Worcestershire County Veterans 1st team have completed their first round of fixtures in Division 1a of the English County Championships on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th October at Woodfield. This is the 10th consecutive year for Worcestershire in this division having gained promotion way back in 2003. On occasions, the team have come very close to promotion to the Premier division but mainly have concentrated on avoiding relegation due to the strength of other counties.
The first match against South Yorkshire started well with Steve Horton beating Bill Grant for the first time in a 5 set thriller. South Yorkshire responded with Shaun Bibby edging out a battling Dave Rogers and Stephen Horsfield turning on the style to see off Mark Brookes in straight sets. Tracey Spencer was unlucky in her debut losing out to Pat Thorley 12-10 in the deciding set despite having held match points. Worcestershire were 7- 1 down but an excellent win from Mark Brookes against Shaun Bibby and mixed double success from Steve and Tracey made the score line more respectable at 3-7.
The second fixture against Cleveland did not materialise as the opponents did not turn up which has left the division in turmoil and in the capable hands of the ETTA to deal with the situation.
Essex were next opponents on Sunday morning with Jason Thompson replacing Mark Brookes and Stephane Bonnafous replacing Dave Rogers – both had booked holidays and were on family duty! Steve Horton made a positive start beating the tricky John Monk 3-1 and Stephane Bonnafous seeing off a hard hitting Paul Cumming also with a 3-1 score line. Worcestershire were 2-0 in front in this potential relegation battle only for the talented Alex Abbott proving to be prove too strong for Jason Thompson on this occasion and Essex were able to reduce the deficit. Stephane and Tracey produced an excellent mixed doubles win only for John Monk to outplay Stephane Bonnafous and Gill Locke beating Tracey Spencer in another close game to level the match at 3-3. A solid mens doubles combination of Thompson and Horton put Worcestershire back in the driving seat with an emphatic 3-0 win. Jason then hit top form with some great counter hitting to see off a Paul Cumming in a close match and Steve Horton sealed the win with a tight defensive display to register a straight sets victory over Alex Abbott. The points were with Worcestershire and may prove vital at the end of the campaign.
The second weekend of 4 fixtures will take place at Milton Keynes on 29/30th March 2014.
Written By Stephen Horton