OXFORD B OVERTURN oXFORD a, DIDCOT RETAIN JUNIOR TROPHY
Top seniors and juniors from Banbury, Didcot and Oxford converged on the Moreton TTC premises at South Moreton Primary School for the 10th (at least) annual Oxfordshire Inter-League competition on Sunday, 18th February. We welcomed several new faces: seniors Dave Ralls, Fraser Harris, Jack Shardlow and James Lovelock, along with juniors Ethan Morgan, Robert Minell, Christelle Rajapaksa, Adam Jenner and Jonathan Dickinson. Three junior girls took part: Vicky Coll made a major contribution to the winning senior Oxford B team, while Christelle and Pelin Karabulut took on the daunting task of representing the junior Oxford B team against some of the leading boys in the county.
The teams lined up as follows:
Banbury: Jason Tustain, Jack Shardlow, Janice Rowan
Didcot: Charlie Lane, James Lovelock, Birgit Muller
Oxford A: Bartek Duleba, Pawel Jaskolski, Dawn Pearce
Oxford B: Fraser Harris, Dave Ralls, Vicky Coll
Banbury: Oliver Keen, Toby Dow, Ethan Morgan
Didcot: Lewis Waddup, Rafe Fleming, Robert Minell
Oxford A: Kiarash Shaddel, Jamie McNeil, Jack Smith
Oxford B: Christelle Rajapaksa, Pelin Karabulut, Adam Jenner, Jonathan Dickinson
Dawn Pearce (Oxford A) was unbeaten in the Ladies' Singles matches.
Vicky Coll got Oxford B off to a fine start with a narrow win over Birgit Muller (Didcot). The next match set the pattern for the whole day with Oxford’s Dave Ralls producing a battling display to defeat Charlie Lane 11-8 in the 5th. Fraser Harris (Oxford) then beat James Lovelock in straight games and needed only four to get past Charlie. With Vicky playing very solidly to back up her two hard-hitting team mates in the two mixed doubles, Oxford B ran out surprising 7-0 winners. Meanwhile a very protracted war was being waged between Oxford A and Banbury: Oxford’s Dawn Pearce got the better of Janice Rowan; then Pawel Jaskolski prevailed in a marathon match against Jason Tustain 14-12 in the decider; this turned out to be Jason’s only singles defeat of the whole day! Most of Jack Shardlow’s matches are marathons; it looks as though you could easily hit through his athletic retrieving defence, but in fact you can’t! Here he took a 2-1 lead against Bartek Duleba, who was reduced to pushing but came back to win in five. The second mixed doubles between Jason & Janice and Bartek & Dawn also went Oxford’s way after going right down to the wire. In the event Oxford’s 5-2 win over Banbury brought a heavy price to pay, for although Bartek & Pawel came through in these titanic duels, they lost both reverse singles and never really recovered their energy for the rest of the day.
Fraser Harris gave an outstanding performance for Oxford B.
In the second round of matches Oxford A & B swopped opponents. Banbury’s Jason Tustain defeated both Fraser Harris & Dave Ralls over four games, but Jack Shardlow drew a blank, although he did take Fraser to a fifth end. Didcot’s Charlie Lane was back on song with surprisingly easy wins over both Bartek & Pawel, but with the Oxford Ladies still dominant both Oxford teams ran out 5-2 winners to set up their final encounter. Junior Vicky Coll gave a mature performance throughout and played her part in three of the five wins for Oxford B.
Banbury's Jason Tustain was the leading male player with 5/6, tied with Fraser Harris.
In the battle for bronze, Didcot’s Birgit Muller found her best hitting form to defeat Janice Rowan 11-7 in the 5th. Banbury seemed to be feeling the pace of their earlier encounters and, although man of the match (and of the day) Jason Tustain scored two more fine wins, that was all they got in a 2-5 defeat. The climactic duel between Oxford A and Oxford B was much closer: Dawn Pearce held on to her singles maximum, although it was touch and go against Vicky Coll. Decisive wins for the B team’s Dave Ralls & Fraser Harris over both Pawel Jaskolski & Bartek Duleba were answered by a mixed doubles success in straight games for Dawn & Bartek, leaving the match tied at 2-2. Fraser beat Pawel, Bartek struggled home in the decider against Dave; finally in the decisive mixed doubles Dawn was unable to hold her fading team together as Fraser and Vicky romped home 11-5, 11-7, 11-6. For the record in the victorious team Fraser won 5/6 singles, Dave 4/6, Vicky 2/3, Vicky/Fraser 3/3 and Vicky/Dave 2/3, making overall 16/21 overall.
The two unbeaten sides faced off in the final round. Junior Vicky Coll and Dave Ralls formed a fine mixed doubles partnership for the victorious Oxford B team. Here they demonstrate one fundamental principle - GIVE YOUR PARTNER PLENTY OF SPACE - in this case with the server (Dave) standing wide after executing a BH serve, leaving Vicky to command the centre of the table.
Seniors: final standings
1st Oxford B 9 points
2nd Oxford A 7
3rd Didcot 3
4th Banbury 0
Didcot began their junior campaign with a straightforward 5-2 win over Oxford B, for whom Adam Jenner and Pelin Karabulut picked up the two wins. Meanwhile Oxford A’s challenge was already melting away, as each Banbury player won once and Ollie Keen & Toby Dow defeated Kiarash Shaddel & Jamie McNeil in the doubles. Kiarash beat both Ollie Keen & Toby Dow in straight games, but decisive for Banbury were the cliff-hanging wins for Ethan Morgan at 12-10 in the 5th and Toby Dow at 11-9 in the 5th over Oxford’s luckless Jack Smith.
In the second round Banbury’s trio marched on to a 7-0 demolition of Oxford B, while Oxford A succumbed to Didcot, trailing 1-4 before recovering to 3-4. Both Jack Smith & Jamie McNeil beat Robert Minell, while Kiarash Shaddel engaged Lewis Waddup in the match of the day, prevailing with great energy and skill at 11-8 in the 5th. For Didcot Rafe Fleming hit another untroubled maximum.
Rafe Fleming can serve FH in doubles, then moving off across to his left, allowing the left-hander (Lewis), who stands well back, to deploy his FH from the middle of the table.
Oxford B had had a very tough day, but Christelle Rajapaksa showed admirable resilience in taking on the A team’s Jamie McNeil: after losing the first two games 9-11, 15-17, she played her best match of the day to come through 12-10, 11-5, 11-7. With Jack Smith unfortunately having to withdraw through illness, the A team trailed 2-3, but straight game wins from Kiarash and Jamie saw them home into the bronze medal position.
Banbury knew that they had it all to do to get past Didcot’s Lewis Waddup and Rafe Fleming and the task proved to be too much for them. Lewis despatched Toby Dow 11-7, 11-2, 11-3, Ethan Morgan levelled it by beating Robert Minell 11-5, 11-2, 11-4. Rafe beat Ollie Keen 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 – which was as near as anyone got to Rafe all day – and then Lewis & Rafe scored their third 3-0 doubles win. Ollie took on Lewis for the first time ever and went down by an amazing scoreline, 5-11, 1-11, 1-11, looking rather bemused. The final result was a resounding 5-2 to Didcot.
The spectators look on, as Lewis Waddup has his work cut out in the match of the day, losing to Oxford's Kiarash Shaddel.
It was good to see Lewis back on good form after his recent illness – he had reached the final of the Didcot Closed the previous day. Rafe had reached both junior and Under 21 finals in the Reading Junior Closed. If his studious commitment and quiet intensity are anything to go by, he's destined for a very bright future. These two, along with Todd Stanmore who was absent on this occasion, will need all that talent and more when they take on the junior teams from all the English leagues in the ELCC Carter Cup starting in April. But this is a strong Didcot team, two of whom, both enrolled at Abingdon School, should be with us for several more years.
Our thanks go to Moreton TTC, whose helpers did a wonderful job in setting up the gymnasium for us, also to OTTA President Tim Pett, who presented the two shields at the end
New recruit Jonathan Dickinson with an exemplary service action, while partner Adam Jenner looms behind.
Cadet Ethan Morgan won 4/6 for Banbury on his first appearance in this event
Juniors: Final Standings
1 Didcot 9 points
2 Banbury 6
3 Oxford A 4
4 Oxford B 1