With the 2013-14 season just nine days old the ubiquitous Rob Poole had already featured in matches for all three Shottery teams.
He started the campaign for their B team for their visit to Henley’s second string from where they came away with a well earned victory. Poole was on great form to produce an unbeaten display although he was made to work hard by the hosts’ captain Robert McCluskey in a match that went to the decider. McCluskey also went the distance against both Tim Fell and Gareth Hepworth but managed to squeeze home on both occasions to earn Henley’s only successes of the night. Fell was also involved in another five-game encounter against Gordon Trinder before eventually emerging victorious to ensure that both he and Hepworth finished with braces.
The following evening Poole was back in his more familiar C team colours as they entertained FISSC. Once again he was on top form to record another maximum without the loss of single game. The village team gave a debut to Ken Southwell who last played in the Stratford league 14 years ago with the now defunct Astwood Bank. However he has been still been competing in another league which was well evidenced by a treble achieved with something to spare after overcoming early hiccups against both Malcolm Smith and Peter Florence. David Lincoln Lewis was unlucky not to get on the card for the hosts with his clash against Richard Bennett proving the most entertaining of the fixture with both players producing some great attacking shots. The fixture ended 7 – 3 to Shottery C who look destined to improve upon their 2012 – 13 placing.
When FISSC met last season ‘s champions Shottery A they were surprised to find they were once again lined up against Poole. The Farmers searched the rulebook in vain before conceding all was indeed fair and legal while the player simply responded with his third successive treble. He did however confess that his match against Florence, to whom he dropped his only game of the evening, was a struggle but, much to his opponent’s disappointment, stated that this was more down to the slow nature of the table rather than anything the Farmer could muster!
Not to be outdone Poole’s father Graham also produced a faultless performance once he had got his big loop shots flowing. Steve Foster added another treble as their team inflicted the first of what will probably be the first of many whitewashes upon their opponents.
Henley A introduced their new signing Don McAdam when they took on Royal Mail. He had previously featured in the league for Stratford Town who bowed out two years ago after clinching the title. McAdam began well taking the first game against Nello Mauri 11 – 7 before the Postman raised his performance to win over the distance. Mauri also achieved victory the hard way against Geoff Shepard in the only other match to go to the wire before completing a perfect evening by partnering Malcolm Heritage in the doubles. Heritage himself contributed a brace with all three of his matches going to four games but he was unable to overcome Peter Quince.