Northants Veteran 2nd team
The new look Northants Veteran 2nd team under the stewardship of Henry Arthur played their opening matches in Division 2A of the Veteran County Championships on 21 Oct at Westfield Table Tennis Club. Representing Northants were Nigel Metcalfe, Martin Hall, Maxine Shears as well as captain Arthur.
Derbyshire 1st 9 vs Northants 2nd 1
First match of the day was against Derbyshire 1st team and Nigel got Northants off to a flyer by quickly dispatching the dangerous Michael Bradbury 3-0. This proved to be the only bright spot in the match however with the closest Northants managed to get to a second point being when Nigel Henry led Bradbury and Garry Knights 2-1 in the doubles before slipping to a 5-set defeat. Derbyshire dropped just two more sets with Henry taking a set from Knights and Martin and Maxine winning a set in the mixed doubles.
Northants 2ns 2 vs Leicestershire 2nd 8
Things didn’t get much easier in our next match vs Leics 2nd though it was a much more competitive match. Henry opened up with a 3-1 loss to Reza Kiani and it quickly became 0-2 with Martin going down 3-0 to Les Baker. Nigel again stepped in and produced a fantastic performance to turn defeat Richard Hayes 3-2 to stop the rot. The first mixed doubles was next and Maxine and Henry teamed up to great effect and levelled the match at 2-2 with a 5-set win over Shirley Pickering and Andy LeButt. The next game proved to be a turning point which had we won it might just have propelled us on to win the match. Henry led 9-7 in the decider against Baker but failed to see the match out and lost 11-9 as Leics moved 3-2 ahead and Shirley beat Max 3-1 to put our opponents even further ahead.
Martin and Henry then paired up for the Men’s doubles against Kiani and LeButt and again it was a case of what could have been as the Northants pair again losing out in the deciding set. Martin succumbed very quickly to Hayes and Nigel followed suit against Kiani before our misery was complete with Baker and Pickering picking up a 3-1 win in the second mixed doubles to complete the 8-2 scoreline.
Northants 1st 8 vs Northants 2nd 2
The following day saw the clash between the Northants 1st and 2nd teams and the senior team showed their extra quality to run out 8-2 winners. Steve Silk beat Nigel 3-1 and Roumen Stefanov did the same to Maritn to give the 1st team a solid start. Andy Trott proved his quality with a 3-0 win over Henry which included an 11-0 in the first set before Trott and Christine Scaysbrook saw off Martin and Maxine in the first mixed doubles.
Silk disposed of Hall 3-0 to move the first team 5-0 ahead before Maxine turned the ranking upside down to defeat Scaysbrook 3-1 to give the 2nd team their first point. Nigel and Henry led Silk and Trott 2-1 in the Men’s doubles before losing out 11-9 in the decider and Henry was on the wrong end of yet another 5-set match with Stefanov coming back from 2-1 to claim the spoils.
Trott was too good for Nigel as the 1sts extended their lead to 8-1 but the 2nd team had the final say with Maxine and Nigel defeating Scaysbrook and Stefanov 3-2.
Northants 2nd 1 vs Warwickshire 2nd 9
The final match of a tough opening weekend saw us go head to head with another strong team, this time in the guise of Warwicks 2. Henry opened the match with a 3-1 loss to Ben Willson and very quickly we had that familiar sinking feeling as Martin went down 3-0 to Micky Browne and Nigel losing 3-1 to Jody Bevington. 3-0 quickly became 4-0 as Diane St Ledger and Willson despatched Maxine and Henry 3-0 in the mixed doubles.
Henry put up a credible fight with Browne but lost yet another 5-set match to leave us on the brink of another defeat which was confirmed when St Ledger took out Maxine 3-0.
Another strong performance in the doubles from Nigel and Henry gave us our only point of the match, winning 3-2 versus Willson and Bevington. Bevington beat Martin 3-0, Willson beat Nigel 3-1 and our misery was completed when we lost the final mixed doubles 3-1.
So four matches and four defeats. Nigel was our best player with two wins in singles, one success in the men’s doubles and another in the mixed doubles. Maxine took the bragging rights in the battle between the Northants female players which gave her a solitary singles win over the course of the weekend to add to her two mixed doubles wins. Henry can consider himself a little unfortunate not to have picked up a victory or two in singles competition, losing three matches in a deciding set and winning a set in all but two of his matches. He also lost three doubles matches in a decider as well. Martin, still coming back from a long layoff after injury struggled for most of the weekend.
Our final round of matches are in March where we face a battle in keep our place in this division. The match against Leicestershire 3rds is the key match and one where we must get the win to avoid relegation.
Henry Arthur (Team Captain)