Reigning champions Shottery A returned to the top of the league after imposing the whitewash on their hosts Veterans. Gary Stewart and Graham Poole had given them an unassailable 7-0 lead when Stephen Foster arrived leaving him to play his three singles in succession. He immediately found himself at a two game disadvantage to Mark Kingham, but rallied to claim the fifth 12-10. That was followed by the evening’s only other clash to go the distance where he defeated John Hunt in the first two ends, only for his opponent to force a decider where Foster came good. The match was brought to a conclusion with Foster’s victory over Brian Marston which put Shottery A five points ahead of their close rivals Henley Pasties.
At the other end of the tableFISSC began the New Year in style by conceding just a single game in their win at Ashorne although Malcolm Smith, Mark Jones and Peter Florence were fortunate to benefit from the majority of the fixture’s ‘nets and edges’. The result temporarily lifted the farmers to the dizzy heights of eighth, although that was somewhat academic with the teams beneath all having matches in hand.
It was much closer when Blazing Paddles entertained West Warwicks. Andy Rowland recorded a treble for the visitors without the loss of a game, despite being taken to deuce in all three in his contest against Paddles captain Nello Mauri. Alison Stewart added two successes, but was denied a perfect performance by Mauri. Their crucial sixth win came from Peter Rodwell who, in the closest set of the evening, finally overcame Harry Azima in the decider. Rodwell was also involved in the only other encounter to go the full distance but lost out to Dave Fordham. Mauri went home with a brace and also gained victory with Fordham in the doubles.
Shottery C could only field two players when they were entertained by Tanworth Taipans but still managed to gain a share of the spoils. Kevin Taylor chalked up three wins, although he was made to work hard by Denis Kynason before eventually claiming the honours in the fifth game. David Lincoln-Lewis added two wins, but was unable to get the better of Mick Welsh who also successfully partnered Kynason in the crucial doubles.
Shottery B were given a real battle by their visitors Henley B before emerging 8-2 winners after winning all three sets to go to a decider. The hosts brought in Awais Muhammed who responded with a perfect performance. Stuart Latham-Marr gave Henley some early hope with victory over Tim Fell before, in a 45 minute epic, narrowly losing out to Gareth Hepworth. That gruelling contest perhaps affected Hepworth’s next set where he lost out to Robert McCluskey who thereby attained his team’s second point. In the concluding doubles Muhammed and Hepworth gained a two game lead before being pegged back only to then raise their performance to clinch victory.
Author: Mike Evetts via Stratford-upon-Avon Table Tennis League
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The 2018-19 season has seen an increase in competing Stratford League team numbers to fourteen, with three teams playing out of Eveshams burgeoning JLM Academy and two from Birminghams only dedicated , single use table tennis club, Colebridge.
With JLM providing a table tennis facility in Stratford town centre on Friday evenings from the end of October , there are encouraging signs that the grass roots of this great sport are flourishing in Stratford upon Avon.