Avon came into the 2nd days play, in Division 1 of the Veterans County Championships, in joint first place with division favourites Berkshire.
First match, in what was to be a long weekend of table tennis for 3 of the Avon Vets team, was against Kent 2. First up Martin Gunn took a long time to settle against Kent no2 Joe Kennedy, finding himself 0-2 down in double quick time Martin raced through the 3rd game. At 9-9 in the 4th the game was evenly poised, but it wasn’t to be as the Kent man took the game 11-9 and with it a 3-1 win to put Kent 1-0 up. Gary Baldwin found Martin Hewitt just a little too consistent in 3 close fought games. Next up Dave Reeves put his teammates through a 5 game thriller with another top class defender, Mark Brown. Some lengthy rallies ensued with Dave just sneaking over the line 8 in the 5th. Martin and Michelle then completed a great mixed doubles win against Joe Kennedy and Lorraine Perryman. Joe is generally regarded as one of the finest doubles players in the country. Joe Kennedy and Gary Baldwin enjoyed 4 games of open play with some great rallies with the Kent man coming out on top 3-1. Michelle Reeves then showed her no7 in the country veterans pedigree by beating Kent lady Lorraine. Kent took the Men’s doubles putting them 4-3 ahead in the match. With things looking bleak for Avon some sterling efforts were required. Dave Reeves was the first to start the comeback by demolishing Martin Hewitt. Martin Gunn then highlighted the problems a hardbat hitter can cause defenders by beating Mark Brown, a highly thought of defender, 2, 5 and 8. So down to the final mixed doubles for the win, and who better to call on than, husband and wife team, Dave and Michelle, never in doubt…..a 6-4 win!
Next up the, what could possibly be division title deciding match, Berkshire vs Avon. First up, Dave Reeves against Dave Barr. Dave Barr is an ex England international and still regarded as possibly the best defensive player in the UK. Reeves showed remarkable patience and determination in some very long tactical rallies finally pulling off a fantastic 3-0 win! Hari Gehlot and Martin Adams of Berkshire then proved just too strong for Gary and Martin respectively on the day. Martin and Michelle then continued the Avon tradition of mixed doubles wins. This was followed by Gary having the unenviable task of tackling an inform Martin Adams, valiantly going down 0-3. Michelle then levelled the match score at 3-3 despite going 0-2 down to Berkshire lady Lisa Sprackling. A change of tactics and some brave play saw Michelle cross the line 3-2. A change of selection saw Martin and Dave take a much needed men’s doubles. Hari Gehlot was next up for Dave Reeves, unfortunately the left handed loop of Hari caused problems for Dave going down in 3 sets. Martin then had the task of tackling his 2nd defensive opponent of the day, Dave Barr. Once again the flat hitting style caused major problems, and despitesome exciting hitting and miraculous returns from Dave Barr, Martin triumphed 3,9 and 1. So once again, in a nail-biting finish against our closest competitors in a tough division, Avon found themselves 5-4 up and playing for the win that would elevate them as favourites for the title. Alas it was not to be as the wily defender Dave Barr and inform Lisa Sprackling of Berkshire took the final mixed doubles in 4 close sets. A fair result, and once again the title is to be decided by the final games in the division.
One more days play remains on Saturday 28th January where Avon will look to win there 3 remaining games in the division, and hope that Berkshire can fall to a draw in there one remaining game!. Another great performance by everyone involved!