By Peter Florence
Blazing Paddles demonstrated their resilience by crucially claiming all four games to go the full distance when they defeated visitors Henley A 7-3. Captain Nello Mauri got Paddles off to a flying start by winning the first set of the evening without conceding a point, and he continued to finish the match with a brace. Chris Dickens went one better to chalk up a treble, despite having to overturn early deficits against Peter Quince and Nigel Payne before claiming victories over both in the fifth sets. Dave Fordham added a further point, after successfully overcoming loss of the first two ends to Quince, and Dickens and Mauri secured the concluding doubles in another clash to go down to the wire. Payne recorded two of the villagers’ scores, with Dave Hatcher earning their third.
Simultaneously, on the adjacent table, it also finished 7-3 to the hosts as Shottery B defeated Ashorne. Gareth Hepworth and Tony Remes were untroubled in the singles, but weren’t able to reproduce that form in the doubles where the pair lost in straight sets to Mark Bridgeman and Roger Pye. The two Ashorne players each added to their haul when they took on opponents’ captain Tim Fell, with Bridgeman’s victory being earned the hard way over five sets.
JLM Hussars, who began the season in style, sustained their third successive defeat after being put to the sword by Colebridge Pasties. England Under 13 prospect Nathaniel Saunders produced a confident display to notch a treble without the loss of a set. He was well supported by Tom Shortley and Mike Credland as Pasties inflicted a surprise whitewash to go top of the table.
Henley B also gained a clean-sweep at Veterans. Tony Seymour, Richard Grover and Robert McCluskey all put in perfect performances, although the latter was made to work hard by Brian Marston before winning over the full distance.
Shottery A got off to a good start at JLM Cavaliers when their doubles partnership of Gary Stewart and Stephen Foster put aside a two set deficit to win what proved the only contest of the fixture to be settled in the decider. Thereafter the hosts established their authority with Luke Moffat and Jack Davis, who had both been drafted in for the clash, conceding just one set between them. Stewart, Foster and Graham Poole each won a game but it wasn’t enough to prevent the reigning champions sustaining their second defeat of the campaign.