writes Peter Florence :
Henley B clinched the Division 2 title in style by imposing the whitewash upon Ashorne. Richard Grover opened proceedings with a straight sets win, but his colleagues were tested to the full in the following games. Tony Seymour grabbed a two set lead over Steve Kay, only to be taken to a fifth where he narrowly edged home 12-10, before Andy Rowland made a similar recovery to clinch the decider against Mark Bridgeman. Having successfully survived those early scares Henley then took control of the match to give themselves an unassailable lead at the top of the table.
Piotr Penczkowski earned a treble without conceding a set when JLM Troopers overcame Tanworth Taipans 7-3. He added the doubles in partnership with Henry Clarke who also chalked up a further score. Jim Clarke produced a brace but, in the only contest to go the full distance, was denied a perfect performance by Mick Welsh who subsequently contributed a second point for Taipans with Tim Lawrence also getting on the card.
It was another 7-3 result when Blazing Paddles entertained Veterans. The hosts were only able to field two players, but Chris Dickens and Wilf Chan imposed a clean sweep with the loss of just a single end.
The fight for Division 1 honours will go to the final week of the season which will see a clash of the two contenders. Snitterfield reduced the margin between themselves and Colebridge Pasties to four points with a 9-1 win at Colebridge Bulldogs. John Price and Alison Stewart were both untroubled while Clive Irwin added a brace. However, in the only singles contest to go to the wire, Irwin took an early lead against Mahroof Hussain before his opponent launched a brilliant comeback to ensure his team avoided the whitewash. The doubles also went the full distance with Price and Stewart finally taking the decider by a narrow 12-10 margin.
League leaders Colebridge Pasties are still title favourites after an 8-2 win at JLM Cavaliers. Tom Shortley led the way with a treble, but he was made to work hard by both Steve Cull and Dave Bevington. Cull would have been particularly disappointed to lose after acquiring four more points than his opponent over the course of their encounter and just missing out 16-14 in the decider. Nathaniel Saunders and Mike Credland both went home with braces for Pasties, but neither was a match for Cull who revenged his earlier loss by acquiring both of Cavaliers’ scores.
In a close match Shottery A overcame their own second string 6-4. Martyn Langston and Gary Stewart each registered two wins but fell at the final hurdle to the B team’s Awais Muhammed. Langston lost the first set 12-10 before raising his performance to secure the next two ends, only for Muhammed to turn the tide and take the honours. In a thrilling climax to the fixture Muhammed again put aside an early disadvantage against Stewart to complete his treble, but Shottery B were only able to add one further victory from Gareth Hepworth. Langston and Stewart added the doubles to their haul and Stephen Foster gained the senior team’s crucial sixth point.
Shottery B were in action a second time when they lost 7-3 at JLM Hussars. James Glazzard was undefeated for the hosts, with Michael Klein earning two wins and the pair also successful in the doubles. Piotr Penczkowski acquired a further point for Hussars while Tim Fell recorded a brace for Shottery and Chris Dickens their third score.