Stratford Herald Week Sixteen

Shottery A looked set to revenge their early season defeat at the hands of their own second string when they led 4-2 at the break. However, the half-time tea and biscuits clearly energised the B team who won the next four sets to claim the match by the narrowest of margins. In a contest lasting well over 30 minutes, Tim Fell began the fight-back by overcoming Graham Poole 12-10 in the fifth game.

They were followed on the table by Shottery A’s captain Gary Stewart who was keen to redress his previous loss to Awais Muhammed but, despite holding the early advantage, he fell just short in another set to go the full distance. After winning the first two games Stephen Foster then looked on course to put aside the outcome of his last clash with Gareth Hepworth, only for his opponent to claw his way back in the third five end encounter. The results of all ten sets were an exact repeat of the earlier match between the teams with Muhammed recording a treble and Hepworth a brace while, for the league leaders, Stewart won two and shared the doubles with Foster who added their other score.

Of even more concern to Shottery A was that the late finish caused them to miss their usual post-match visit to the local hostelry although, on this occasion, there would have been little cause for celebration!

That result throws the title race wide open again as Shottery A's closest rivals Henley Pasties imposed the most emphatic of leatherings upon hapless FISSC at their own Knights Lane stronghold; Tom Shortley, Mike Evetts and Jason Rainey represented the Pasties, with Sam Henderson and Mike & Georgina Credland unavailable , it was especially pleasing that Rainey was the only player to cede any sets. 

A more surprising 10-0 result occurred at Henley where the wheel has turned full circle after the B team imposed a crushing win upon their own senior side as Robert McCluskey, Stuart Latham-Marr and Dave Milton swept all before them.

It was much closer when Shottery C entertained Blazing Paddles. Rob Poole led the way for the villagers with an unbeaten display, despite being taken to the wire by Harry Azima. The C team captain also enjoyed success in the doubles with Kevin Taylor in the fixture’s only other clash to go to a decider where they had to overcome a 21-19 defeat in a see-saw second game. Taylor secured two wins in Shottery C’s 6-4 success, but lost out to Nello Mauri who scored a brace for the visitors with Azima and Dave Fordham also getting on the card.

West Warwicks gained an 8-2 win at Ashorne thanks to perfect performances from Andy Rowland and Alison Stewart. Peter Rodwell added their other point but was unable to get the better of Chris Bowles or Roger Pye.
Author: via Stratford-upon-Avon Table Tennis League
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