SDTTL 2017-18 Season - Week 1
• Premier Division
Welcome back to all our players for the new season and before we get onto what happened in week one of the Premier division a bit of national news to catch up on. Congratulations to Peter Radford who represented England in the recent 6 nations tournament in Guernsey and was able to take the over 70 Men’s singles Gold Medal - well played Peter.
There was also success for our players in the Vets British League (VBL). Kevin Caldon, Duncan Taylor and Dave Bowles, playing for Wirepoint, and John Poysden, Glenn Johnson, Django Fung, Gary Young and Keith Adams for South Essex, both finished the first weekend second in their respective divisions. With two teams to go up it will be all to play for in the final weekend in February. Similarly, in the Ladies event, Lin Roff and Dawn Baldry, playing for HEL Ladies, and Caroline Cole playing for Billwood, find themselves just one point off the top sides in their leagues, so again much to play for.
Onto the league and the performance of the week came from Brand Identity’s Simon Jacob, who recorded three wins against Hullbridge B. His victories against Gary Young, Glenn Johnson and Cameron Gray ensured a 6-3 win for the rebranded Castle Point side. Elsewhere Matt Spero picked up where he left off last season with a hat-trick against Hadleigh Forum A. Three wins also for Mike Hayes and a single win for Babul McLeod meant a 7-2 win for Rawreth B.
The three title contenders from last season all recorded wins, although Thorpe Bay were only able to field two players due to a late withdrawal through illness. Despite the lack of a third player, John Poysden and Paul Whatton were still strong enough to record a dominating 6-3 win over Hockley A. Rahul Sharma, as he did last season, picked up fine wins, this time over Rawreth A’s Kevin Read and Lee Prentice. These victories, along with Andy Paton’s equally impressive win over George Reeves, meant that last year’s title contenders could only win 6-3 against Stanford-le-Hope, who will hope they can improve on last year’s final league position.
It was a rude awakening for newly promoted Hadleigh Forum B as they came up against last year’s Champions Hullbridge A, whose team of new signing Reece Seddon, alongside Dave Bowles and Kevin Caldon, predictably recorded a 9-0 win.
Rayleigh Mill’s Peter Radford and Minda Sinkus started the season well with maximums against Warehouse A contributing to a 6-3 win. Kim Shead and the two Martins, West and Turner beat Sam Lowman for the away side.
In the final game of the week a very strong Lentern A side of Keith Adams, Wale Bade and Django Fung beat Thorpe Bay B 9-0. If Lentern can turn this sort of side out on a regular basis they will certainly be there in the shake- up at the end of the season.
• Division 1
A flying start from strong contenders Warehouse B, who played new signing Tony Millward and new player for the year Mark Rudland, with a convincing 8-1 win over Hadleigh Forum C. Both these players started well scoring maximums with Mark being made to fight all the way against Charles Yeung after being 2-1 down and winning the last two games 12-10. Captain, Berti Makolli chipped in with two wins to make up the tally, losing a game against Russell Bright to save the whitewash, with Mark Everard unable to make any impression on the night.
Probably even more impressive was Lentern B's demolition of newly relegated Customs A by 8-1 to take a joint lead in the first week. Brian Spencer, playing up from the C team, was the POTM and scored a maximum along with seasoned-campaigner John Lott for the Lentern side. Martin Archie was also playing up and added two wins, only losing to Roy Thomas in a close game. Dale Gutteridge and Dave Morgan for Customs were unable to score on the night.
The newly promoted young stars from Hullbridge E started well with a 7-2 win over experienced team Rawreth C to take third place. Newly picked Essex star, Dan Zeffie took the honours, unbeaten on the night and POTM. Reece Harris-Griffiths and James Goddard took two each to provide ample support with only Colin Clements form the Rawreth team adding to the score with two wins. The scoreline however could have been closer with 4 of the games decided in the fifth set.
The other promoted side from last year, Hockley C, pulled off a good win, 6-3, over Canvey A. Alex Barnetson has fitted in well for Hockley with a great maximum, along with David Chenery with two, both these players gaining selection from lower ranked teams last year. Josh Copeland added the final point for Hockley where young Harry Keys for Canvey impressed winning two games. Veteran Terry Giddens added the final point for Canvey
Hullbridge C also triumphed 6-3 over Hockley B thanks to a good maximum from Lin Roff, especially coming back from 2-0 down to Joe Locke to win 3-2. New player, Rod Maclennan added two for Hullbridge with Richard Gill adding the final point. For Hockley, Craig Aukett, Keith Abbott and Joe Lock all scored a point in a new look Hockley lineup.
Finally, Lentern C won a close encounter with Invicta A, 5-4 in a match where no-one scored a maximum. Chris Crooks and Peter Pond were consistent for Lentern scoring two each, with Peter Lucraft adding the final point. Spinny Neil Daines added two for Invicta but Steve Marr was unable to carry over his good form from last year and could only win one. The final point was from new signing Tony Ayliffe, although he was unlucky with both his losing games going to 5 sets in matches where he was in front.
• Division 2
RESSC set the early pace with an excellent 7 – 2 away win at newly-promoted Hockley D. Ron Coutts was their star, winning all his three matches, whilst Sarah Mapes and Mike Worship chipped in with two wins each. Paul Strutt won both the home side’s points, doing well to overcome veteran Mike in a close encounter.
It was father facing son when Rawreth E entertained Wakering. Adam Deadman, playing for the visitors, gained the family bragging rights when he overcame his parent, the home side’s Andy, in four sets. Perhaps there was some consolation and some fatherly pride for Andy as Adam won all his matches in a 6 – 3 victory for Wakering. Andy went on to win his other two matches and Matthew Barber added a third for the home side. There was another family connection in this match, with Paul and Zac England making up the visitor’s team. Zac won two and Paul one.
With some changes in personnel, Canvey C are nonetheless carrying on where they left off last season. They ran out 6 – 3 winners when they visited Invicta B. New player Andrew Murray was the player of the match, being unbeaten. Ryan Williams got two and Steve Robinson one for Canvey; whilst Barrie Murphy gained two wins and Andy Humphris one for Invicta.
Hullbridge F’s young team triumphed 5 – 4 on their debut at this level at Basildon Hospital, thanks to a hat trick from Harrison Sadler and two from William Skelt. Chudi Ukpaka got two and Gill and Mike Smith one each for the medics.
At the time of publishing my report, the result for Stanford Le Hope B’s fixture at home to Rawreth D has not been received, so I haven't got the full details, but Ken played in that match and he tells me that Stanford won 6-3, with Sam Thompson winning all his matches for his Rawreth team.
• Division 3
The season kicked off with no fewer than three matches ending in 5-4 victories. Two young teams (apart from David Zeffie!) met at the Warehouse, where David’s hat trick proved to be the difference. His win over Norman Shang Chen clinching the match for Hullbridge I against Rawreth H in the last game of the evening. Every player won at least one match on the night, James Skelt and Joe Buscombe backing up David, and Noah Unstead grabbing two and Harrison Creak and Norman getting the points for Rawreth.
Two far more experienced teams in Warehouse C and Hockley E also went to the last game of the evening, where Graham Back beat Jason Stringer to clinch the win. The ever improving Gary Linzell of Hockley, however, was the man of the match with his hat trick, with Andrew Strutt providing the other point. Jonathan Allan and Conrad Gomes both picked up braces for Warehouse plus the vital win for Graham. Match of the evening was Gary’s five set win over Graham, coming back from two sets down to win a nailbiting 16-14 in the fifth.
Hullbridge G also won 5-4 against Warehouse D but the match was marred by an unwell Janet Finch having to retire and concede two of her games. Ann Lane, with a hat trick, and Bob Singleton Smith, with a brace, stepped up to the plate to get the win for Hullbridge with Joe Bennett and Mike Webb getting a win each for Warehouse. Match of the night here was Mike withstanding a fight back from Bob after being two sets up to win the deciding set 12-10.
Newcomers Hadleigh Forum D got their season off to a flier with an 8-1 thrashing of perennial title challengers Hullbridge H for whom Tony Molisso got their consolation point. He had to fight hard for that throwing away a two set lead before beating Tony Mace 11-3 in the fifth. Otherwise it was pretty much plain sailing for the Hadleigh boys with only one other game going to four sets and all the rest to three. David Thomas and Satwant Gill completed their team whilst Lewis Ritchie and Bill Hoy made the numbers up for Hullbridge.
Fellow newcomers Stanford Le Hope C also started well beating Invicta C 6-3, but this was a much closer match with three games going to five sets and four games going to four sets. Jon Gould of Invicta featured in all three of the five set matches but could only win one against Vaughan Chambers. Keith Baxter got their other two points with wins against Vaughan and Mark Downey. Zac Bates was the star of the evening however, winning all his three with Mark claiming two wins and Vaughan one.
Last year’s fourth placed team and potential promotion contenders Canvey D had a convincing 7-2 win against Rawreth F, Geoff Banthorpe leading the way with a hat trick supported by two each for Gordon Johnstone and Ray Baker. Our esteemed Chairman Ken Field kept the Rawreth flag flying with a brace but team mates Rob Clarke and Bradley Nunn were left pointless.
Rochford LTC, last year’s wooden spoonists, would have been hoping for a better start but went down 7-2 to Hockley F for whom David Cross provided the match winning performance. Ben Cook and Winter League debutant Alwine Jarvis both won two. Gordon Smith and John George got a point each for Rochford.