Table topping Shottery A extended their lead to six points with a 10-0 victory over FISSC. Gary Stewart, Graham Poole and Stephen Foster produced perfect performances although, in the only contest to go the full distance, Foster was made to work hard by Richard Bennett. The highlight of the match saw Stewart seemingly play a winning forehand, when leading 10-9 in the third set against Malcolm Smith, and immediately walk with arm extended toward his opponent for the customary handshake, only to watch helplessly as Smith made a brilliant return onto the open table!
Shottery A’s position was enhanced when two of their closest rivals shared the spoils as, despite recalling Clive Irwin, Snitterfield were unable to overcome JLM Falcons. Irwin and Alan Cotton both won two games and combined to achieve success in the doubles. However neither were able to get the better of the unbeaten Jack Davis, while Steve Cull and Doug Payne each earned a point for Falcons.
Sam Henderson led the way with a treble for Colebridge Pasties as they came away 7-3 winners from Henley B. Mike Evetts added two successes, and debutant Dean Hicks their other singles. Robert McCluskey notched two wins for the hosts, defeating both Evetts and Hicks in the deciders, with Stuart Latham-Marr also getting on the card.
Peter Quince, Geoff Shephard and Dave Hatcher recorded braces as Henley A overcame Tanworth Taipans 6-4. Hatcher was involved in both games to go to the wire, inflicting the only defeat of the evening upon Denis Kynaston before narrowly losing out to Mick Welsh.
Early wins by Harry Azima, Brian Hobill and newcomer Chris Dickens gave Blazing Paddles a 3-1 lead at Shottery B. However the hosts drew strength from the half-time refreshments to turn their fortunes around by conceding just one further game. Gareth Hepworth delivered an unbeaten performance, while Tim Fell contributed a brace, although that seemed unlikely when he found himself two sets down to Azima in the last contest of the evening. However the Shottery captain staged a recovery to narrowly clinch their encounter, thereby ensuring his team won by the closest of margins.
George Mudie produced a treble for Veterans when they entertained Ashorne, despite having to overturn early deficits before defeating both Steve Handsley and Steve Kay over five sets. Fortune was not smiling upon Handsley as he also lost at the final hurdle to Brian Marston who finished with a brace. Peter Rodwell earned Veterans other singles, as well as sharing the doubles with Marston, and the result was enough to lift their team out of the bottom two league places.
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.