the wily Stephen Parsons, while new player Ross Paynter started well as he beat Karen Horrell and Lois Atkin.
Parsons recovered from his defeat to Chatterjea to comfortably defeat Paynter and Robin Evans.
This week sees North Hill B and Altarnun get their campaigns underway against Budhaven B and Launceston respectively while Budehaven C host Bridgerule A after they agreed to swap venues.
Division Three gets underway tonight with three games, including league debutantes Crackington C at home to Budehaven E, an inter-club battle between Budehaven D and F and Helland C’s trip to their North Hill counterparts.
In other league news, North Hill A are now the clear favourites for the Division One title as Bob Thompson has joined them from last year’s champions Blisland.
The Bodmin Moor-based club now have no representation in the North Cornwall League, leaving Thompson, who finished second in the league averages last term, free to join forces with Shirley Luckhurst and Martin Hynes.