Herald Report March 15th

League leaders Shottery A strengthened their grip on the title with three convincing victories. They inflicted the whitewash upon Ashorne for whom only John Hunt put up any real resistance being unfortunate to lose out to Graham Poole over the distance. The Shottery player, along with team-mates Gary Stewart and Stephen Foster, also recorded a perfect performance when they entertained Henley B. In the first set of the evening, after losing the opening two games against Stewart, the visitors' captain Robert McCluskey won the third 13 - 11. This clearly shocked his opposite number who took the fourth 11 - 0 and claimed the same score in the opening game of his next set against Dave Hatcher.

However Shottery A did not have things all their own way when taking on their third string. The much improved Rob Poole enjoyed relatively comfortable wins against both Foster and his father Graham as the match finished 2 - 8 to the senior side.In the battle for the runners-up spot Henley A, without their talisman Mike Evetts, found the going tough at West Warwicks who won 7 - 3 . Andy Rowland and Alison Stewart both recorded trebles for the hosts although, in the most keenly contested set of the evening, the latter was taken to the wire by Geoff Shepherd. The Henley captain also went the distance with the luckless Peter Rodwell who was unable to get the better of either Peter Quince or McCluskey who had stepped up in the absence of Evetts.

West Warwicks shared the spoils in a hard-fought encounter at Shottery B which didn't finish until 11.15pm. The hosts found themselves 1 - 4 down at the break but, no doubt fortified by Tim Fell's legendary chocolate biscuits, managed to secure the next four sets before their opponents ensured honours were even. Fell notched a brace, while Tony Remes and debutant Stuart Ayres both achieved one singles success with the latter using his defensive qualities to good advantage to defeat Alison Stewart in a marathon encounter. Ayres and Remes then lost the opening two games of the doubles before getting into their stride and winning over the distance. Stewart and Rowland each enjoyed two successes for the Solihull team with their fifth victory coming from Jim Ferguson.Shottery C welcomed FISSC for what proved to be another drawn match. Rob Poole overturned an early disadvantage against Malcolm Smith before going on to complete a treble, and he also secured the doubles in partnership with Chris Bowles who added their team's other score. For the Farmers Smith and Brian Marston came away with braces and Peter Bruce-Moore added the crucial fifth success.

The semi-finals of the knockout cup both proved fairly even contests. After application of the handicaps Ashorne, represented by George Mudie, Mark Kingham and Marston, defeated Royal Mail by 20 points. It was even closer at Littleton where Alex Gretton, Andrew Gretton and Tony Spinks were three points short of Henley A's total until the handicap saw them through by 528 to 524. Ashorne have been drawn at home to Littleton in the final which is due to be contested in the week commencing 19th March.

Author: via Stratford-upon-Avon Table Tennis League
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