Following the latest round of matches in the Eastern Valley Table Tennis League, the battle for the Division One title is coming to exciting conclusion. Currently Cwmbran Blues are in the driving seat with a 10 point advantage over their nearest challengers YMCA Preachers and Bristol Nomads. However, their two remaining matches are against the Preachers and Nomads. In 4th place are Cwmbran Aztecs, who whilst they are 20 points behind have still to play the bottom two sides Cwmbran Colts and Blaenavon Aces.
This week saw the Blues take on the Aztecs and suffered their third defeat of the season 14-24. The Aztecs were indebted to their player of the match, Tony Collins, with his 3 straight set wins. He was well supported by Andrew Ryder whose 2 wins included his first defeat of the higher ranked Mark Farrow in at least 4 seasons. For the Blues Roger Grech won 2 matches and their guest player Ben Pearce picked up a good win over the higher ranked Mark Edmunds.
Last years champions the Nomads took on the Preachers needing a good win to have any chance of retaining their title. This they did with a good 24-14 win over their rivals thanks to a player of the match performance from Alex Banks with three wins. It was a good night for the Banks brothers as Andy also picked up three wins. Despite only winning 2 matches the Preachers fought well for their 14 points which reflects their season of having more defeats than wins but still challenging for the title.
The final match in Division One saw the Colts take on the Aces and both sides turned out their big players for this match. The Aces' Piotr Sniezek was only playing his second match and the Colts' Lee Thomas was making a seasons debut. However, it was Thomas who proved unbeatable in picking up the player of the match award and leading the Colts to a 17-12 win. For the Aces Sniezek's only defeat was to Thomas and Ben Allen had his most successful night of the season with 2 excellent wins over the higher ranked Mathew Pearce and Nigel Gore.
The Division Two title looks to have been 'done and dusted' with Cwmbran Panthers winning their latest match 27-4 against Cwmbran Eccentrics to hold a 23 point advantage over their nearest rivals with two matches remaining. For the Panthers there were maximum wins for all their players, Mike Blatchford, Yuri Cherkasenko and Howard Gaut, but it was Blatchford who again picked up the player of the match award. For the Eccentrics Lincoln Alford battled hard for his 3 points, but perhaps he was feeling the exhaustion of playing for 2 teams that night against the top 2 sides in the division.
The runners-up position has also been secured by Cwmbran Dynamos who beat Cwmbran Devils 25-10 in their latest match. The Dynamos were indebted to their player of the match, Alex Jones, with maximum wins and was well supported by Will Smith-Haddon, also with 3 wins. For the Devils Stan Williams battled well for his 5 points including a good win over the higher ranked Richard Lownsbrough.
The final match in Division Two Cwmbran Fellows beat North Gwent Cougars 24-13. For the Fellows there was a player of the match performance from Chris Thomas with his 3 wins. He was well supported by Haydn Skinner and guest player, Alex Jones, with their 2 wins. For the Cougars Iestyn Howells did very well to pick up 2 wins and 8 points including an excellent win over the highly ranked Alex Jones.