The Alderminster Contention

Shottery B v Henley West Warwickshire - match report by Andy Rowland

The Shottery B vs Henley West Warwickshire encounter is usually one of the most keenly contested fixtures in the Stratford league, and the recent encounter at Alderminster was no exception.

Shottery took control early of the match with Tim Fell beating Jim Ferguson over 4 tight sets, and Gareth Hepworth's consistency triumphing over Alison Stewart in straight sets before Andy Rowland stopped the rot with a similar scoreline over Tony Remes.

Gareth Hepworth was next up against Jim Ferguson, and despite a brave effort by the Scot Hepworth's determination won through in 4. The nomadic Henley side then decided to introduce a Tim Fell like tactical masterstroke by calling the doubles. This decision backfired dramatically as Hepworth and Remes dominated the proceedings, and despite Rowland and Stewart feeling they had the rough end of any luck going, the Shottery pair deserved their success.

Next up were the skippers Fell and Stewart,and in an entertaining clash of attack versus block it was the attacking Stewart who emerged triumphant in three close sets. There then followed the longest encounter of the evening between Hepworth and Rowland who both fought very hard in an attritional encounter that included a mammoth 18-16 second game encounter won by Rowland. Hepworth gradually gained control thereafter, and rounded off an impressive undefeated evening in 4, leaving his side in a healthy 5-2 lead.

It was at this point that Tim Fell called the drinks break and fed the teams well with his traditional array of kit kats, twixes, and tales of Warwickshire tournament triumphs!!!

The break however invigorated the Henley side and with Hepworth out of the equation captain Stewart set the tone with a determined display against Remes, reducing the deficit to 5-3.
 There then followed the closest and most entertaining clash of the evening between Rowland and Fell. Rowland abandoned the defensive tactics and surprised Fell with an all out attack in the first game taking it easily 11-2, before Fell reigned him in the second taking that convincingly. The 3rd and 4th games were close and shared before a tumultuous 5th. Rowland took early command before Fell gradually evened things up earning a match point at 10-9. With both players visibly tense this time Rowland managed to save the match point as Fell had in the reverse encounter, and went on to win the closest of matches 12-10, thus bringing the match score to 5-4.

This left Tony Remes and Jim Ferguson,both seeking their first singles triumph of the night,to play out the final match . It was a nip and tuck encounter with the first 2 games shared before Ferguson gradually gained the upper hand winning in 4.

The final score was a hard fought 5-5 at approaching 11:30 with the star of the evening Gareth Hepworth.

Author: via Stratford-upon-Avon Table Tennis League
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