It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for the three Cippenham teams as the new season
of the Veterans’ British League kicked off in Derby. The men’s first team occupy
a mid-table position in a highly competitive Division 1A while the second team, promoted
from Division 4 last season found the going tougher and are bottom on Division 3B
but their cause is not yet doomed. The ladies’ team, who went the other way,own from
Division 1 to Division 2 have made a sound start and will have their chances for
a promotion back up to Division 1 when the league concludes in the new year.
Division 1A is hugely congested with one team on seven points, three teams on five
points and the other two on four points. Cippenham 1 are one of the teams on five
points and so could still finish in any of the six positions depending on their form
in the second half of the season. Cippenham started with their only win of the weekend,
4-2 over last placed Team Ecosse from Scotland. Team captain Martin Adams was the
star of this particular show, winning both his matches against Stewart Crawford and
Gerald Campbell 3-0 with a greater degree of comfort than even that suggests and
he was well backed up by Martin Gray and Mark Banks who both beat Colin Green.
Saturday’s fixtures were completed with two 3-3 draws against Topspin Fusion from
south London and Wirepoint Bulldogs. Both results were gained with all three Cippenham
players contributing to the points, winning one match each in both matches. Martin
Adams was once again to the fore on Sunday morning as his wins against Hari Gehlot
and Jojo Senior, backed up by Martin Gray’s win also over Senorin, contributed to
another 3-3 draw against London Moberley. The weekend finished disappointingly with
a 4-2 defeat at the hands of top-placed Foresters A but Martin Gray will take a lot
of credit for two wins against Ritchie Venner and Wesley Bush-Harris.
Meanwhile, the men’s second team managed only two points gained via 3-3 draws with
the teams placed second and third in an otherwise disappointing set of results. Mike
Rhodes was the only winner in a 5-1 defeat to Whitworth Academy but Cippenham lost
three other sets 3-2 which, if reversed, would have seen them win against the team
placed immediately above them. Saturday’s results then improved with those two draws,
firstly against XLNT Draycott 3, then against South Essex. Simon Vine was the star
for Cippenham, winning three of his four matches while Paul Baker added one for the
point against South Essex and he and Mike also won against Draycott.
Sunday morning started poorly as Cippenham went 4-0 down to Foresters D before Paul
and Simon won the final two sets to make the score more respectable. Two 3-2 losses
earlier in the match put paid to any chance of a point from this match. The final
match was against divisional leaders St Georges and Mike was Cippenham’s only winner
in a 5-1 defeat.
The ladies’ team was the most successful of all the Cippenham teams and sit third
in their division of eight teams, sandwiched on sets aggregate between two other
teams on the same number of points. The weekend started really brightly with 5-1
wins against both Market Rasen II and Halton 1. Denise Weller and Sue Hayes both
won their two matches against Market Rasen and Julie Dean added one other. Denise
was rested for the match against Halton but Sue maintained her winning ways, Julie
came to the fore with two herself and Wendy Porter added the other. A perfect Saturday
was completed with a 4-2 win against Billwood. Denise won her two matches both 3-0
while Sue and Wendy completed the job for Cippenham.
Sundays’ opponents were stronger and this reflected in the results. Second-placed
IPS Tigers were held to a 3-3 draw with Denise again leading the way with two wins
at the top of the order and Wendy provided the all-important win against Susie Hughes.
A match against divisional leaders Northern Belles completed the weekend and this
resulted in a 4-2 defeat for Cippenham. Denise lost her unbeaten record to Linda
Sanderson, but beat Shirley Gelder while Sue beat Karen Henry. Julie was 2-0 up
against Sanderson in the final set but could not quite pull off the win that would
have seen Cippenham fight back from 3-0 down to 3-3. Cippenham are handily placed
in the division with only the bottom two placed teams to play when the season resumes.