As the table tennis season comes to an end, there is a new name on the First Division trophy of the Hastings & District League. Hollington Academy A, who last won the trophy as Hollington A in 2012/13, won by a seven point margin with Paul Barry and Nathan Darby outstanding. Basher Obeyed enjoyed his best season for the club while Andy Furnival was as reliable as ever.
The biggest threat to the Academic’s dominance came when Barry was out for six weeks with a sciatic nerve problem in the New Year which coincided with their only defeat (to Academy B) and two draws.
Former champions Bexhillians A finished second after they too suffered injury problems with the loss of Rob Warner, who finished top of the averages, for almost the entire second half of the season. David Rayment had an excellent first season in Hastings, Martin Kellaway had another good year while Lewis Mayhew played almost half the games. Mayhew’s 78% barely reflects his known capabilities, which he showed to good effect in taking the Hastings Closed Men’s title.
Saints A were always going to miss Ritchie Venner, but Dave Butler and James Winchester made a good fist of the defence of the title, only to be pushed into third place. A lack of reserve strength probably cost Saints a higher finish.
Hollington Academy B finished fourth, led by Rose Rainton, having an excellent season both locally and on the national Veterans’ stage. Sam Collins’ recruitment, increasing the squad to four players was a key factor.
At the foot of the table, the relegation of Tigers A brings an era to an end, with injury again being a factor. Tony Catt missed over half of the season after a wrist operation and Tigers finished five points adrift.
Bexhillians D became the first Division Two champions for four years to not be immediately relegated, with John Bradbury having some good results.
A mere point ahead of Bexhill were Tackleway B, for whom Adrian Goodrum was as competitive as ever. Goodrum and team-mate Martin Richards were the only players in Division One to play in all 22 matches.